How to Freeze Anything in a Mason Jar - Real Food Whole Life

How to Freeze Anything in a Mason Jar

August 20, 2018 (Updated on October 20, 2021)

five mason jars with metal lids and taped labels with recipe names

Looking for how to freeze anything in a mason jar? Then you’re in the right place!

Mason jars are a beautifully simple solution when it comes to storage. From freezing soups and stews, to taking leftovers to work, to using mason jars to organize your pantry. Your options are endless.

Read on for step-by-step instructions and a FAQ for how to freeze anything in a mason jar, plus how to use mason jars to store just about anything.

small glass mason jar with stainless steel ladle and funnel on white countertop

Imagine your freezer filled with hearty, nourishing soups and stew recipes ready to be defrosted for a quick lunch on the fly. 

Then imagine a fridge filled with pre-prepped grains, veggies, sauces, and proteins, as well as a few mason jar salads ready to throw in your bag on the way out the door.

This scenario is easier than you think; and it all starts with the simple mason jar.

Here’s your simple step-by-step guide & all my best tips:

  1. Why Mason Jars are the Perfect Storage Solution
  2. Step-by-Step: How to Freeze or Store Anything in a Mason Jar
  3. FAQ’s + What You Can Freeze in Mason Jars

Why Mason Jars are the Perfect Storage Solution

Mason jars are a workhorse in the kitchen, and are the perfect simplified storage solution because they can be used in so many different ways.

They’re durable, are plastic-free, inexpensive, and work perfectly in the pantry, fridge and in the freezer.

As a bonus, the tight sealing lids means you can take soups and stews with you on-the-go without worrying about spills or leaks.

How to Store or Freeze Anything in a Mason Jar

1. Select the Right Size Mason Jar

For best results, use wide mouth mason jars to freeze one to two portions of soup, stews, or leftovers.

These are my favorite mason jars for freezing one to two servings Wide-Mouth 16-oz Mason Jars

Quart sized mason jars are a great size for storing larger amounts of leftovers, and are also a great choice for pantry organization or creating mason jar salads: Wide-Mouth Quart Mason Jar

2. Allow the Soup, Stew, or Main Dish to Cool

Avoid adding steaming hot liquid to the mason jar. Instead, allow the soup or stew to cool slightly before adding to the jar.

3. Transfer to the Mason Jar

Fill each mason jar with the soup, stew, or leftovers using a stainless steel ladle and wide mouth funnel.

The funnel prevents a mess and makes the process so much easier; definitely worth the small investment.

Again, a wide-mouth mason jar is your best best when it comes to freezing anything, especially when it comes to soups and stews.

This is my favorite Wide Mouth Funnel for filling mason jars to freeze.

4. Leave Enough Room

Be sure to leave at least a two inch clearance between the top of the jar and whatever you’re filling it with.

Remember, frozen liquids expand, so don’t overfill, or you will end up with a cracked jar.

5. Cool Completely in the Refrigerator

Screw on the lids and refrigerate the filled jars and allow to cool completely to avoid cracking. Do not skip this step, as freezing hot or warm liquids may cause the jar to crack.

6. Add a Label

Don’t forget to label your jars.

Particularly if you plan to store in the freezer, clear labeling will ensure you know what’s what.

Labeling couldn’t be easier: simply write the name of the item along with the date on a small piece of washi masking tape with a permanent marker.

Then affix the tape to the top of the lid and you’re good to go.

When you’ve used the contents of the jar remove the tape and wash the lid. 

7. Freeze the Mason Jars

Freeze contents for three to five months.

Bonus Tip for Mason Jar Lid Storage: Consider storing mason jar lids in a wire basket when not in use to keep things organized.

Mason and Canning Jar Freezing 101 & FAQs

Can you put mason jars in the freezer?

Yes! See the full step-by-step tutorial on how to freeze anything in a mason jar

How do you know if mason jars are freezer safe?

Make sure you’re using a wide mouth jar like the ones above. Also make sure the liquid is cooled completely prior to freezing, and leave 1-2 inches of space between the liquid and the lid. See the full step-by-step: how to freeze anything in a mason jar

Can you freeze glass jars of spaghetti sauce?

No, not in same sauce jar as the store – but you can decant your storebought sauce into a freezer safe mason jar & use that instead. Here’s a homemade sauce recipe I love: tuscan pumpkin pasta sauce

Can you freeze mason jars with smoothies?

Yes, but you need to make sure there’s enough headspace in the jar – the more liquid something is the more it will rise. See the full step-by-step: how to freeze anything in a mason jar

Can you freeze soup in a mason jar?

Yes, freezing 1-2 portions in a freezer safe mason jar is a great way to save leftover soups, stews, and chilis! Here’s some soups & stews that freeze well.

Can you freeze milk in a mason jar?

Yes! Follow the directions above to avoid jar breakage. See the full step-by-step: how to freeze anything in a mason jar

Can you freeze broth in a mason jar?

Yes. Follow the directions above to avoid jar breakage. See the full step-by-step: how to freeze anything in a mason jar

Can I freeze mason jars with metal lids?

Yes! See the full step-by-step: how to freeze anything in a mason jar

How can I avoid broken glass when freezing in jars? 

Make sure you’re using a wide mouth jar (like the ones linked above). Also make sure the liquid is cooled completely prior to freezing, and leave 1-2 inches of space between the liquid and the lid.

I followed the directions and my mason jar still cracked in the freezer. What went wrong?

Double check that you were using wide mouth jars (like the ones linked above) that the liquid was completely cool, and that you left enough space between the liquid and the lid. If the jar still cracked, it was most likely an old jar with an existing crack, so it’s time to replace those jars!

Can I freeze cooked pasta, rice, or grains in a mason jar?

Absolutely! Grains can be frozen using the same steps. See the full step-by-step: how to freeze anything in a mason jar

How do you defrost frozen food in glass containers?

First, you can use a microwave on defrost, then dump into a bowl and heat. If you’d rather not use a microwave, put the frozen jar in the fridge overnight (it should thaw within a day) or place in a container of lukewarm water. Then reheat on the stove top!

Can I store raw meat in Mason jars in my freezer?

Yes, just as you’d use any freezable container, if you have raw meat it should work to freeze–keep in mind you’ll need to leave room at the top, as things expand when they freeze–to avoid cracked jars. See the full step-by-step: how to freeze anything in a mason jar

five mason jars with metal lids and taped labels with recipe names
white wire basket filled with metal mason jar lids on white kitchen countertop

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white pantry cupboard with glass mason jars with blue background and black text

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42 comments to " How to Freeze Anything in a Mason Jar "

  • Stacy

    Wire basket to wrangle the lids, Yes! This is what I needed.

    • Robyn Downs

      Stacy, right?! It’s the simple things. Those lids were always driving me crazy and just designating a spot for them has made such a difference! 🙂

    • Sue Panganiban

      How do you thaw frozen soup in a mason jar

      • Robyn Downs

        Hi Sue, I’ve found that placing the frozen jar in the fridge and allowing it to defrost overnight works best. You can also try defrosting in the microwave on a low, defrost setting can also work.

  • Ashley

    I store our mason lids in a cardboard box. It isn’t pretty, but it was free! And it’s stashed away in the cupboard anyway so you never see it.

  • Laura

    I keep finding my lids get rust easily. Am I doing something wrong or how do I avoid this?

    • Niki

      I use little pieces of wax paper under the lid (you can keep them square or even cut them into a circle with pinking shears to make them look pretty). I found that it creates a tighter seal, and the lids stay clean (no extra washing).

      • Robyn Downs

        Great tip, thanks for sharing that one Niki!

      • Kathryn Macdonald

        I purchased plastic screw on lids and LOVE them. They come in many colors but I got white and I can see when they are clean.

        • Robyn Downs

          Thanks for the tip Kathryn! We’ll add a link to the plastic lids to this post for others you might be interested as well!

          • Ibra Leonard

            Jumping in on the plastic lids, a cousin of mine told me that peanut butter lids and mayonnaise lids also work! I’ve tried them and they do fit. Give them a try as well if your like me we have Mason jar’s everywhere in the house so extra lids are always a benefit. The peanut butter lids work for the wide mouth the mayo word for the standard mouth.

          • Robyn Downs

            Ibra, great tip, thanks so much for sharing!

        • Shonna

          I did the same! Normally I don’t like to buy plastic, but found that the two-part metal lids were kind of a pain, and also it’s unclear if the under coating (plastic) contains BPA.

  • Caroline

    What’s the best way to reheat the soup or a single portion of something I have frozen in a mason jar?

    • Robyn Downs

      A couple options, Caroline. First, you can use a microwave on defrost, then dump into a bowl and heat. If you’re rather not use a microwave, put the frozen jar in the fridge overnight, it should thaw within a day, or place in a jar of lukewarm water. Then reheat on the stove top!

  • Maria

    I found plastic lids to use on my wide mouth jars! These seem much easier to deal with then the rings. Come to find out they make a ton of attachments for mason jars, like honey sticks, coffee lids, spice lids..etc. 🙂 Im in Mason Jar Heaven! Thanks for the post!

  • Ashley Moo

    Can I store raw meat in Mason jars in my freezer?

    • Robyn Downs

      Ashley, yes, just as you’d use any freezable container, if you have raw meat it should work to freeze–keep in mind you’ll need to leave room at the top, as things expand when they freeze–to avoid cracked jars.

      • Dee

        I have several plastic lids for my wide mouth jars that I use to store pasta, rice, beans, even rubber bands in my cabinet. Can the plastic lids be used in the freezer? Thanks so much for the info.Even though I love using Mason Jars for storage I never would have thought about using them in the freezer.

        • Robyn Downs

          Hi Dee, I haven’t tried with plastic jars but I image they will work just as well as the metal version, provided the plastic is freezer safe!

  • Kirsty Hunter

    how long do you think turkey chili will last in a sealed mason jar in the fridge?

  • Kirsty Hunter

    how long will turkey chili in a sealed mason jar last in the fridge?

  • Zoe Campos

    I never knew that mason jars can be a storage solution and initially thought that they’re only for decor. My brother and I are both occupied at the university and we don’t have time to prepare our own meals. Maybe we can buy lots of mason jars and prepare everything during the weekend so we can just easily grab our breakfast every morning before leaving.

  • peggy

    Has anyone experienced a thumb size mound form on top of their bone broth after being frozen which has ice crystals on it? If I could attach a photo I would. I left probably an inch to inch and a half space at the top of the jars so they wouldn’t crack because I have had a problem with that in the past. Someone thought this ice crystal was formed because I left too much space at the top. Is that possible? Totally prized. Any help would be useful. Thank you.

    • Robyn Downs

      Hi Peggy, did you put the broth in the freezer warm, or was it completely cool first? Other question is whether you used a wide mouth mason jar?

    • Shonna

      I’ve also had this happen, I think it’s just a matter of the process of freezing, I don’t think anything to worry about.

  • Monique Seguin

    You can also buy a vacuum sealing accessory to pull out the air from a mason jar to store cereal, rice and dry goods like nuts if you have a FoodSaver.

  • Michael

    Can you vacuum seal the Mason jar after it’s cooled before you freeze it

    • Robyn Downs

      Hi Michael, I checked the Food Saver website and they say: Even though your mason jars are freezer-safe, glass can still become very fragile when cold. You’ll want to wait until the liquid is frozen solid before taking the jar back out and vacuum sealing. Doing this after will protect the substances from freezer burn. Hope this helps!

  • Shonna

    Such a timely post! I’ve been using wide-mouth mason jars for a few years now, so much plastic saved from not using it for leftovers! The one issue I’d been having though was the occasional breakage after freezing, so what a great tip to make sure contents are completely cooled before freezing!

    • Robyn Downs

      Shonna, yes, allowing everything to completely cool before freezing can definitely make a difference–that drastic temperature change can cause cracking sometimes. I still do have the very occasional crack when a jar is old, but very rarely!

  • jerry

    Thanks for your information.

  • Suset

    I made a batch of borscht from beets and carrots from my neighbor! So grateful!!
    But it wasn’t until AFTER a moderately laborious canning session I learned that water bath method isn’t safe for low acid foods like beets. There is tomato as well as red wine vinegar in my soup recipe, the jars sealed (wonderful little clicks and pops!) Should I break the seals, and then freeze the jars? I dont want to lose all my hard work 😓??

    • Robyn Downs

      Suset, oh, that is a bummer! I can’t comment on the food safety aspect, but from a freezing perspective as long as there’s enough room between the top of the food and the lid to allow for the food to expand while freezing, and the jars go into the freezer at room temp and not hot, you should be able to avoid broken jars. I wish you luck!

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