How to Freeze Heavy Cream Properly (An Easy Guide)

You might find yourself in a situation where the recipe you’re making calls for heavy cream, and so you purchase a carton only to use a small portion. Now, as you approach the expiry date of the heavy cream, it’s still half full, and you don’t want to discard it. So, can you freeze heavy cream to save for later?

You can freeze heavy cream and it freezes well. Heavy cream can last between one and two months in the freezer, giving you ample time to use it. Freezing heavy cream is good because it helps you avoid food waste and saves money since you won’t need to buy a new carton.

Keep reading as I discuss if freezing heavy cream can ruin it and how to freeze and thaw it properly. I’ll also explain what it means if heavy cream has a grainy texture. So, keep reading until the end.

Does Freezing Heavy Cream Ruin It?

Got heavy cream you don’t want to waste? Go ahead and freeze it.

Freezing heavy cream doesn’t ruin it. Since heavy cream contains a high-fat content, it freezes well and won’t spoil if frozen. It’s best to use frozen heavy cream within two months of freezing it.

Keeping it in the freezer for longer than two months is safe, but the quality of the cream will decrease as it stays frozen longer—it causes more ice crystals to form and the higher the water content becomes. 

What’s the Best Way To Use Frozen Cream?

The best way to use frozen heavy cream is to incorporate it into hot dishes or use it as a topping for desserts like pies. Consider whether you’re likely to use large amounts at a time or if your recipes usually call for small amounts. Also, consider if you would need to whip it. 

Freeze the Heavy Cream in its Packaging or a Freezer-Safe Container

Suppose you know you’ll use the heavy cream all at once. Then, you can freeze the carton as it is or decant it into another freezer-safe container.

Suppose you’re transferring it into another container. Make sure not to fill it to the top. The frozen heavy cream expands a few inches when frozen, so you need to allow space. 

Use an Ice Tray To Freeze Heavy Cream in Small Quantities

A great way to save and store leftover heavy cream is to freeze it in ice cube trays. Many recipes only require a few spoons of heavy cream and with this clever hack, you’ll have heavy cream ready to use without needing to head to the grocery store every time you require a small amount.

It’s best to measure how many spoons you put into each cube so that you know how many cubes to take out when you need to use it. Once the cubes have frozen, remove from the tray, transfer them into a ziplock bag, and put them back in the freezer. 

Whip the Heavy Cream Before Freezing It

As previously mentioned, thawed heavy cream doesn’t whip well. In the freezer, the cream develops ice crystals, and the additional water prevents it from becoming light and fluffy. If you know that you’ll need whipped cream for a recipe, the trick is to whip it first and then freeze it. 

You can either dollop your whipped cream into an airtight, freezer-safe container or transfer it onto parchment-lined trays and put the trays in the freezer. Once the cream has frozen, remove it from the trays, place it into ziplock bags, and back in the freezer it goes. 

How To Thaw Out Heavy Cream

How you thaw out your heavy cream will depend on how it was frozen and how you plan to use it. For example, if you’re adding it to a recipe that’ll be cooked, it doesn’t need to be thawed entirely. But let’s look at the different ways to defrost your heavy cream.

Transfer the Frozen Heavy Cream to a Fridge 

If you need heavy cream for a cold dish or topping for a dessert, you must defrost your heavy cream completely. Take the carton out of the freezer about a day in advance and put it in the refrigerator. If you live in a place with a cooler climate, you can leave it on the countertop to defrost but once defrosted; it must go into the fridge until you need to use it.

If your heavy cream is frozen in ice cubes, they’ll defrost faster, so you only need to take them out a few hours in advance. 

Once the heavy cream has defrosted, give it a good shake or mix so that the butterfat all comes back together. It’ll be perfect to use—just as good as fresh heavy cream.

Put the Frozen Heavy Cream in Warm or Cooked Dishes

Adding heavy cream to a dish you’re cooking requires no planning ahead. All you need to do is take the carton or cubes you need out of the freezer and put it directly into the pot. The cream doesn’t need to be defrosted beforehand. Throwing the heavy cream into a warm or hot pot will quickly thaw it and make it ready to use.

Thaw the Frozen Whipped Cream for Up to 15 minutes Before Using It

To use whipped cream that has been frozen, take it out of the freezer for about 10–15 minutes before you need it. Don’t let it thaw out entirely because it’ll melt. Once it becomes semi-frozen, you can add it to pies or desserts. 

My Defrosted Heavy Cream Has a Grainy Texture

You’ve planned ahead and taken your frozen heavy cream out of the freezer the day before you need it so that it has time to defrost, but now the texture is grainy. This sometimes happens when the fat molecules stick together. 

To get rid of the grainy texture, give it a thorough mix with a whisk to redistribute the fat. If it’s still grainy, try adding some powdered sugar. This should give it a smoother texture. Of course, only add powdered sugar if the cream is going to be used in a dessert or sweet dish.

Learn how to make heavy whipped cream in this quick video.

Final Thoughts

Freezing heavy cream is so easy. It’s safe and convenient to have on hand. Freeze it in the carton it came in or in a freezer-safe container. Alternatively, freeze in ice cubes in small quantities to be ready to use. 

Remember to take your frozen cream out in advance when you need it to have sufficient time to thaw out. Remember that you can’t whip heavy cream that’s been defrosted, so plan ahead if you need whipped cream by whipping your cream first and then freezing.