How To Freeze Fresh Blueberries

Follow these easy steps to have summer blueberries for months to come.

It’s easy to get carried away when you see beautiful flats of blueberries at the farmers' market or take your family to the U-Pick farm. Once you get home, though, you might find that you have more fresh blueberries than you know what to do with.

After you've made Blueberry-Plum Pops, Blueberry Galette, or Blueberry-Citrus Rolls with Orange Glaze, if you have any berries left, it’s the perfect opportunity to freeze the blueberries for later.

We’ll show you how to flash-freeze the blueberries to preserve them when they’re at their best, as well as what to do with them once you have them.

frozen blueberries on a sheet tray

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Should You Wash Blueberries Before Freezing?

When you search online for information about washing blueberries before freezing them, you may see conflicting information. The truth is there are advantages to either method.

If you decide to wash first, you’ll want to make sure the berries are thoroughly dried before freezing, or they could clump together and be more likely to get freezer burn. This is the best option if you won’t remember to wash them before using the frozen berries.

If you choose to not wash your blueberries before freezing, you’ll be able to preserve the waxy “bloom,” which is a natural protective coating on the berry that protects it from insects and bacteria. By waiting to expose the berries to moisture and wash away the bloom, your frozen berries will be less likely to develop freezer burn. The downside is that you’ll need to remember to wash them before you use them later on. 

How To Freeze Blueberries

Equipment you’ll need:

  • Colander and clean kitchen towels (if washing the berries)
  • Rimmed baking sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Zip-top silicone or plastic bags
  • Permanent marker

1. Sort the berries.

Pick over the blueberries, and remove any stems or moldy berries. If any of the berries are soft but not moldy, set those aside to use right away (our Blueberry Compote works well for these). Softer berries won’t freeze well.

sorting blueberries

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

2. Wash and dry the blueberries.

If you’re washing the blueberries, rinse them well and spread out onto the clean kitchen towels to dry. Make sure the blueberries are thoroughly dried before moving on to the next step.

drying blueberries on a towel

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

3. Freeze the blueberries.

Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and place the berries on there in a single layer. You’ll want to make sure the berries have plenty of room on the baking sheet so they are less likely to clump together when they freeze. Blueberries will take anywhere from two to four hours to freeze solid; you can also leave them overnight and finish the process the next day.

blueberries on baking sheet for freezing

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

4. Transfer the berries to a zip-top bag for storage.

Label and date the bags you are using, and then fill with the berries. If you will be using them often for certain recipes (like muffins or pancakes), you can freeze in the amounts you regularly use. Try and get as much air as possible out of the bags before you place them back in the freezer. This will help prevent freezer burn.

frozen blueberries in zip-top bag

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Tips for Freezing Blueberries

To keep your frozen blueberries at their best, here are a few key tips:

1. Don't crowd them. When you’re placing them in the freezer, giving the blueberries a little room helps them freeze faster and will make them less likely to stick to one another.

2. Wash your hands. Especially if you’re washing the berries before you freeze them, you’ll want to make sure your hands are as clean as possible so the berries will be ready to safely use straight out of the freezer.

3. Make sure the berries are completely frozen before transferring to the bag. While it may be tempting to dump the berries into the bag to get some freezer space back, making sure the blueberries are frozen all the way through will help keep them from clumping together.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long can you freeze blueberries?

    Blueberries can be kept frozen for up to a year, but are best if used within 3 to 6 months.

  • How do you thaw frozen blueberries?

    A lot of recipes, like muffins, quick breads, pancakes, smoothies, or cakes don’t need the berries to be thawed first. If you do need to thaw them, you can place them in the refrigerator overnight to thaw, or pour the berries into a bowl and cover with cold water to thaw if you need them right away. Either way, be sure to thoroughly drain them before using in a recipe.

  • Do blueberries turn mushy after freezing?

    No, blueberries freeze beautifully, and when they thaw, they'll still have good shape. However, they will not be quite as plump and taut as they were when fresh.

  • Can you freeze blueberries?

    Absolutely! Freezing blueberries is a great way to enjoy the taste of summer long after the bushes have stopped giving fruit. But you need to freeze them properly so they last and don't turn into a big clump in the bag.

Blueberry Bread Pudding
Jennifer Causey; Food Styling: Loren Wood; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

How To Use Frozen Blueberries

Most recipes can be made from fresh or frozen blueberries. Thawed blueberries won’t make for an attractive garnish on a cake, but they work well baked into treats or blended into drinks.

For smoothies: if using in a smoothie or Frozen Blueberry Lemonade, you won’t need to thaw the berries. Just toss them in the blender with the other drink ingredients.

For muffins, quick breads, or bread pudding: Blueberries won’t need to be thawed before using in these recipes, either. You may need to add a couple of minutes to the bake time to account for the frozen berries; be sure to test for doneness before taking them out of the oven.

For pie: If the pie filling is cooked before baking, you might not need to thaw the berries first. If the filling is not cooked before the pie is baked, thaw and drain the blueberries before using.

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