Can You Freeze Almond Milk? - Two Ways To Freeze Almond Milk
So you found yourself with a half-full container of almond milk, and there’s no good way to use it in the next few days. How should you store so it lasts longer? Can you freeze almond milk? Manufacturers advise against it, but many people freeze this nut milk either way and are happy about the results.
If you’d like to learn if freezing this vegan-friendly milk alternative makes sense for your situation, you’re in the right place. In this guide, you will learn all about the process and its pros and cons. I also made some photos so you can see how frozen and thawed almond milk looks like and how it compares to fresh almond milk.
But before we talk about freezing, let’s briefly cover the shelf life of almond milk. That’s important because it doesn’t make much sense to freeze this lactose-freeze drink unless you don’t need to.
Almond milk comes in three varieties. Most people, me included, prefer the version that’s sold unrefrigerated. You can keep it in the pantry until opened and it lasts at least a couple of months, if not longer. Just check the date on the label. And if it’s less than a month or two past that date, in many cases it will still be okay to drink. It’s your choice if you discard it or check if it’s okay. Once you open the carton, you should finish it within 5, maybe 7 days. If you already know you won’t, consider freezing the leftovers.
When it comes to both fresh almond milk and the one that’s in the refrigerated section, you need to store it in the fridge. Fresh nut milk lasts about 3 to 5 days, and the commercially purchased one lasts maybe a couple of days more. In either case, if you’re confident you won’t use all of it within a few days, start thinking about freezing.
Here’s how the shelf life of all three varieties compares. Please note that the dates are approximate, and always read the label of your product.
|Almond milk (sold unrefrigerated, unopened)||Best-by date + 1 - 2 months|
|Almond milk (sold unrefrigerated, opened)||5 - 7 days|
|Almond milk (sold refrigerated)||Sell-by date + 3 - 5 days|
|Almond milk (fresh)||3 - 5 days|
One more thing before you freeze almond milk is to make sure it’s not spoiled already. Here’s how to go about that.
Checking if this nut milk is spoiled or not is quite easy.
First off, if it’s still unopened, examine the carton. If it’s bloated, chances are the milk is bad.
Now pour some in a glass, and check how it smells. If it smells somewhat sour, and the natural nutty aroma is gone, discard it. Same thing if there are any lumps, or it has changed its color. Last but not least, take a sip to learn how it tastes. If the flavor is somewhat altered, it’s up to you if you use it or discard it. If it’s sour, toss it out.
If neither of the spoilage signs is there, and you don’t store the liquid for too long already (see above), chances are it’s fine to drink.
Remember that I started this guide by mentioning that most manufacturers don’t recommend freezing their product? That’s not necessarily because they want you to throw the leftovers out and go buy more later (okay, that might be one of the reasons). The main reason behind that is that the texture of almond milk changes after freezing and thawing. The solids separate from the liquid, and it looks pretty bad at first. Here’s how a glass of thawed almond milk looks like:
As you can see, the whole thing is separated, and doesn’t even look similar to fresh almond milk. Of course, you can read online that you can just blend the thawed nut milk and that will fix the texture. That’s true to an extent. Here’s how blended almond milk looks like:
Looks much better, right? But you can still notice a difference. The thawed and blended milk feels somewhat watery, and the texture isn’t even. Plus there’s foam, obviously.
Here’s how almond milk compares to its thawed and thawed and blended counterparts.
So if you usually drink it straight from the glass, you might not be that fond of the results. But if you add some to your morning coffee, use it as a liquid base for smoothies, or need it for cooking and baking, it should work just fine.
One more thing to remember is that almond milk from some brands freezes slightly better than others. So if you really want to make this freezing project work (i.e., it’s not a one-time thing), freeze almond milk from different brands and pick one that works best for you. Let’s go through ways of freezing this lactose-free drink.
There are two popular options when it comes to freezing this vegan-friendly drink. If you don’t have set plans for the leftovers, or would like the flexibility of thawing only a small amount, go with freezing the liquid in ice cubes. If you already know how you’re going to use the thawed almond milk, you can freeze it container or multiple containers, depending on your needs.
While the first method requires a bit more hands-on time, it’s super-flexible and well worth the additional 5 minutes of effort. Plus you can use the thawed drink however you want. No need to worry that you’re thawing a large volume of it and have to use it all within a day or two.
Freezing almond milk cubes takes more effort, but it allows you to easily thaw as much almond milk as you need at a time. In many cases, it makes perfect sense to spend a few more minutes on the freezing process and not worry about leftover thawed almond milk in the future. Here’s how the process looks like:
Take an ice cube tray and pour the milk into it.
Put the ice cube tray into the freezer. Keep it there until the liquid freezes. Freezing should take only a few hours. I usually leave the trays overnight to be sure the milk froze completely.
Remove the almond milk cubes from the tray and transfer them into a freezer bag or freezer container. If using a freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing. Work fast so the warmth of your fingers won’t thaw the milk. Label the bag or container if needed.
Throw the freezer bag or container back into the freezer.
That’s it. Little effort and now you can thaw as little almond milk as you need at a time, even just a cube or two for your morning cup of joe.
Freezing almond milk in a container requires close to no effort and time. It takes literally 3 minutes and the milk sits in the freezer. Here’s how to do it:
- Consider portion size. When thawing, you will thaw all the milk that’s in a container. So if you only need one cup at a time and have 3 cups worth of almond milk, freezing three one-cup portions is the smart thing to do. If you have no idea how much almond milk you will need at a time, consider freezing it in cubes.
- Pick containers. Almond milk consists mostly of water, so it expands when frozen. That means we need to leave some space in the containers used for freezing. If you would like to use the original carton or container, feel free to do so. Just make sure there’s space for the milk to expand (i.e., pour some of it out before freezing). Alternatively, you can use any freezer-safe airtight containers for freezing.
- Pour the milk into the containers. Label them with a name and a date if needed.
- Transfer the containers into the freezer.
That was easy, right?
Now that you have the lactose-free milk safely in the freezer let’s talk about defrosting it. There are a couple of options to choose from, depending on your preferences and how much time you have until you need the thawed liquid. Here they are:
- Overnight in the fridge. Put the almond milk cubes or container with frozen milk into the fridge in the afternoon or evening the day before you need it. It will be thawed and ready to use in the morning. If it’s a large container, you might need even more time than those 12 - 16 hours, so plan accordingly.
- In cold water. If you only have a couple of hours, this is the way to go. If you have the almond drink frozen in a container, throw the container in a pot with cold water. If, on the other hands, you went with the cubes, make sure they are in a bag that’s not leaky before you put it in the water.
- Throw the frozen cubes in without defrosting. In many cases you can just throw the cubes in as-is, without thawing them first. That works well for cooked dishes, or if you need some ice in your smoothie.
If you’re lactose intolerant, I’m sure you already know a bunch of ways of using almond milk, both fresh and frozen and thawed. Here are some of the more popular ones:
- Coffee whitener
- Smoothies (you can use frozen almond milk instead of ice cubes)
- Cooking (pancakes, etc., whatever calls for almond milk, really)
- Baking (pies, and so on)
Okay, so you’ve thawed some almond milk and, unfortunately, you have leftovers. Can you refreeze them? You’ve most likely read a dozen of times that refreezing food is dangerous. That’s not necessarily the truth.
In short, if you thawed the almond drink in the fridge, refreezing the rest is an option. Please note that the additional going through freezing and defrosting definitely won’t help the texture, but it won’t make the nut milk dangerous to your health or anything. Worst case scenario is you defrost it one more time, run it through a blender, and it still turns out gross. If that’s the case, you can throw it out and forget about it.
Most store-bought almond milk has a shelf life of at least a couple of months, so if the carton is still unopened, it usually doesn’t make sense to freeze it. Unless, of course, you are sure that you won’t use this milk alternative before the date on the package.
When it comes to homemade almond milk, if you’re preparing a bigger batch, it makes perfect sense to freeze some of it right away. Homemade variety usually doesn’t contain any preservatives, so its shelf life is short and freezing is the way to go.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, freezing almond milk isn’t recommended by manufacturers of brands such as Silk Pure Almond or Almond Breeze®. The big question is – why? Producers state that the texture and consistency of almond milk are affected by freezing and thawing. The changes are noticeable – almond milk separates irregularly, which both reduces visual quality and changes the texture. Freezing doesn’t affect the safety or nutritional value of almond milk.
Ideally, you want to transfer the product in a freezer-safe container, but the carton it came in is usually fine as well. Assuming that a carton of almond milk has been opened, yes you can freeze the milk in its original packaging. Since the opened carton of almond milk has more room to spare, the milk product could expand without breaking the packaging.
Freezing an unopened carton of almond milk isn’t a good idea. The sealed packaging could burst in the freezer at some point, causing a mess in the freezer. For freezing unopened cartons of almond milk, transfer the product in a freezer-safe container just to be on the safe side.
You can freeze homemade almond milk but don’t expect its shelf life to be similar to store-bought almond milk. Store-bought almond milk may contain stabilizers and preservatives that extend the shelf life of the product.
The optimal way to go is to freeze the homemade almond milk as soon as possible. This way it will turn out better once thawed.
According to the brand’s official website, certain Alpro products are not meant to be frozen. A representative for Alpro said that the brand’s almond milk, in particular, should not be frozen. Don’t let the fact that the brand doesn’t recommend freezing their product prevent you from experimenting with freezing it. As mentioned already a few times, most brands don’t recommend freezing their almond milk and people do it either way.
Are you thinking of whipping up smoothies for later? Drinking smoothies is a great way to take in more nutrients from whole foods such as fruits and vegetable. But can you freeze smoothies made with almond milk? Generally, smoothies freeze well, but their thawed state will depend on the ingredients that you used. The quick answer is yes, you can freeze smoothies made with almond milk. Just make sure you are using freezer-safe containers.
Once you thaw the smoothie, the consistency may be a little watery. That goes especially for smoothies with almond milk. You can restore the smoothie’s original consistency by giving it a good stir or better yet by running it through the blender once again. Also, you can pour more almond milk to give the drink a milkier taste.
Alternatively, you can freeze the almond milk and the rest of the ingredients separately and only combine them after thawing. While this adds a bit more work, the results you get will be better.
Definitely. Making smoothies is one of the best ways of using frozen almond milk. For smoothies, freezing in ice cube trays is the best option, because you can easily add as much milk as you need. When it comes to making the smoothie, you can either wait for the milk to thaw, or throw it in frozen instead of ice cubes in the recipe. Choose whatever works best for you.
Freezing almond milk results in, well …, frozen almond milk. It’s just a block of ice with an almond-like taste, and definitely not ice cream. Adding some mashed fruit to the milk and freezing it won’t result in ice cream either. Similarly to soy milk, to make ice cream with almond milk, you need an ice cream maker or at least a high-speed blender. If you have either one of these, check out these recipes for almond milk ice cream.
Just like almond milk itself, almond milk coffee creamer separates after being frozen and thawed. Getting back the texture you like will require giving it a good stir, or even running it through a blender.
The best way to go about this is by freezing as much of the creamer as you need for two cups of coffee and doing some testing. Thaw enough for a single cup, and leave the rest frozen. Then drink a cup with thawed almond milk and another with the liquid still frozen. Chances are you will like one more than the other.
Just like with regular yogurt, freezing almond yogurt is okay, but separation will occur after thawing. Texture and consistency will be altered, confirms the Amande website. That means it would be best to use frozen and thawed almond yogurt only in cooked or baked recipes, where the texture change won’t be noticeable. Eating it raw after thawing won’t be nearly as pleasant as eating it fresh.