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How To Freeze Milk

Freezing milk is a great way to save money and extend the lifespan of your milk. Find out more on

I used to buy half gallons of milk when we needed it. That was back before I learned how to freeze milk.

See, we use milk in coffee and here and there in a recipe, like a New York Egg Cream, but that’s about it. I don’t put milk in cereal, although Pete does. So if we have a bunch of cereal in the house or if we’re having company stay for a few days, I used to buy a gallon. But other than that, it was half gallons for us.

But half gallons are so expensive compared to full gallons. In all our stores, a gallon of milk is only a few cents more than a half gallon.

So I bought a full gallon, and then we were set to leave for New York for two weeks. We would never finish a gallon before then.

“I think you can freeze milk,” I told Pete.

“I used to do that all the time,” he told me.

Well why I hadn’t I been doing that all my adult life? I don’t know. But I tried it, it worked, and I decided this has to be a blog post because who else doesn’t know about this?

How To Freeze Milk

Freezing milk is really simple and should be done as soon as you open the gallon to guarantee the milk is as fresh as possible.

Step 1: Pour half the gallon into two 32-ounce Nalgene bottles, leaving about a half inch of air. The milk will expand when frozen, so you need to give it that room to do so.

I say use Nalgene bottles because they are BPA-free and work great for both hot and cold beverages. Nalgene bottles are really well insulated, which is exactly what you need for this to work. Plus, when the milk expands, these bottles will not warp. A thinner container might do so.

Step 2: Place the Nalgene bottles in the freezer.

Drink the opened milk and when you’re done, grab one of these Nalgene bottles out of the freezer and put it in the fridge.

After the milk sits overnight, much of it will be still be solid and some will be liquid. By the second day in the fridge, almost all of the milk will be liquid.

Does milk freeze well?

Milk freezes great.

How long will milk last in the freezer?

You can leave your milk in the freezer for three to six month. After that, you want to toss it.

What I suggest is using a marker to write the date you froze the milk on your bottle. That way, if you have a deep freezer that’s filled with items, you’ll remember when you froze it. If it’s nearing the expiration date, hurry up and use it.

Can I freeze milk in plastic bottles?

I absolutely recommend freezing milk in plastic bottles.

You can also freeze milk in its original container (if you have a lot of space in your freezer).

Just make sure that you leave a bit of air in the container, no matter what container you choose. Milk will expand while it freezes and you need to leave it some room to expand. If not, you run the risk of it ruining your containers or potentially exploding.

So, don’t buy milk at the store and directly stick it in the freezer. If you bought it specifically to freeze, open it and pour a few sips of it into a glass, then close the container and freeze it.

Can I freeze milk in stainless steel?

Stainless steel is great because it doesn’t hold pathogens. So pouring milk into a stainless steel container and keeping it in the fridge is a great way to store it.

But. And this is a big but. Don’t store your milk in stainless steel containers. It won’t thaw out right in the fridge.

We have this really nice stainless steel bottle that I tried to store milk into (a few times, just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke). The milk refused to thaw. Even when I left it outside (just to test it, not to drink), it wouldn’t thaw. So that’s a waste.

Does freezing milk change the taste?

If you freeze milk as soon as you open it, the freezing process doesn’t change the taste. Honestly, freezing milk doesn’t change the taste enough to even notice it unless you have a really, really refined palate.

I will suggest, though, that after your milk is defrosted, shake it. The milkfat will separate while it’s defrosting. Shaking it will combine it back again. If you don’t do this, when you pour your thawed out milk, all the milkfat will come out first. That first sip will be thick (and delicious) and the rest of the milk will be really thin and watery.

And that will change the taste of milk for sure.

Can you freeze milk for cooking?

Standard ice cube trays hold one ounce (2 tablespoons) per cavity. So, if you want to freeze milk for cooking, you can pour the milk into an ice cube tray. Then, freeze the tray.

When the milk is frozen, put the milk cubes into a freezer-safe ziptop bag.

Then, when you have a recipe that calls for milk, you can take out as many milk cubes as you need and leave the rest frozen.

This works a lot better in recipes that require the milk to be heated rather than something like our Monster Milk, which requires liquid milk.

How do you thaw milk safely?

You don’t want to take frozen milk from the freezer and set it on the counter or outside on a table to thaw it.

Instead, take your frozen milk and place it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.

You may get some condensation, so you can place a paper towel under the container to absorb any droplets that may form during thawing. If any do form, that’s fine. Your milk is still safe to drink.

Have you tried to freeze milk before? Let us know your experience in the comments.

Donna @ Modern on Monticello

Wednesday 20th of January 2021

I have heard about freezing milk but didn't know how to do it correctly. Thanks for sharing.

Pete's Dad

Monday 9th of March 2015

You can freeze orange juice too. I usually shake container to mix up the pulp ( I like pulp) then place in freezer. It's great way to take advantage when juice on sale. I don't open container and break seal....never had problem with expansion breaking cardboard container. Don't know about the clear plastic containers though.

Dianna Thomas

Tuesday 27th of January 2015

Interesting-- I guess this is going to be another thing I will be doing when milk goes on sale next month it sure would help in saving some money and time

Lauralee Hensley

Friday 23rd of January 2015

Been doing this many years. We use canning jars and only fill up 2/3 of the way to leave freezing expansion space. Like to stock up when milk is on sale. We also buy dry milk, which is like fat free milk. However there are differences in quality of dry milk. We prefer the Carnation instant nonfat dry milk or Lucerne (a Safeway store product) nonfat dry milk. Then you can make the amount you need, from a cup to a quart. Nonfat dry milk when added to the water is good for use in many things like pudding mixes. If you don't like nonfat milk, you probably won't like nonfat dry milk to make for drinking milk, hot chocolate or for cereal. If you do, it is a good option if you rarely use milk. Depending upon the brand of nonfat dry milk it usually has an expiration date of a year. Many emergency prepping companies have their own brands of freeze dried milks that you can reconstitute as well. Some are regular milk and some are whey milk.

drugstore diva lisa

Saturday 24th of January 2015

Wow Lauralee. Thank you so much. I've never tried dry milk before so good to know about the difference in quality. I'm curious to try it, so I think I'll have to look for some next time I'm in the store. I actually prefer nonfat milk, so I'm going to try that one. But wow, a one year expiration? Is that after you open or before?


Thursday 22nd of January 2015

Been doing this for years now and another tip, pull the milk out of the freezer when your down to a 1/4 of the milk in the fridge. So by the time you need it, it'll be nice and defrosted. Hope this helps.

drugstore diva lisa

Saturday 24th of January 2015

That's a really smart idea Rebecca! Thank you!!!