Can You Freeze Cucumbers?

Cool as a cucumber, but cooler.

Photo: Meredith

When we think of a bountiful summer garden that can't stop giving, we often picture an overload of tomatoes and zucchini. But anyone who's grown cucumbers at home knows just one plant can yield a lot of fruit. Which naturally leads to the question of whether or not you can freeze cucumbers. And the answer is yes.

So, when life hands you more cucumbers than you can handle — whether you can't keep up with your garden's output or you went a little overboard at the farmers' market — there's no reason to stress over an abundance of cucumbers. With a little help from your freezer, you can stash away extra cucumbers for later use. Read on to find out how to freeze cucumbers, how long frozen cucumbers last, how to thaw frozen cucumbers, and how to use frozen cucumbers.


Can You Freeze Cucumbers?

Yes, you can freeze cucumbers, but there's a catch. Frozen cucumbers will never have the same crisp snap as fresh cucumbers. Here's why. Cucumbers are about 95% water, so freezing and thawing will affect their cell structure, resulting in a mushy texture. But there are many recipes where that texture will work to your advantage. Frozen cucumbers can be made into soups, dips, or smoothies, since a mushy texture won't make or break these dishes. But if you're making a salad or sandwich that relies on a cucumber's crunchy texture, it's better to stick to fresh produce.

How to Freeze Cucumbers

There are four methods for freezing cucumbers: the cookie sheet method, the brine method, the ice cube method, and the purée method.

First things first — clean those cucumbers. Garden-fresh or locally farmed cucumbers only need to be washed with water, but unwrapped, store-bought cucumbers may have a wax coating that has to be removed with water and vegetable wash. Tip: you can make your own vegetable wash by combining 1 cup vinegar, 4 cups water, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a spray bottle. To use, just place cucumbers in a colander or strainer, spray, and wait 2–5 minutes before rinsing or scrubbing with a vegetable brush.

1. Cookie Sheet Method

  • Slice washed cucumbers into thin, uniform pieces. You can remove the peel if you want, but it's not necessary.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cucumber slices on the sheet in a single layer and set the sheet in the freezer for a few hours. Remove the cucumber slices from the freezer, transfer to a zip-top bag or airtight container, label, and return to the freezer.

2. Brine Method

  • Slice washed cucumbers into thin, uniform slices and place in a large bowl with a sliced onion and two tablespoons of salt. Mix ingredients and let sit for two hours.
  • Rinse the cucumbers in cold water and drain, then move cucumbers to a clean bowl. Add ⅔ cup each of oil, vinegar (either white or apple cider will work), and sugar, and 1 teaspoon celery seeds. Add cucumbers and brine to airtight, freezer-safe containers, leaving 1 inch headspace to allow for the liquid to expand as it freezes. Let cucumbers freeze for 1 week before defrosting for best flavor.

Try This Recipe: Fresh Frozen Cucumbers

3. Ice Cube Method

  • Thinly slice cucumbers and place or stack in the compartments of an ice cube tray. If you're using these for beverages, you can add lemon juice or various herbs. Place ice cube tray in the freezer.

4. Purée Method

  • Slice cucumbers and pulse in a food processor until smooth.
  • Pour purée into an ice cube tray or airtight container and place in the freezer.

How Long Do Frozen Cucumbers Last?

Properly stored, cucumbers will keep up to a year in the freezer.

How to Thaw Cucumbers

Place frozen cucumbers in a bowl and let them thaw in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. Drain any water or brine.

How to Use Frozen Cucumbers

Once cucumbers have been frozen, they'll never retain their original, crunchy texture, but you can still use frozen and thawed cucumbers in soups, smoothies, sauces and dips, or drinks. Try using your frozen cucumbers in these recipes:


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