Milk is a wonderful drink for some. For others, it’s something they can’t imagine drinking, whether it’s due to allergies or because they follow a vegan or more limited vegetarian diet.
However, nowadays there is no shortage of plant based milk options to choose from if you can’t or don’t drink dairy milk. These include rice milk, almond milk, and coconut milk. But there is one alternative milk drink, in particular, that is becoming increasingly popular – oat milk.
Oat milk is a great replacement for dairy milk whether you do or don’t have dietary restrictions. It’s usually fairly priced and is also quite healthy as it usually doesn’t have the higher sugar levels of rice and coconut milk and it’s often fortified with extra vitamins and minerals. And lastly, it’s usually cheaper than almond milk. Seems like a pretty great alternative, right?
So, what do you do if you happened to buy a case of it when it was on sale? Perhaps you’re going on vacation and have a freshly opened carton in the fridge. Can you freeze oat milk? Yes, you can! You can keep it fresher, longer by storing it in the freezer.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about freezing oat milk. I’ll tell you the best way to freeze and defrost it as well as how to spot if your oat milk has turned bad.
How Long Does Oat Milk Last?
How long oat milk lasts depends on how you store it. Its shelf life will vary greatly depending on factors such as if it’s opened or unopened and the temperature it’s kept at.
First, if oat milk is unopened, it won’t likely need to be frozen. This is because the shelf life of oat milk is quite long.
Generally speaking, the best-by dates on shelf-stable oat milk are usually in the range of nine months to one year from production date if they’re kept in a cool, dark space like your pantry. And, since it’s completely sealed it will normally last at least a few months pst the best-by date. So, if you have quite a few unopened containers of oat milk you bought in bulk, you won’t likely even need to freeze them.
If your oat milk is opened then it’s much more likely you’ll need to freeze it. This is because once a carton has been opened, it should be stored in the fridge and used within seven days (or sometimes 10 at the most, depending on the brand). Also, avoid leaving it out at room temperature for extended periods of time (more than two hours)
When you store oat milk in the freezer you can either store the whole bottle or carton in the freezer or you can transfer the contents into a separate freezer-safe container.
The original packaging usually is fine to put in the freezer because it normally comes in a carton container that will allow for the milk to expand. However, you should only store an unopened container in the freezer. This is because it still has a close seal. Sometimes if it’s been already opened, the seal won’t be as good as compared to another freezer-safe container.
No matter which you choose, either in the carton or a separate container, it will last the same amount of time – about six months.
After six months of being frozen, it should still be safe to consume. However, the texture will likely have degraded too much to be enjoyable. So tread lightly if it’s been frozen for longer than six months.
Can Oat Milk Be Frozen?
Yes, oat milk can definitely be frozen!
Whilst you may not need to freeze it since an unopened container can last up to a year, it can be a great option to freeze the contents of an opened package of oat milk that you don’t think you’ll be able to finish before it goes bad (around seven days, or what the label says).
Just remember to use it as soon as possible, preferably within six months as the taste and texture will likely drastically change after this point.
What Happens To Oat Milk When You Freeze It?
As I’ve already mentioned, when you freeze oat milk, the consistency will change. It will become slightly grainy after it’s been thawed.
So, while it can be a good way to extend its life, you may want to rethink if you really need to freeze it. However, you can combat this by straining the thawed oat milk through a cheesecloth to filter out the grainy particles.
How to Freeze Oat Milk
So, how do you go about freezing oat milk? The two best ways are in the carton or in an airtight and freezer-safe bottle or container. Here’s how to do it:
In an Airtight and Freezer-Safe Container/Bottle
- Fill a freezer-safe bottle with oat milk, leaving at least 1 inch of room at the top. This is because liquid expands as it freezes, so it’s critical to allow enough space at the top to prevent the glass from shattering from the pressure.
- Label the container and place it in the freezer.
In the Carton
- Simply label the carton with the freezing date and place it in the freezer.
No matter which method you choose they will both keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. Make a note of the date of the initial freeze to help keep track of the length of time it’s been frozen.
How to Thaw Oat Milk
If it’s in an airtight and freezer-safe container/bottle, place the bottle (or bottles) in the refrigerator for 8 hours. If you intend to use oat milk in the morning, it is preferable to defrost it overnight in the refrigerator. Use within 10 days.
If it’s still in the carton, take the oat milk carton out of the freezer and set it in the refrigerator. Refrigerate the oat milk for at least 8 hours or overnight to thoroughly defrost. You may then utilize it as you normally would.
Once thawed, oat milk should be used within 10 days.
How to Tell if Oat Milk Has Gone Bad
Like regular milk, it’s a good idea to always check to see if the milk is bad before you use it. The last thing you want is to pour it into your coffee or cereal only to find that it’s spoiled after taking a drink or bite of it!
So, pour your oat milk into a glass to begin. Then, oat milk should be discarded if:
- The texture isn’t even close to being smooth. Throw away any oat milk that is lumpy, thick (difficult to pour), or slimy.
- The color scheme has shifted. Oat milk is creamy white milk made from oats. If yours isn’t, something awful has most likely happened. Unless it’s a flavored one, in which case the hue is regular.
- It has a strange odor. It’s unusual for plant milks to smell sour or unpleasant, but if they do, it’s an indication of deterioration.
- It’s been open for over 5 days longer than the label suggests. If the label advises to complete the carton within four days after opening, but yours has been open for ten days, it’s time to throw it out.
- If there’s mold in the carton. While it’s extremely uncommon, I recommend tearing open any old box to check for mold. Leftovers can always be transferred to an airtight container. But, if there’s mold also on the milk, discard it immediately.
If none of the above are true, it’s time to sample your oat milk.
Feel free to use it normally if it’s acceptable, which is the most likely conclusion. Throw it away if it isn’t, or if you’re not sure it’s safe to drink.
After you first open the carton, the quality of oat milk steadily degrades. As a result, you may discover that the oat milk you opened four days ago isn’t as delicious as it was when you first opened it, but still usable. However, if the flavor difference is significant, you should discard the drink.
How to Use Frozen Oat Milk
Since oat milk is a vegan milk alternative, it can normally be used just as you’d use dairy milk. However, it does not necessarily perform the same function in a recipe as cow’s milk.
Of course, there are certain recipe-specific alternatives, such as coconut milk in curry, but in general, you may substitute oat milk for cow’s milk with very little change in the end.
Here are a few great uses for your thawed milk:
- In coffee and/or tea, as a creamer or latte
- The foundation for oatmeal smoothies (try it with frozen bananas, a handful of blueberries, a spoonful of nut butter, and protein powder to bulk up the nutritional value)
- Use in body care products for the face, skin, and hair
- Replace cow’s milk in cereal and granola
- As a liquid in baked products such as pancakes, muffins, cakes, bread, and others
- Oat milk may be used to make overnight oats or to loosen up a dish of oatmeal for additional oaty deliciousness.
So, as you can see, there are quite a few ways that you can use thawed oat milk. And most of them are just as you would with normal cow’s milk.
Can You Refreeze Oat Milk?
You can refreeze oat milk, but it’s certainly not something I would recommend. So, it should generally not be refrozen. Oat milk should be frozen once, used, and then discarded if it is still going bad and you don’t have any further uses for it. It will not survive another freezing.
The milk will still be safe to drink, but whether you choose to eat something with the texture of twice-frozen oat milk will be a personal choice. And as it already becomes slightly grainy after being frozen once, it will only have a worse, more grainy texture.