You bought too much milk and you won’t use it up before the date? Going out of town and want to make a clean sweep of the fridge? Can you freeze milk?
Yep, you can. Follow this simple strategy for freezing and thawing it to use later.
Milk is a building block of many a great recipe. Hot cocoa. A creamy white sauce.
It’s fantastic with cookies and excellent in tea, a main ingredient in both an Iced Mocha and a Red Banana Smoothie.
But sometimes, using up that container of milk in the fridge can be a challenge. While there are loads of great recipes that use milk, sometimes you just need to buy yourself some time.
That’s when it can be handy to freeze it.
What? Can you freeze milk?
Yep, you sure can! Whether in its original container or in ice cube trays, you can easily freeze milk to use later.
Why Do This
It helps you avoid food waste. No good crying over milk you can’t use up in time. If you’ll use it eventually, why not freeze it to use later and buy yourself some time?
It will save you money. Wasting food is akin to wasting money. Save some coin by not wasting it, but you can also save some money by buying a larger container. Usually the gallon size is much cheaper per ounce than the smaller pint or half-gallon. Freeze part for later so that you can benefit from bulk pricing.
It can be more convenient. If you don’t go shopping very often, it can be handy to have a pint or half-gallon of milk in the freezer. While it may take a day or two to thaw, it will save you a trip to the store. Frozen cubes are even more convenient as you can easily add them to smoothies or iced coffee and tea drinks.
milk – You can freeze any fat content milk you like.
Keep in mind that the water and the fat (or cream) will separate when frozen. When you thaw it, you’ll need to allow it to thaw completely and then shake it well to recombine the fat and water molecules.
To freeze in the container
Freezing milk in its original, plastic or paper container, when done properly, can prove to be very convenient for using it after thawing.
Liquids expand when frozen, so you’ll need to remove some of the milk and leave adequate headspace (room for expansion) in the container of milk. Pour off at least an inch of milk from the container prior to placing it in the freezer. Replace the cap a little loosely. You don’t want it to bust its seams.
Store the container in the freezer.
To use: transfer the container to a rimmed tray and place in the refrigerator. Allow the frozen milk to thaw on its own in the fridge. The tray is to catch any drips or leaks. Shake well before using.
To freeze in cubes
Freezing milk into cubes is a great way to freeze a small amount of milk. The resulting milk cubes can be used in smoothies as well as iced drinks that you might add milk to anyway, such as iced coffee.
Frozen milk cubes are also good for adding to a child’s hot cocoa, hot oatmeal, or hot soup to help cool things done while adding a bit of flavor.
Pour the milk into ice cube trays and place in the freezer. Once firm, remove the cubes from the trays and store in an airtight container in the freezer.
To use: add milk cubes to blender for making smoothies, or to glasses of iced coffee, iced tea, or other cold drinks that benefit from a bit of milk. Milk cubes also work well to cool too hot oatmeal for kids.
Frozen food is good indefinitely, provided that it remains frozen below 0 degrees. Unfortunately, home freezers aren’t always that consistent with the opening and shutting of daily use. The USDA recommends that milk be used within 3 months of freezing.
No, you cannot freeze milk without opening it. Liquid expands when frozen, so a full opened container will also expand, likely resulting in splitting the seams of the container and leaking milk all over the place. Best to pour out at least an inch depth of milk and replace the cap prior to freezing.
Glass bottles get very finicky in freezing temperatures. It’s not recommended for freezing milk. Instead transfer the milk to a plastic, airtight container or ice cube trays instead.
More Freezer Tips
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How to Freeze Milk
- 1 container milk
To freeze milk in its original container
- Pour off enough milk so that there's at least one-inch headspace in the container. Loosely replace the cap and place it in the freezer.
- To use: transfer the container to a rimmed tray and place in the refrigerator. Allow the frozen milk to thaw on its own in the fridge. The tray is to catch any drips or leaks. Shake well before using.
To freeze milk in cubes
- Pour the milk into ice cube trays and place in the freezer. Once firm, remove the cubes from the trays and store in an airtight container in the freezer.
- To use: add milk cubes to blender for making smoothies, or to glasses of iced coffee, iced tea, or other cold drinks that benefit from a bit of milk. Milk cubes also work well to cool too hot oatmeal for kids.
How long does thawed milk last in the fridge?
Great question. That will really depend on when you freeze it. I’d recommend marking the date you freeze it as well as its “best by” date. That will give you an idea of how long you have.