Can You Freeze Milk?

Vanessa Croteau| View Author Bio

Have you ever been in my shoes and bought too much milk to use before it goes bad?

The short and simple answer: Freeze your milk!

According to the USDA,“Food stored constantly at 0°F will always be safe. Only the quality is affected with lengthy freezer storage. Freezing preserves food for extended periods because it prevents the growth of microorganisms that cause both food spoilage and foodborne illness.”   

Does freezing affect the nutrient composition or retention of milk?

No, there are little to no nutrient changes that occur.    

How do I freeze milk?

Try freezing in a plastic or glass freezer-safe container. Avoid freezing milk in paper cartons, as they are not airtight and can potentially leak. Plan to leave about 1 to 2 inches of space at the top, as milk expands slightly when it freezes (similar to other liquids) and leaving space in the container is important to avoid bursting.  

How long can I keep frozen milk in the freezer?   

According to the USDA, you can safely store milk in the freezer at 0°F for up to 3 months. 

How do I thaw milk?

Dairy products should be thawed gradually,  in the refrigerator at 32–34 °F. It may take up to 24 hours depending on the size of the container you used, so plan accordingly. 

When you’re ready to use your thawed milk, stir or shake your milk well before using to restore smoothness, as normal separation can occur. It is normal for thawed milk to taste different. Use in a recipe where taste will be muted such as oatmealsmoothies, or muffins. 

What are some benefits of freezing milk?   

  • Free up refrigerator space.    
  • Save money by buying milk in larger sizes.   
  • Wasting less by freezing before the sell-by date (instead of throwing it away).   
  • Getting the most out of your dollars spent; when you throw food away you throw money away.   

Other helpful tips: 

  • If you’d like to learn more about the sell-by dates, visit the USDA’s website for more information. 
  • Label your milk with the date you’re freezing it and how many days until expiration. This way you know when thawing it how many days you have to drink or use it.  
  • Try freezing milk in ice cube trays. You could even add these to a glass of milk, chocolate milk, or coffee to keep it cold without diluting your drink.  

Articles part of this series: 

Can You Freeze Cheese? | Can You Freeze Yogurt? | Can You Freeze Dairy?

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