In summary: Yes, you can freeze heavy cream to extend its shelf life, but it should be fresh and used quickly after thawing, and whisked if separated.
Velvety and rich, heavy cream brings a sense of luxuriousness and indulgence to both sweet and savory dishes. The neutral flavor of this dairy product makes it ideal for use in a variety of cuisines and meal types.
Due to its richness and high-fat content, you may only require a small amount at a time and can easily find yourself left with more heavy cream than you can use.
Luckily, there is no need to toss what you cannot use before it expires because heavy cream can be frozen to extend its shelf life. Here is everything you need to know to successfully preserve heavy cream in the freezer.
Can Heavy Cream Be Frozen?
Yes, save money and food waste by freezing leftover heavy cream to keep it from going off. If you have too much heavy cream, you need to freeze it while it is still fresh.
Placing it in the freezer will not renew or improve the quality of the product, so if it has already expired, it is best to throw it away.
Although freezing heavy cream does prolong its shelf life, it is still best to use it as soon as possible. The product will continue to deteriorate over time, the longer it stays frozen.
If the cream separates slightly on thawing, simply give it a good whisk to reconstitute the smooth consistency. Frozen heavy cream can be used for baking, cooking, or whipping and will have the same flavor as fresh cream.
How To Freeze Heavy Cream
Step 1: Quality Check
Check the quality of the heavy cream before freezing ensuring that the cream is fresh and not nearing its expiry date.
Step 2: Portion
To avoid having to defrost the entire batch of heavy cream when you only need a little, it is best to divide it into smaller quantities for freezing. To do this, pour heavy cream into ice cube trays or silicone muffin trays for slightly larger portions.
Place the muffin tray on a baking sheet to keep it sturdy and level if needed. Put it in the freezer for 2 to 4 hours until frozen solid.
Step 3: Pack
Remove the frozen cubes from the ice cube tray and place them into resealable freezer bags. Before sealing the freezer bags, press out as much air as possible to avoid freezer burn and unnecessary contact with air.
Step 4: Label and Freeze
Label the plastic bag or freezer safe container with the contents and date to keep track of how long it has been frozen.
How To Thaw Frozen Heavy Cream
To defrost heavy cream, remove the portion you would like to use from the freezer and place it directly into the fridge, covered, to thaw overnight or for several hours. Thawed heavy cream might split or develop a grainy texture when whipping, but you can fix this.
To blend the separated butterfat, give the thawed cream a good shake or whisk before using it. If the heavy cream appears slightly grainy when whipped, add some powdered sugar to help smooth it out.
You can add frozen cream to soups and stews without thawing it. You may need to add a few minutes to the cooking time considering the addition of the frozen ingredient which drops the overall temperature of the dish and slows the cooking process.
If you are using heavy cream in a baked product, you have to thaw it before adding it to the batter.
Types of Heavy Cream
Cream is a dairy product made from the high-fat layer which is skimmed off the top of milk. Cream can have a yellow tinge (hence the name of the off-white color, cream) or it can be white, depending on the feed or diet-type of the cows, or goats from which it is produced.
Cream is popularly used as an airy whipped topping on sweet dishes. By incorporating air through beating the heavy cream at high speed, it firms up to form stiff peaks.
This airy fluff can be left plain or flavored and is used as a topping for hot and cold drinks, cakes, scones, pancakes, waffles, tarts, fruit, and pavlova.
Pouring heavy cream is used in many sweet and savory, cold and hot dishes such as stews, soups, curries, custards, puddings, and sauces. It is also blended into alcoholic drinks such as the making of Irish cream and eggnog.
Since freezing heavy cream does not affect its taste, it is the perfect way to preserve this creamy dairy ingredient to save money and prevent food waste. There are various ways to use frozen heavy cream, so do not hesitate to pop it into the freezer for future use.
Just remember, if you want the best out of your frozen heavy cream, it needs to be prepared properly for freezing and protected from contact with moisture and air.
Whether using leftover cream as a topping, to thicken soups, in a pasta, stew, sauce, dessert, or beverage, there’s no reason to let any leftovers go to waste now that you know you can freeze heavy cream.
See more: Heavy cream substitute