Milk is highly versatile. It can be used as a beverage or an ingredient in cooking, baking, and smoothies.
In addition, many types of milk suit nearly all dietary needs, such as cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and plant-based milk alternatives like soy and almond milk.
However, you may wonder whether milk can be frozen.
This article reviews how to safely freeze and thaw different types of milk.
Guidelines for freezing milk
Most types of milk can be frozen.
No matter the type, it should be transferred to an air-tight, freezer-safe bag or container before freezing, if needed. Doing so decreases the risk of the package rupturing in the freezer and saves space.
Make sure there is some empty space in the container, as the milk may expand as it freezes.
This is how freezing affects different types of milk:
- Almond milk. Almond milk will separate and become grainy during freezing.
- Human breast milk. The fat separates. The milk may also undergo harmless changes in taste and smell.
- Coconut milk. Canned coconut milk should not be frozen in the can. Also, frozen coconut milk may separate.
- Dairy milk. Cow’s milk freezes pretty well, but some separation may occur.
- Soy milk. Soy milk may separate after freezing.
- Evaporated milk. Do not freeze this milk in the can. Plus, it may separate after freezing.
- Sweetened condensed milk. Do not freeze it in the can. Moreover, sweetened condensed milk will not freeze solid because of its high sugar content.
- Shelf-stable (carton) milk. Shelf-stable milk typically has a long shelf life and does not require freezing unless it has been opened.
- Oat milk. Oat milk may separate and become grainy after freezing.
- Goat’s milk. Goat’s milk freezes well. There may be some slight separation.
- Flax milk. Like other plant-based milk, flax milk may separate after freezing.
If you use these kinds of milk to make smoothies, you can freeze them in ice cube trays. This makes it easy to simply pop one frozen cube of your preferred milk into the blender with other smoothie ingredients.
Summary: Most types of milk can be frozen. Milk should only be frozen in air-tight, freezer-safe containers. Many kinds of milk may separate during freezing.
Defrosting and using frozen milk
You can safely store frozen milk in your freezer for up to 6 months, but it’s best to use it within 1 month of freezing.
Milk should be defrosted in the fridge instead of at room temperature to decrease the risk of bacterial growth.
This is because the longer milk sits at room temperature, the more likely it is that any existing traces of harmful bacteria proliferate, potentially causing the bacterial count to become high enough to cause illness from drinking the milk.
If you need it to thaw quicker, you can place it in cold water. However, this method poses a slightly higher risk of bacterial growth. You should never thaw frozen milk in warm or hot water.
Alternatively, if you are planning to cook with frozen milk, you can defrost it directly in the pot or pan as you are cooking.
Frozen and defrosted milk is best suited for cooking, baking, or making smoothies. It may undergo some changes in texture that make it unpleasant to use as a beverage. These include being slushy, grainy, or having some fat separation.
However, it’s safe to drink if stored and defrosted correctly. To make it more appetizing, run it through a blender to help smooth it out and reverse the fat separation.
Summary: Frozen milk should be defrosted in the refrigerator. You can blend it to help remedy any graininess or fat separation during freezing.
Most milk can be frozen. However, milk should be transferred to an air-tight, freezer-safe container before freezing.
Many types of milk will also separate and become grainy after being frozen, but this can easily be fixed using a blender.
All milk should be thawed in the refrigerator to minimize the risk of bacterial growth.
Suggested read: Evaporated milk substitutes: 12 clever alternatives
Using this guide, you can be assured that you are safely freezing and thawing your milk.