Learn how to freeze leeks — raw or blanched, whole or cut — in this tutorial. You’ll find tips for how to preserve fresh leeks in the freezer, how long to blanch them if you don’t keep them raw, and how to use frozen leeks in soups and other recipes.
Leeks are a great vegetable to preserve. They hold up well when frozen and retain most of their shape and texture. You can add them to a recipe straight from the freezer, saving you prep time and hassle.
Since leeks can be used in place of onions in most recipes, and since onions are used in SO many dishes, freezing leeks is bound to become your new favorite kitchen hack. This tutorial is also helpful for those of you who have a lot of leeks on hand from your own garden, a CSA share, or a farmers market.
How to Freeze Leeks Without Blanching
If you’re wondering if you can freeze fresh raw leeks, the answer is yes! Blanching leeks beforehand allegedly helps them retain their quality for longer periods of time, but I haven’t seen much of a difference between raw and blanched leeks in my experience. If you want to blanch your leeks, scroll to the next section.
To preserve leeks without blanching, follow these steps:
Cut the white and light green parts of leeks into circles or half-moons. See my tutorial on How to Cut Leeks for more information.
Place the cut leeks in a bowl of water. Swish them around with your hands to remove any dirt.
Drain the leeks in a colander. Rinse with cold water to remove any remaining dirt if needed.
Pat the leeks dry, then spread them out in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer, somewhere it won’t get bumped, to flash freeze them until solid (about 1 to 2 hours).
How to Store Leeks in the Freezer
Once the leeks are frozen, remove them from the freezer and transfer to a freezer-safe bag. Be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible and tightly seal the bag. I like to use reusable Stasher bags. Label the bag. If you use Stashers, you can write directly on the bags with dry-erase markers!
Use frozen raw leeks within 1 to 2 months for best results, but you can keep them in the freezer for up to 6 months. They may just lose some of their quality over time. Leeks that have been blanched before freezing (see below) generally keep their quality for longer than raw ones.
How long do you blanch leeks?
If you choose to blanch leeks before freezing instead of keeping them raw, here’s how to do it:
- Follow the steps for cutting and cleaning them. Prepare a bowl of ice water and set aside.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the leeks into the pot, wait until it comes back to a boil, then set a timer for 30 seconds.
- When the timer goes off, promptly remove the leeks from the pot and dump them immediately into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. I like to use a slotted spoon for this process, but you can also drain them in a colander then quickly transfer them to the bowl.
- Drain the leeks and pat dry.
- Follow the rest of the steps for flash-freezing the leeks and transferring them to freezer bags.
Can you freeze leeks whole?
If you want to skip the steps of cutting and washing, you can technically freeze leeks whole. However, I find it easiest to freeze them cut because you can add them straight to recipes from the freezer. If you freeze whole leeks, you have to let them thaw in the refrigerator before you can cut them up and use them in dishes.
If you want to freeze whole leeks, follow these steps:
- Trim off the root and dark green parts.
- Wash the white and light green parts under running water or in a bowl of water. You may have to gently pull back some of the layers to get rid of all the dirt.
- Pat the leeks dry.
- Spread them out on lined baking sheet, and place in the freezer until frozen solid.
- Transfer to labeled freezer bags.
Can you freeze cooked leeks?
Freezing raw leeks is the most common way to preserve them, but you can freeze cooked leeks. If you want to freeze leeks that have been cooked in butter or oil, let them cool completely. Then, transfer to a freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible, seal tightly, and label. Store in the freezer for 1 to 2 months. Reheat frozen cooked leeks in a skillet until warmed through.
How to Use Frozen Leeks
Now that you know how to freeze leeks, let’s discuss how to use them! You should only use frozen leeks in hot recipes. They do not hold up well in raw dishes like salads. Add them to soups, casseroles, and dishes that call for sautéing straight from the freezer. For instance, if you are freezing leeks for soup, you can add them to the hot pot without thawing first.
You can sub frozen leeks for fresh ones in these recipes:
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How to Freeze Leeks
- 2 leeks
Cleaning and prep
- Trim off the root and dark green parts. Discard. Slice the remaining white and light green parts into circles or half moons.
- Place the cut leeks in a bowl of water. Swish them around with your fingers to remove dirt. Drain the leeks. Rinse with water if needed to remove any remaining dirt.
Blanching (optional step)
- Leeks do not need to be blanched before freezing, but you can do so if desired. Blanched vegetables tend to retain their quality longer than raw ones when frozen.
- After cutting and cleaning the leeks, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water and set aside.
- Drop the leeks in the boiling water. Let the water come back to a boil and cook for 30 seconds. Immediately remove the leeks from the water and transfer them to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
- Drain the leeks. Continue with the rest of the steps.
- Pat the leeks dry. Spread them out on a lined baking sheet in a single layer.
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer, somewhere it won't get bumped. Let them freeze for about an hour or until frozen solid.
- Transfer the frozen leeks to a freezer bag. Try to remove as much air as possible as you seal it. Label.
- Keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. For best results, use frozen raw leeks within 1 to 2 months. Leeks that have been blanched before freezing will likely keep their quality for up to 6 months.
- If using frozen leeks in hot recipes, such as soups, casseroles, or dishes that call for sautéed leeks, you do not need to thaw them first. Simply add them to the recipe straight from frozen.
Enjoy this kitchen hack! – Lizzie
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