Heavy cream (also known as heavy whipping cream) is a kitchen essential for both savory and sweet dishes. Every now and then, we use this dairy in various amounts.
In case you don’t have time to go through it before it goes bad, you might be wondering: Can you freeze whipping cream?
A short answer, yes. Keep reading to find out more tips for freezing heavy cream and other dairy products!
Does Heavy Cream Freeze Well?
Heavy cream is made from the thickest part of fresh milk and contains at least 36% to 40% of milk fat—higher than other cream varieties such as light (whipping) cream, half-and-half, and sour cream.
If you ask the producers (such as Elle and Vire), they won’t advise you to freeze their products. Like other dairy products, freezing heavy cream destabilizes its fat and alters its texture and consistency significantly. After thawing, the fat content tends to separate from the liquid.
But, here comes the good news. Regardless of the changed texture, thawed cream actually works just fine in baking and cooking!
You can freeze heavy cream in two ways—in ice cube trays or in a freezer container. The former makes more sense if you only need a small amount each time. Either way, give it a good whiff and make sure that the cream is still fresh and unspoiled before freezing.
How to Freeze Small Quantities of Heavy Cream
- 1. Pour the cream into ice cube trays. For a slightly larger quantity, consider using muffin tins.
- 2. Flash freeze for several hours until it hardens.
- 3. Once frozen, take the cubes out and pack them in a freezer bag.
- 4. Expel as much air as possible out of the package and seal it tightly.
- 5. Write the freezing date and transfer it to the freezer.
How to Freeze Heavy Cream in Large Amount
If you’re planning to use the whole carton, freezing in its original container seems like a good idea. But, keep in mind that liquid expands during freezing. So, spare yourself a minute to open the package, pour a little out to create a small room for expansion. If you forget this step, the container may burst and make a mess in your freezer.
Here is another thing, the original package is not designed for freezer storage. It might be fine for short-term freezing, but we’re not sure about long-term freezing.
If you have a concern about this, we advise you to freeze it in a freezer-safe container. Leave a headspace and seal tightly, and label the package with the freezing date and quantity.
Freezing Other Dairy Products
Much to our surprise, you can freeze other dairy products too.
– Cream cheese – brick cream cheese freezes better than the spreadable one. Use it for frosting, baking, or cooking dishes.
– Half-and-half – only freeze half-and-half if you’re planning to use it for cooking and baking, instead of pouring it in coffee.
– Cheeses – hard and semi-hard cheeses such as Cheddar and Gouda can be frozen quite successfully. You can freeze them in blocks, grated, or shredded – depending on your need.
– Butter – butter freezes surprisingly well regardless of frozen in a whole block, smaller chunks, salted or unsalted.
– Sour cream, buttermilk, and yogurt – cultured and soured dairy products lose their smooth, creamy texture. After thawing, they are best used in cooking rather than to drink on their own.
Thawing and Using Frozen Heavy Cream
To defrost the cream, simply leave it in the refrigerator overnight before you need it. Larger quantities take longer to thaw, so don’t forget to defrost them beforehand.
The fat and liquid part tend to separate after freezing and thawing. Stir it vigorously or whirl in a blender to regain a smoother consistency. In case you have any unused portion, keep it refrigerated in a sealed container for 2 to 3 days.
Previously frozen heavy cream can still be used for whipping, although it may not whip as nicely as fresh cream. Other than that, it is excellent for cooking and baking recipes. That said, frozen-and-then-thawed cream is just as versatile as the fresh one.
If you’re looking for creative ways to use up your supply, try using it for:
- Soup, stews, and chowder
- Curries (to substitute coconut milk)
- Creamy pasta sauces
- Biscuits and scones
If you only need a small amount for soup or stews, feel free to toss frozen cubes directly into the pot—no need to thaw it out first.
How Long Can You Refrigerate and Freeze Heavy Cream?
Heavy cream should always be kept refrigerated in a sealed container. Do not place it in the fridge door as the temperature fluctuates considerably.
Store it on the coldest part, like the back of the fridge, where the temperatures remain constant. With proper storage, it can stay fresh for up to 7 to 10 days after opening.
Frozen heavy cream preserves the best quality for up to 3 to 4 months. It may remain safe to use beyond this time frame as long as it is frozen continuously at 0 °F (-18 °C).
Some general indications include curdled texture, molds appearance, sour smell, and off-taste. Get rid of any leftovers if any of the signs above are apparent.
In case you accidentally left a container in your car on a sub-zero night, don’t worry. Leave it in the refrigerator and let it thaw slowly. Once it softens up and no longer solid, give it a good stir, and you should be able to use it as usual.
Heavy cream is an excellent addition to sweet and savory dishes, from your creamy pasta sauce, pies, soup, or egg dishes. Make yourself a decadent chocolate drink with a dollop of whipped cream. Or, splash it into your morning coffee. Better yet, freeze it for another time. Follow our tips above to freeze it successfully.
Freezing heavy cream might not be a popular kitchen hack you’ve ever heard, but it does the job of prolonging shelf life. Thawed cream is still usable for whipping and works wonderfully well for other cooking and baking recipes.
Up next: Heavy cream alternatives