Can You Freeze Evaporated Milk? The Complete Guide

Evaporated milk is a great product to keep around. You can use it in so many ways! It also has less fat (only about ¼ the amount) than regular cream. This is because evaporated milk has been processed so that about 60% of the water is removed. You can also find “light” versions that contain even less fat. And while there is less fat, there is still a high amount of calcium. 

You can find evaporated milk in pretty much every supermarket, so it’s also really convenient to buy. And the ideas for using evaporated milk are almost endless! You can use it to make a “guilt-free” creamy pasta sauce, you can finish soups with it give it a creamy texture, you can use it in baking to replace cream or regular milk, or you can use coconut evaporated milk in lieu of coconut cream or coconut milk in Thai curries. 

So, you can see that evaporated milk – regular or coconut milk – is both convenient and low-fat! But, the downside is that the shelf-life is quite short. Unfortunately, after a package has been opened it should be used in a matter of days. So, can you freeze evaporated milk to make it last longer? Yes, you can! Read on to learn more.

Can You Freeze Evaporated Milk?

Yes! You can certainly freeze evaporated milk. However, since it separates after thawing, you should first consider how you plan on using it. But, if you’re using it in baking or cooking with it, this shouldn’t be a problem. When cooking or baking, it won’t matter if you use ‘fresh’ or frozen and defrosted evaporated milk. 

However, if you don’t plan on cooking it, the change in texture and noticeable separation will make freezing it less desirable. This is why Carnation, an evaporated milk brand, states on their website: “It is not recommended to freeze evaporated milk, it changes its physical properties (color, flavor, texture, etc.). Freezing the can could also compromise the seam integrity of the can which in turn would spoil the milk.”

But, from personal experience, and other’s anecdotal experience, if you freeze evaporated milk in a proper way and cook or bake it, then it’s completely fine.

How Long Can Evaporated Milk Be Frozen?

If it’s been stored properly then evaporated milk can be kept in the freezer for up to three months. While it will be safe to eat after that, the quality will start to degrade and it will be less creamy and rich, and perhaps even more separated. 

How to Freeze Evaporated Milk

The process of freezing evaporated milk is only a couple of steps and takes just a few minutes, tops. Before you get started, you should first consider how you plan on using it in the future. That’s because you should freeze it in a proportional amount of servings.

So, if you plan on using only half of the amount you plan on freezing to make a soup creamier, you shouldn’t freeze the whole amount in one container. This is because you shouldn’t refreeze evaporated milk. If you don’t know how you plan on using it, it’s always safer to freeze it in more portions as you can always use several together if needed. 

Another consideration is the type of container that you plan on storing it in. To begin with, you should always go for an airtight container. But beyond that, there are multiple options depending on your needs and what you have to hand. Here are some of the best options: 

Plastic Container

Plastic freezer-safe containers are the best choice as they are probably something that you have laying around and they are also easily stackable and easy to pour the evaporated milk into. 

Glass Container

A glass container can also be a good option, similar to plastic containers, however, they can be prone to shattering if they are not freezer-safe or if they are filled too much. So, while they can be a good option, a plastic container is a bit safer. 

Freezer Bag

A freezer bag can work well if you’re freezing multiple portions. Since they can lay flat or fit into tight spots, you can save space by using them. However, you need to make sure that there isn’t a hole in the bag or else you will end up with a milky mess in your freezer. 

Ice Tray

If you plan on using evaporated milk for single-dish food items, freezing evaporated milk in an ice tray is a great option as it allows for smaller portions that are convenient to store. You can also freeze it in an ice tray if you are unsure how you plan on using the evaporated milk in the future. By having many, small portions, you can be flexible with how much and where you use it. If you use this container then you should cover it with plastic wrap or use an ice tray that has a cover, if possible. 

Freezing Evaporated Milk

Once you have thought about what you plan on using the milk for and which container you’ll use, here’s how to do it:

  • Pour the evaporated milk into your chosen containers. Each container should have one serving or portion. The ice tray method is obviously the exception here. When pouring it into the containers, remember to leave some headspace to allow for the milk to expand. 
  • Next, seal the containers. If your portions aren’t equal because you will use each one for a different dish (if you already have an idea) then you definitely should label them to avoid confusion. I like to label everything that I put in the freezer for long-term storage to make sure I don’t forget about what and when I put something in the freezer. 
  • Lastly, put it in the freezer.

And you’re done! Super easy, right?

How to Thaw Frozen Evaporated Milk

There are two main ways that you should consider when thawing evaporated milk: leaving it in the fridge overnight or skip thawing altogether. 

Overnight in the Fridge

Put the container in the fridge in the evening so it’s defrosted and ready to use the next morning. This is the best way, but it takes time and a bit of planning. 

Skip Thawing

If you’re going to use the frozen evaporated milk in your cooking, then you can skip the thawing in many cases. You just simply add the frozen block into the pot. You just need to keep in mind that it will need some time to melt into the food. 

For the best results, after you defrost the evaporated milk, you should stir it thoroughly using a hand blender. This can help combine the milk after it’s been separated. 

Some may consider leaving it out on the counter. I’m sometimes guilty of doing this – particularly if I’m in a bit of a rush or I forgot to put it in the fridge the night before. It’s not recommended but it’s possible. If you do this, then you should make sure that it’s sitting out at room temperature for no longer than two hours and cook it immediately. 

When You Should and Shouldn’t Freeze Evaporated Milk

There are certain times that it’s completely fine to use frozen evaporated milk as you will never notice that it’s been frozen and thawed. However, there are also some instances in which you should avoid freezing to use later. 

When You Should Freeze Evaporated Milk

Using in Cooking

Since evaporated milk is a great low-fat substitute for half-and-half and heavy cream in recipes it’s great to use in cooking. And, when it’s combined into a dish that’s being cooked, you can’t tell that the milk separated at all. 

Using in Baking

Similar to baking, evaporated milk works great as a low-fat substitute for whipped cream, heavy cream or regular cream. When it’s added to cakes, cookies, or pies, you can’t tell the difference if the evaporated milk you used was fresh or frozen. 

When You Shouldn’t Freeze Evaporated Milk

Since it separates after it’s thawed, it becomes unusable for certain recipes or drinks that you could definitely notice the difference in texture. Here are a couple of

Here are instances when not to use frozen evaporated milk: 


Evaporated milk normally can be a great addition to oats since it’s lower in fat than milk or cream. However, if you put evaporated milk that has been frozen, the taste and texture will not be the same as when you use fresh evaporated milk. 


Adding thawed or frozen evaporated milk to tea, coffee, or smoothies is a bad idea. The separated milk solids and the liquids would just not taste great. The chunkier texture will also be quite offputting. 

Other Storage Methods for Evaporated Milk

If the can or container of evaporated milk is not yet opened, then it should be kept in a cool, dark place like your kitchen pantry. If not subjected to high temperatures, unopened cans of evaporated milk can last for up to a year.

Once it’s been opened you should put it in the fridge if you’re not freezing it. You should store it in an airtight container and use it within 5-7 days. But before every use, check to see if it’s gone bad by looking at it and smelling it to be safe. 

Uses for Frozen Evaporated Milk

Frozen evaporated milk can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used in savory dishes such as soups, stews, pies, mashed potatoes or mac and cheese. Alternatively you can use it in sweet dishes such as ice cream, caramel, fudge, pies and muffins. My personal favorite is adding it to soup to give it a creamy (but low-fat) flavor.