There’s some leftover heavy cream in the fridge, and you don’t want it to go to waste. Can you freeze heavy cream?
No matter what you’re using the cream for, the amount in the container is rarely the same as the amount needed for a recipe. That means leftovers.
And if you don’t use heavy cream all that often, it sits in the fridge for a week or so and goes bad.
If you want to avoid that scenario, you’re in the right place.
Can You Freeze Heavy Cream?
As you probably know, most dairy products don’t freeze that well. And heavy cream isn’t an exception here.
Like with freezing sour cream, heavy cream separates after thawing, and getting it back to its original texture is impossible. It’s like with pickles – once you pickle a cucumber, you cannot un-pickle it.
Here’s how thawed thick heavy cream looks like:
As you can tell, the texture change is obvious, and the cream doesn’t look that great.
You can’t whip heavy cream after freezing and thawing it.
Does it mean that freezing this dairy product is a bad idea? Not really.
You can freeze heavy cream, but you have to remember about the downsides and plan accordingly.
While whipping that cream after thawing isn’t an option, you can whip it beforehand and freeze it. It won’t be as good as fresh whipped cream, but you can still add it to pancakes and the like.
And when it comes to that separated cream you’ve seen above, it’s still okay to use in a creamy soup or anything else of the like. Especially if you’re going to run that soup through a blender.
How To Freeze Heavy Cream
As I’ve already hinted in the previous section, there are two options for freezing heavy cream.
If you want it whipped, the first option is the way to go. If you plan on using it in a soup or stew instead, go with the second method.
Again, you can’t whip thawed heavy cream. If you want it whipped, you need to do it now.
Freezing Whipped Cream
Before you start, grab a mixer (or whatever you use to whip cream), a cookie sheet, a silicone mat (if you have one), and a freezer bag or container.
Now that you have everything handy, let’s get going:
- Whip the cream. Grab your tool of choice and make whipped cream.
- (Optional) Pre-freeze whipped cream in portions. Grab a cookie sheet, and line it with a silicone mat or something else that the frozen cream won’t stick to. Divide the cream into several portions, or even a bunch of small blobs ready to be put on pancakes. Then put that tray into the freezer, and leave it there until the puffed-up cream freezes. It can take anywhere between an hour for minuscule portions and a couple of hours for big ones. If your freezer has a certain not-so-pleasing smell, cover that tray tightly, so the cream doesn’t absorb it.
- Transfer the cream into a freezer container or bag. If you skipped pre-freezing, go with the former. If you went with small blobs and they are already frozen (like I did), either a container or a freezer-safe bag work just fine. Add a label if you like.
- Freeze everything.
As you can see, the whole process is quite simple and doesn’t require much hands-on time. Of course, you have to whip the cream, which takes some time, but you had to do it at some point anyway.
Big portions of whipped cream need some time to defrost. Small blobs thaw at room temperature in minutes. If you don’t want to worry about thawing, go with the latter.
Freezing Heavy Cream
This method is as simple as it gets. All you need is an airtight container (or a few), and a couple of minutes.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Divide your heavy cream into dish-sized portions. If you have more than enough for one dish, dividing everything into two (or even more) portions is the way to go. This way, you defrost exactly as much as you need for a recipe, and sometimes you can skip thawing whatsoever.
- Pour the heavy cream into containers. Add labels if you like.
That’s it. Your heavy cream can wait in the freezer until you need it again in a couple of weeks.
How To Defrost Heavy Cream
When it comes to defrosting, there are a couple of options to choose from:
- In the fridge. Works best for frozen heavy cream and large portions of whipped cream. As usual, the downside is that you need to plan ahead to have it thawed when you need it.
- Skip defrosting. That works well if you have heavy cream frozen in recipe-sized chunks. Grab one and throw it into a soup or stew, and let the heat melt it.
- At room temperature. If you’ve frozen whipped cream in small blobs, those blobs take 5 to 10 minutes to thaw on a hot pancake. That means you can skip defrosting and place the frozen bits of whipped cream on pancakes as you go.
If you want your whipped cream to keep shape, put it where it needs to go while it’s still frozen.
Using Thawed Heavy Cream
When it comes to frozen and thawed heavy cream, feel free to use it in any recipe where the texture change isn’t that big of a deal.
If you add it to a soup that you don’t then run through a blender, it looks like this:
That’s good enough for my wife and me (and the soup tasted great, by the way). But if we had any friends or family come over, we’d definitely go with fresh cream.
Long story short – the taste stays pretty much the same, but the visuals aren’t exactly on point after thawing.
When it comes to frozen whipped cream, it tastes okay but not as good as a fresh one. That means, again, that I wouldn’t serve it to anyone besides my closest family.