The experts tell us that as long as food is kept frozen at 0°F (-18°C), it is safe to eat indefinitely. What that food will taste like after being frozen for long periods of time is another matter entirely… especially to someone with super-sensitive taste buds like myself who can detect even the slightest hint of “freezer taste”!

I could never remember the various recommended storage times, and I got tired of always guessing or having to look them up, so I decided to make this simple chart. I have always labeled and dated food before putting it in the freezer… and by referring to my chart I can add a “Use by” date to the label as well. Originally I printed out two copies of the chart and taped one to the inside lid of each of our big freezers. That seemed like a good idea at the time, but I found it wasn’t terribly convenient to have to open a freezer every time I wanted to see the chart… especially since both freezers are in a room separate from the kitchen, where I do all my food packaging. Recently I starting keeping a copy of this chart in the front of my household information binder and that has worked well.

BREADS, CAKES, COOKIES, PIES Number of months
Breads & rolls, unbaked 1
Quick breads, baked 2
Muffins, baked 6 to 12
Breads, baked (no preservatives) 2 to 3
Waffles 1
Fruit pies, unbaked 2 to 4
Fruit pies, baked 6 to 8
Cookies, baked 6 to 12
Cookie dough 3
Cakes, baked & frosted 1
Cakes, baked & unfrosted 2 to 4
Cakes, angel, sponge & chiffon 6 to 12
MEATS, FISH, SEAFOOD Number of months
Poultry, uncooked whole 12
Poultry, uncooked parts 9
Poultry, uncooked giblets 3 to 4
Fish, lean 6
Fish, fatty 2 to 3
Fish, cooked 4 to 6
Fish, smoked 2
Seafood, fresh (shrimp, scallops, crawfish, squid) 3 to 6
Roasts, beef 6 to 12
Roasts, pork 4 to 8
Roasts, lamb 6 to 9
Steaks, beef 6 to 12
Chops, pork 3 to 4
Chops, lamb 6 to 9
Ground meat, uncooked 3 to 4
Meat, cooked 2 to 3
Gravy 2 to 3
Ham, hot dogs & lunch meats 1 to 2
Bratwurst, fresh or pre-cooked 2 to 3
Bacon 1
Sausage, pork 1 to 2
DAIRY, EGGS Number of months
Butter 12
Cheese, cottage & ricotta 1
Cheese, aged (cheddar, swiss, brick, gouda, mozarella, parmesan, roman) 6 to 8
Eggs, fresh yolks & whites 12
CASSEROLES, SOUPS, STEWS Number of months
Casseroles 2 to 3
Soups & stews 2 to 3
FRUITS, VEGETABLES Number of months
Fruits 8 to 12
Fruit juice, frozen concentrate 12
Vegetables (except for cabbage, celery, cucumbers, lettuce & salad greens, green onions & radishes) 8 to 12