Fresh vs frozen berries. Should you go without when your favourite berries aren’t in season? I say no! In this post, I’ll give you the ins and outs to frozen berries and how to use them in your recipes.

A whlte bowl overflowing with mixed frozen berries on a grey background

Why use frozen berries or fruit?

While it seems obvious that fresh would be better than frozen, there is also another way to look at it – it’s just different, and as long as you treat it right you can still have gorgeous fruity treats year round.

Frozen fruit may not have the same crispness or texture as it’s fresh counterpart but there are some great benefits to using it.

  • It’s available all year round
  • You can use it straight from the freezer
  • Convenience – it’s already washed and ready to go
  • Frozen fruit is generally snap-frozen at it’s peak and as soon as it’s picked (read: retaining flavour and nutrients, sometimes more than fresh)

In my opinion, it keeps our farmers in business too. Imagine if they could only sell raspberries at their peak.

My opinions aside, you can use frozen fruit in everything from ice creams to smoothies to baked goods but there are a few golden rules.

A close up shot of a single frozen strawberry with a donut in the background

Baking with frozen berries

Keep them frozen

Frozen fruits and especially frozen berries contain a lot of water. As the fruit thaws, it releases that moisture and the more brittle skin means the juice escapes. This can result in a few issues like

  • Bleeding through your batter
  • An increase moisture content in your batter
  • The fruit not holding it’s shape and getting all mushy

For this reason, keep frozen fruits frozen right up until you add them to your mixture.

Coat frozen berries in flour before baking

Because of all that extra water that frozen berries contain, they are heavy and they will often sink while baking.

As soon as you’re ready to add your berries to the mixture or batter, take them out of the freezer and coat them in some flour before adding them in.

This will decrease the chances of them sinking and it will also help to correct the moisture content in your mixture.

These Lemon Raspberry Mini Bundt Cakes are a simple lemon cake recipe, studded with fresh raspberries and topped with lemon icing, all baked in a mini bundt pan.
Get the Recipe » Lemon Raspberry Mini Bundt Cakes
These Lemon Raspberry Mini Bundt Cakes are a simple lemon cake recipe, studded with fresh raspberries and topped with lemon icing, all baked in a mini bundt pan.
 

Add more thickening agents

This is all about that moisture content again.

When making a fruit pie, the extra moisture in frozen fruit and berries will likely leave you with puddles of thin watery sauce at the base rather than a sauce that coats and suspends the fruit.

Add a little extra corn flour / cornstarch to help to thicken the sauce while it bakes. The amount will depend on the fruit you’re using.

Let the steam escape

Baking a pie with an open top will allow some of that moisture to escape as steam so an open top pie is a great way to use many frozen fruits.

Increase the bake time

Frozen fruits will lower the temperature of your batter so I find it’s best to add 3-5 minutes to your bake time if you are substituting frozen fruit in a recipe that calls for fresh.

Use a thick batter

The thicker the batter the more able it is to suspend the frozen fruit and not let it sink. Think things like muffins, cake doughnuts and bundt cakes.

2 baked doughnuts with pink strawberry glaze
Get the Recipe » Baked Strawberry Doughnuts
Doughnuts or donuts, these Baked Strawberry Donuts are the perfect quick treat. The batter is made simply in two bowls, mixed by hand and bakes in 12 minutes. And a strawberry glaze is the icing on the … doughnut!

Making frozen treats with frozen fruit

The other great way to use frozen fruit is to make frozen treats like sorbet, ice cream and smoothies with them.

Be aware that – due to our nemesis, the extra water content – frozen fruit and berries can make ice cream turn out icy (as opposed to creamy). It’s best to use them whole or once pureed, reduced the puree down a little in a saucepan first.

This Frozen Cherry Chocolate Parfait recipe is a layered no churn ice cream parfait. Layers of cherry ice cream and chocolate ice cream, combine into a smooth and creamy, easy dessert.
Get the Recipe » Frozen Cherry Chocolate Parfait
This Frozen Cherry Chocolate Parfait recipe is a layered no churn ice cream parfait. Layers of cherry ice cream and chocolate ice cream, combine into a smooth and creamy, easy dessert.
Make this dessert at least a day ahead. It will store well in the freezer for up to 2 months.
 

With sorbet, granita and smoothies though, this is much less of a problem. Frozen fruit will even keep your smoothies cold in summer without having to water it down with ice.

You can even freeze frozen fruit, into ice blocks to use in a glass of water in summer.

Closeup of a Strawberry Cheesecake Ice cream bar surrounded by ice and berries
Get the Recipe » Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Bars
Creamy, strawberry cheesecake ice cream on a stick is just what you need right now. These Homemade Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Bars are rich, melt-in-the-mouth, intensely strawberry flavoured cheesecake crammed into one little no churn ice cream treat.

More recipes you can make with frozen fruit

Flavoured milks are delicious when made with real frozen fruit, just like this Homemade Strawberry Milk.

3 bottles of strawberry milk on a marble platter

Get the Recipe » Homemade Strawberry Milk
Sweet, creamy and filled withreal strawberries, this homemade strawberry milk recipe is a nostalgictreat. With just 4 ingredients, it’s very easy to make and it’ll beloved by kids and adults, alike.
Can be made sugar-free / keto friendly

Toppings, coulis, compote and fruit sauces are all able to made year round with thanks to frozen fruit.

A spoon digging into strawberry topping in a round glass jar on a white napkin with strawberries around it
Get the Recipe » Homemade Strawberry Topping
Homemade Strawberry Topping (aka strawberry compote), is sweet, vibrant and easy to make. Just 4 ingredients and 15 minutes and you have a chunky strawberry sauce for topping pancakes, waffles, ice cream, cheesecake – you name it.

Decorating with frozen berries and fruits

Not recommended. While there may be some that hold their shape better than others, don’t decorate a cake with frozen fruit unless you’re going for that soggy, juice running down the side effect (aka don’t do it).

Decoration is best done with fresh fruits that are perky and full of colour.

How to freeze fruit

If you’re like me, you’re always craving things out of season that you love in season. You can make the most of the in-season bounty by freezing fruits at home yourself.

Berries

Wash and dry the fruit first then spread in a single layer on a baking tray. Place the tray in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight container.

Fruits that oxidise

Toss the fruit slices in a little lemon juice first then pat dry before freezing in a single layer on a baking tray.Once frozen, transfer to an airtight container or plastic zip lock bag

Citrus

Juiced – freeze the juice in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight container or plastic zip lock bag for use at will. This is a great way to portion out lemon juice too.

Sliced – spread the slices in a single layer on a baking tray. Place the tray in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight container.

Close up shot of a white bowl of frozen berries

So there you have it. I hope that answers your questions surrounding using frozen fruits, mostly in baking. Now go grab some frozen fruit and get baking.