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How To Cook Frozen Vegetables (With Recipe)

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Frozen vegetables are a delicious, quick, yet nutritious option for lunch or dinner. You can also use frozen vegetables as an ingredient for a range of different dishes, including stews, curries, and pies. 

But how to cook frozen vegetables? You can cook frozen vegetables in a few different ways. Roast them in the oven, and sauté or steam them on the stovetop. You can also cook frozen vegetables in the air fryer, in an instant pot, in the microwave, or on the grill. 

This article is your ultimate guide to cooking frozen vegetables. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions for 6 different methods for cooking frozen vegetables. You will also learn tips for making frozen vegetables taste better. 

What Are The Benefits Of Using Frozen Vegetables?

Some people think you should use frozen vegetables only when you don’t have access to their fresh counterparts.

In reality, though, frozen vegetables are just as good as fresh ones. Moreover, there are multiple benefits to using frozen vegetables. 

Frozen Vegetables Are Still High In Nutrients 

The biggest misconception about frozen vegetables is that they are lower in nutrients than fresh vegetables.

While freezing may affect the nutritional value of certain vegetables and reduce the number of specific nutrients, it is not the case will all vegetables. 

Additionally, some vegetables are even healthier in the frozen form. Frozen broccoli, for example, is proven to be higher in vitamin B2 than fresh broccoli. Similarly, frozen kale contains more antioxidants than fresh kale

Generally speaking, vegetables that have been frozen right after being harvested maintain most of their nutrients. 

Frozen Vegetables Last Longer 

Fresh vegetables are always a delight. And while there are vegetables that have a quite long shelf life, such as potatoes, pumpkins, and carrots, it is a common problem to not manage to use up all the veggies you have purchased. 

In this case, freezing the vegetables you know you won’t be using is the best thing you can do to make them last longer.

Alternatively, you can buy frozen vegetables right off the bat. Typically, the shelf life of frozen vegetables is around 12 months

Aside from lasting longer than fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables are also a lot easier to store.

You only need to make sure that they are stored in an airtight bag or container (these are my favorite containers for storing frozen veggies) and that the freezer temperature is stable. 

Fresh vegetables are more susceptible to temperature changes. Some need to be preserved in the pantry while others do well in the fridge.

Additionally, different vegetables go into different fridge drawers. With frozen vegetables, things are a lot simpler. 

Frozen Vegetables Are Easy To Cook

Cooking frozen vegetables is a lot easier and quicker than cooking fresh vegetables.

This is because when cooking frozen vegetables you don’t need to spend time preparing them. Frozen veggies go from the freezer right into the dish

Thus, it is a good idea to stock up on frozen vegetables if you don’t typically have a lot of time for cooking. You can purchase bags of frozen veggies or freeze them on the weekend to cook quick meals throughout the week. 

3 Common Mistakes People Make When Cooking Frozen Vegetables

Cooking frozen vegetables is different from cooking fresh vegetables. Many people don’t like cooked frozen vegetables.

But in the majority of the cases, this happens because they don’t know how to cook frozen vegetables right. It’s easy to make them soggy and bland. 

Here are the three common mistakes you should avoid when cooking frozen vegetables. 

1. Thawing Frozen Vegetables Before Cooking 

One of the key rules for cooking frozen vegetables is that you don’t always have to defrost them before cooking. Skipping the thawing step of the vegetable yields much better results

But there are exceptions to this rule too. Certain frozen vegetables may be defrosted if you won’t be cooking them. Frozen corn, for example, can be quickly defrosted under running water and added into salads. 

You can also skip thawing and cooking with certain vegetables. Frozen carrots, cauliflower florets, frozen spinach can be added into smoothies without defrosting. 

2. Overcooking Frozen Vegetables 

As a general rule, most vegetables are blanched before being frozen. Blanching cooks the vegetables to a certain degree.

This means that you shouldn’t cook blanched frozen vegetables for the same amount of time as fresh vegetables. Doing it will make the vegetables soggy, mushy, and unappealing altogether. 

3. Storing Frozen Vegetables for Too Long 

Frozen vegetables do have a long shelf life. And they remain safe for consumption for years if they are packaged properly and the freezer temperature is stable

With this said, the sooner you eat the frozen vegetables the better. While they may remain safe for consumption for months, the flavor and texture of frozen vegetables deteriorate with time. 

How To Cook Frozen Vegetables

You can cook frozen vegetables in a few different ways. Each cooking method yields slightly different results as far as the texture of the veggies is concerned.

Continue reading for step-by-step instructions for seven different ways of cooking frozen vegetables. Note that none of these methods implies thawing the vegetables prior to cooking them. 

In The Oven 

Cooking frozen vegetables in the oven is an effortless way to prepare a healthy side dish for lunch or dinner. You will this method of cooking frozen vegetables if you like your cooked veggies to have a caramelized finish. 

What makes this cooking method so good is that while the veggies roast in the oven you can clean the kitchen or prepare the main dish or the dessert. 

Here’s how to cook frozen vegetables in the oven.

  1. Transfer the vegetable from the freezer straight into a bowl and add a small amount of olive oil to them. You may want to skip the oil to avoid extra calories. But know that the oil is important for preventing the veggies from drying out.
  2. Add the seasonings and mix to get all pieces coated with oil. You can use salt, pepper, and any seasoning of your choice. While you do this, let the baking sheet preheat in the oven.
  3. Spread the vegetables on the baking sheet in a single layer. Don’t cook a lot of vegetables at a time to make sure each piece is cooked to perfection and doesn’t overlap with other pieces. If you pile they will not get roasted but steamed.
  4. Put the baking sheet with the veggies in an oven preheated to 450°F. 
  5. Roast the frozen vegetables for 15 minutes. 
  6. After 15 minutes, remove the baking sheet, flip the vegetables or give them a stir, and roast for another 15 minutes. Depending on the size of the pieces, 10 minutes might be enough. 
  7. Remove the vegetables from the oven and serve with your favorite side dish or sauce. 

On The Stove 

When it comes to cooking frozen vegetables on the stove, there are two things you can do. You can sauté frozen vegetables or steam them.  Choose between these two cooking methods depending on the texture preferences you want. 

Sautéeing the frozen vegetables is one of the best ways to preserve their texture. Steaming, on the other hand, yields softer results. 

Sautéing Frozen Vegetables

Here are step-by-step instructions for sautéeing frozen vegetables.

  1. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat. 
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the skillet.
  3. Pour the frozen vegetables into the skillet. 
  4. Cook the vegetables in the uncovered pan for around 6 minutes. Stir the vegetables from time to time and turn the heat off when they are heated through and cooked to your desired degree. 

Steaming Frozen Vegetables 

Here are step-by-step instructions for steaming frozen vegetables. 

  1. Get a pot or a deep pan and pour around 3 inches of water into it. 
  2. Let the water come to a boil. 
  3. Put the frozen vegetables into a steaming basket and place the basket over the boiling water. If the basket touches the water, remove some of it. 
  4. Cover the pan with the lid. 
  5. Let the vegetables cook through the steam. The steaming time varies from vegetable to vegetable. It also depends on the size of the pieces. So, check on the vegetables every few minutes and remove them from the steaming basket when they are cooked to your desired degree. 

In The Air Fryer 

If you own an air fryer, you should certainly give air fried frozen vegetables a try. The air fryer will cook the vegetables nicely and give them an appetizing golden look. Here’s how to air fry frozen vegetables. 

  1. Spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil.
  2. Place the frozen vegetables into the air fryer basket making sure they are not overcrowded. 
  3. Spray the veggies with cooking oil and season with salt, pepper, and the seasoning of your choice. Give the vegetables a shake. 
  4. Air fry the veggies at 400°F for 15-20 minutes depending on how crispy you want them to be. 

In An Instant Pot

Another kitchen appliance you can use to cook frozen vegetables is the instant pot. This is perhaps the quickest method to cook frozen vegetables. Here’s how:

  1. Pour 1 cup of water into the instant pot and insert the steamer basket. 
  2. Add in a mix of your favorite frozen vegetables. 
  3. Cover the instant pot with the lid and turn the valve to the sealing position. 
  4. Cook the vegetables on high pressure for 10 minutes and then quickly release the pressure. 
  5. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. 

In The Microwave 

The microwave may not be the best method for cooking frozen vegetables. But it works and it’s quick. Here’s how to microwave frozen vegetables: 

  1. Pick a microwave-safe container with a lid and put as many frozen vegetables into it as needed. If you don’t have a container with a lid, cover the veggies with a damp paper towel.
  2. Pour a small amount of water into the container. This is to create steam. If you are microwaving dense vegetables, such as Brussel sprouts, use a little more water. 
  3. Microwave the vegetables with the lid on for 1-2 minutes. Then remove and check their texture If needed, microwave for an additional 60 seconds. 
  4. When the vegetables are cooked, remove them from the microwave, drain, season, and serve. 

On The Grill

If you have a grill in your backyard, you can use it to cook frozen vegetables too. But know that cooking frozen veggies on a grill is different from grilling fresh vegetables. Here is how you should do it: 

  1. Put the frozen vegetables into a tin foil basket. 
  2. Drizzle the veggies with some olive oil and mix. 
  3. Put the tin foil basket with the veggies on the grill. 
  4. Cook them on medium-high heat. 
  5. Stir the vegetables from time to time to prevent them from sticking. 
  6. Remove the vegetables from the grill when they are cooked and charred to your desired degree. 

Tips For Making Frozen Vegetables Taste Better 

If you still find frozen vegetables to be boring and bland, here’s a collection of tips for making them taste better.

Season Generously

One of the best ways to add a lot of flavor to cooked frozen vegetables is to use various seasonings. Depending on your preferences, you can use a blend of various seasonings and condiments.

Other great additions to cooked frozen vegetables are nuts, grated cheese, and bacon.  

Add Some Lemon Juice

Adding a splash of lemon juice over the cooked frozen vegetables will make them taste fresher and will maintain their bright color

If you don’t have lemon juice, you can use another acidic ingredient instead—vinegar. A small amount of vinegar added to frozen vegetables will enhance their flavor and even brighten up the cooked vegetables. 

Mix In Some Fresh Greens And Herbs 

What can make frozen vegetables feel fresher than adding some greens to them? If you have fresh spinach, add it to the vegetables toward the end of the cooking process.

You can also add your favorite chopped herbs, including chives, thyme, and rosemary. 

Serve Them As A Side Dish 

While a lot depends on the cooking method you have used, cooked frozen vegetables are often too boring to be served as a standalone dish. 

It is best to serve them with rice or pasta, add them into stews, soups, or curries, or, even better, use frozen vegetables to bake a pot pie or a casserole

Add Butter Or Oil 

If you are serving cooked frozen vegetables as a standalone dish, add a small amount of butter or oil to them when they are cooked. The fats will coat the veggies.

Together with the various seasonings, you have added, melted butter and oil will create a delicious sauce

Use Heavy Cream 

If you want a richer sauce for the vegetables, use heavy cream. Pour some heavy cream over the veggies and add some grated cheese for the creamiest and richest sauce.

Can You Boil Frozen Vegetables?

Boiling is one of the least recommended methods for cooking frozen vegetables. Even if you skip the thawing step wanting to preserve their texture, cooking them in boiling water will make them soggy.

Moreover, this cooking method will also affect the flavor of the frozen vegetables. 

But if for some reason you need to cook frozen vegetables by boiling them, do it in vegetable or chicken broth to add extra flavor. 

Sautéed Frozen Vegetables

Sautéed Frozen Vegetables

Yield: 2
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This is a super fast and simple way to knock out some frozen vegetables for your dinner tonight!


  • 2 cups frozen vegatbles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground pepper (to taste)


  1. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat. 
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the skillet.
  3. Pour the frozen vegetables into the skillet. 
  4. Cook the vegetables in the uncovered pan for around 6 minutes. Stir the vegetables from time to time and turn the heat off when they are heated through and cooked to your desired degree. 
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 63Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 15mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

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