You can successfully freeze almond milk as long as you know what to expect. Its texture, color, and taste will change significantly after freezing, but a good blender or vigorous stirring action can return it nearly to its original state!
Whether homemade or store-bought, the velvety texture of almond milk has made it a kitchen favorite. Rich and creamy, it can be thickened into a coffee whitener or used in curries and stews. However, its shelf-life is only 7-10 days after opening, leading many to wonder if it preserves well in the freezer. Here is our comprehensive guide to storing, freezing and thawing almond milk.
Should you Freeze Almond Milk?
Is it Worth it? (Short Answer)
Most almond milk producers do not recommend freezing their products for two reasons. First, most almond milk is sold in sealed cartons with a shelf-life of several months if unopened. This is the best way to store almond milk until its expiration date.
Second, almond milk goes through biochemical changes in the freezer that affect its texture, consistency, flavor, and color. However, there are ways to mitigate these effects, and the product’s nutritional value will remain unharmed. So go ahead and put it in the freezer! Be aware that when you thaw frozen almond milk, it has a shelf-life of only 3-5 days (as opposed to 7-10 days fresh after opening).
Flavor and Textural Changes? (Long Answer)
Almond milk consists of a suspension of small particles in a solution of 88% water. These particles are, fundamentally, tiny components of almonds: fat droplets, proteins, cellulose, and a little fiber.
Every molecule has a freezing point (a temperature at which the molecules harden, taking on an organized, repeating structure). Note that freezing points do not all occur at the same temperature; the freezing point of water is higher than that of almond fat or protein. As the temperature drops, the water molecules begin to organize themselves together and push the other components away towards the bottom.
These dissolve into the fat layer, which settles at the bottom because it's heavier than water. Eventually, the fat layer will also freeze. This phase separation also explains the color change you see in frozen almond milk. Since the fats are gathering together, they take on a yellowish tinge that is not visible when suspended throughout the water phase.
After almond milk has fully thawed, this separation will remain visible. If you were to drink it in this state, it would taste hollow, with an inconsistent texture. However, you can reverse these effects by vigorously shaking, stirring, or blending it. This will help the lipids, proteins, and other components re-suspend in the water phase and any yellowness should disappear after the milk has been well-blended to re-incorporate lipids.
If your almond milk is store-bought, it probably contains emulsifiers that will help the components recombine. If you are working with homemade almond milk, adding an emulsifier like sunflower lecithin can be extremely helpful. After blending or stirring well, refrigerate your thawed almond milk and use it within 3-5 days. It may still need a vigorous shake just before use.
How to Freeze Almond Milk:
If you must keep almond milk beyond its expiration date, consider these options to freeze it:
- 1Freezing almond milk in small quantities, such as in an ice cube tray, can make the separation less noticeable. The cubes should be transferred to plastic bags after they have solidified.
- 2If possible, freeze the almond milk in its original, unopened container. One precaution you should always take when freezing almond milk is to minimize exposure to oxygen.
- 3When it's not possible to freeze almond milk in its original box or bottle, pour it into a separate airtight container. Make sure to leave at least an inch or two of room at the top! Because almond milk is mostly water, it will expand when frozen, so do not overfill.
How to Thaw Almond Milk
Thaw almond milk in the refrigerator but never at room temperature; that would worsen the effects of separation and accelerate the spoilage rate. Deterioration still occurs in the freezer, albeit much more slowly; while freezing impairs biochemical processes, it does not entirely hinder them.
Also, freezing can exacerbate some types of breakdowns, because ice crystals rupture cellular structures, making them extremely vulnerable to degradation once thawed. Even when kept refrigerated throughout the process, almond milk only lasts 3-5 days after thawing. Constant refrigeration is essential!
Uses for Frozen Almond Milk
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Freeze Frozen Almond Milk?
Definitely! Either homemade or store-bought almond milk is safe and easy to freeze. Homemade almond milk often shows more dramatic effects of freezing, but it will still return to its original creaminess after blending. It also has a shorter shelf-life than the store-bought products. Just follow the guidelines above to get the best results.
Can You Freeze Almond Milk Yogurt?
Freezing almond milk yogurt severely disrupts its structure, leading to a lot of separation upon thawing. Frozen almond milk yogurt should only be used for baking, cooking, in smoothies, or other situations where the damaged texture will not be noticeable.
Can you freeze Alpro almond milk?
Although this brand, like many others, does not recommend freezing their products, don’t let that stop you! You can freeze any brand of almond milk successfully if you follow the procedures outlined in this article.
Can you freeze almond milk for ice cream?
Almond milk that has been frozen would need to be thawed, then blended well as described above, before being used to make ice cream. Ice cream prepared from almond milk will not show as much texture, color, and flavor change during freezing as pure almond milk. Because it contains other ingredients that act as emulsifiers, like sugar and sometimes egg yolks or additional fats, these ingredients help prevent separation of the water, oils, and proteins.
Can you freeze almond milk for smoothies?
If you plan to make smoothies with almond milk, you have a lot of options. While fresh almond milk works great, you could also use almond milk that has been frozen and thawed. Because you’ll be putting it in the blender for your smoothie, a good stir is all it needs (to make sure you get plenty of both solids and liquids in your smoothie) before throwing it in. Alternatively, if you’ve frozen your almond milk in ice cube trays, toss a couple of frozen cubes directly into the blender.
Can you freeze almond milk in the carton?
Absolutely. Freezing almond milk in the unopened carton is the best way to go because it prevents oxygen exposure! Don’t worry if you see the box appear to bulge in the freezer--that’s just the ice crystals expanding as the temperature drops.
Yes, freezing almond milk will have an effect on texture and flavor. Just make sure to blend after thawing to ensure you get it as close to its original disposition as possible.
We hope this article helped you make an ultimate decision. Please feel free to comment with any further questions or concerns.