10 Foolproof Hacks To Make Frozen Vegetables Taste Fresh

AI-generated image of a man cooking vegetables in a pan

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AI-generated image of a man cooking vegetables in a pan
Cheapism / DALL-E 3

Veggie Fresh

Eating a balanced diet that's rich in fruits and vegetables is crucial for maintaining good health and vitality. These foods are packed with essential nutrients and antioxidants that support bodily functions and boost the immune system. However, while frozen vegetables offer a convenient (and, oftentimes, more affordable) alternative to fresh produce, they can fall short in terms of flavor and freshness. 

But don't despair — you can still enhance frozen veggies to make them taste just as good as their fresh counterparts. Here are 10 helpful tips to give frozen veggies a new lease on life.  

Full background of roasted autumn vegetables

1. Roast 'Em

Roasting frozen vegetables in the oven can transform their taste and texture. For this method, start by spreading the vegetables out in a single layer on a baking sheet, but be sure not to overcrowd them; this can lead to steaming instead of roasting. Set to a high temperature, around 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit, to help caramelize the sugars in the vegetables. The result is a richer, more concentrated flavor and a pleasingly crisp exterior.

Various seasonings and spices on black stone plate

2. Don't Skimp on the Seasoning

Seasoning frozen vegetables can also greatly enhance their flavor. Before cooking, toss them with a generous amount of spices and herbs, such as salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, or Italian seasoning. This will not only boost their inherent flavors but will also help mask any bland, stale, or freezer-like tastes.

Bone broth made from chicken

3. Use Broth Instead of Water

Cooking frozen vegetables in broth instead of water can infuse them with an extra layer of flavor. Whether you’re boiling, steaming, or sauteing, using chicken, beef, or vegetable broth can help give your veggies an extra oomph that water can't provide. This method is particularly effective for vegetables that are milder in flavor, such as spinach, peas, or green beans.

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lemon juice

4. Add a Touch of Acidity

Acidity can help balance the natural sweetness of vegetables to bring out more flavor. After cooking, finish the vegetables with a light sprinkle of vinegar, such as balsamic or red wine vinegar, or a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice. This can help to brighten your veggies and make them taste more like fresh produce.

Related: 30 Spring Vegetables You Should Be Eating Now

Closeup of Garlic bulbs on wooden table with garlics blur background.A set of fresh garlic on the chest wooden background.
IURII BUKHTA/istockphoto

5. Saute With Garlic

Garlic has a strong, aromatic flavor that can greatly enhance frozen veggies (or really any food, in our opinion). Start by heating some olive oil in a pan, then add minced garlic and saute until fragrant before tossing in the vegetables. While you can also use garlic powder, fresh garlic is preferred because it provides a more potent and nuanced flavor profile. 

Related: 30 Vegetable Recipes for People Who Hate Vegetables

caramelized onions
caramelized onions by William Jones (CC BY-NC-SA)

6. Add Onions

Onions can add a new dimension to most recipes, and frozen veggies are no exception. Begin by sauteing onions in a bit of oil until they’re soft and translucent, then add the frozen vegetables to the mix. The sweetness and texture of the onions can enhance the overall dish by helping the veggies taste more complex and balanced. 

Holding Green Fresh Mint

7. Incorporate Fresh Ingredients

Combining frozen with fresh ingredients can improve both taste and texture. For example, you can mix frozen peas with fresh chopped mint, or add fresh cherry tomatoes to frozen green beans. The combination of fresh elements can help mask the typical freezer taste of frozen veggies and add a pop of freshness and texture.

Veggie skewers

8. Grill 'Em

Grilling imparts a smoky flavor to vegetables that can make them taste like they’ve been freshly harvested. If feasible, consider threading thawed frozen vegetables onto skewers (or you can also use a grill basket) and cook them over medium-high heat. Make sure to turn them occasionally so they get that nice char on all sides. 

Various oils
Christel Rosenfeld/istockphoto

9. Add Healthy Fats

Adding fats helps to improve both the texture of frozen veggies as well as their flavor absorption. Toss the veggies with a little bit of olive or avocado oil (or another healthy fat) before cooking. This will help them roast better in the oven or saute more evenly in the pan, while helping them absorb fat-soluble vitamins more efficiently. 

Chef chopping parsley
Image Source/istockphoto

10. Brighten Them With Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs can make a dramatic difference in the taste of cooked vegetables. After cooking your veggies, toss them with a generous helping of chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, dill, cilantro, or basil. The herbs will add a burst of fresh flavor and color to help elevate the dish and make it taste garden-fresh.