There aren’t many people who don’t like cream. It is great poured over fruit or any dessert such as apple pie, cheesecake, or a hot steamed pudding.
You can even use it in savory dishes, for example, mac and cheese, tuna noodle casserole, beef stroganoff, and seafood bisque. However, what do you do if you have a lot of it left over? Can you freeze it? The answer is yes, you can, but be warned, it doesn’t freeze particularly well.
Because of the high fat content, the texture will change, and the cream may split. It won’t be suitable for pouring when it is defrosted but can be used in dishes where the texture won’t matter so much.
If you are determined to freeze cream (see also Can You Freeze Cream Cakes?), we will tell you how to do so in this article.
How To Freeze Cream
There are two ways to freeze cream.
How To Freeze Large Portions of Cream
1. Pour the cream into airtight containers
Leave a gap at the top of the container because the cream will expand when it is put in the freezer. Put a label on the container with the date so that you don’t keep it in the freezer for too long. If you have room in the freezer for more containers, you can divide the cream into portions so that you only defrost what you need for one day.
2. Put the containers in the freezer.
If you have unopened cream, you can put it in the freezer as it is. It is advisable to put the carton in a freezer bag just in case the cream expands and the carton bursts. The last thing you want is to have a mess in your freezer.
How To Freeze Small Portions of Cream
This takes more time but it is well worth the trouble if you think that you will only need a little cream at one time.
1. Pour the cream into the slots of an ice cube tray.
Leave a gap at the top of the slots as the cream will expand when it is put in the freezer.
2. Flash freeze the cream.
Put the ice cube tray on a baking tray and put it in the freezer. Leave the cream to freeze. This will take about three to four hours.
3. Put the ice cubes in a freezer bag.
Squeeze out all the air from the freezer bag so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Freezer burn will ruin the taste and texture of the cream. Put a label on the bag so that you know when you put it in the freezer.
4. Put the bag in the freezer.
Because the cream has been frozen in cubes, the cubes won’t stick together. This means that you can remove only as many as you need.
How To Freeze Different Types of Cream
Of course, there are many different types of cream, for example, single, double, whipping, sour, and clotted cream. Here, we’ll take a look at all of these.
How To Freeze Single Cream
There is an 18% fat content in single cream, and this will affect the texture when it is frozen. The chances are high that it will split. You can blend it when you defrost it but it is still better used in dishes rather than pouring over a dessert. To freeze single cream, use either of the methods we have detailed above.
How To Freeze Double Cream
Double cream has an even higher fat content than single cream. It is 48% and this makes it even more difficult to freeze than single cream. The fats and proteins will separate, and it will split and become grainy. You can give it a whisk or a blend when defrosted but it still won’t be suitable for pouring. Only use it in dishes as the heating will help to get rid of the grainy texture. To freeze double cream, you can use either of the methods above.
How To Freeze Whipping Cream
Whipping cream is similar to double cream. You can freeze it using either of the methods above but the texture will change and you will have trouble whipping it. It is better to whip the cream before you freeze it. Whip it up and put it in an airtight container and freeze it.
How To Freeze Sour Cream
Unfortunately, it is even more difficult to freeze sour cream. The bacteria that make sour cream so tasty continues to work and the cream deteriorates. If you do decide to freeze sour cream, make sure that it is very fresh as this will give the best results. Freeze it as soon as you buy it and follow these steps:
1. Put the sour cream in freezer bags.
It is a good idea to portion out the sour cream into meal-size servings so that you don’t defrost more than you need. Leave some space at the top of the freezer bags as the cream will expand in the freezer. Squeeze out all the air from the freezer bags so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Alternatively, you can put the sour cream in an ice cube tray or airtight containers. Put labels on the bags or containers with the date you put them in the freezer.
2. Put the bags or containers in the freezer.
Defrosted sour cream, like other creams, should only be used in dishes such as beef stroganoff. It will have split so won’t be suitable in a dip or as a topping for such things as Mexican enchiladas.
How To Freeze Clotted Cream
Clotted cream is a luxury. It is delicious served on a scone with strawberry jelly. Even though it has a high fat content, it freezes better than other types of cream. It is still a good idea to freeze it when it is fresh. If you haven’t opened the packet, you can put the packet in a freezer bag and pop it into the freezer. If you have opened it, you can put the leftovers in an airtight container. As it freezes reasonably well, you can put it on top of desserts or scones when you have defrosted it.
Tips For Freezing Cream
- Squeeze out all the air from freezer bags to prevent freezer burn.
- Consider if you have to freeze the cream. It won’t be the same as fresh cream. If you think you will be using it soon, it will keep for a few days in the fridge.
- Only use the defrosted cream in dishes such as soups and stews. If you only like cream for pouring over cakes and desserts, freezing is not a good idea. Try and buy a small carton of cream instead and keep it in the fridge.
- Don’t freeze dishes with cream as the cream will split and become grainy. There’s no way you can blend it as it is in a dish. If you want to freeze a dish that normally contains cream, freeze the dish without the cream and add it when you come to reheat the dish.
For How Long Can You Freeze Cream?
You can freeze single, double, whipped, and clotted cream for up to three weeks. When it comes to sour cream, because it deteriorates in the freezer, you should use it within two weeks. This isn’t long but it’s longer than you can keep it in the fridge once it is opened.
How Do You Defrost Cream?
It is not a good idea to defrost cream quickly or use it frozen in dishes, as the texture will change drastically. Instead, put the cream in the fridge and leave it to defrost overnight. If you are defrosting cream ice cubes, it will take less time. By defrosting slowly, you will retain the taste and the nutrients but the texture still won’t be perfect.
When you have defrosted the cream, you may find that it has split. Blend or whisk it to get back some of the texture. However, it still won’t be the same as if you were using fresh cream.
Can You Refreeze Cream?
No, you can’t refreeze cream. When you freeze an item of food, ice crystals are formed, and they can change the texture of the food. If you refreeze cream, it will probably become mushy and virtually inedible. In addition, refreezing encourages bacteria to grow and you could even get food poisoning.
Is It A Good Idea To Freeze Cream?
You can freeze cream but it doesn’t freeze particularly well because it has a high fat content. The chances are high that it will split and become grainy. This is because the proteins and fats separate and even whisking or blending doesn’t return it to its original form. You won’t want to use a cream that has been frozen on top of desserts or cakes, or in a dip. Instead, use it in a dish where it doesn’t matter much what the texture is. Cooking breaks down the grainy texture and you really won’t be able to tell the difference between frozen cream and fresh cream.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing cream but in case you want to know more about freezing cream or cream in general, we have answered a few questions here.
Can you freeze creme fraiche?
Yes, you can freeze creme fraiche for up to four months. This is much longer than most creams which can only be frozen for up to three weeks. Of course, the sooner you use it the less chance there will be of it splitting.
Can you freeze heavy cream?
Heavy cream is another word for double cream. The fat content is a little different but you can freeze it in the ways we have described above. However, it doesn’t freeze well.
Can you freeze coconut cream?
Coconut cream is not a dairy product but you will still get a separation between the fats and proteins so it will split. However, the chances are that you will be using it in a dish such as Thai red curry or coconut cake, so it doesn’t matter what the texture is.
What soups can I make with defrosted cream?
There are many different soups that you could make, for example, cream of mushroom soup or cream of tomato soup (see also Should You Freeze Gazpacho?). There is nothing better than a steaming bowl of creamy soup on a cold winter’s night. Other tasty cream soups include cream of broccoli and stilton, cream of chicken, and cream of potato soup. If you are holding a dinner party, a crab and seafood bisque will go down well.
Can I add my defrosted cream to a pasta dish?
Yes, cream is a good addition to a pasta dish as it adds richness to the dish. It goes well with a pasta dish with mushrooms or chicken.
Can you freeze cream cakes?
Yes, you can and surprisingly they freeze reasonably well. The most important thing to remember is to wrap them tightly in cling film before you put them in a freezer bag to stop freezer burn from occurring. Freezer burn will ruin the taste and texture of the cakes. The best cream to use is double cream that has been whipped. The cream may still split a little but the cake protects the cream to a certain extent.
What can I do with defrosted sour cream so that you can’t tell it’s split?
You can add it to soups. If you blend the soup, you won’t be able to tell that the sour cream has split. You can add it to a cake mixture and again you won’t be able to tell that the cream has split. You can add it to a casserole to make it creamier. A corn casserole is a good choice as is a sausage and egg casserole. Use it in a beef noodle casserole or vegetable lasagne. It often goes better in a savory dish rather than a sweet one. The options of dishes with sour cream are endless.