Sweetened condensed milk is a great ingredient to have on hand for baking and sweet dishes.
Whether you are making simple ice cream or a delectable fudge, sweetened condensed milk can bring the creamy sweetness that makes these foods so tasty.
But many recipes that call for condensed milk only require a small amount.
As someone who works hard to minimize my food waste for my budget and sanity, finding a good way to freeze extra condensed milk makes it much easier for me to enjoy recipes that use it.
Generally speaking, you can freeze unused sweetened condensed milk for up to three months. Make sure to store it in an airtight container to retain the best flavor and leave some extra room for the liquid to expand when it freezes.
It will not freeze solid due to the combination of milk and sugar, so make sure to store upright to reduce the possibility of spills. When freezing desserts and dishes made with sweetened condensed milk, put them in an airtight container or heavy-duty plastic bag to keep them fresh and tasty.
Can You Freeze Sweetened Condensed Milk?
Storing unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk is typically done in the pantry.
It is sold in shelf-stable cans that do not require refrigeration. Once you open the can, however, this changes.
Condensed milk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You should always transfer the contents of the original can to a new, clean container that can be sealed.
If you are storing it in the fridge, this can be a glass or plastic container.
Storing sweetened condensed milk in the freezer does require that you use a freezer-safe container.
I like Ziploc freezer containers, although it can be hard to find a small size suitable for condensed milk.
Rubbermaid has heavy-duty plastic storage containers in a variety of sizes that will work as well.
You can freeze condensed milk in a freezer plastic bag. This can be a great way to save space in your freezer.
Pour the milk into the bag carefully. It can be helpful to open the bag inside a glass or cup to support it as your pour.
Press any extra air out and make sure that it is sealed. I even like to double bag sweetened condensed milk when storing this way to prevent leaks in the freezer.
Tip: Look for a freezer-safe plastic bag with a wide base that is designed to be used with liquids.
Sometimes you can even find reusable heavy-duty plastic bags that are great for this purpose.
What To Expect From Frozen Sweetened Condensed Milk
Sweetened condensed milk is a combination of milk and sugar, with some of the water removed through evaporation.
This combo means that the milk will not actually freeze solid when placed in the freezer.
It will become thicker, almost the consistency of slime or putty. It’s important to store your container upright so that this thick milk does not leak out, even after it’s been in the freezer for a while.
Don’t be surprised when you take the sweetened condensed milk out of the freezer and see it move (slowly) in its container.
It is not bad and you didn’t freeze it wrong. This is simply how sweetened condensed milk works.
Tip: You can freeze sweetened condensed milk in an ice cube tray but do not pop the cubes out like you would any other liquid.
They will not remain in a cube shape and will just make a mess in your freezer.
Freezing Leftover Sweetened Condensed Milk
When you cook or bake with sweetened condensed milk, chances are you have leftover milk once you are done. It is most commonly available in an aluminum can.
While it may be tempting to pop the can with its leftover contents directly in the fridge or freezer, this is not the best way to store sweetened condensed milk.
Instead, transfer your leftover sweetened condensed milk to an airtight container.
Even if you use plastic wrap or aluminum foil, it is virtually impossible to get an airtight seal on the top of a can.
A plastic storage container with an airtight lid solves this problem.
Freezing Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk
Condensed milk is easy to find and cheap to buy at the store, so many home cooks pick up a can or two to use in their dishes.
Some prefer to make their own, however. This can be due to personal taste preference, wanting to use alternatives to milk, or just for the fun of it.
Some alternative milks and sweeteners to consider are:
- Soy milk
- Almond milk
- Oat milk
- Agave nectar
Like the store-bought varieties, homemade sweetened condensed milk contains milk and sugar.
Much of the water content is removed through boiling and the milk is sweetened with sugar.
The combination of these two ingredients is what makes sweetened condensed milk tricky to freeze.
Make sure that your homemade condensed milk is completely cool before putting it in the freezer.
You should let it sit on the counter uncovered until it is at room temperature.
When you put the lid onto the container, there should not be any condensation forming. If you see condensation, let it cool more.
Homemade sweetened condensed milk can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.
Using alternative milk or sweetener can impact the overall consistency of the sweetened condensed milk when it is frozen and when it is fresh.
Making The Most Of Leftovers
A lot of recipes use sweetened condensed milk. One of the best ways to make the most of your small can from the store (or a homemade version) is to prepare multiple recipes at once so that you don’t need to store any leftovers.
Some of the top recipes using condensed milk include:
- Chocolate fudge
- Magic Cookie Bars
- Hot chocolate
- Bundt Cake
You can freeze most of these delicious treats. Just make sure to store them in an airtight container or a freezer-safe plastic bag to keep them from getting freezer burn, which will impact both taste and texture.
It’s no surprise that most of the recipes using sweetened condensed milk are sweet. You can always make a double batch of your favorite and freeze some for later.
How Long Does Sweetened Condensed Milk Last In The Freezer
Unused condensed milk will last for up to three months in the freezer. I like to mark the container or bag with the date that I stored the milk.
This way I know when I need to use the milk before it goes bad.
You can also add a “use by” date if that is easier for you. If you do store more than one container of leftover sweetened condensed milk, move the older container to the front and put the new one behind.
This will help you remember which one you should use first.
If you plan to use your sweetened condensed milk soon, such as with holiday baking, you can keep it in the fridge for a short time.
Condensed milk will last in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Tip: Store your sweetened condensed milk in the fridge in the same airtight container that you can use in the freezer.
Not only will this keep the milk fresher, but it also makes it much easier and faster to move it to the freezer if needed.
Defrosting And Using Condensed Milk
When it’s time to pull out your leftover sweetened condensed milk for your next baking session, you should do some planning to make sure that it is ready.
Put the frozen container of condensed milk in the refrigerator one day before you plan to use it.
You do not need to open the container. In fact, keeping it closed will make sure that no harmful bacteria get near it as it defrosts.
If the milk and sugar have separated at all, you can use a fork or whisk to stir it back together.
The consistency should be creamy, almost just like it was before it was frozen.
If you see visible chunks or the condensed milk has an off smell, throw it away and get a new container. Better safe than sick!
Once you are done baking, you should use or throw away defrosted sweetened condensed milk that you do not use in your recipe.
Unfortunately, you cannot refreeze condensed milk without significantly increasing the risk of food poisoning from harmful bacteria that can get in the milk.
It’s best to freeze it in quantities that you will use so that you only need to defrost enough for one dish or treat.
Can I Use Frozen Sweetened Condensed Milk?
It’s best to let your sweetened condensed milk thaw before you use it, especially in baking. Baked goods are notoriously picky about the amount and consistency of ingredients.
Because the thickness of sweetened condensed milk changes when it freezes, it will be more difficult (even impossible) to combine with the other ingredients while still frozen.
The exception to this is when using sweetened condensed milk in hot chocolate. Because you will be heating the milk, you can pop it right in the pot in its frozen state.
It will take longer to heat and mix with your other ingredients, but should not impact the taste or texture of your drink in the end.
Cooking and baking with sweetened condensed milk can bring a delicious creamy sweetness to your holiday desserts.
Whether you are baking for a crowd or just indulging in a few treats, you will be happy to know that you don’t need to throw out any leftover sweetened condensed milk.
Just freeze it in an airtight container for up to three months. When it’s time to bake again, defrost the milk and enjoy.
Katie is an experienced writer, who wrote for big magazines like The Spruce. She is also a mom of three (Sebastian, Lincoln, and Hannah). In her spare time, she likes to read, day hike, and explore hidden gems around her home in North Carolina. You can connect with Katie on Instagram @katiebwriter or her website, www.katiemelynnbegley.com.