When I was growing up one of the tastiest drinks was chocolate milk. While I thought the premade chocolate milk was alright, my absolute favorite was when it was homemade. Some of my fondest memories as a kid were coming in from a hot summer day and mixing together the chocolate powder and ice cold milk, taking a big gulp, and then licking off the chocolate milk mustache. Oh, to be young again!
Of course, chocolate milk is actually timeless. Though I enjoy it a bit less often, when paired with some fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies I can recapture my child-like joy for the drink.
However, not having as much time as I used to I’m not able to enjoy it as frequently and I get upset if I have to throw away food. So, to prevent having to throw away a large carton of chocolate milk I couldn’t finish, I decided that freezing it was the best way to save it for later.
Read on to learn everything I’ve found out about freezing chocolate milk. I’ll share the best way to freeze and defrost it for maximum quality and enjoyment.
Can you Freeze Chocolate Milk?
Yes, you can definitely freeze chocolate milk! It’s pretty similar to freezing regular or non-dairy milk, which if you didn’t already know, you can also freeze.
In fact, freezing chocolate milk not only extends its lifespan, but also creates a super tasty and refreshing chocolate milk slushy in the process. Perfect for a hot day!
Whilst the concept may seem a bit strange to some, freezing chocolate milk is totally fine. It doesn’t change the quality or the taste of the chocolate milk.
The reality is that chocolate milk tends to come in single portions (that are usually too small), or a large carton or jug that may be difficult to finish, especially if you are trying to watch your daily sugar intake. So, freezing it is a great way to make sure you get to enjoy every bit of the chocolaty goodness!
What Happens When You Freeze Chocolate Milk?
If it’s your first time freezing chocolate milk you’ll likely notice something that may concern you, but in reality, it’s totally fine. I’m referring to the separation of the color that may occur. The good news is that this can be easily fixed.
All you need to do to fix separation is either shake up or strongly stir the chocolate milk until it’s once again homogenous. After that, it will be just as it was. However, you may notice more or less separation depending on how much fat is in the milk. The higher the fat content, the more you’re likely to notice the separation of the milk when you freeze it. Low fat or skim milk chocolate milk will separate less.
Freezing chocolate milk may change it for the worse if you don’t store it properly, however. If it’s not sealed correctly and there are other foods in the freezer that have strong odors, then the taste and/or smell of the chocolate milk may be affected. So, to avoid this, make sure to seal it properly (which should be a given) and to store it away from other foods that may have a strong smell. Some of these strong smelling foods can include seafood or meat.
Does Frozen Chocolate Milk Taste Good?
Yes! Frozen chocolate milk still tastes great after it’s been frozen. In fact, it will be very hard to tell that it’s been frozen at all.
However, I should mention again that the fat content of the chocolate milk plays a part in how it tastes afterward. If the chocolate milk is made with high-fat milk, it may seem a bit more watery compared to when it’s not frozen. However, if the chocolate milk is made with low-fat or skim milk, then the difference will be less noticeable as it’s already more watery when it’s not frozen, unlike its high-fat counterpart.
So, if you plan on freezing chocolate milk, I would suggest going with a low-fat version if possible as low-fat and skim milk tend to freeze a little bit better and the difference in texture is not as noticeable compared to before it’s frozen.
How Long Does Chocolate Milk Last in the Freezer?
Before it’s frozen chocolate milk typically lasts for about a week. However the exact amount of time usually depends on the best-by date and if it’s been kept refrigerated the entire time.
Chocolate milk shouldn’t be left out at room temperature for more than two hours. Nor should it be stored in the door of the fridge as this is the warmest place in the fridge that’s subject to frequent changes in temperature. Even if you follow these steps however, there are still some freak times when the milk goes bad quicker than usual, which is why it’s always a good idea to have a quick smell before you take a gulp of the milk. The best way to avoid chocolate milk going bad, though, is to freezing it.
When it’s frozen, chocolate milk can last a long time in the freezer. Compared to a measly week in the fridge, chocolate milk can retain its quality for up to four months when frozen. And technically, it will be safe to drink pretty much indefinitely. However, the quality of the chocolate milk will start to decline after the first four months.
How to Freeze Chocolate Milk
Before you freeze chocolate milk, or even before you buy it, there are some things to keep in mind. It requires a little bit of planning because you should freeze chocolate milk in a certain manner for the best results. Fortunately it’s still a very easy process. Here’s how to freeze chocolate milk:
- Find an airtight container, jar or freezer bag to transfer the milk to. You should avoid freezing it in the carton if possible. However, if it’s a plastic jug with an airtight seal, that will also do.
- Pour the chocolate milk into the container and leave at least ½ inch of space and seal it. This is because the chocolate milk will expand when it’s frozen. This is the same if you are freezing it in a jug. You should drink at least a cup of it before putting it in the freezer to prevent the container from bursting.
- Stir or shake the container one last time before putting it in the freezer. This will prevent the color separation as much as you can.
- Label the container and put it in the freezer, away from possible smelly foods.
One thing to keep in mind is that you should aim to freeze the milk when it’s the freshest for the best results. So, freeze it as soon as possible. For the best results, it should be frozen earlier. The results may not be as good if it’s frozen very close to the expiration date.
How to Thaw Chocolate Milk
Similar to many other foods or drinks that are frozen, it’s pretty easy and straightforward to that chocolate milk. Here’s how you do it:
- Place the container of frozen milk in the fridge and leave to defrost for a few hours, or overnight.
- Don’t let it defrost at room temperature. It may stimulate the growth of dangerous bacteria, meaning that it may go bad sooner or be unsafe to drink.
Again, don’t be surprised if there is a bit of separation, that’s natural. You can fix this by giving a good shake or stir once it’s completely defrosted.
After it’s been defrosted you should use it within a week at the latest. But I recommend using it sooner, closer to three or four days.
How Can You Tell if Chocolate Milk Has Turned Bad?
With dairy products, it’s usually very easy to tell if they have gone bad or not. And in the case of milk, it’s perhaps the easiest of all.
While the chocolate flavoring may interfere with the ease in which to tell if it’s gone bad, the smell of it still tells all. If the milk smells the slightest bit sour, then it’s certainly gone bad and should be discarded. And, of course, there is a physical sign as well.
While the brown color may make it a bit more difficult to tell if it’s bad, if it looks clumpier then it’s also certainly bad. And, worst case, if you try it and it tastes sour, it’s gone bad. So, if it’s approaching the one-week mark, then you should tread lightly and avoid taking a big gulp of it before checking if it’s bad or not.
Can You Freeze Chocolate Milk to Make Ice Cream?
Yes and no. You can certainly make a frozen chocolate treat, similar to a fudgicle, by freezing chocolate milk. All you need is the chocolate milk and popsicle molds.
However, making ice cream is more complex than just freezing milk. One of the easiste ways to make homemade ice cream from chocolate milk is with an ice cream maker. However, there are recipes like this one that don’t require an ice cream maker.
Can You Freeze Chocolate Milk in the Carton?
It’s best to avoid freezing milk in a carton. It should be in an airtight container with enough space for it to expand. However, it may be possible if the carton has an airtight cap. Foldable cartons on the other hand won’t protect the milk from the air and may result in freezer burn.
Does Chocolate Milk Last Longer Than Regular Milk?
There are varying opinions, but it lasts about the same time. For both regular and chocolate milk, the sooner they are used, the better quality they will be. Be sure never to leave either of them at room temperature for more than 2 hours.