Can you freeze yeast?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you freeze yeast?”, and how to freeze yeast?

Can you freeze yeast?

Yes, you can freeze yeast. Freezing helps to extend the shelf-life of the yeast up to 6 months, more on this topic in the article below.

All you need to know about yeast 

Yeast is used as a leavening agent in baking. It is also used to fluff up muffins, pretzels, rolls, bagels, biscuits, and even pancakes. Besides leavening the dough, yeast also adds a lot of flavor to the finished product. 

Baker’s yeast, nutritional yeast, brewer’s yeast, and distiller’s yeast are the most commonly used. The baker’s yeast is further divided into categories: fresh yeast, active dry yeast, instant yeast, or rapid-rise yeast.

Fresh yeast 

Fresh yeast, also referred to as compressed yeast or cake yeast, is the first choice of professional bakers and cooks. 

Fresh yeast comes in the form of a pale block that has a soft and crumbly texture. It has a thicker texture and a stronger taste than instant yeast. It may not be as readily available as instant yeast. 

Active dry yeast 

Active dry yeast is commonly used by home bakers. It has to be dissolved in water to be activated before mixing in with the dough. Active dry yeast takes double the time it takes for the instant yeast for dough proofing

Instant yeast or rapid-rise yeast

As the name suggests, instant yeast is quick to act and raises your dough in a matter of a few minutes, 30 minutes tops. It is also referred to as the bread machine yeast. Instant yeast has a higher potency and does not need to be dissolved in water for activation. You can mix it directly with the dry ingredients.

How to keep the yeast alive?

To keep the yeats alive, it needs to be constantly refrigerated right after opening its packet. All types of dry yeast can be refrigerated or frozen. 

Let the frozen yeast come to room temperature before you add it to your dough. Active or instant yeast can be refrigerated for up to 4 months. Freezing extends its shelf-life for up to 6 months.

How to freeze yeast?

If unopened, dry yeast can be safely stored in a cool and dark pantry or a kitchen cabinet. Keep it away from the sources of heat like direct sunlight or the stovetop. Do not let it anywhere near moisture.

Once opened, you need to ensure that the yeast is tightly sealed. Then you need to refrigerate or freeze the yeast. If the original packaging is not sufficient to ensure a tight seal, package the yeast using a freezer bag.

Sometimes, the yeast may live beyond the 4-6 months time window. It may also go bad sooner than this estimated time. Therefore, it is always a wise idea to test the yeast for proofing before you mix it with your dough.

How to proof dry yeast?

Inactive yeast is not a problem. Since it can be easily activated and checked for its potency by using the following proofing method.

  1. Stir in 1 tsp of sugar and 2 ¼ tsp of yeast into ¼ cup of warm water. 
  1. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  1. After 10-15 minutes, if the mixture gives off a yeasty smell and becomes foamy or bubbly, it is potent and ready for baking.

Can you freeze fresh yeast?

Fresh yeast is moist and needs to be wrapped in multiple protective layers for complete preservation. Start by wrapping the block of fresh yeast first with a plastic sheet and then wrap with foil. Wrap again with a plastic sheet. 

Put the wrapped fresh yeast inside a freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag before you seal it. Put a clear label on the bag.

The label will help in identifying the frozen yeast and keep track of its shelf-life. Identify the coldest spot in your freezer to store the yeast. Use the frozen fresh yeast within 6 months of storage.

How to use frozen dry yeast?

Let the yeast, instant or dry, sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes and let it come to room temperature. This step is important to let the yeast perform up to its full potential. 

How to defrost fresh yeast?

Depending upon the volume of the block of fresh yeast, it may take anywhere from 12-24 hours to defrost. Leave the block in the fridge overnight to let it thaw slowly. 

Ideally, you should allow the thawed fresh yeast to reach room temperature before you use it for baking. However, you can skip this step if you are pressed for time. 


In this article, we answered the question “Can you freeze yeast?”, and how to freeze yeast?


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.