They melt in your mouth, but not in your hand! M&M’s are a delicious treat at the holidays, snack at the movies, and even as an upgrade to cookie recipes.
Whether you choose their peanut, crispy, or the classic milk chocolate varieties, can you freeze M&M’s? We have the sweet deets!
M&M’s have come a long way in the past 80 years. What started as simple milk chocolate coated in rainbow colors is now a smorgasbord of white chocolate, almond, mint, caramel, and dark chocolate, to name a few. Thus, you can safely freeze M&M’s for anywhere between three months to two years, depending on the main ingredients.
Products that include “crisp rice” will only span about three months whereas dark chocolate candies will last the longest amount of time. All varieties should be frozen in an airtight ziplock bag with a second layer of aluminum foil over top. Finally, make a point to slow the candy slowly, transitioning them from room temperature to the refrigerator and finally to the freezer.
- M&M’s Candy Flavors
- How To Properly Freeze M&M’s
- How To Properly Freeze M&M Cookies
- How To Freeze Baked M&M Cookies
- Watch Out For Sugar Bloom And Fat Bloom [Simple Way To Avoid]
- Final Thoughts
- Related Guides
M&M’s Candy Flavors
It is what is on the inside that counts. This is true of humans as well as the M&M’s candies that have graced our trick-or-treating pumpkins, Easter baskets, and stockings each year.
If you want to freeze M&M’s, the time frame for optimal storage is highly dependent on the ingredients.
Cocoa is the main ingredient in chocolate and it is brimming with antioxidants. Whether you have really thought about it or not, antioxidants are beneficial to the human body because they hunt for unstable atoms in a person’s system and “prevent or reduce the damage caused by oxidation”.
Why is this important? The more cocoa there is the more antioxidants that are present.
This means that there will be less of an impact from oxygen exposure in chocolate that has a high percentage of this ingredient.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that “solid milk chocolate keeps for over a year [whereas] solid dark chocolate keeps for nearly two years.”
In contrast, white chocolate does not actually contain cocoa particles, just cocoa butter. This tremendously diminishes the shelf life to just four months.
Therefore, you can freeze M&M’s with dark chocolate for the long haul without the worry of spoilage!
Almonds, Peanuts, And Peanut Butter
Nuts are very low in moisture content. This makes them exceptionally ideal for freezer storage.
A lack of moisture means that the likelihood of large ice crystals forming is low, which ensures that the texture and flavor of these seeds stay intact.
Both almonds and peanuts will last for up to a year in the freezer.
Conversely, peanut butter tends to spoil much sooner. While it does have a low moisture content, it is high in fat.
The high-fat content causes this product to become rancid more quickly. Thus, peanut butter-based products will only last six months in the freezer.
Carmel has an interesting structural makeup due to the mixture of water and sugar.
The sugar molecules make it difficult for the caramel to fully harden, so this product requires a temperature slightly below zero in order to reach freezing. This is why most caramel swirls that you find in ice cream products stay soft and gooey.
Nonetheless, it is a fantastic product to store in the freezer. It can safely last up to a year in cold storage.
The only important note is that if you do drop your freezer temperatures to accommodate the lower freezing point, make sure to allow the appropriate time for the caramel to thaw. Otherwise, a trip to the dentist may be in order.
Rice Crackers And Pretzels
The crispy, crunchy interior of crispy M&M’s is made with rice flour. Essentially, it is a rice cracker. Mars Company labels it as “crisp rice”.
Unfortunately, these products only last about three months in the freezer. In contrast, pretzels can span 12 months in the freezer while still retaining the same taste and texture.
How To Properly Freeze M&M’s
As mentioned above, the ingredients in your M&M’s will impact how long you can freeze them. Plain milk chocolate M&M’s will span 12 months.
In contrast, even though the crispy M&M’s are made with the same milk chocolate, the crisp rice will not fare as long.
Thus, always freeze your M&M’s based on the ingredient with the lowest cold storage shelf life.
While they can technically stay safe to consume for longer, the intended flavors and consistency will change drastically, making them much less desirable to eat.
Moreover, always make a point to freeze this product prior to the expiration date.
Step #1: Package Your M&M’s To Freeze
First, pour your opened bag of M&M’s into a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Remove as much air as possible and then seal.
Alternatively, you can also use a vacuum sealer to complete the same step, but in a more effective manner.
You also have the option to store your unopened bag of M&M’s by completing the same steps using a ziplock bag.
Next, apply a second layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil around the plastic. This is important for preventing problems that can arise in the next step.
Finally, label your candy with the date of packaging.
Step #2: Move The M&M’s To A Cold Storage [Two Steps]
Chocolate has a pesky habit of taking on the smells and flavors of the items that surround it when stored in a cold environment.
This is why a double layer of protective packaging is key.
It is also why you should never store chocolate products in the fridge long-term. Otherwise, the cheese, fish, and other raw meats you have lying around the fridge will imprint on your sweet treat.
However, it is important that the temperature of your M&M’s drops slowly. Thus, move them to the fridge first.
If you have the ability to clear out your crisper drawer, this is the ideal place to cool your M&M’s before you freeze them. Then, “once a full 24 hours have gone by, move the container from the fridge to your freezer (this avoids temperature shock, and helps preserve texture).”
For those cookie lovers who cannot resist the chocolatey goodness of an M&M cookie, there is good news — you can freeze them too!
With baked cookies with M&M’s, make sure that they cool completely. Then, stack them in between layers of wax paper and store them in a freezer-safe Tupperware or Pyrex container.
Make a point to line the top with freezer wrap and aluminum foil, prior to applying the lid.
Conversely, wrap the unopened cookie dough container in aluminum foil and then place it in a freezer-safe ziplock bag, removing as much air as possible before storing.
Finally, for cookie dough that has been opened or freshly made, apply the same instructions in reverse — first place the raw dough in the ziplock bag and then apply a layer of aluminum foil on the outside of the bag.
Step #3: Thaw Your M&M’s Before Consumption
When it comes to any type of chocolate product, it is important that you follow the same steps you completed to freeze the candy in reverse.
Therefore, place the candies in the refrigerator for one day. Then, pull them out and allow them to reach room temperature and enjoy!
Finally, don’t forget that “when chocolate is kept at a consistent temperature below 70°F (ideally between 65 and 68°F), and at a humidity of less than 55%, the emulsion of cocoa solids and cocoa butter will stay stable for months.”
Additionally, store your M&M’s in a cool, dark, and dry place for best results. Otherwise, it can spoil quickly.
Watch Out For Sugar Bloom And Fat Bloom [Simple Way To Avoid]
Chocolate is highly susceptible to the effects of its environment. This is why it is so important that you apply multiple layers of protection prior to long-term storage.
When the product is cooled too rapidly, condensation will form in the packaging. This happens most often in the refrigerator and freezer.
“Moisture collects on the surface of the chocolate and draws out the sugar. When the moisture evaporates, it leaves behind white sugar crystals on the surface.”
This reaction is referred to as sugar blooming. Not only will it cause a change in appearance, but it can also alter the texture of your candy.
In contrast, when chocolate is warmed up too quickly, a similar reaction can occur called fat blooming.
This “occurs when the chocolate gets too warm and the cocoa butter separates from the crystallized chocolate mixture and then re-solidifies and comes to the surface.
This usually happens when the chocolate is kept at a temperature higher than 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Unfortunately, there is no way to remedy chocolate bloom. While the candy will remain safe to eat, the texture may be less than desirable. Thus, take the time to gradually cool and warm your M&M’s.
As the red M&M would say, “one does not simply eat just one”. Thus, when you overbuy M&M’s, freeze them. It will make the yellow, orange, green, blue, and brown M&M characters proud and it will cut back on waste!
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Heidi is a wife, mother, Newfie owner, writer and Meteorologist. She was born and raised in Texas and has worked in the broadcast industry for over a decade.