How to Freeze Dairy Products

Can I freeze milk, cheese, butter and other dairy products?

We get this question often, usually either when someone spots a fantastic sale on butter at the grocery store and wants to stock up, or when they go on vacation for a couple weeks and want to know if they can freeze some of the dairy items instead of throwing them out. Here’s what we recommend:

Cheese: Most cheese can be frozen; however, freezing can affect the texture. Thaw the cheese in the refrigerator before using, and use it in cooked dishes. Block cheese becomes dry and crumbly when frozen and thawed, so grate the cheese before freezing for easy use. If stored in a freezer bag, it can be kept frozen for up to 2 months.

Milk: Both regular milk (skim through whole) and buttermilk can be frozen for 1-2 months. When you’re ready to use it, thaw it in the refrigerator. As milk and buttermilk can separate after thawing, they may need to be beaten with a mixer or shaken well before using. Milk that’s been frozen and thawed is best used in cooked/baked dishes.

Cream: Depends on what you plan to use it for. Cream separates once thawed and needs whisking to reincorporate. Whipping cream that has been frozen will not whip to the same volume as usual, so it’s best used in baking or casseroles. However, whipped cream can be frozen in mounds on a tray to top desserts.

Butter: You can freeze it for 6-8 months if you wrap it well in plastic wrap and place it in a sealed freezer bag. Make sure there’s nothing with a pungent odour or flavour in the freezer, as there’s a risk the taste could transfer to the butter. Try freezing butter in 1/2-cup portions for easy use, then thaw in the refrigerator when you need it.

Sour Cream and Yogurt: Do not freeze either of these. They become grainy and separate.

Cream Cheese: Full-fat cream cheese can be frozen with varying results and texture changes. After thawing, use it promptly in cooked dishes or dips and sauces. Do not freeze low-fat cream cheese.