I buy a huge bag of chicken breasts at Costco (great deal...nice portions), but they come in this huge zip-top bag that was meant for food service. Each breast is individually frozen, just not individually packaged.

I want to break the big bag into a bunch of smaller bags, putting enough for a meal in each bag. I was wondering how to best freeze them to prevent freezer burn and help them to last. Would it be best to wrap each serving in foil and then throw in a freezer bag, and then suck the air out with a straw (instead of digging out the food saver)?


2 Answers 2


From your description, these are IQF (individually quick frozen) chicken parts. They are blast chilled at the processing plant, before being put together in the bag. They don't stick together because they are so cold that there is no liquid water make them stick.

You can repackage them into any freezer safe set of packages that you prefer, in portion sizes that you prefer.

I suggest using small zip-type freezer bags, with one meal's worth per bag. You definitely want the type that are rated as freezer bags, as they are less permeable to gas and water vapor, and will keep the the contents in the best condition. You can squeeze out the excess air, but I think using extra foil or trying to suck out air with a straw is more than you need to do.

(If you really want to ensure there is minimal air, place each bag in water after you fill it, letting the water squeeze out the air, so you can zip it up.)

If you use place all of the small bags in a much larger freezer bag or a sealable freezer safe plastic container, you should get very good protection for each piece, while still being able to use them in small portions.

The extra layer is just for additional protection, it is not strictly necessary.

  • +1 for the water tip - why didn't I think of that? Simpul fizzics! May 10, 2013 at 10:53

The typical instructions I've seen are to wrap in plastic wrap and then foil to prevent freezer burn. (I think the plastic wrap keeps the air out and the foil helps stabilize the temperature.)

But I've been very happy with the ziplock "vacuum pump" bags. They're zip-sealed, and then pumped out with a little plastic hand pump. Not to be confused with "vacuum sealed" bags, which require an expensive machine. Other people use a straw and normal freezer bags to get a similar effect (you want to get the air out of the bags).

The big benefit of this for me is that I can pull a bag from the freezer with a chicken breast, thighs, pre-formed kebabs, or a couple a hamburgers, and drop it in a bowl of cold water, and it'll be gently defrosted in a half hour or so.

(I was hoping to sous vide with those bags, but the valve seems to fail at meat cooking temperatures.)

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