Can You Freeze Milk?

You’re probably aware that one of the best ways to preserve a whole variety of foods is to freeze them. But the question you’re asking is can you freeze milk and how do you go about doing it?

Milk can be frozen for up to 3 months. You can choose to freeze milk into ice cubes or thick freezer bags. You can even freeze milk in the carton it came in, in some circumstances.

Can You Refreeze Milk? No

Does Milk Freeze Well? Yes

How to Freeze Milk

There are actually three different methods for freezing milk. You can choose to freeze it in the carton it came in – which is often the most convenient method.

But you can also freeze milk in thick freezer bags or ice cubes. It comes down to how you normally consume milk.

How to Freeze Milk Cartons

Grab the carton it came in and see if you can see how full it is. Some brands and supermarkets are generous and fill it to the top, others won’t. If the container isn’t full then you can freeze it right away.

If, however, it looks like the milk is filled to the brim then follow these instructions for freezing milk in their supermarket cartons:

  1. Remove a Splash
    Remove the lid from the carton and pour out a little. You only need to remove a splash. The amount you probably pour into a cup of coffee or tea. This will give your milk room to expand as it freezes.
  2. Seal
    Replace the lid and then, if you want to ensure it is airtight and to reduce leakages, wrap the top in a couple of layers of cling film. You can even use an elastic band to ensure the clingfilm is tight.
  3. Freeze
    Place the milk in the freezer.

When freezing milk this way, try and keep the carton upright to avoid leakages. It’s also worth noting that once defrosted you cannot refreeze it.

That’s why we would recommend freezing small cartons of milk instead of buying one large bottle and freezing that.

How to Freeze Milk in Bags

If you’ve bought a mammoth 6-pint carton but know that you won’t need it all in one go then freezing milk in thick freezer bags is the approach to use:

  1. Pour into Bags
    Grab bags of a suitable size based on your consumption and then decant the milk into those bags
  2. Seal
    Seal the bags up tightly. As you seal them up, remove as much air as possible. As you can imagine, you’ll want to use high-quality, thick freezer bags which seal tightly to avoid any unwanted mess.
  3. Freeze
    Label the bags up and then place them into the freezer. Try to sit them in the freezer with the bag seal facing upwards.

How to Freeze Milk in Ice Cubes

Perhaps you only want to defrost a few tablespoons to use in a cake mix or sauce recipe? Well, this is the approach to take:

  1. Pour Milk into Tray
    First, grab an ice cube tray and pour your milk into each slot. Fill them up around 80% of the way to give the milk a little room to expand.
  2. Wrap
    Wrap the ice cube tray in a layer or two of cling film. This will help prevent spillages but also prevent odours from penetrating your milk.
  3. Flash Freeze
    Place the ice cube tray in the freezer – make sure you keep it level! Allow the milk to freeze for several hours or overnight if possible.
  4. Final Freeze
    Once frozen, pop the cubes out of the tray and into a freezer bag and return to the freezer.
Frozen Milk in Ice Cubes

3 Tips for Freezing Milk

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing milk to have the best results:

Don’t Panic When It Turns Yellow
In the freezer, your milk will take on a yellow tint. It won’t look great, but it has not gone off! It’s the riboflavin content in the milk which freezes at a different rate to the rest of the milk. It’s harmless – don’t worry!

Allow Room for Expansion
All liquids will expand when frozen, so you must give your milk room to expand too. It won’t double in size – don’t worry! You need to leave an inch or so of room in the top of containers.

Consider Your Milk Consumption
When freezing anything, you need to consider how you personally consume it. If you have a little drop in a coffee every so often then freezing bags of milk might not be the best approach. If, however, you’re a family of 5 who all have cereal every morning, then having a full carton might be best.

How Long Can You Freeze Milk?

Milk will keep for around 3 months in the freezer – any longer, and the texture can become quite unpalatable. When you freeze the milk, make sure you scribble on the side the date on which it was frozen so you can ensure it is used.

You Can Freeze Milk for up to 3 Months

How Do You Defrost Milk?

To defrost milk, you’re best bet is to place it in the fridge to thaw out slowly. Once thawed, give it a good shake to try and combine the water and fat content.

Unfortunately, and especially if you’ve frozen a larger bottle, thawing milk can actually take quite a long time. If you’re pushed for time, you can fill your sink with cold water and allow it to thaw in the cold water.

It will still take some time but can speed up the process a little.

Whatever you do, don’t use the microwave to thaw it.

Can You Refreeze Milk?

We would strongly advise against refreezing milk. It’s rare that refreezing it acceptable for any foods but none more so than dairy products.

When you freeze and then thaw milk, you break down some of the milk’s immune components which protect it from bacteria. If you refreeze the milk, there’s a significantly greater chance of bacteria contaminating your milk.

Does Milk Freeze Well?

It does freeze well, but there is a risk of separation like a lot of dairy products. You may find that the fat content and the water content break apart once you thaw your milk out.

This can make the texture quite grainy, making it particularly unpleasant to drink.

The good news is that the taste won’t be affected so frozen milk can still work well in baking, cooking and even mixed in with your cereal in the morning.

You can remedy some of this separation, however. Pour the contents of your thawed milk into a blender for around 30 seconds. This will help to combine some of the separated fats back into the water.

It won’t be perfect but can go some way to improving the texture.

Oh… And be warned that your milk will turn yellow when it is frozen. This doesn’t mean it has gone off. It’s to do with the milk’s riboflavin content and the fact that it freezes at a slower rate than the rest of the milk.

It’s all quite scientific, but you can read more about riboflavin and why it goes yellow here.

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing milk or milk in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Glass Milk Bottles?

Freeze Glass Milk Bottles

Freezing glass milk bottles is not something we would recommend. Not only are the seals likely to be pretty poor, but there is a risk that the milk will expand and crack the glass bottles if they are filled to the top.

Instead, use the bag method above to freeze your milk in the safest way.

Can You Freeze Dairy Alternatives?

Yes, you certainly can freeze most dairy alternatives. There are now plenty on the market and we’ve covered a range of them including almond milk, soya milk, oat milk and coconut milk.

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