How to Ship Frozen Food

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated January 16, 2024

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Need a frozen delicacy delivered but concerned it won’t stay ice-covered for the entire trip? Don’t despair. Suitable packaging and timing will help get your perishable frozen food to its destination before the thaw.

Proper Packaging

Appropriate packaging is the most important element of shipping frozen food. Every year, millions of pounds of frozen edibles are successfully transported across the U.S. because of two packaging components: dry ice and the right container.

Dry ice keeps items frozen for four or five days, if not longer. It is a solid form of carbon dioxide that is much colder than frozen water, reaching temperatures of -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Available for purchase at local icehouses or specialty food stores, dry ice is so cold it will burn your skin on contact, so be sure to handle it with thick gloves and appropriate protection. Also, let the recipient know the package contains dry ice so they too can be sure to handle it with care.

Another caution associated with dry ice is that it needs to be used in containers that are NOT airtight. As dry ice changes from solid form, the gas that escapes requires a tiny ventilation space so pressure does not build inside the container.

An appropriate container will ensure dry ice has the right ventilation while keeping your food frozen. The best setup is a thick cardboard food grade box lined with Styrofoam, which then holds layers of dry ice that surround the food. These boxes are available at most locations where you can purchase dry ice. It’s critical the container is large enough to allow about six inches of dry ice to surround the frozen food, so be sure to use an appropriately sized box.


The clock starts ticking once frozen food is packaged, so you’ll want to have the shipping arrangements confirmed beforehand. You don’t want perishables waiting for an extended period of time on a dock for the next leg leg on the journey. Giant shipping companies have their own restrictions on this type of cargo, so the transportation logistics must be set in stone and confirmed ahead of time.

Your best bet is to go with individual drivers that can be found online, like at Here you can list a shipment long before you actually get the frozen food ready to go, watch drivers bid on the shipping price and select the person that fits your schedule. Be sure to include the basic shipment info in the listing: pickup and destination, package size and weight, a description of the cargo, and the timeline in which you need it delivered. In addition to the basic packaging information, drivers will also need to know that dry ice is inside the container they’re hauling and that proper ventilation is required.

From fish to rib eyes, from Cajun andouille to Aunt Martha’s manicotti, your frozen food can reach its distant destination with preparation, and CitizenShipper can get it there.

Click here to list frozen food for delivery.