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How to Freeze in Mason Jars

How to Freeze in Mason Jars

Zero Waste Kitchen

Last Updated on September 15, 2020

Mason jars are the handiest little kitchen items to have around. It’s easy to store food in them whether it be a portable lunch, dry good storage, or even for the freezer!

For 13 more unexpected uses for mason jars check out this blog post here. 

This post was sponsored by iLids. I received these items to try for free. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Can You Freeze Mason Jars

Yes, you can freeze in mason jars. I do so with a little help from my iLids.

I know you’ve heard horror stories of broken glass and inevitable death, but I promise it’s not that scary.

First of all, if the jars do decide to have an earth shatteringly good time in your freezer, the breaks tend to be clean and kept intact by the frozen liquid.

I have had a glass jar break on me. When it broke, it cleanly split into three pieces. I let the jar defrost in the sink (bye-bye homemade veggie stock) picked up the big chunks of glass and threw them away.

Yes, I threw them away! In my trash jar posts, I talk about my broken glass tally. I don’t store it in the jar because that sounds dangerous. Broken glass cannot be recycled.

Please do not put broken glass in the recycle bin. Most workers sort recyclables by hand, and you don’t want to endanger them.

how does this work? 

The key is to fill to the appropriate line. Liquid expands when it’s frozen. By leaving ample room at the top, you allow for this expansion without breaking. 

If you have a straight jar, you should leave 1-2 inches at the top. If your jar has shoulders, you should fill 1-2 inches below the shoulder. 

I’m still nervous! 

If you’re still nervous, then try freezing in the jar without the lid on. Once the liquid is frozen, screw the lid on tight and you’ll be fine. 

You can see in the photo below, how the liquid rises when it’s frozen. It rises in the middle and has a hump like a camel. 

Why do my lids keep rusting?

When I freeze in my metal mason jar lids or store them in a humid environment like under the sink or in the bathroom, my lids tend to rust.

I have finally found a great solution to this problem, and I am so excited to be working with iLids! iLids are made in the US and they are in a whole bunch of stores nation wide! 

Of course, you can always shop online. For more information about shipping and zero waste read this blog post here. 

The lids are made of recycled Polypropylene #5 and can be recycled when their life is complete. However, that should take a long time. These lids are super sturdy! 

They have gaskets on the in the lids which keep everything leak proof, and if something happens with your gasket… you can get a replacement from the company! 

Yes these lids are made from recycled content, recyclable, and there’s a built-in way to repair a gasket. This is a zero wasters dream! 

I love how colorful and playful they are. If color really isn’t your thing, don’t worry they have some neutrals too. 

There’s a solid lid which is great for food storage, but they also have some with drink lids designed to be used with and without a straw. I personally would still use a straw as I don’t like to drink directly from plastic.

The lids are super easy to clean by hand or they can be put in the dishwasher. 

On top of being my go to lids for freezing, they’re perfect for parties! It’s the perfect way to distinguish between glasses and hold reusable straws to prevent a lot of unnecessary party spillage. Definitely a must have for BBQ season just around the corner.

Do you have any tips for freezing? I find utilizing my freezer is such an easy way for me to prevent food waste! 

24 Comments
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  1. Thanks for the tip about iLids. I have several jars without lids due to rust, now I will be able to use them for storage again.
    To minimize ice crystals you should cool the food in the jar thoroughly before you freeze it. I usually place the jars in my fridge overnight and then place them in the freezer the next day. Also, if the food has fat on top leave it there until you thaw it, it helps to prevent freezer-burn and funky tastes from developing in the portion you will be using. If you thaw it in the fridge the fat will still be solid enough to remove before consuming if you choose to do so.

  2. Thanks for the info…the fill heights info was particularly helpful for me. FYI about recycling broken glass: In some areas it is recyclable. We live in New Hampshire, where our transfer station actually has us toss glass containers into a huge metal skidder-size recycling bin, where they shatter to their little hearts’ content.

  3. Do all these tips apply if you are merely freezing water itself–no food–just water in a glass wide-mouth mason jar?
    I was worried after I had done so, that maybe an infinitesimal crack may have occurred–making me super paranoid.

  4. I love freezing in jars it is great for soup smoothies and broths. However I can’t find a way to freeze a casserole without using tinfoil. Any suggestions?

    1. I really like to make my casseroles in the 9×12 glass snapware containers so when I freeze them I just snap the lids on and put them in the freezer. Then I can reheat straight in that container.

  5. Broken glass CAN be recycled in SOME areas. Like Santa Cruz County in CA. Also, for the places that don’t recycle it, I wonder how they process all the glass that inevitably breaks when the bin is flipped upside down to empty it’s contents and then has a bumpy drive to the facility where it is dumped.

    Basically, check with your local facility before trashing! Hope that helps more material be diverted from the landfill overall 🙂

    1. My recycling center doesn’t accept broken glass, but I’ve asked them what happens when the glass breaks when they throw it on their truck and they said they do still recycle it. I think it’s like what she said above: broken glass is dangerous for the workers when they pick up your recycling. But it eventually gets broken, so like you said, just check with your local facility. ??

  6. Freeze your liquids on the diagonal as in prop the jar at a 60 degree angle and then refill the remainder once the first layer is frozen. You can freeze ANYTHING this way with zero breakage. I freeze water for camping in single use plastic OJ jugs that are 15 years old and they are still going strong. Also WALMART sells a 4 pack of white polypro reuseable plastic lids that fit the two common sizes of mason jars and they are under 3 bucks for a 4 pack. They are indestructible. No silicone gasket but great for homemade pickles and any sour, salty items that will quickly rust out the not so reuseble canning rings and seals. But they are not canning lids so items must be stored in the fridge or freezer or be room temp safe without hotpack canning as the lids can’t do that. Neither can the more fancy iLids.

    Glass breaks in the recycling process ALL THE TIME! From the moment you drop it into the container to when the truck dumps it on top of other glass items to the rough and tumble of the conveyor system and big drops. But glass is almost not worth worth recycling in most communities due to low prices for mixed collet and the cost of sorting out the green brown and clear glass. Plus broken glass badly contaminates single streamm recycling systems. Now let me show you the really cool homemade glass tiles I make using a smallish glas kiln in my garage. All with recycled glass jars and bottles.

  7. Freeze your liquids on the diagonal as in prop the jar at a 60 degree angle and then refill the remainder once the first layer is frozen. You can freeze ANYTHING this way with zero breakage. I freeze water for camping in single use plastic OJ jugs that are 15 years old and they are still going strong. Also WALMART sells a 4 pack of white polypro reuseable plastic lids that fit the two common sizes of mason jars and they are under 3 bucks for a 4 pack. They are indestructible. No silicone gasket but great for homemade pickles and any sour, salty items that will quickly rust out the not so reuseble canning rings and seals. But they are not canning lids so items must be stored in the fridge or freezer or be room temp safe without hotpack canning as the lids can’t do that. Neither can the more fancy iLids.

    Glass breaks in the recycling process ALL THE TIME! From the moment you drop it into the container to when the truck dumps it on top of other glass items to the rough and tumble of the conveyor system and big drops. But glass is almost not worth worth recycling in most communities due to low prices for mixed collet and the cost of sorting out the green brown and clear glass. Plus broken glass badly contaminates single streamm recycling systems. Now let me show you the really cool homemade glass tiles I make using a smallish glas kiln in my garage. All with recycled glass jars and bottles.

  8. Just a tip for the lids, plastic peanut butter lids fit perfectly onto mason jars. It’s a great way to recycle your plastic peanut butter lids!

    not sure if anyone mentioned already, too lazy to read through the comments on my phone…

  9. I have never heard of any guidelines saying you CANNOT recycle broken glass- but I live in Belgium and we are pretty good at recycling (https://zerowasteeurope.eu/2015/03/and-the-european-waste-champion-is-belgium/) – where I currently live, we do not have curbside glass pick up- so we just go down the street to the "glass ball" – a large container set up where you drop of glass to be recycled dividing it between non-colored and colored glass- those bottles break on their way into the container! We cannot however recycle broken household glass (window, mirrors) but this is do to the different qality of this kind of glass (often coated with plastics, etc).

  10. Hi there! I’ve always been curious about this product as I see it a lot in my local Recology store, so great to have such a good recommendation! I did want to say, I have toured my local recycling facility, Recology, and they say it is okay to throw broken glass into the recycle bin. They say the glass get broken in transit anyway. Maybe everyone should check with their municipality’s waste management?

  11. I would suggest placing jars in your refrigerator to cool to frig temp completely BEFORE placing in the freezer. 🙂