Freezing foods in Ziplocs is a real space saver . . . until a bag pops open and you have a leak, spill or freezer burn. An easy way to avoid the problems!

Freezing in Ziplocs

Want to freeze chili, spaghetti sauce or soup?  Plastic “boxes” like Lock & Locks are great for staying sealed, but usually contain some air space (which is wasted space in a tiny freezer) and don’t always fit into the space available.  Ziplocs would be great for making the most of the space but have a nasty tendency to pop open and create a mess.

Here’s a great tip from reader Allan Cobb.  Here’s what he wrote me:

Ziplocs never really seal completely and they can actually open if compressed leading to spills or freezer burn. What I do to prevent that is to seal the top of the bag with duct tape.

I fill the bag, zip it shut, and then tear off a piece of duct tape a couple of inches longer than the top of the bag. I affix the tape to the top of the bag and fold the tape over to seal both sides. I have overlap at both ends to completely seal off the top of the bag.

To use the contents, I just cut the top of the bag off just below the zipper. It’s a one-time use system but it really seals the bags. I use this when I freeze extra chili, soup, gumbo, etc.

Upside down, not a drop leaks or spills!

Freezing foods in Ziplocs is a real space saver . . . until a bag pops open and you have a leak, spill or freezer burn. An easy way to avoid the problems!

I think it would also be good when freezing meat to avoid freezer burn.  With a very small freezer, I never wanted to waste even the tiniest bit of space and so I’d always remove meat from the tray it came on and either vacuum seal it or put it in a Ziploc.  And more than once, the Ziploc opened and I had freezer burn.  This would have prevented that!

P.S. If you have a hard time filling bags by yourself, check out this helpful “extra set of hands” that reader Diane Dashevsky told me about!

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  • Nancy Ellen Reuter
    Posted at 24 January 2014 Reply

    Thank u!

  • Becky Sherman Johnson
    Posted at 27 January 2014 Reply

    Great tip!Thank you. And I have one paralyzed hand so there will be “an extra set of hands” in my galley AND in my kitchen…:)

  • Susan Parker
    Posted at 30 January 2014 Reply

    I love the ZipLoc Vacuum bags for freezing. You are able to suck all of the air out thus preventing spills and freezer burn. Sometimes I use a regular ZipLoc to wrap the food then put it in a vacuum bag. That way I can reuse the more expensive vacuum bag.

  • Darlene Price
    Posted at 23 June 2015 Reply

    We only have an ICE box and use vacuum seal bags. I can provision for a week by keeping meats cold in the ice melt water. Oh, for a refrigerator!/freezer.

  • Debbie Bowen Crawford
    Posted at 19 July 2015 Reply

    Great tip and you know you have it on the boat already.

  • Dave Skolnick (S/V Auspicious)
    Posted at 20 July 2015 Reply

    No comparison to a Foodsaver vacuum sealer.

    • Amy (sv Binary)
      Posted at 02 February 2017 Reply

      Oh to have the space for a Foodsaver.

  • Cindy
    Posted at 02 February 2017 Reply

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  • JAY
    Posted at 02 February 2017 Reply

    when sealing a liquid in a “zip lock” or vacuum bag hang the bag over the edge of your counter or table to expel air. You can hand smooth most of the remaining air out before sealing. Then lie on table/counter to level contents before freezing/refrigerating.

  • Coleen Barger
    Posted at 03 November 2017 Reply

    Another way to force air out is to mostly zip the bag and then gradually lower it (zipper up) into a bowl of water. As the bag sinks, air goes out the top. Just before the opening immerses, zip it shut.

  • Janet Burch
    Posted at 03 November 2017 Reply

    Use a straw to remove air works almost like a vacuum sealer. Just put in one corner of bag, hold with fingers and suck out extra air. Works great for avocados to keep them from browning..

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