Does Freezing Milk Change The Taste?

If you have some cartons of milk that you won't be able to consume right away, would it be okay to keep them in the freezer? Will freezing have an effect on the taste of milk? Of course, you don't want it to go bad and end up wasting it. That's why we asked the dairy experts regarding this and here's what they said.

Freezing milk has an effect on its taste. It will have a milder flavor. There will also be changes in its texture and color. Milk becomes grainy and sometimes yellowish once thawed. But it is important to note that these changes aren't harmful. Frozen milk is perfectly safe to drink and use for cooking, baking, and preparing drinks.

Hang on to learn the reason behind the taste, texture, and color changes when you freeze milk. We'll also share helpful tips on how to freeze and thaw milk so that you can use it again for your trusted recipes.


Two small jars of milk placed on top of a table, Does Freezing Milk Change The Taste?

How does freezing affect milk?

Many people love drinking milk. It is a part of their daily diet. It is no wonder then that they would want to store cartons of milk to save them from frequent runs to the grocery store. It is okay to keep them in the freezer, but do expect some changes in their taste, texture, and color.

Most types of milk do well in the cold as long as they are stored properly and within the "Use by date" when kept in the freezer. In general, there is separation when milk is frozen. For certain kinds of milk, there are other changes in their properties that you should know about.

Oat milk and almond milk usually separate when placed in cold storage and they become grainy. Sweetened condensed milk does not turn fully solid in the freezer due to its high sugar content. Human breastmilk changes taste and color when frozen.

All of these changes happen because of the composition of milk. It is made up mostly of water which expands when frozen. This is the reason why you shouldn't put your milk in a glass or can as it would break or explode once the water expands.

Water also separates from the fats when milk is frozen. A small percentage of milk is made up of fats and proteins. The proportion would depend on the kind of milk that you have. For example, whole milk has higher fat content than skim milk. As the fats break away from the water, they become fully visible and they are the yellow substance that you see in frozen milk.

Why does milk turn yellow when frozen?

Different sizes of jars of milk

Milk is made up of about 95% water and the remaining 5% is made up of fat. When this dairy drink is frozen, the water content forms into ice crystals and separates from the fat content. The yellowish hue is the pure fat content that you see when milk is frozen.

What does frozen milk taste like?

Frozen milk tastes like a watered-down version of the milk that you kept in the freezer. Dairy experts say that once milk freezes, its components break apart, and once thawed, no amount of blending and stirring will be able to bring it back to its original form. So expect the milk to taste bland with some clamps of fats and protein floating on it.

The case of frozen breastmilk is different. Once thawed, it might have a soapy or sour smell and taste. But it doesn't mean that it has gone bad. This is still safe to feed to your baby. The soapy smell is caused by the lipase enzyme which is essential in breaking down the fatty nutrients in breastmilk so that your little one will be able to benefit from them.

Why does milk taste different after frozen?

Milk dehomogenizes once it is frozen. This means that its elements separate into their original state and you can't blend them together again unless you have a homogenizing machine at home. This is the reason why milk tastes different after it has been defrosted. In effect, it is not the same milk as it was before you placed it inside the freezer.

This is why they say that you should really think twice before freezing milk. It can be a matter of personal preference. Try freezing a small amount first to see if you'll be satisfied by the taste once it has thawed. It is better this way rather than freezing cartons of milk and end up throwing them away because you don't like the taste afterwards.

How to freeze milk

Transfer the milk in a plastic airtight container but do not fill it up all the way. If you want to use its original packaging, you can do so. Just pour out some of the milk. You need to allow some space in the container to make room for the milk's expansion when it is in its frozen state.

Here's another tip: It's also a good idea to transfer your milk in freezer bags. This way, you can separate them into portions that you need and they won't take up too much space in the freezer. They will also be easier to thaw later on.

Don't forget to put a label on your container before you put it inside the freezer.

How to thaw frozen milk

Small jars of milk placed on top of a table

When it's time for you to use this dairy product, there are two safe ways to defrost it. One is by simply transferring the milk to the fridge. However, this might take a day or two depending on the amount of milk that you've frozen.

A faster way to go about it is by immersing the frozen milk in cold water. Make sure that it is in sealed packaging. You can also replace the water every half-hour so that it will continue to defrost.

Once fully thawed, shake it well or stir the milk to make its consistency smoother.

How long does frozen milk last after thawed?

It is important to follow the safe ways to thaw frozen milk so that its quality won't deteriorate. Take note that you shouldn't defrost your milk at room temperature or you'll run the risk of spoiling it. Milk should be consumed within 2 to 3 days after it has been thawed.

Can you drink milk that has been frozen and thawed?

As long as the milk has been stored in the freezer and thawed properly, it is perfectly safe to drink it. Some even say that it's okay to drink frozen milk even when it is past its expiration date.

However, expect to see some differences in its texture as there might be fat separation or it might turn grainy or slushy. It is for this reason why frozen and thawed milk is best recommended to be used instead as ingredients for smoothies, baking, or cooking.

On its own, defrosted milk doesn't seem appetizing but use with the right ingredients and you'll surely be a-okay.

Final Thoughts

When freezing milk, expect that there will be changes in its taste and texture. It will have a milder flavor and grainy texture. While it may not be appetizing to drink this healthy beverage after it has thawed, it can still be used for your smoothies, ice cream, or pancakes so there's no reason to waste this dairy drink.

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