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How to freeze food in glass jars

How to freeze food in glass jars

Can you freeze food in glass jars?

I get this question almost every time I post a photo of frozen applesauce, soup, broth, or jam.

Jam frozen in glass jars

 

And the answer is: YES.

You can certainly freeze food in glass.

But, you must, must, must be certain to leave plenty of headspace (empty space) at the top of the jar so that the food can expand as it freezes.

(This is assuming your food has water in it. If you froze something like almond flour in a glass jar, there is no need to leave headspace.)

jam frozen in glass jars

This jam is already frozen, so it has used up the headspace I left.

I like to err on the side of caution and leave more headspace than I think I will actually need.

How to freeze food in glass jars

Do you need special glass jars for freezing?

You can get Mason jars made specifically for freezing; these have a neck that just gets wider at the top rather than becoming narrow.

Jam frozen in glass jars

The jar on the right is a Mason freezer jar.

This makes them less prone to breakage when food expands as it freezes.

However, as long as I leave headspace, I have not had a problem using my regular-mouth Mason jars for freezing food.

I just err further on the side of caution when leaving headspace in the non-freezer jars.

What kind of glass jar lids work for freezing?

I use all sorts!

lids for freezing food in Mason jars

The two-piece lids intended for canning work just fine, and so do the plastic Mason jar lids.

I’ve also used powdered Parmesan cheese lids on narrow-mouth Mason jars, and they survive the freezer just fine.

Can I freeze food in glass jars I save from grocery foods (such as spaghetti sauce glass jars)?

Yes, this can work, but I can’t wholeheartedly recommend them.

lids for freezing food in Mason jars

Actual Mason jars are my preferred type.

I notice that jars from grocery foods often seem to be made of thinner glass than actual Mason jars, and I have had a few break on me in the past just from normal temperature changes.

So, I typically only reuse these jars for storing refrigerated liquids or for making homemade yogurt.

Sometimes, canned fruit comes in hardy glass jars that seem comparable to real Mason jars, and those do work well for freezing.

How do you thaw food in glass jars?

lids for freezing food in Mason jars

The smartest thing is to think ahead so that you can let the jar sit at room temperature or in the fridge until the food is thawed.

(Do I always think ahead? No.)

If you neglect to think ahead, you can use the defrost setting on your microwave to thaw the food. Just make sure to remove the metal lid first!

It’s tempting to run the glass jar under hot water to help speed the thawing process, but a fast temperature change like that can cause glass to break.  Resist the urge.

How to freeze food in glass jars

What kind of foods do you freeze in glass jars?

I typically freeze:

  • homemade broth
  • homemade applesauce
  • homemade freezer jam
  • soups
  • extra spaghetti sauce

Do you have any other questions about freezing in glass?

If so, let me know and I’ll answer in the comments or add to the post.

And if you have tips about freezing in glass, do add those in the comments as well!

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Lorie

Wednesday 27th of April 2022

This was VERY helpful. Thank you. I’ve been saving spaghetti sauce jars so I can make meals to take to people (chili, soup, etc.). But a couple of them have cracked when I freeze them. Thanks for posting this.

Meg

Friday 13th of August 2021

Doesn't using the microwave to defrost frozen jars create a sudden temperature change, also, causing same glass breakage as when placing under hot water?

Kristen

Friday 13th of August 2021

In my experience, the defrost setting seems to bring about a gradual temperature change, and gradual is the name of the game with glass and temperature change.

Amy

Thursday 18th of February 2021

I used a glass jar that looked similar to a regular mouth Mason jar and put spaghetti sauce in it and froze it. When I set it out to thaw the whole bottom of the jar broke off. Does that mean the jar was not freezer safe or does it mean I didn't leave enough head space for expansion?

Kristen

Thursday 18th of February 2021

Sometimes those sauce jars from the store seem to be made of thin glass; they are definitely more prone to breaking than regular Mason jars that are designed for canning/freezing.

If you gave the sauce plenty of headroom to expand in the freezer, then I'd be prone to blaming the jar itself.

Elizabeth

Monday 30th of November 2020

Thank you for the information! Very helpful!

Phyllis S Gluck

Thursday 26th of November 2020

how about freezing ground coffee in glass jars?

Kristen

Thursday 26th of November 2020

Oh yeah, that'd be just fine. The coffee grounds are not going to expand the way, say, chicken broth will.

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