Cream can be a tricky thing to buy. It tends to come in large amounts and most recipes only call for small amounts to be used. You must often be left wondering what to do with the leftover cream!
Can You Freeze Cream?
Yes, you can freeze cream for up to 3 weeks. This applies to most cream types including single, double, whipping and sour cream. Because of the high-fat content, the texture of the cream will change drastically when it is frozen.
Does Cream Freeze Well? Sometimes
Can You Refreeze Cream? No
How To Freeze Cream
Freezing cream isn’t all that easy, and you run the risk of it not being successful.
Frozen cream should only really be used in complete dishes and when cooking as it does change the texture and can feel a little grainy because of how it separates when freezing.
There are two methods to freezing cream so let’s get started with the easiest:
How to Freeze Lots of Cream
If you want to keep things simple and have unopened cream or leftover cream, and want to keep things simple then go with this approach to freezing cream:
This works best if you have unopened cream so if you’re lucky to have cream in a sealed container, write the date on the packet and pop it in the freezer!
You might want to add a freezer bag or two around it in case it expands and bursts while freezing.
- Pour Into Containers: If your cream has been opened then pour any leftover cream into a suitable freezer-safe container. Ensure you leave a gap at the top of the container to allow the cream to expand without causing a mess.
- Seal and Label: Label the container with the name of the contents and the date.
- Freeze: Pop it in the freezer and allow it to freeze.
How to Freeze Small Portions of Cream
If you often find that you only need to use small amounts of cream in your recipes then the best way to freeze it is in small portions using an ice cube tray.
You will need to freeze the cream twice, but this is worth the hassle to have handy small portions of cream to grab and add to any dish you are cooking.
- Pour Into Ice Cubes: Pour your cream into the sections of an ice cube tray. Make sure you leave enough of a gap at the top to allow the cream to expand as it freezes.
- Flash Freeze: Pop the ice cube tray onto a baking sheet and put it in the freezer. Keep the tray flat, so the cream doesn’t spill and then allow it to freeze for a few hours.
- Bag Up: Take the cream out of the freezer and pop the cubes out of the tray. Put the cubes into a freezer bag and seal it tight.
- Final Freeze: Label the bag with the date and put it back into the freezer.
How to Freeze Different Cream Types
Cream is quite a blanket term for a huge range of dairy products. There’s obviously single, double and whipping cream. Then you have clotted cream and sour cream. The list goes on! We’ve covered a range of creams below:
How to Freeze Single Cream
Single cream can be frozen, but you should expect the texture to change during the process. This is because of the high-fat content in the cream.
Single cream won’t be easy to work with once it has been frozen and you won’t be able to whip it or use it in its raw state. You will need to blend it up when it is defrosted and then add it to cooking.
However, yes you can freeze single cream. Just use the same method outlined above or read our guide to freezing single cream.
How to Freeze Double Cream
Double cream has a high-fat content, about 48% compared to just 18% in single cream. It is this high-fat content that makes double cream difficult to freeze.
If you need to freeze it, you can use the same steps above, but be aware that the texture will have changed substantially when using the cream. The fats and proteins are likely to have separated.
A quick blend in a blender or whisking can solve this, but the texture will always be different.
If you plan to use the cream in cooking, then any texture change shouldn’t be a problem, the taste will be the same, and the heating process can help break down the grainy texture. Just don’t expect to be able to use thawed cream as a pouring accompaniment or for whipping. It just won’t be the same as fresh.
If you want more information on this, then read our article on freezing double cream.
How to Freeze Whipping Cream
Whipping cream is similar to double or heavy cream and whilst yes you can freeze it you shouldn’t expect it ever to be quite the same as fresh cream.
To freeze whipping cream, you can either freeze it using the method above or if you want to have the cream whipped then you are best doing this before freezing as it will be very difficult to achieve the heavy texture of whipped cream once it has been frozen and defrosted.
Just whip up your cream first then follow the same steps as above.
How to Freeze Sour Cream
Sour cream is a little more interesting because even though you can freeze it, the bacteria that gives it that delicious taste will continue to do its work even while the cream is frozen!
So it will continue to deteriorate even while frozen. This means that sour cream will have a shorter frozen shelf life than other products.
To freeze sour cream follow the following few steps. Ensure you freeze the cream while it is still fresh. This will help you get the best results.
- Portion Out: Divide into small portions and pop into freezer bags, an ice cube tray or suitable freezer-safe containers. Allow a little room for the cream to expand.
- Label, Seal and Freeze: Label the bags with the date and pop it into the freezer.
Make sure to use up your frozen sour cream within a couple of weeks, so it doesn’t spoil. When you thaw it out, make sure you do this slowly. You should also only use frozen sour cream in recipes and cooking.
It won’t work well as a dip or topping because the texture will have changed and become grainy and unpleasant.
If you want more information on this, then head over to our guide on freezing sour cream.
How to Freeze Clotted Cream
Clotted cream is one of the better types of cream to freeze. This goes against almost everything we know about freezing dairy produce! It has a high fat content so you would assume it wouldn’t freeze well at all.
It can still be a little tricky to freeze. Unfortunately, freezing any dairy can go wrong, so be careful and check your cream before using it.
You want to freeze clotted cream while it is still very fresh.
Preferably while it is in its original packaging and unopened, all you need to do is pop it in the freezer and freeze! If you have opened your clotted cream, then you need to transfer it to an airtight container and label and freeze in the same way.
You can learn more about this by visiting our guide to freezing clotted cream.
If you need further information on any of the cream types listed above, then click the relevant link below for more information:
3 Tips for Freezing Cream
Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing cream to have the best results:
Don’t Bother Sometimes
You can only freeze cream for 3 weeks, which begs the question – is it worth doing? And honestly, sometimes, it’s simply not worth even bothering with.
Consider How You Use Cream
If you only really use cream poured over desserts then freezing really isn’t the way to go about it, unfortunately. Frozen cream is not something you’ll want to pour over anything. It’s only useful in dishes.
Avoid Freezing Dishes with Cream
Freeze dishes, such as soup or sauces, containing cream is not dangerous, but it might not be pleasant. You’ll find that the cream splits and can leave it with a grainy texture. This is hard to rectify if the cream is already in a dish.
How Long Can You Freeze Cream?
Unfortunately cream isn’t one of those products that can be kept in the freezer for long periods of time. It isn’t a food item that freezes particularly well, and it can still go bad, even while frozen!
You should only really keep it frozen for between one and three weeks.
This might not seem like a long time, but it is far longer than the two to three days you can keep fresh cream in the fridge.
Cream will last for around 7 to 10 days after opening or up until the use-by date, whichever date comes first.
How Do You Defrost Cream?
When you want to use your frozen cream, the thawing process is fairly simple, but it does take a little time. It would help if you didn’t use the cream while it is frozen and you can’t defrost it quickly.
To thaw out your cream, you need to grab it out of the freezer and pop the whole bag or container into a bowl and leave it in the fridge overnight. This will allow the cream to thaw out slowly and thoroughly.
Once the cream is defrosted, you may find that it has separated so you will need to either blend it for a few seconds or whisk it so that it becomes more like the cream you are used to.
Can You Refreeze Cream?
You should never refreeze cream once it has been thawed out once. The texture will have changed so much that it would become inedible, it wouldn’t taste good, and it might even make you sick!
Does Cream Freeze Well?
Whilst you can freeze cream. It isn’t something that is recommended unless you really need to.
The cream has a high-fat content, and dairy products with high-fat content generally don’t freeze well.
This is because the proteins and fats tend to separate, and even though you can whisk it, so it blends again, it will never be quite the same. It has a grainy texture that isn’t pleasant to eat.
If you want to use your frozen cream in cooking, this won’t matter. Heating it helps to break down the grainy molecules, and by the time your recipe is cooked, no one will be able to tell the difference.
If you’ve still got questions about freezing cream or cream in general, then these may help:
Although cream in nature, it isn’t like other dairy creams. You can freeze coconut cream but, be warned, that you’re likely to get separation between the fats and proteins in the cream so the texture can be off. This isn’t a major issue if you plan on using coconut cream in cooked dishes such as curry.
Heavy cream is a term more commonly used in the US and is essentially equivalent to double cream. The fat content is a little different, but the rules are the same when it comes to freezing it. Heavy cream is not something we would recommend freezing, unfortunately.