milk being poured from a jug into a glass

Can you freeze milk and drink it safely?

A product that most of us enjoy regularly; fresh milk has many uses. However, its fridge life is limited to only a few days, so if you have bought in bulk, it can quickly turn sour. Many people do not know that you can freeze milk but it is possible to do so safely. Follow the guidelines below to enjoy it at its best.1

How to freeze milk safely

Milk can only be frozen if it is not past its best before date, so check the expiration date first before using valuable freezer space. The milk must then be poured into a plastic airtight container or jug. Do not freeze milk that comes in cartons, as this material is not suitable.

Unlike freezing many foods, when freezing liquids, such as milk, it is important to leave a space in the container. One to two inches space is sufficient to allow the milk to expand as it freezes. Crucially, glass containers are also not safe for freezing milk, as these will explode as the liquid expands.

You can freeze milk in large or small quantities according to your needs. By transferring it into appropriately sized containers, you can enjoy milk as and when you require it without regular visits to the shops.

You can freeze milk safely for up to three months. Just check you have labelled and dated your batches of milk to ensure you use it within the recommended time frame.2

Which types of milk freeze well?

Any milk can be frozen and all of its nutritional benefits will be retained. However, milk with a lower fat content freezes better. As milk freezes, the fat separates and this can result in a grainy texture. This is less noticeable with low-fat milks.

Non-dairy milk and milk alternatives can also be frozen in the same way. This includes almond, soy, oat and flax milk. As with dairy milk, there will be some separation during freezing that may make the texture of the milk grainy.3

Be careful with coconut milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk that come in cans. These will explode if frozen in their original packaging, so the milk must be transferred to a suitable container first. These non-dairy milk alternatives can then also be frozen to be enjoyed at a later date; however, sweetened condensed milk will not freeze solid due to the high sugar content.

How to defrost milk

The safest way to defrost your milk is in the refrigerator. It is not advisable to thaw milk at room temperature as it affects its quality and increases the risk of harmful bacteria.

To speed up the process, you can immerse the container of milk in cold water, replacing the cold water regularly as it warms up. Frozen milk can also be used directly from the freezer for cooking.

The best uses for milk that has been frozen

As the texture of milk can change during the freezing process, whisking it with a hand blender will help improve its consistency. This is also a perfect excuse to make a smoothie or whip up some pancakes with your milk. Previously frozen milk is also great for breakfast cereals and no end of healthy recipes in cooking and baking.

Last updated: 20 April 2020

DrinksFood & DrinkNut Milks