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You can absolutely freeze half and half for upwards of 3 months, but when thawed it may separate some resulting in a different texture.
How to Freeze Half and Half
If you like to shop sales like I do, you may have stocked up on half and half but not be able to use it before its expiration date. In this case it's best to freeze it to extend it shelf life.
Half and half like other dairy products such as milk or heavy cream can be frozen, however, the freezing process causes the fat to separate resulting in a different texture when thawed. So, just be prepared that you may have separated half and half when you defrost.
Freezing in the carton
If you have not opened your half and half yet you might be tempted to just simply freeze it in the carton. While some people think this works just fine and you can certainly try it, it's not the absolute best way to freeze half and half.
A few things to note if you try this method. First, any liquid expands when it freezes. And so you can experience bulging or even tearing of your carton wants to have and half freezes. Secondly, the cartons are not made to be freezer safe and airtight and therefore may not help maintain the best quality possible.
Freezing in container or freezer bag
If you know that you'll be using the half and half in larger quantities for things like baking, you may want to go ahead and freeze it in an airtight container or better yet a freezer bag.
- To do this, it's best to first decide about what size servings you'll need when it's defrosted and freeze it in those portions. Once you have decided on that, go ahead and grab an airtight container or freezer bag.
- Pour your serving size of half and half into your container or freezer bag.
- Note: Make sure to leave 1 to 2 inches of room in the container or freezer bag to allow your half and half to expand as it freezes.
- Go ahead and place the lid on your container or zip your freezer bag closed. If you're using a freezer bag, make sure to squeeze any excess air out of the bag before zipping closed.
- Grab a pen or marker and label your container or freezer bag with the date.
- Pop your half and half into the freezer. If you are using a freezer bag it is best for storage purposes to lay the bags flat so that it will take up less room and be easier to stack.
Freezing in ice cube trays
If you'll be using the half and half in a smaller proportions or for things like coffee creamer, freezing it and ice cube trays is super easy to do and gives you the perfect portion size.
- Go ahead and take your ice cube tray and then pour your half and half into each of the tray compartments. Leave a little headspace at the top of each compartment for the half and half to expand as it freezes.
- Pop your tray in the freezer and allow your half and half to freeze. This typically takes a couple of hours.
- Remove the ice cube tray and pop the frozen half and half cubes out. Go ahead and place them in a freezer bag or air tight container.
- If using a freezer bag, make sure to press out any excess air before fully closing it.
- Label your container or freezer bag and then pop it back into the freezer.
How to Defrost Half and Half
To defrost your frozen half and half, remove it from the freezer and place it into your refrigerator overnight. The amount of time it takes to thaw will depend on how much you froze together. As an example, I froze cubes in an ice cube tray and they defrosted completely within 6-8 hours.
Before using, take the thawed half and half and whisk it thoroughly to help it return to a more normal texture since it will be separated. Then, use as you wish.
How to Use Thawed Half and Half
You can use thought half and half in a variety of different ways due to its texture change most people use it in some of these situations:
- coffee creamer
- making hot cocoa
- baked goods such as French toast
- cream sauces or macaroni and cheese
Freezing Half and Half FAQ
Does freezing ruin half and half?
No, freezing does not ruin half and half. However, it does cause it to separate making it best used in baking when thawed.
How long can half and half stay frozen?
Half and half can stay frozen for upwards of three months and still maintain a decent quality. It does stay safe even longer, but the ultimate quality will degrade over time.
How long does it take half and half to freeze?
It depends on how you've frozen the half and half, but in general it will take around 4 to 5 hours assuming you have not frozen a very large or thick container of it.
If you're freezing smaller amounts I get an ice cube tray, it only takes a few hours for them to become Frozen.
How long does half and half stay good in the fridge?
Opened half and half stays good for around a week or a little less if it's kept in the refrigerator.
How to Freeze Half and Half
- airtight container
- marker or pen
- freezer bags
- Ice Cube Tray
- Half and Half
In the carton
- Not a highly recommended method, but is super fast.
- Simply toss the carton straight into the freezer.
- Notes:1) The liquid will expand a little upon freezing. So be aware that the carton may bulge or tear. To prevent this, you could open it and pour a little out first. But then you may as well dump it into a freezer bag, container or ice cube tray.2) If you want to provide a little extra protection, you can toss the whole carton into a freezer bag before putting it in the freezer.
In a freezer bag or airtight container
- Portion it out in the amounts you will need upon thawing.
- Pour the portions into individual freezer bags or airtight containers.Note: if using a container, make the size so that there is only 1 - 2 inches of space between the lid and the half and half.
- Carefully press all air from the freezer bag and zip it shut. Or, press the lid down onto the container.
- Write the date with a marker on the bag or container and toss it into the freezer.
In an ice cube tray
- Pour the half and half into each hole in the ice cube tray. Make sure to leave a little space in each for it to expand upon freezing.
- Pop the tray into the freezer for a few hours until the half and half is solid.
- Remove from the freezer and pop out the frozen cubes.
- Toss the frozen cubes into a freezer bag or airtight container.
- Seal the package:airtight container: press the lid down on top of it.freezer bag: carefully press all air from the bag and zip it closed.
- Jot the date on the outside of the package and place it into the freezer.