Milk – our constant kitchen friend. I recently faced a familiar dilemma: a carton of milk nearing expiry.
Is there a way for a devoted milk drinker to save money and waste less?
- Can you freeze milk for later use?
- Equipment you need
- How to prep your milk for freezing
- How to freeze milk
- How long can you freeze milk?
- How to defrost frozen milk?
- Can you refreeze milk?
- Does milk freeze well?
- Does freezing milk destroy nutrients?
- Does freezing milk change the taste?
- How to store milk without fridge?
- Related questions
Can you freeze milk for later use?
Yes, this versatile and nutritious liquid can be frozen.
In this post, I’ll explore the dos, don’ts, and best milk freezing practices for keeping it creamy and healthy when thawed.
Join me as we discover how to freeze milk to save money, plan ahead, or take advantage of a discount.
This guide works for different milk types: dairy, lactose-free and plant-based milk. So, my fellow vegans or lactose-intolerant pals can join in on the fun, too!
Equipment you need
Here are the milk-freezing supplies:
- Fresh milk: When freezing, fresh milk within its “use by” or “sell by” date is ideal.
- Airtight containers: Plastic containers or freezer-safe plastic bags are best used to avoid freezer burn and preserve milk quality. These containers should have a secure, airtight seal.
- Labels: Adhesive tape or labels to mark your containers with freezing dates. It keeps track of how long milk has been frozen.
- Permanent marker: To write the freezing date on labels or containers.
- Freezer: A functional freezer with a 0°F (-18°C) temperature to freeze and store milk.
- Refrigerator: For thawing frozen milk before usage.
- Shaking/stirring utensil: After thawing, use a spoon or whisk to mix or shake the milk to recombine lipids and solids.
- Space: Extra freezer space to fit milk containers without overflowing. This promotes airflow and even freezing.
How to prep your milk for freezing
Using airtight plastic containers or freezer-safe plastic bags:
- Select containers. Use clean, sealed plastic or freezer-safe plastic bags. These containers should have room at the top for milk expansion during freezing.
- Label containers. Label or tape each container with the freezing date. This tracks how long milk has been frozen.
- Prepare the milk. If your milk is in a cardboard carton, consider transferring it to freezer-safe containers.
- Pour the milk. Pour it into containers without spilling or overfilling. Leave an inch at the top to avoid overflow when the milk freezes and swells.
- Double-bagging (optional). If your milk is in a milk bag, consider double-bagging. Place it inside a second freezer-safe bag.
- Seal airtight. To avoid freezer burn, securely seal the containers.
Ice cube method of freezing:
- Sanitize your ice cube trays. When using new milk-freezing trays, wash them with warm, soapy water and rinse well.
- Prepare the milk. If your milk is in a cardboard carton, move it to a pouring container with a nozzle for simpler ice cube tray pouring.
- Pour the milk carefully into each ice cube tray section. Leave a little room at the top of each compartment for freezing expansion.
- Freeze the ice cube tray. Depending on freezer temperature and cube size, it may take several hours to freeze.
- After your milk ice cubes are frozen solid, release them by twisting or tapping the tray. I sometimes run the tray bottom under warm water for a few seconds to release any stuck cubes.
- Transfer frozen cubes to freezer-safe plastic bags. This procedure prevents the cubes from sticking together.
- Label the bag with the freezing date.
How to freeze milk
If you’re done with the steps above, let’s move on to the freezing process:
- Find freezer space: If possible, pick the freezer’s coldest spot.
- Arrange containers: Place sealed containers upright in the freezer with extra space around them for air circulation. Keep the freezer roomy to ensure optimal freezing.
- Freezing time: For complete freezing, let the milk freeze for at least 6 hours. This may take longer for bigger containers.
- Temperature: Store it at average home freezer temperature, which is 0°F (-18°C).
All done! No more food waste!
By following these freezer tips, you can successfully store a backup milk supply for future use.
How long does it take for milk to freeze?
Milk takes several hours to freeze in a basic home freezer at 0°F (-18°C).
A small cup of milk usually freezes in 2-3 hours, while bigger quantities might take 4-6 hours or more.
How long can you freeze milk?
The answer to the question, “Can you freeze milk to make it last longer?” is clear. But how long, exactly?
General freezing guidelines for different types of dairy milk:
- Whole milk and 2% milk: 3-6 months.
- Skim milk and low-fat milk: 6-8 months.
While frozen milk is safe to drink beyond these periods, the texture and flavor may change, making it less appealing.
To monitor any frozen food’s age, mark containers with the freezing date.
When thawing milk, any strange odor, color, or texture indicates a severe drop in quality. Discard the milk in such circumstances!
What is the best container to freeze milk in?
The best container for freezing milk is airtight and freezer-safe.
Here are some options:
- Plastic containers: BPA-free plastic containers specifically designed for freezing.
- Freezer-safe plastic bags: Special freezer bags designed to withstand low temperatures.
- Glass containers: Tempered glass containers designed for freezing.
- Ice cube trays: Plastic or silicone containers used to create individual ice cubes.
- Silicone containers: Freezer-safe and flexible containers.
- Freezer-safe mason jars: Wide-mouth freezer-safe mason jars.
How long can you freeze milk in a carton?
Cartons of milk can be frozen for 1-3 months. For greater flavor and quality, use them closer to the shorter end of that range.
Cardboard cartons aren’t as airtight as other packaging options. So they might impact taste and texture over time.
Can you freeze milk in plastic bottles?
Yes, you can freeze milk in plastic bottles if they’re freezer-safe. Make sure the bottles have enough space at the top for milk expansion during freezing.
Can you freeze milk in glass bottles?
Yes, you can freeze milk in glass bottles labeled as freezer-safe.
Be cautious with regular milk bottles! They might crack due to expansion during freezing.
Can you freeze milk in a carton?
You can freeze milk in paper cartons, but it’s best to move it to an airtight container or plastic bag.
Carton packing isn’t airtight and won’t prevent freezer burn.
Can you freeze milk bags?
Yes, milk bags, particularly freezer-safe ones, can be frozen.
Seal the bags and store them in a container or freezer-safe bag for double protection.
Can you freeze a gallon of milk?
Yes, you can freeze a gallon of milk. But it’s recommended to transfer the milk from the gallon container to freezer-safe containers or plastic bags.
This prevents container bursts and leaks.
What’s the best milk freezing temperature?
The ideal temperature for freezing milk is around 0°F (-18°C) or lower.
How long does frozen milk last after thawed?
Thawed milk has a lower shelf life than fresh milk. Use thawed milk within 3-5 days for optimal quality and safety.
How to defrost frozen milk?
Defrosting frozen milk correctly preserves its quality and safety. Way to do it:
- Remove the milk container from the freezer the night before you need it and calculate how much you need. Planning ahead is important since milk thaws slowly.
- Refrigerate frozen milk. Thawing milk in the fridge prevents microbial development and protects its quality.
- Wait about 24-36 hours for the milk to thaw depending on the container size and refrigerator temperature. An average-sized milk carton takes 24 hours to defrost in the fridge.
- Make sure the milk is thoroughly thawed throughout the container. You might notice some separation of fats and liquids, which is normal.
- Shake or stir. Recombine fats and solids in thawed milk before using it. This improves milk texture and taste.
For optimal quality and safety, consume thawed milk within 3-5 days. Avoid refreezing it!
The following strategy can speed up thawing if you’re in a hurry:
- Fill a container or sink with cold water and put the sealed container of milk in it. Sealing helps to keep water out.
- Change the water every 30 minutes to keep it cool.
Remember that frozen milk may taste and feel different from fresh milk, particularly if it contains more fat.
Thawed milk works best in cooking and baking when it won’t affect the final result.
Can you refreeze milk?
Refreezing milk is not advised. Milk’s structure can alter when frozen and thawed, allowing bacteria to proliferate and degrade it.
Refreezing milk worsens these issues.
I used to always have extra milk after thawing, so I decided to divide it out before freezing. This way I can defrost only the amount I need.
Does milk freeze well?
Yes, milk freezes relatively well.
The freezing of milk may cause its fats and liquids to separate, changing the consistency. While this can be an issue in some cases, it can be easily fixed by giving your thawed milk a good stir.
I usually notice less texture change if I use my thawed milk in baking, milk-based sauce or in some drinks like smoothies and shakes.
For example, I tried using thawed milk to make a bechamel sauce and it came out great!
Does freezing milk destroy nutrients?
While freezing milk can modify its nutritional value, the effect is minor. Here are some important nutritional notes about milk:
- Protein: Milk’s protein concentration is stable after freezing and thawing.
- Calcium: Bone-healthy calcium is maintained in frozen and thawed milk.
- Vitamin D: Freezing and thawing do not significantly effect vitamin D.
- Fat-soluble vitamins: For fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, freezing might cause minor losses, although the effect is usually insignificant.
- B vitamins: Water-soluble vitamins like B2 (riboflavin) and B12 might experience some minimal losses.
- Vitamin C: This water-soluble antioxidant might undergo slight degradation, but milk is not a significant source of vitamin C.
- Minerals: Thawed milk generally retains magnesium, phosphate, and potassium.
- Fat content: Milk fats can separate during freezing and thawing. This doesn’t influence nutritional content but might change the texture.
- Probiotics: Live bacteria cultures in milk can be affected by freezing. Contact the manufacturer for guidance.
Does freezing milk change the taste?
Yes, because of lipids and proteins, the freezing of milk can modify its flavor. These changes are more visible with higher fat content and longer freezing durations.
That’s why thawed milk works best in cooking, baking, and blended drinks, where the changes are less noticeable.
How to store milk without fridge?
Milk spoils fast without a refrigerator, making it difficult to store. If you don’t have a fridge, here’s what to do to preserve it temporarily:
- Cool and dark spot: It can be a cellar, basement, or a cool part of your house. Keeping milk out of direct sunshine and heat helps reduce deterioration.
- Insulation: Wrap the milk container with a towel or use an insulated container. This can provide some level of temperature control.
- Ice packs or coolers: If you have ice packs or a cooler, you can produce a cooling environment.
- Alternative storage methods: Some cultures boil and ferment milk to preserve it without refrigeration. However, these solutions may not be as safe as refrigeration.
If you don’t have a fridge, buy milk you can drink in a day or two for your safety!
Keeping milk without refrigeration increases the danger of bacterial development and deterioration.
Can you freeze raw milk?
Yes, you can freeze raw milk.
Maintaining its quality requires transferring it to freezer-safe containers, providing room for expansion, and then slowly thawing it in the fridge.
Can milk be freeze friendly?
Yes, milk can be freeze-friendly with the right freezing techniques.
Can milk be frozen for coffee?
Yes, milk can be frozen for coffee in a freezer-safe container or ice cube trays.
Thaw the milk cubes in the fridge or gently heat them on the stove before using them in coffee.
I like making iced coffee with frozen milk cubes without thawing them. It’s a very quick way to make a cold drink.
Can you freeze creamer?
Yes, you can freeze both dairy and non-dairy liquid creamers.
Be aware that certain creamers may change texture after freezing and thawing. A good shake or stir can help restore the original texture.
Can you freeze whole milk?
Absolutely, whole milk can be frozen.
Transfer it to freezer-safe containers or bags with enough room for expansion to get the best results. Shake well after thawing to restore consistency.
Can you freeze skim milk?
Yes, skim milk can be frozen like other kinds of milk. It may even have a better consistency after being frozen than whole milk.
Can you freeze lactose free milk?
Yes, you can freeze lactose free milk similar to traditional milk.
What is a milk freezer?
A milk freezer is a freezer compartment or device that stores and preserves milk and other beverages at temperatures below 32°F (0°C)
Can you freeze coconut milk?
Yes, freezing coconut milk is possible for around 2-3 months.
Like other types of milk, frozen coconut milk may exhibit some separation in texture but a good shake or toss after freezing can help it blend.
If you’re looking for more tips on freezing milk, check out this article: Can coconut milk be frozen?
You can also check out my article on coconut substitute ideas to find the best alternatives to milk, flakes, oil and more!
Can you freeze oat milk?
Yes, you can freeze oat milk for 1-3 months.
Similar to other milk substitutes, it may separate or change texture but blending or stirring can help restore it. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to freeze oat milk.
Can you freeze almond milk?
Yes, almond milk can be frozen for about three months.
To discover more info on freezing this type of milk, check out my separate post: Can almond milk be frozen?
Can you freeze goat milk?
Yes, freezing goat milk is possible. As with cow’s milk, allow room for expansion in freezer containers or bags and defrost it in the fridge before use.
Can you freeze soy milk?
Yes, soy milk can be frozen similar to other non-dairy milk options for around 2-3 months.
Can you freeze condensed milk?
Yes, you can freeze condensed milk. Transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Leave enough room in the container for freezing expansion.
Can you freeze chocolate milk?
Yes, chocolate milk freezes well for about 1-2 months in a freezer-safe container or plastic bag.
Shake the chocolate milk well after thawing to remedy the separation in texture.
Can you freeze UHT milk (Ultra High Temperature pasteurized milk)?
Sure, you can freeze UHT milk easily. It freezes well due to its specific processing to lengthen its shelf life.
Don’t forget to leave room for expansion when transferring UHT milk to a freezer bag or container.
Freezing milk for later use is an effective way to make it last longer. So next time you ask yourself, “Can I freeze milk?”, you know the answer!
How to freeze milk
- Milk of choice
Using Airtight Containers:
- Select Containers: Choose airtight plastic containers or freezer-safe plastic bags.
- Label: Label containers with freezing date for tracking.
- Transfer (optional): If milk is in a carton, move to freezer-safe containers.
- Pour: Pour milk, leaving an inch at the top for expansion.
- Seal: Securely seal containers to prevent freezer burn.
Ice Cube Method:
- Sanitize Trays: Wash ice cube trays with warm, soapy water and rinse.
- Prepare: Pour milk into pouring container.
- Fill Trays: Carefully fill trays, leaving space at the top.
- Freeze: Freeze trays for several hours until solid.
- Release Cubes: Twist or tap tray to release cubes.
- Transfer: Put cubes in freezer-safe bags.
- Label: Label bags with freezing date.
- Choose Space: Find coldest spot in the freezer.
- Arrange Containers: Place sealed containers upright with space for circulation.
- Freezing Time: Freeze for at least 6 hours, longer for larger containers.
- Temperature: Store at home freezer temperature, 0°F (-18°C).
- Done! You've successfully stored milk for later use.