Skip to Content

How to Freeze Onions and Peppers

Do you want to freeze onions and peppers for future use? Here are some easy guidelines and tips for preserving the vibrant flavors of all kinds of onions and peppers. This can significantly enhance your culinary endeavors.

onions and peppers

Whether you have a bunch of peppers or onions from your garden, pick them up at a farmers market, or find a sale at the grocery store, freezing onions and peppers is a great way to extend their shelf life. 

You also always have them on hand for your favorite recipes. Although there are different methods, I’m sharing my favorite ways to freeze onions and peppers. The way I do it, they keep their flavor, texture, and nutritional value.

Freezing onions and peppers cuts back on food waste. You don’t have them rotting in your onion bin, only to discover the awful, rotten onion odor later on.

Onions and peppers on a plate

I also love the fact that you don’t have to have fancy equipment to freeze peppers or onions. All you need are a knife, a cutting board, and either storage containers or freezer-safe zip-top bags.

When I cook this lentil soup, I like the fact that my onions are already chopped. 

And you definitely need onions to flavor a pot of yummy red beans and rice.

Onion and Pepper Selection

Start out by choosing good quality onions and peppers. Sometimes I pick up a bag of them, but I prefer purchasing them individually so I can get the best ones.

You can freeze yellow onions, white onions, green onions, red onions, sweet peppers, and hot peppers. Just make sure that you keep them separate.

Choose firm, raw onions with dry, papery skins. You want to find some without soft spots or any sign of mold. I typically pick up several small onions rather than a large one because they’re easier to work with.

For any kind of pepper, look for crisp ones that are unblemished and have a vibrant color. The best ones are heavy for their size, regardless of the types of peppers you choose.

Preparing Onions for Freezing Process

Clean and peel the onions. Remove the outer layers of onion with any dirt. Make sure you remove any blemishes. Rinse them under cold water and pat them dry.

half-peeled onion

Chop or slice the onions, depending on how you plan to use them in the future. I prefer for all of the pieces to be somewhat uniform in size.

Preparing Peppers for Freezing

First, wash and dry the fresh peppers. I do this by rinsing them under cold water. This removes dirt and grime that might have gotten on them.

Now gently pat them dry with a paper towel or clean dishtowel.

Next, cut them open and remove the seeds. I usually cut the tops off the peppers and slice them lengthwise. 

chopped red bell pepper

This is easy to do with bell peppers because they’re larger and easy to work with. However, other peppers that are smaller require a little more care. I either cut them in strips or dice them for sauces, soups, and stews.

I usually have green bell peppers separate from yellow red peppers. 

sliced green bell peppers
Colourful pepper

If you’re cutting spicy peppers, make sure you keep your hands away from your face, you your eyes and skin will burn. I usually slice hot peppers into rounds, simply because it’s easy.

2 Types of Freezing Onions and Peppers

There are a couple of ways to freeze onions and peppers. Both are good methods, so decide which is better for you.

Flash Freezing

All of the pieces are frozen individually so they don’t clump together. This makes them easier to use later.

Here is how to flash freeze onions and peppers:

  • Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Put the onions or peppers in a single layer on the cookie sheet. 
  • Spread them out in a single layer.
  • Put the loaded baking sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours. 
  • After the onions or peppers have frozen, transfer them into freezer-safe bags or other airtight containers.
baking sheet

If you have freezer space, you can freeze several sheet pans of onions and peppers at once. If not, just do what you can.

Portion Freezing

When I’m in a hurry, this is how I freeze onions and peppers. I’ve found that this is the quickest and easiest way to freeze them. And I’m all about doing things the easy way.

Being able to pull out a bag of the amount I need makes meal prep much easier. So any time I need chopped onion or diced peppers, I have them ready to go.

frozen diced onions

For this type of freezing, I divide the cut peppers and onions into portions that I know I’ll use to cook for 2 people. If I need more, I use simply use 2 portions or more.

And if I need fewer than what’s in one bag, I find that it’s not difficult to break up frozen clumps when I need them.

Squeeze out the excess air. Seal the bags or airtight containers. Make sure you get as much air out as possible, or they might wind up with freezer burn.

Label them with the contents and date.

For much smaller portions, you can freeze them in ice cube trays. I used to do this, but I’ve found that freezing them in bags is much easier.

Storing Frozen Peppers and Onions

Put the bags or containers of onions and peppers in a freezer with a temperature of 0 degrees F or lower. Doing this provides the best environment to maintain the quality for up to a year.

Thawing Frozen Onions and Peppers

All you have to do when you need the peppers and onions is remove them from the freezer and put them in the refrigerator. It doesn’t take more than a couple of hours for them to thaw.

Or if you’re in a hurry, just drop the sealed bag or container into a bowl of cold water. Smaller bags of either onions or peppers will thaw very quickly.

Always Ready for Recipes

When you follow these simple steps, you can successfully freeze onions and peppers for later use in lots of your favorite recipes. It also prevents waste and lets you enjoy them for many months.

Onions and peppers, some chopped and some sliced

Recipe Ideas for Frozen Onions and Peppers

Many of my favorite recipes call for either onions or peppers … or both. Here are some good ones:

Sausage and Peppers – Serve this amazingly yummy sausage and peppers dish over yellow rice for a flavorful experience!

Sausage and peppers on a plate with a fork

Crock Pot Lasagna – Start dinner early in the day and come home to this wonderful lasagna meal!

lasagna in a crock pot and on a plate

Beef Hash – You only need a few ingredients to make this delightful skillet dinner!

beef hash on a plate with green beans

Southern Meatloaf – Next time you make a classic southern meatloaf like this one from Julia’s Simply Southern, just reach for bags of portioned-out frozen onions and peppers to make the process easy.

Sheet Pan Sausage and Vegetables – Make dinner in a flash with this one-pan meal recipe. You can’t get any more convenient than that!

Chili Con Carne – When you’re in the mood for chili, nothing else will satisfy your taste buds. This recipe is absolutely wonderful!

Chili in a bowl and topped with sour cream and shredded cheese

Smothered Potatoes and Sausage – Here’s a delicious comfort food that you’ll love making for your family. And it’s budget friendly!

smothered potatoes and sausage on a plate and in a pan

Freezing Other Foods and Drinks

My freezer usually stays pretty full because I like to freeze food and drinks in advance. For example, if you freeze tea in ice cube trays to put in glasses of iced tea later, the tea will never taste watered down.

There are so many other foods and drinks that you can freeze, either to heat up later or use them in future recipes. This often saves money and time, two things that most of us need more of.

Please feel free to share!