How To Freeze Apples in 6 Easy Steps

If you’ve happened upon a bushel, haul of apples, or otherwise just bought way too many apples to know what to do with, don’t let them go to waste–freeze them for later use instead!

I got a box full of apples recently from a CSA box, which helps support local farmers who grow organic produce, and wanted to preserve these for future use!

apples next to a paring knife and peeler

How To Freeze Apples Step By Step

1. Peel

a peeled apple, next to a peeler, and paring knife

Depending on what you want to use the apples for later on, you can choose to peel the apples. It will be much easier to do before slicing and freezing!

If you just plan to snack on them later, consider leaving the peel on. According to the USDA, an unpeeled apple has about 100% more fiber, 25% more potassium and 40% more vitamin A than its unpeeled counterpart.

Some folks have concerns about eating peels due to pesticides. If you wash the fruit, you can remove some of it, but are unlikely to remove all of it. I recommened buying organic so you can eat the peel without any concern.

2. Slice And Core

Slice apples into slices. This will help the apples freeze all the way through faster, and will reduce the amount of mushyness that can occur.

Remove the cores, unless you will simply be pressing these apples later and don’t care if they remain.

3. Bathe in Citric Acid Water

soaking apples in water with lemon juice

As you slice up your apples, drop them into a citric acid water bath. For every two cups of water you use, add about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

This will slow the oxidation process and prevent them from browning while you work on your haul of apples.

4. Drain and Pre-freeze

tray of apples, for pre-freezing

Drain the apples, then lay them either on a towel or parchment to dry a bit.

I’m using a kitchen towel here to help reduce waste, and an aluminum sheet pan for easy transport that still fits in the freezer. Pop them in the freezer for about three to four hours. We want them to solidify, but don’t leave them in too long because they will start to dry out.

This freezing step helps prevent them from sticking to each other after you defrost, so you can skip it if you don’t mind.

5. Seal For Long-term Freezing

I typically use silicone bags for freezing food that will be consumed shortly, but man those bags are expensive! For longer term storage, I like vacuum sealing my food so I don’t tie up the fancy silicone.

Make sure you get in the habit of marking the dates on food you freeze since it’s easy to end up with a freezer of dozens of food items of questionable age.

How long do apples last?

Apples last pretty long relative to most other fruits, but somehow we always (me included) seem to find that mushy, mealy apple in the fridge we forgot to eat. What’s wrong with me.

On the counter or in the pantry: apples last about two to four weeks

In the fridge: they should last you one or two months until you have to throw them out.

Can you freeze apples?

Absolutely. You can freeze whole apples but you’ll end up with mushier apples once you thaw them out due to how much longer it takes to freeze all the way through. Whole apples will also take up more space in your freezer and be harder to fit in storage bags, or vacuum sealed bags.

To freeze apple slices, there’s some work you gotta do to prep them for freezing, and you should know it’s not going to taste or feel the exact same way as fresh, unfrozen ones, but it’s better than having to waste apples you otherwise couldn’t finish in time.

Since the texture of the apple changes, good uses for them after thawing out are smooth applesauce, fruit smoothies, syrups, or pies.

Can you freeze apples with the skin on?

Yes. There’s no issue with leaving the skin on. The only thing to consider is if you want to use them for something later on and decide you don’t want the skins on, it’s much more work to peel many individual slices later, than peeling a whole apple before freezing.

Do you have to peel the apples before freezing?

No. You don’t have to peel apples before freezing. You can freeze both sliced and whole apples with the skins on without it changing anything.

If you’re undecided if you want skins later, feel free to leave them on.

Can you freeze stewed apples?

Yes. If you prefer to stew a big batch of apples for things like pie filling, you can definitely freeze the stewed apples afterwards.

Since they’re soft when stewed, you can squeeze and arrange the apples tighter before you vacuum seal them for freezing. This way they’ll be flatter, and more compact in the freezer.

How long do frozen apples last?

For the best quality, about one year. If the apples are stored properly the entire time at 0 °F, vacuum sealed, it will be safe to eat indefinitely even if the quality changes over time. Even if you don’t have a vacuum sealer, apples will still last a long time! They’ll keep for about 12 months in the freezer when stored properly.

whole apples with a peeler, and paring knife
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How To Freeze Apples

Freezing apples are a great way to preserve them for later use, when you have too many on hand to eat!
Prep Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 apples
  • 4 c water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Equipment

  • 1 half or quarter aluminum sheet pan
  • 1-2 kitchen towels or parchment sheets

Instructions

  • Wash your apples, and prep a big bowl with the water and lemon juice mixture.
  • Peel the apples. This is optional and won't affect the quality of the frozen apples.
  • Slice and core the apples, and drop the slices in the bowl of water as you go to prevent the apples from browning.
  • Soak all the apple slices for 5 minutes before transferring to the sheet pans lined with towels or parchment.
  • Freeze for 3-4 hours until completely frozen all the way through.
  • Transfer to silicone bags, or vacuum seal. Mark dates on them with a marker and put in the freezer for longterm storage.