Yes, you can freeze heavy cream. Recipes using heavy cream usually only require small quantities, leaving you with half a pot of cream going to waste. We’re here to tell you that heavy cream can be frozen, reducing food waste and saving you money.
Heavy cream is also known as heavy whipping cream and is a cream consisting of between 36 and 40% fat. It is made by leaving fresh milk to stand, allowing a cream to rise to the surface. This is then scraped off and this is the heavy cream.
Heavy cream is the cream with the highest fat content, more than light, half-and-half and whipping cream. It is a dairy product and so is not suitable for people with all diets.
You can use heavy cream to fill up pastries, to pipe decorations or as a thickener in sauces and soups.
How to freeze heavy cream
If you only ever need small quantities of heavy cream for cooking, you can freeze it in small portions so you only defrost what you want to use.
You can freeze heavy cream in an ice-cube tray, flat in the freezer. Once the heavy cream has frozen solid in the ice-cube tray, pop the cubes out and place in a ziplock bag. Label it with the date, what it is and the volume of each cube.
It is a good idea to fill one cube of the tray with water and measure the volume, so you know what each ice cube is equivalent to. A standard ice-cube tray cube is usually equivalent to 2tbsp, but you can buy 2-inch trays that measure ½ cup in volume.
To freeze larger quantities of heavy cream, it is often the easiest option to freeze in the store’s container. If it is full, empty out the top inch of the container to create space for the cream to expand into.
Place the lid on and store upright in the freezer.
If you have already whipped the heavy cream, you can freeze that too. Pop it in an airtight container and store in the fridge.
You can freeze quenelles of whipped cream too, making presentation a breeze. Simply pop onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and freeze overnight. When frozen fully, peel the quenelles off the tray and place in a ziplock bag to store.
Heavy cream will last for about 4 months in the freezer if you store it properly, but it will be safe to eat for a lot longer.
How to defrost heavy cream
If you have opted to freeze the heavy cream in ice-cube trays and are adding directly to a hot pot, there is no need to thaw the individual cubes.
If you want to whip the heavy cream, or plan to use to create a cold dish, thaw out the desired quantities of heavy cream in the fridge for a few hours.
To thaw larger quantities, remove the heavy cream from the freezer 24-48 hours before you will need to use it. The size of the container will dictate how long the heavy cream will take to thaw.
It is vital to shake or stir the heavy cream well before you use it. This redistributes the fat in the butter, and will help to get rid of the grainy texture.
If the texture is still grainy, you can add some confectioner’s sugar which will help to smooth out the lumps.
The cream will be runnier in texture, but do not worry. The cold temperature will actually aid the cream’s ability to hold the air, making it whip even better than refrigerator temperature.
If you are attempting to thaw whipped heavy cream, you must allow it to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes prior to usage. This allows it to return to the correct consistency and you can use it as a topping on pies and other desserts.
If you leave it out to thaw completely, it will melt, so do not use if you need to transport or store the dessert.
If you freeze quenelles of whipped cream, you can pop in the top of a mug of hot cocoa to create the perfect warming fall drink.
Factors to consider before freezing heavy cream
You must have enough freezer space to comfortably fit an ice cube tray, or a baking tray if you opt to freeze quenelles of whipped cream.
Do not forget to create an air gap at the top of the heavy cream container to accommodate for the cream expanding when it freezes.
Do not forget to measure the size of the cubes your ice-cube tray makes are before filling with heavy cream. If your ice-cube tray cubes are 2tbsp in volume, 2 cubes = ¼ cup, 4 cubes = ½ cup, 6 cubes = ¾ cup and 8 cubes = 1 cup.
Do not refreeze heavy cream once it has thawed out. This is because allowing the heavy cream to come to room temperature allows bacteria to grow, which can be harmful when refrozen. This is what we recommend freezing the heavy cream in smaller portions.
The fat molecules in heavy cream are surrounded by a protein membrane. In cold temperatures, butterfat crystals can form inside of the protein membrane and can rupture it. As the cream warms up, the butterfat begins to seep out of the membrane and this may need redistributing through stirring.
We hope you feel confident in freezing leftover heavy cream so that you can take steps to reduce your food waste.
Heavy cream can be added to hot and cold recipes and is always a good staple to have on hand. It is best when used in sauces as the whipping capacities may not be as good, but it will still hold air.
Your dessert presentation will always be fantastic and you never have to worry about not having any heavy cream in. Take care to follow these steps so you freeze heavy cream perfectly every time.