How to freeze bread without plastic? (+5 tips)

In this brief guide, we will be answering the question, “how to freeze bread without plastic?” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like the tips to store bread in the freezer. 

How to freeze bread without plastic? 

To freeze bread without plastic, you can use freezable glass containers or aluminum foil (1). It is necessary to use containers or materials that provide similar protection to food during frozen storage as plastic does. 

The possible packaging materials able to substitute plastic as an efficient material during frozen storage are glass containers, freezer coated  paper cartons and aluminum (1,2,4). 

This is because plastic has a good barrier against moisture and gas, which protects bread from losing moisture, absorbing aromas from the freezer, in addition to other properties that will be discussed in this article (1,2).

Why is plastic the best option to freeze bread? 

Plastic is the best packaging material to store bread because of the unique properties of plastic (1):

  • Plastic has a good water barrier, reducing the loss of moisture of bread during frozen storage
  • Plastic has a good gas barrier, reducing the negative effects of oxygen on bread, such as lipid oxidation
  • The good gas barrier of plastic prevents the absorption of odors from the environment
  • Plastic is flexible and enables the reduction of air inside the packaging, which may improve the shelf life
  • Plastic can prevent external biological contamination

What can you use in place of plastic to freeze bread?

To use in place of plastic to freeze bread, you can use a freezable glass container, freezer coated paper cartons, or aluminum foil (2,4).

Glass containers: Similar to plastic, glass has good oxygen and moisture barriers. Glass is rigid, tolerates heating and freezing (3). However, due to its rigidity, it is not possible to reduce the air inside of the glass container prior to freezing bread. 

As a consequence, the air inside the glass container can cause freeze burn, lipid oxidation, color degradation and loss of moisture (1). In addition, glass is breakable (3).

Coated paperboard: paper cartons in general that have poor moisture and gas barrier properties, but through the application of coatings,the barrier properties are improved. 

Coatings for food paper packaging help keep moisture inside of the packaging and oxygen out of the packaging. Although they are not totally waterproof as plastic and glass, coated paperboards have improved water resistance. In addition, they have good structural resistance and provide protection against physical damage (1,4).

In general, coatings that provide water and gas barriers to paper food packaging materials are petroleum-based, however, many bio-based polymers have been explored and successfully used to coat paper and other environmentally-friendly materials, such as polysaccharides, proteins and natural waxes (4).

Aluminum foil: aluminum foil is a good barrier to moisture, oxygen, and aroma and therefore can substitute plastic to freeze bread. Similar to plastic wraps, aluminum foil is flexible and protects the bread from freezing burn in a better way than glass or rigid plastic containers, leaving no air space in the surroundings of the bread. In addition, it provides a barrier against light (1,2,4).

What are the advantages and drawbacks of using plastic to freeze bread?

The advantages of using plastic bags or plastic wrappers are the unique barrier properties of plastics, which are able to preserve the food from moisture loss, aroma absorption and the negative effects of oxygen.

Plastics as packaging materials to freeze food can better preserve food. In addition, most of the plastics can be reused or recycled (1,4).

The disadvantage of using plastic as packaging materials is related to the environment, as most of the commercial plastics are not bio-based. In addition, even though recycling is possible, it needs too much energy and water. This results in the accumulation of plastic residues in the seas and land, causing a detrimental impact on the environment.

Other FAQs about Bread which you may be interested in.

How long does bread last in the fridge after expiration date?

How to freeze bread without plastic?

To freeze bread without plastic, follow the instructions (5):

  1. Proper cooling

When going for freezing bread, you need to make sure that the bread is cool. By freezing warm bread, there is a risk of creating ice on the surface,which may result in greater loss of quality after thawing (1,5).

  1. Choose a packaging

Use a glass container, coated paper packaging or aluminum foil to pack the bread reducing the air inside of the packaging, if possible.

  1. Make small portions

Portion sizes are the key element to freezing. If you have purchased too much fresh french bread and don’t want to waste it, you can just make small portions of it before you freeze it. This will not only allow the bread to thaw quicker, but will also save the other portions from getting exposed. 

Taking out the bread from the freezer and cutting it again and again will only take up more of your time and affect the unused portion of the bread that you’re putting back in the freezer.

  1. Store in the freezer

The shelf life of the bread varies from 3 to 6 months, depending on the packaging material used to pack the bread, the ingredients of the bread (quality, freshness, moisture and additives, including preservatives), storage temperature (lower storage temperatures can extend the shelf life) and handling (hygiene practices during preparation) (1,5).


In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “how to freeze bread without plastic?” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like the tips to store bread in the freezer. 


  1. Evans, Judith A., ed. Frozen food science and technology. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.  
  2. Orr, K,J. Freezing foods. University of Hawaii.  
  3. Lawrence, R. A. Storage of human milk and the influence of procedures on immunological components of human milk. Acta Paediat, 1999, 88, 14-18.
  4. Tyagi, Preeti, et al. Advances in barrier coatings and film technologies for achieving sustainable packaging of food products–a review. Trend Food Sci Technol, 2021, 115, 461-485.
  5. Nichols, J. How to make, bake and freeze quick breads. 2017. University of Michigan.