How to Freeze Milk, Cheese, Yogurt and Other Dairy Foods

Using your freezer is one of the best ways to save money and reduce food waste. It’s also a great way to store meals and smoothie ingredients you prep in advance.

But can you freeze dairy foods? What’s the best way to preserve their taste?

Each dairy product is a bit different:


Milk can be frozen, but it is not recommended. Freezing does not harm the milk but does cause the milk to separate, changing its texture and appearance, and possibly affecting its taste. If you must freeze milk, ensure there is extra space in the container to allow for the liquid to expand. Thaw in the refrigerator, then shake or stir thoroughly before using.


Cheese can be frozen at 0ºF or lower, but it may become mealy and crumbly when thawed, so thawed cheese is best used in salads, as toppings or in cooked dishes – preferably as soon as possible after thawing. Some cheeses are better frozen than others; for instance, blue cheese varieties like Roquefort and Gorgonzola are generally used crumbled anyway. Other cheeses like Parmesan and Romano can be stored in the refrigerator for prolonged periods, so freezing is unnecessary.


Freezing yogurt is safe, however, freezing will change the consistency and quality of the product. In some cases, freezing yogurt – specifically if planning to use in smoothies or as a frozen treat – may be preferable. Just make sure to use the frozen yogurt within four months.


Butter can be frozen in its original wrapper for several months at 0ºF. For longer freezer storage, wrap in foil or plastic. Unsalted butter can be kept frozen for about five months and is best kept frozen until ready to use. Salted butter can be frozen for about six to nine months.


Freezing is not recommended for unwhipped cream but once whipped, cream may be frozen. Place dollops of whipped cream on waxed paper and freeze. When frozen, wrap individually for use as needed.

Want more ideas on getting the most from your groceries? Here are three tips for cooking with what's in your fridge.

By Jenna Allen, MS, RDN

Jenna is a registered dietitian with a passion for communicating science in an approachable way. She has been part of the Dairy MAX team since 2008. When she isn't working, Jenna is trying out new recipes with her three kids and working on her food photography. Learn more about Jenna.