How To Prepare Chives for the Winter

Chives are an incredibly popular culinary herb, famous for their strong flavor and aroma. They also look great in your garden, though they may spread easily. Although chives taste best fresh, there are ways to prepare them for winter without losing their lovely aroma and taste.

Chives can be dried or frozen for the winter. However, freezing them is the best method because dried chives lose some of their color and taste. You can freeze chives by flash freezing them and then putting them in a bag. Alternatively, you could freeze them in ice cubes or thin, breakable layers.

In the rest of this article, I’ll explain how you can freeze your chives for the winter to retain their incredible taste and last longer. I’ll also explain a couple of alternative methods. If this interests you, keep reading!

1. Gather Your Needed Materials

Chives can be thrown into a bag and left in the freezer, but they might clump together and form a hard, rock-like lump. So you need to be smarter in how you freeze your chives.

The best way to freeze your chives is to flash freeze them. In this method, you’ll freeze your chopped chives for a few minutes before placing them in a bag or container for storage.

You will need the following materials for this method.

  • Cookie sheet or baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Paper towel
  • Ziploc freezer bag

2. Spread Parchment Paper on a Cookie Sheet

You’ll need a cookie sheet or baking tray for this method. You can use more than one tray if you have a lot of chives.

Once you have your tray, spread parchment paper over it. This is a special kind of grease and moisture-resistant paper, so your chives won’t soak through the paper when you freeze them.

3. Cut and Pat Dry Your Chives

Once you have your cookie sheet and parchment paper ready, you can start preparing your chives.

Cut the stems and leaves into small pieces. If you want to freeze the flowers, you can keep them whole. Once you’re done chopping your chives, take a paper towel and pat them dry to remove excess moisture on the surface.

4. Spread the Chives Onto the Parchment Paper

Take some of your chives and spread them over the parchment paper. Try to keep them separate from each other instead of in clumps. You don’t want your chives to clump together when they freeze.

If you have a lot of chives, use more than one tray to freeze all of them. This way, you can spread them over and maintain space between the pieces.

5. Pop the Trays Into the Freezer for 5–10 Minutes

Once your chives are laid out, put the trays into the freezer for 5-10 minutes. This won’t be enough to freeze them solid, but it will freeze them enough that you can put them in a bag without them clumping.

If you live in a warmer climate, you might need to leave the chives in the freezer for a little longer. Chives grow best in US Hardiness Zones 3-9.

6. Take the Chives Out and Put Them in a Bag To Store

After your chives have been frozen for a short time in the freezer, take out the tray and empty the frozen chives into a ziplock freezer bag. Now that the chives have been frozen, they won’t clump together and get stuck.

If you want to, you can use a herb freezer container like the Chef’n SpiceCube Herb Freezer Tray (available on Amazon) instead. The lids keep your herbs in place, and you can easily store a large amount in one set of containers. It’s much more convenient than a bag because you can simply pick out the amount you need each time.

Alternative Methods To Freeze Your Chives

While chives can be quite cold-hardy, herbs generally don’t do very well in cold weather. So you should be prepared to bring your chives inside or freeze them for the winter.

If flash freezing doesn’t appeal to you, there are two other methods you can use. Let’s take a look.

Freeze Your Chives in Ice Cubes

The second way to freeze your chives is in ice trays. This forms an ice cube with chives that you can use later for cooking.

You will need the following materials for this method.

  • Ice tray or herb freezing containers
  • Water or olive oil
  • Freezer-safe Ziploc bag or container

1. Chop Up and Dry Your Chives

Start by cutting your chives into small pieces. Chopping them up will allow you to fit them into the ice tray without having any pieces dangling over the edge of the tray.

Once you’ve chopped your chives, pat them dry to eliminate excess moisture. You don’t have to dry them off thoroughly since you will be freezing them in the water anyway. If you’re using olive oil, you’ll need to dry them more.

2. Loosely Fill Up Each Ice Mold With Chopped Chives

After chopping up and drying the chives, take small amounts and put them into the ice molds. Don’t pack them in too tight. Just loosely fill them in until they almost reach the top of the mold.

If you pack them too tightly, you’ll end up with a lot of chives in one ice cube. Most cooking doesn’t need that much, so keeping smaller amounts in each ice cube is better.

3. Fill the Molds With Water or Olive Oil

Once the chives have been put into the molds, you need to fill them with water or olive oil. If you’re planning to use the chives for soups or curry-like foods, you can freeze the chives in water. However, if you plan to use it for dry dishes, you should go for olive oil instead.

I personally like to use both. I freeze half of the chives in water and half in olive oil, so I can use either when the time comes. You can choose which one you prefer based on your own needs.

4. Freeze The Chives for 20-30 Minutes

Once your chives and water/oil are filled into the trays, pop them into the freezer. The water-chive combination will usually freeze faster, while olive oil takes longer to freeze.

Check on them after 20-30 minutes. If they’re still not completely frozen, leave them in the freezer and continue checking every 5-10 minutes.

5. Remove Ice Cubes and Store Them in a Freezer Bag or Container

Once the ice cubes have frozen solid, pop them out of the tray and put them into a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or container.

Remember that olive oil melts faster than water, so you’ll have to work quickly to put them in the freezer before they melt.

Freeze Chives in a Thin Layer in Ziploc Bags

The last way to freeze chives is to store them in a Ziploc bag as a thin, easy-to-break layer.

You will need the following materials for this method.

  • Freezer-safe Ziploc Bags

1. Chop Up and Dry the Chives

As usual, you begin by chopping up your chives into small pieces. Although they will still clump in this method, you don’t want large, unwieldy pieces in your cooking. So chop them as fine as you can.

Once you chop them up, pat them dry with a paper towel.

2. Put the Chives in a Ziploc Bag and Press Down on It

Once your chives have been chopped up, put them all into a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. If you have a lot of chives, use more than one bag because you want a thin layer of chives in each bag instead of a large lump.

After putting the chives into the bag, close it (while making sure there is no extra air) and press down on it to flatten the chives. You could even take a spatula or a roller and flatten the bag until there’s a thin and flat layer of chives in the bag.

3. Store in the Freezer and Break Into Small Pieces for Cooking

You can store the Ziploc bag as it is in the freezer. Since the chives are frozen in a thin layer, they’re easy to break into smaller sections for cooking.

Whenever you need any chives, just break off a bit from the edge and use that in your cooking.

Final Thoughts

Chives taste great as fresh herbs or frozen, so they’re perfect for winter cooking. Using any of the three freezing methods outlined is a great way to preserve their smell and taste through the winter and enjoy them throughout the colder months of the year.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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