A perfect way to thicken soups and desserts, and the essential ingredient for whipped cream: heavy cream.
Whipping cream – also known as cooking cream, thick cream, and whipping cream – contains at least 36% fat. That’s why it thickens your food so well!
But you might be wondering: can you freeze heavy cream?
Here’s the lowdown: yes, you can freeze heavy cream. It will last for up to 3 months in the freezer. The only thing you need to remember is, if you’re planning to whip your cream, do that before freezing.
Should You Freeze Heavy Cream?
You’ll notice basically no difference between thawed heavy cream and non-frozen heavy cream. That means heavy cream is great for freezing, as it will extend its storage life significantly.
This is important: if you want to make whipping cream with your heavy cream, you should whip your cream beforehand, and freeze afterward. Scroll down if you want the details on that.
It will still work if you whip the heavy cream after you’ve thawed it, but you’ll find peaks don’t form as well.
How To Freeze Heavy Cream
How To Freeze Heavy Cream In Cartons
If you’ve got several cartons of heavy cream, and you know you use a lot of heavy cream at one time – say in batch cooking – then it’s simple. Pour a little heavy cream out of each carton, so there’s at least 1 ½ inches of empty space at the top. Then, pop your cartons in the freezer.
This will allow for expansion, so your carton doesn’t explode and make a mess in your freezer.
How To Freeze Heavy Cream In Portion Sizes
This is more time-consuming, but it’s a better option if you want to save on freezer space, and if you only use a little heavy cream at a time – say, in your coffee.
- Measure how much heavy cream fits into each slot in a cupcake tray or ice cube tray. Pick which one depending on the size of the portion. Leave a little space at the top to allow your heavy cream to expand.
- Pour heavy cream into the rest of the tray.
- Wrap your tray in cling film or aluminum foil, or place it in an airtight container. This will help to limit freezer burn.
- Flash freeze. Put your tray of heavy cream in the freezer for 2 hours.
- Now that you’ve flash frozen your chunks of heavy cream, you can transfer them to a freezer bag or airtight container without them all sticking together.
- Write the use by date and portion size on the freezer bag, or grab a label and stick it on the container.
Step 1 is important because it means you know exactly how much is in each chunk of heavy cream, which will help you when cooking.
Forgot to write the ml on? Here’s a handy rule of thumb: 8 frozen heavy cream cubes is equal to 1 cup of regular heavy cream.
Then, you can add these small chunks straight into your cooking, without defrosting beforehand.
How To Freeze Heavy Cream For Whipping
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s better to whip your heavy cream before freezing it to ensure you get the best texture for your whipped cream.
Here are the step-by-step instructions for freezing whipped cream:
- Whip your cream.
- Dollop large tablespoon drops onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Flash freeze for 2 hours.
- Transfer all the whipped cream drops to an airtight container or freezer bag, and write the use by date on it.
For step 2, you can make the drops larger or smaller, depending on how much whipped cream you use in one go.
However, tablespoon-sized drops are great to add into your coffee – don’t even worry about thawing beforehand if you want your beverage to be at a drinkable temperature.
If you prefer your morning coffee steaming hot, leave a drop of whipped cream to thaw in a mug in the refrigerator overnight.
How Long Frozen Heavy Cream Lasts
Expect your frozen heavy cream to last for up to 3 months.
Once thawed, aim to consume your heavy cream within 1 week.
Other Storage Methods For Heavy Cream
Let’s consider other storage options for heavy cream, since freezing your heavy cream doesn’t extend the storage life as much as other dairy products.
Heavy cream has a high fat content, which helps it stay fresh for longer.
But the real reason your heavy cream lasts up to a month in the refrigerator once opened is the UHT processing. That stands for Ultra High Temperature – this pasteurizes your heavy cream so it is stable and free of bacteria.
The Summary On Freezing Heavy Cream
Freezing heavy cream isn’t complicated – you just need to know which option to pick. Here’s a rundown of what you need to know:
- Got a lot of heavy cream and use a whole carton up within a few days? Feel free to freeze your heavy cream straight in the carton.
- If you don’t have much freezer space or don’t use a lot of heavy cream at a time, flash freeze in portion-sized chunks. Hint: use an ice cube or cupcake tray.
- If you buy heavy cream for whipping, whip it before you freeze it. This isn’t a necessity, but it is a recommendation.
- Frozen heavy cream lasts for 3 months, but opened heavy cream keeps for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.