Evaporated milk lasts only a couple of days after opening. What if you don’t have any plans for the leftovers? Can you freeze evaporated milk?
I bought a container of evaporated milk and used half of it in my soup. I don’t know about you, but I don’t use this milk variety often. Because of that, I had to figure out how to use the leftovers before they spoil.
Freezing was the first solution that came to mind, and that’s what I decided to try out.
In this guide, I talk about:
- how freezing affects evaporated milk
- how to go about freezing and defrosting it
- what dishes thawed evaporated milk works best in
Interested? Read on.
Can You Freeze Evaporated Milk?
You can freeze evaporated milk, but it separates after thawing.
That separation might be an issue in some of your recipes, but most cooked or baked ones work well no matter if you use fresh or frozen and defrosted evaporated milk.
Because of that, it’s okay to freeze evaporated milk, as long as you know how to use it after thawing. If you don’t have any ideas right now, no worries, I share a few ones later in the article.
What the manufacturers say about freezing evaporated milk?
Most producers discourage freezing their evaporated milk.
Take Carnation for example; here’s what they write on their FAQ page ([CAR]):
It is not recommended to freeze evaporated milk, it changes its physical properties (colour, flavor, texture, etc.). Freezing the can could also compromise the seam integrity of the can which in turn would spoil the milk.
The seam integrity part wasn’t an issue because I didn’t want to freeze it unopened.
Freeze only leftover evaporated milk. Freezing it unopened isn’t safe, plus it doesn’t really make sense – unopened evaporated milk lasts quite a long time.
How freezing affects evaporated milk?
When it comes to the physical changes mentioned above, it’s all true. I mean, here’s how frozen and thawed evaporated milk looks like:
You can see it’s separated and doesn’t look all that appealing (to say the least).
If you give it a good stir (or use a blender), it helps a bit, but it still isn’t as good as the fresh product.
Here’s how it looks after that treatment:
Fortunately, in most cooked dishes, those changes in texture don’t really matter.
How To Freeze Evaporated Milk
The whole process of freezing this dairy product is simple and takes only a couple of minutes tops.
For starters, decide on a recipe that you’ll use the frozen and defrosted evaporated milk in. That choice informs you how much you need to pour into each container.
If you don’t know how you’re going to use the product yet, freeze it using an ice cube tray instead.
Once you know that, it’s time to get started. Here’s how you freeze this milk variety:
- Pour the evaporated milk into freezer-safe containers. Each one should contain exactly how much you need for a single dish. Remember to leave some headspace because the liquid expands when frozen.
- Seal the containers. Consider adding labels, especially if the portions aren’t equal. This way, finding the right one for the recipe you’re cooking will be a breeze.
- Put everything in the freezer.
That’s it. Evaporated milk can sit there safely for at least a couple of months, waiting for when you need it.
Thawing Frozen Evaporated Milk
When it comes to defrosting this dairy product, there are at least two popular options:
- Overnight in the fridge. Put the container in the refrigerator in the evening to get it ready to use in the morning. The only downside is that it requires some planning ahead.
- Skip thawing. Since you’re going to use the frozen evaporated milk in a cooked recipe, you can skip defrosting in many cases. Put the frozen block into the pot while cooking and let the temperature do its magic.
For best results, stir the defrosted evaporated milk thoroughly (e.g., using a hand blender). You can either mix the liquid itself or the whole dish if you’re throwing it in frozen.
Some people let frozen foods thaw on the counter (I’m guilty of that as well). If you’re one of them, remember that food shouldn’t sit at room temperature for longer than 2 hours, and you should cook it as soon as possible.
Uses for Frozen & Thawed Evaporated Milk
As I already mentioned, defrosted evaporated milk works well in all sorts of cooked dishes.
I like creamy soups and made a creamy carrot soup using the recipe you can find on Carnation’s website. I used dried ginger instead of fresh (and a bit too much of it), but other than that, the soup turned out great.
If you have any soups in your repertoire that you puree in a blender, all of them should be great options to use frozen evaporated milk in.
Not a fan of soups? Feel free to use the milk in:
- Baked goods (muffins, pies, etc.)
- Main dishes that include cooked sauces (pasta, etc.)
- [CAR] – Carnation | FAQ