4 Unique Foods You Can Freeze Dry

the word four with food as the text color for the lettersProviding healthy, fresh food to your family can be challenging—especially when your life is full of deadlines, carpools, homework, after-school activities, and everyday chores. Canning and dehydrating food helps, but each of those processes robs food of nutritional value and even when you freeze your food to retain the nutrition, it comes with an expiration date.

Enter freeze drying. This is the answer to preserving nearly every kind of food without sacrificing flavor, color, or nutrition—and the best part is that freeze-dried foods can last from 15 to 25 years on your pantry shelf. Fruits and vegetables are a natural fit for freeze drying, but freeze drying goes far beyond the produce section.

You might not be able to can or dehydrate that leftover package of shredded mozzarella or Grandma’s homemade strawberry ice cream, but freeze drying can preserve those indulgent flavors for years to come. If you’ve ever regretted having to toss that last scoop of yogurt or an overripe avocado, regret no more. Here are three surprising foods that you can hold on to thanks to freeze drying – and how to best enjoy them.

Ice Cream & Greek Yogurt

freeze dried ice cream

We all know that dairy comes with an expiration date, and if we don’t get all of our favorite yogurt finished before that deadline, we’re out of luck. But thanks to freeze drying, you can enjoy every last ounce of your favorite ice cream or Greek yogurt. Because freeze drying preserves the by first freezing it to -30 and -50 degrees, then slowly sublimates (evaporates) out the liquid in a vacuum state, you can literally freeze dry a scoop of ice cream and save it for later. In fact, the ice cream in this photo has already been freeze dried.

Freeze-dried ice cream isn’t as soft as the initial creamy scoop, but it will have the same decadent taste. You’ll experience a more airy, meringue-like texture but your tongue will have a hard time telling the difference as the ice cream dissolves in your mouth.

When it comes to yogurt, freeze drying gives you the chance to turn your favorite coconut or lemon treat into a flavor-packed powder to add to smoothies, pancakes, or give an extra zing to your famous pound cake. And if there are kids at home, try freeze drying dollops of yogurt to offer as a great on-the-go snack that’s healthy and delicious.

Leafy Greens


Freeze drying makes it possible for you to prolong the life of your favorite leafy greens while simultaneously turning them into delicious snack food. Freeze-dried kale with a spritz of olive oil and some seasonings makes a perfect, healthy chip. Kale and spinach can also be re-hydrated by tossing them in your favorite soup or casserole. Or, with just a spritz of water from a squirt bottle, they can be tossed with berries and nuts to make a perfect salad.

Now you don’t have to worry about planting too many greens in your garden, because freeze drying lets you use every last bit your harvest. And you’ll be able to enjoy the taste and health benefits of garden-fresh greens all year long. As a bonus, you can add an extra punch to your morning smoothie. Just skip sprinkle in a little freeze-dried kale powder to amp up your nutritional intake.

Eggs (raw and cooked)

eggs in a frying pan

Very few foods provide the nutrition that’s contained in one, small egg. Freeze drying makes it possible to preserve those nutrients and proteins in a far less fragile state. Cooked or raw scrambled eggs are a perfect fit for freeze drying. For example, raw eggs can be whisked, freeze dried and kept in their powdered form to used in all baking and cooking recipes (2 tablespoons of egg powder equals one egg). Or, eggs can be freeze dried in their scrambled state and easily re-hydrated with a little water in a hot skillet.

With a freeze dryer, you’ll never have to throw out old eggs again, and you’ll always be prepared for an impromptu brunch or get-together with blueberry muffins, waffles or a soufflé.

Meats (raw and cooked)

pork ribs

Meat is quite easy to freeze dry. It doesn’t take long, and it turns out great. It doesn’t matter whether the meat has been cooked or is raw, just place thick or thinly sliced pieces on your trays and let the freeze dryer do the rest. It will beep at you when it is done. Package meats with an oxygen absorber to help it last 10 to 15 years.

The best thing is that when you re-hydrate the meat, it will look the same as it did before you freeze dried it and it will have all its nutritional value. If it has been cooked prior to drying, you can easily submerging the meat in water, pat it off with a paper towel and voila — it’s ready to put on sandwiches, in soups, casseroles or by itself on a plate with freeze-dried mashed potatoes and gravy.

If the food was freeze-dried while raw, you can submerge the food in water for a few minutes, pat it dry and grill, bake, or fry it. You will be surprised to find that it is great—just as if you had used fresh raw meat.

Have you tried freeze drying any of these foods? How did it go?


I have freeze dried cooked hamburger with onions ready for use in anything from tacos to spaghetti or stew. I have also freeze dried diced ham. I diced it because I wanted something that could be warmed up without using a lot of heat/energy since I am preparing this food for emergency use.
I run 5 or 6 batches of food a week. I have a load of beef stew in process now.

I’ve done everything from chili and stroganoff to eggs (raw and cooked), cheese, ice cream and yogurt, to chicken, ham, and beef. We love the convenience and cost savings of having our own home freeze dryer!

I have rehydrate scrambled eggs and they are the same. Chili and stew rehydrate great. Ravioli was very chewy. Chicken the texture was a little different but not too bad.

I am just starting to use my machine. I have done apple slices, cherries and some creamy soup. They all turned out amazing! It is fun to think that even with a power outage, I can have some really nice foods on my shelf. I have been storing them in glass jars using an attachment that goes with my food saver/sealer. People who try these food items have lots of questions about how the process works and it is fun to tell them. I a very much looking forward to trying more types of food. I love this purchase.

Have you tried to seal your jars with the freeze dryer chamber and vacuum pump? It works well if you just put the lid on straight and slightly snug the ring before putting it in the freeze dryer chamber. I use a tray for a flat surface.

Hello, where can find information on how to do this? How did you learn to cann using the freeze dryer? I just got home from the grocery store and was going to start canning chicken. If I can use the freeze dryer, I could get twice as much done. Please give me info.

I freeze dried turkey sandwich meat and also smoked salmon, both turned out perfect. The hard part is waiting to eat it! lol

How do you rehydrate cheese? I freeze dried slices of colby jack and when I tried to rehydrate it, it was just soggie.

Mindy, we would try wrapping sliced cheese in a damp/wet paper towel or cloth and letting it sit for a little while. That should help it come back to life the way you’d like it. Also, if you use shredded freeze dried cheese, you can generally just add it to your favorite casserole or recipe and it will rehydrate from the moisture in the rest of the food.

Just put the cheese in a food grade plastic bag and lightly spray the cheese with a spray bottle. Wait just a few minutes and it should be rehydrated.

o rehydrate freeze-dried cheese using cold water, spritz the cheese with water and let it sit until rehydrated. The cheese can also be rehydrated by wrapping it in a moist paper towel and putting it in a baggie or container until rehydrated.

BEST THING I HAVE SEEN I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING HARVEST RIGHT AND WANT THE BIG FOOD DEHYDRATER BADLY. I Am saving up for it. My son and I are always thinking of new things we will do with it. Great invention!

My dryer has been going nearly constantly since I got it. Right now I am drying eggs since our hens are laying so many eggs. I have dried them raw, plain scrambled, and scrambled with sweet peppers and onions to use in breakfast tacos. I had sweet potatoes from the garden last year. It was the end of the year and they were starting to sprout. I dried them raw cut like french fries, sliced thin for chips, mashed, and baked.

I have a recipe for a quiche that uses thinly sliced sweet potatoes for the crust. I tried the thinly sliced dried potatoes for the crust and it worked just like fresh and tastes wonderful.

I have also dried leftovers such as casserole, grilled steak, and roast. I just love my dryer. I just wish it was bigger.

Yes. We do pound cake and brownies. We rehydrate by wrapping in a moist paper towel, a warm towel, or by wrapping in a moist paper towel and putting in a ziplock bag in the fridge. We’ve also done lemon bars and cheesecakes. We just like them as a crunchy snack.

I just got mine started! I bought it a month ago, but worried about setting it up right after reading too much online! It went together so well and was so self explanatory! I have done a batch a day – starting with smoked pulled pork, then cheese, and on to shredded roast beef, shredded chicken and what everyone has been waiting for – Fat Boy ice cream bars.
The pork just melted in your mouth and when rehydrated – it was the exact same texture. Wow, we are in love. The boys all backpack in the summer and they are dreaming of the meals they are going to bring with them – starting with Cheesecake Factory’s Bang Bang Chicken and Shrimp!

dryer will be here in a few days and I am dreaming of all the things I want to dry meats are on the top of the list, there is a pic of ribs with bone in above.
Does it dry well with the bone or does it just have a shorter shelf life, like a year or 2?

It is normally best to freeze dry without the bone. The shelf life is longer and you maximize the space in your freeze dryer.

My husband loves all types of greens cooked in chicken broth with added pieces of chicken. If I dry the greens raw, will they have substance to cook like that or should I cook first then dry?

I would freeze dry raw. When you add to the broth they will be perfect. Also you can do raw and put a little of your favorite seasoning on them for a good snack

Hi there! Curious about dairy, the site says no butter but then lists milk. Can you freeze dry whole fat milk? Or heavy cream? Cream cheese? Also, I raise my own meat- chickens and goats, soon cows and pigs but I’m wondering if you can FD bone in and if it all has to be prepped in smaller pieces, like I couldn’t do a roast? Or good size steak?

The items listed are all great for freeze drying. Packaged properly they will last for many years. Freeze drying is limited to 1″ pieces or smaller. So most customers cook and then put the smaller pieces in their freeze dryer. The large freeze dryer can handle up to 17 lbs. of food per batch.

I sliced a brisket very thin just put. The slices I put in the tray we’re from 7:00 to 11 in Long I had them in the freeze dryer for 23 hours they look beautiful . Did I mess up by not cutting them in one inch squares? Are they not good for long-term storage?

They will be great for storage. The only thing to keep in mind is that lean meats tend to better than fatty meats for long term storage.

Kaye Curtis
2 days ago
I just want to let everybody know that you CAN freeze dry heavy whipping cream into a powder. I saw the video here and noticed that it didn’t dry properly. I’ve freeze dried other dairy very well and have some heavy cream powder I ordered online so I know it can be done. I decided if I changed the composition to make it more like sour cream or cream cheese, it might work better. So, I whipped the cream until stiff and spreadable. Because it’s now stiff, it has more air mixed in. I have a Harvest Right Freeze dryer that is the new version so it’s all pretty much automatic. I dried a half gallon of whipped heavy cream (40%) on two cycles using three trays each cycle. It was done in less than 11 hrs. Very dry and crumbly. Because it has so much fat, I had to be careful not to touch it too much. Very greasy. I used my food processor to powder it. Then used a metal spoon, my canning funnel and poured it into four pint jars and vacuum sealed them. It takes a little more work but it can be done and it’s always nice to have shelf stable dairy. I’ve also done the same with 36 and 30% whipping cream. The only thing is it will not whip up again.

I freeze dry our milk from our own cows and then put it in the blender to powder it for storage. Works great. Cream does not work as well. It has too much fat in it.

Has anyone freeze dried prepared, but uncooked, cake or brownie batter? I saw mention of cake, but it seems like if you did the batter and then ground it up, you could have a just-add-water then bake long term storage cake mix? Does anyone know if this works?

You would be better just having a normal cake mix and adding powdered egg and adding oil and water. You might could try experimenting with butter powder too, but the oil acts as a tenderizer So it might be best to just add oil and water

Ive been doing a bit of everything. My daughter has autism and sensory processing disorder. The interesting thing is that she has been eating foods she would never have tried before just because it’s crunchy now. Her nutrition has greatly improved and I’m saving a lot of money not having to buy freeze dried foods. The added bonus of knowing what’s in the food makes this purchase one i am thrilled about.

I’ve had a HR FD for nearly 2 years, still experimenting and packing away food for survival and camping. I FD:
(1) thin sliced ham (which I cut into smaller pieces) – awesome reconstituted or dry like a cracker;
(2) scrambled eggs, with bacon bits OR some of the ham pieces — take camping;
(3) ice cream (slice it with electric knife into pieces about 1 inch thick;
(4) cooked ground beef (wash in hot water to rid of fat.);
(5) homemade chili w/ beans — break in chunks to store.
(6) any frozen fruit from the store (slice large strawberries w/electric knife after soften 10 minutes);
(7) mini marshmallows for homemade hot chocolate mix;
(8) canned tuna and canned chicken (remove as much moisture as you can first);
(9) cooked sliced chicken breast or turkey;
(10) small globs of yogurt;
(11) COOKED vegetables (so they are ready to eat);
(12) fresh kale (from garden)
(13) seeds in their packets for long term storage;
Then I vacuum seal everything AS SOON AS I take it out. Ziploc bags don’t work for long term storage (more than a few weeks). That was an expensive lesson.
Flavors and aromas don’t mix. I FD ice cream and ham on the same tray. Awesome appliance!

WE just eat it. Crunchy but melts in mouth. Great taste. I did some junior fat boy ice cream sandwiches. But a slit in the top of each package and they were wonderful. Some puffed out the end but it was all great tasting and the kids loved them.

Yes, you can use canning jars to store your freeze-dried food. Be sure to include an oxygen absorber, keep the jars out of the light, and store them where the temperature stays cool.

Did you know that you can pressure seal your canning jars in the freeze dryer? So simple and they are sealed very tight. You can also get all of the air out of the mylar bags in the machine.

How do you seal jars in the freeze dryer and what machine do you use to get air out of Mylar bags

For long term storage we recommend freeze drying lean meats. For short term 1-2 years it should be fine if packaged properly.

Cam you freeze dry latte’s- making a powdered instant latte mix? Would be great to have at work for a quick hot drink.

Can you freeze dry a coconut cream ice cream? We are non-dairy and mix fruit, sugar, and coconut cream to make our ice cream at home.

Yep! My shelf-stable stash of non-dairy Ben & Jerry’s niblets says so! They had a two-for-one sale last year, what was I supposed to do???

My understanding is that foods with fats do not freeze dry well. If I roast vegetables lightly coated with olive oil, will they turn rancid over time? Thanks.

Any fat will eventually go rancid. Heat, light, and oxygen are driving factors for rancidity. If you keep your roasted vegetables in a vacuum sealed bag that doesn’t let light in and put in a silica or water absorbing packet and store in a cool area, they will last the longest- at least a few years. Would they last longer without the addition of oil? Most likely, but you can still get a good shelf life with the oil.

Has anyone done fish? We spend a lot of time fishing during the year so the freezer is always full of fish like Walleye and Wiper, any suggestions?

I just did frozen tuna medallions then rehydrated one in 1/2 cup water and cooked in microwave. It was really good although I did 30 seconds and overcooked it a bit.

I use lean bacon and remove as much of the fat as possible. After it’s cooked, I rinse it in hot water and then pat it dry. I put paper towels under and over the bacon when I freeze dry it, just to avoid any mess. Fats will go rancid over time, so, bacon is one of my short-term food storage items. I’ve done it for bacon bits and full strips and it works well. 

How long is “over time” I fd some bacon with scrambled eggs for a camp trip in a few weeks, do you think it will be ok with less than a month of storage?

I bought Great Value dried bacon chunks in a plastic bag and the expiration date is several months out. However, they warn you to refrigerate after opening even though there’s a ton of preservatives in the bacon. I would recommend freeze drying single use packets and they should be fine as long as they’re used right away.

I have been looking for different items to fd, have had success with jello very pretty when you do several colors, gummy worms the size of giant cheetos, and milk duds. Any other strange ideas out therr

I have done donuts, twinkies, apple fritters, ice cream sandwiches and have even done Cherry Pie!!

My favorite is the Twinkies though!!!

I freeze dried onions and they are great! I ground up half of them to use for onion powder and kept the diced for sauces, casseroles, soups, etc.

Yes! Just completed sliced white onion and sliced red and green bell peppers (cut in strips for fajitas, etc.) They retained their color and flavor was spot on! Have not tried the reconstitution yet.

How about vitamins and nutrients in powder form if dumped out of their capsules? Or even cocoa powder?

What kind of meats ,dairy,fruits and Vegas can u freeze dry? Can u fd milk just from pouring in the pans? Bread cakes brownis that have been cooked? If something was frozen do u need to defrost before freeze dried?

I grow lots of fruit, I have a hard time trying to store them (freeze) or give them away or compost. Has anyone FD these fruits?
avocado, mango, papaya, pineapples

Those fruits all freeze dry very well. In fact, you have listed some of my personal favorites. I would love to have your problem of excess!

Pineapples chunks are fabulous tasting, but my batch took over 40 hours. I’m guessing due to the high sugar content in the fruit…? I’m trying peaches in a batch now. Strawberries and blueberries taste like candy 🙂 I get a 4-5 lb bag of frozen fruits or veggies and then just put them on the trays. Its made prepping easier and more dependable.

Pineapple is the best!!! So much flavor. I have Done peaches and pears ( my favorite) blueberries , apples and pineapples. The blueberries required a little extra time but all were great!!!

Yes you can do canned vegetables just drain off the juices.have now tried bit of honey blew up into logs, also sugar babies, but you must cut them open or they won’t pop open. Forgot to mention when I do the Jello I always add a teaspoon of citric acid you can find in the canning section it gives an extra zing to it. Also ice cream sandwiches the minis are perfect the drum sticks I cut in half long ways but like the milk duds they must sit an dry as the chocolate is wet.

ZOI brand greek yogurt is our favorite to FD. We can only find it at Winco Grocery stores. Lemon is very delicious.
I spoon or pipe it into ice cube trays or silicone chocolate molds, freeze, pop them out and FD. I have silicone molds that fits into my FD tray so I have FD yogurt while still in the silicone mold and it worked perfectly. Nice car snack.

My FD is in the house. Will onions permeate the house while freeze drying?
So far I have done raw eggs, scrambled w/ham and cheddar cheese, cheesy chicken w/vegs (Voila family bag), shrimp alfredo w/broccoli, bags of frozen mixed fruits for smoothies, chicken soup makings (pressure canned the broth) sliced carrots and celery, reishi mushrooms, and raw chicken tenders working now. LOVE my small FD!

We have done several batches of various meats. I’ve shied away from it because sometimes I see greasy parts and I’m worried this will become rancid. We have rinsed ground beef and such after cooking it but i’m just worried. Any input from all of these great “experts”.

I have FD about every meat there is.
After grilling I trim all the fat, gristle & bone off, pat dry with a paper towel then FD. I love FD grilled NY strips & cheese burgers. I had friends over for steak, au gratin potatoes & broccoli.
Had all 4 meals ready in 15 min – they thought it was a just cooked meal and were shocked to find out the meal was 2 years old!

We love pumpkin pie and believe Libby’s pumpkin makes the best ones. I followed the recipe on the pumpkin can and then freeze dried the mix. I bought the pumpkin, and the Carnation Evaporated Milk the recipe calls for, in #10 cans. I had to make it in two batches because my stand mixer is small. The #10 cans of pumpkin and milk – along with the eggs and spices – made exactly 8 medium size trays of liquid mix, which I then powdered in a food processor after it was freeze dried. Each tray makes an 8-9 inch pie when re-hydrated with approximately 2 3/4 cups of water. Simply purchase prepared pie crusts, place one in a 8-9 inch pie pan (or purchase ones already in a tin pan), re-hydrate the mix, pour it in the pie pan and bake for about 55 minutes at 350F. You can have a pumpkin pie any time you want in a little over an hour – plus it makes your home smell like Fall when it’s baking. Best pumpkin pie in the world!

Do I have to have a dedicated circuit to plug this in, all on its own? I seen someone say that on you tube, but don’t see anything on site about it? Also, when arrives is this going to take 2 people to set up, says 200 some lbs box and I’d want to unpackage , but live alone and need to get to basement. The unit isn’t that heavy right? Maybe I’d need help that day..

Hi Amanda, the freeze dryer does need to be on a dedicated circuit. This is important. The freeze dryer itself is about 100 lbs and usually takes two people for the setup.

Can you do a tray of raw chicken liver with cooked BBQ pork, Cooked hamburgers, and cooked sloppy Joe?
Or does raw have to be separated?

Is there a list of foods that can be FD including 1) condition of the food before FD such as raw, cooked, canned, frozen 2) any prep prior to FD 3)
quantity before and after 4) how to reconstitute ?
Reading all the comments I was able to learn quite a bit from everyone’s experiences and appreciate this, but it can get confusing. Is there a standard publication anyone can recommend?

There’s a book I just bought from Amazon titled “Rehydration Calculations made Easy” by Wanda Baily Clark. It’s two-sided. One is US measurements and one side is in metric measurements. I just received it and it looks pretty informative. It covers dehydrated foods and freeze-dried foods.

There’s a book I just bought from Amazon titled “Rehydration Calculations made Easy” by Wanda Baily Clark. It’s two-sided. One is US measurements and one side is in metric measurements. I just received it and it looks pretty informative. It covers dehydrated foods and freeze-dried foods.

I love my large stash of mirepoix! Comes in handy, especially in the winter during soup/stew season! We freeze dry trays and trays of it and keep it on mylar bags with OAs. Just grab handfuls and toss into many different recipes! Quick, easy and no cutting/dicing at cook time.

I actually have a question. Can you freeze dry whole pods of okra? I love the whole okra chips that you find in the clear plastic container in the veggie section of the supermarket. They are crunchy with a little bit of sweetness and so delicious! Looks like they are coated in a thin layer of oil maybe. I have tried to recreate them in the oven and dehydrator, but they are not the same. Are those in the store freeze dried? If so, I would like to know how to do it please. Thank you for any help!

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