Can You Buy Frozen Food With Food Stamps [Get The Facts]

For many families, food stamp benefits (commonly known as SNAP) are a crucial part of the monthly budget. Of course, any governmental benefit comes with strings attached, and food stamps are no exception. 

By “strings attached”, we mean rules. You can’t buy just anything with SNAP benefits. While some unapproved items are fairly obvious, like alcohol and tobacco products, there are plenty of gray areas. 

For example, can you buy fast food? Is pet food and baby food covered by your food stamps benefits? What about frozen food? 

Let’s find out. 

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Table of Contents:

Can You Buy Frozen Food with Food Stamps? 

Yes, you can buy frozen food with food stamps. Since SNAP benefits are designed to provide nutritional assistance to households, if an item is classed as “food”, it’s covered by your food stamps benefits. 

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You can buy frozen items which include:

  • Frozen vegetables or fruit
  • Frozen meat, poultry, or seafood
  • Ice cream and frozen yogurt
  • Frozen ready meals, desserts, and entrees
  • Ice (crushed ice, whole blocks, or cubes)

Essentially, you can buy virtually every kind of frozen, canned, or fresh food

What Can You Buy with EBT? 

EBT, or Electronic Benefits Transfer, is designed to pay for a household’s food. Here’s what you can buy with EBT: 

  • Fruit and vegetables 
  • Meat, poultry, and seafood
  • Dairy and non-dairy products
  • Bread, cereals, and grains 
  • Nuts, beans, and legumes
  • Baking ingredients 
  • Non-alcoholic beverages 
  • Baby food and formula 
  • Non-alcoholic beverages (soda, instant coffee, and coffee beans, but not hot, preprepared coffee)
  • Snack foods (ice cream, chips, etc)

You can’t overspend your EBT benefits, and any leftover benefits will roll on to the next month. It’s up to you how you choose to spend your benefits. 

What Can’t You Buy with EBT?

EBT only covers food groceries, so no non-food groceries at all are covered by your EBT. 

Here’s what you can’t buy with EBT: 

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tobacco products
  • Gambling/lottery tickets
  • Electronics, cosmetics, clothes, or other personal items 
  • Pet food/live animals 
  • Medicines, supplements, and vitamins 
  • Household supplies (paper goods, cleaning supplies, etc)
  • Hygiene and grooming products (soap, shampoo, sanitary pads, tampons, etc) 

While some unapproved items are obvious, such as alcohol and tobacco, household supplies and hygiene products are clearly necessary goods. Unfortunately, you will need to use your own money to purchase these. 

The Bottom Line

Freezing food or buying frozen goods is a great way to prepare food for a family. Heating up a pre-prepared frozen meal saves time and energy, and freezing food can help with meal prep and forward planning. 

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Buying frozen food is a good way to make sure your groceries last longer. Frozen fruit and vegetables might also be much cheaper than fresh, meaning that you can buy more nutritious food

It’s up to you how you spend your EBT money, and since “luxury” items (like snack food and sodas) are covered by food stamps, you can also afford to buy yourself a little treat every now and then. 

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