Chocolate milk is a delicious and nutritious drink that is enjoyed by many. It is made by mixing chocolate syrup or cocoa powder with milk, giving it a sweet chocolatey taste. Some common brands of chocolate milk include Nesquik, Hershey’s, and Ovaltine.
Chocolate milk has many benefits. It contains calcium, vitamin D, and protein. It is also an excellent source of carbohydrates and energy.
However, like regular milk, chocolate milk also has a limited shelf life. So can you freeze chocolate milk to extend its shelf life? Let’s find out.
How Long Does Chocolate Milk Last in the Fridge?
Before learning if you can freeze chocolate milk, it helps to know how long it lasts when refrigerated. The shelf life of chocolate milk depends on the type of milk used:
- Chocolate milk made with pasteurized milk will last 5-7 days past the printed expiration date when refrigerated.
- Chocolate milk made with ultra pasteurized milk can last up to 3 weeks past the expiration date in the fridge.
- Homemade chocolate milk will only last 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
Therefore, for maximum freshness, it’s best to consume refrigerated chocolate milk within a week of purchasing or making it. Properly storing chocolate milk in a clean, sealed container in the coldest part of the fridge will help extend its shelf life.
Can You Freeze Chocolate Milk?
Yes, you can absolutely freeze chocolate milk to make it last longer. Freezing is an effective way to preserve the nutrients, flavor, and texture of chocolate milk for future use.
Here are some tips for properly freezing chocolate milk:
- Use fresh, high-quality milk – old or spoiled milk will not freeze well.
- Allow chocolate milk to chill completely in the refrigerator before freezing.
- Pour chocolate milk into freezer-safe containers, leaving about 1⁄2 inch of headspace to allow for expansion.
- Sturdy plastic freezer containers or mason jars work well. Do not use glass bottles as they may break.
- Seal containers tightly. You can use lids, plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- Label containers with contents and freeze-by date.
- Freeze chocolate milk rapidly at 0°F or below. Use the coldest section of your freezer.
- Frozen chocolate milk will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer before quality is affected.
Can You Freeze Homemade Chocolate Milk?
Yes, you can also freeze homemade chocolate milk. The process is the same as store-bought. Allow your freshly made chocolate milk to chill completely in the fridge first. Then pour it into clean freezer containers, seal tightly, label, and freeze.
Homemade chocolate milk may not last quite as long in the freezer compared to store-bought since it does not contain preservatives. But it can still be frozen for up to 2 months. Be sure to freeze homemade chocolate milk within 2-3 days of making it for best quality.
How to Thaw and Use Frozen Chocolate Milk
When you’re ready to enjoy frozen chocolate milk again, properly thawing and handling it is important. Here are some tips:
- Thaw frozen chocolate milk overnight in the refrigerator. This helps preserve texture and prevent separation.
- Avoid thawing at room temperature or using the microwave which can cause uneven thawing.
- Gently mix or shake thawed chocolate milk to recombine any separated liquid.
- Consume thawed chocolate milk within 24 hours for best flavor. Do not refreeze thawed chocolate milk.
- If using for cooking or baking, frozen chocolate milk can be thawed quickly under cold running water or used frozen.
- You can also use thawed chocolate milk over ice cream or blended into milkshakes. The chilled temperature makes it extra thick and creamy.
Does Freezing Affect the Taste of Chocolate Milk?
Freezing should not significantly affect the taste of chocolate milk. It will maintain its sweet chocolate flavor, creamy texture, and rich color. However, you may notice some minor separation of milk fat after thawing. This is normal and easily fixed by stirring or shaking the carton before drinking.
Overall, as long as frozen chocolate milk is thawed slowly in the fridge, the impact to taste is minimal. Many people find thawed chocolate milk from the freezer tastes just as good as when it’s fresh.
Health Benefits of Frozen Chocolate Milk
Freezing is a safe, effective method for preserving chocolate milk that retains many of its nutritional benefits:
- Protein – The high-quality proteins from the milk remain intact when frozen.
- Calcium – Freezing does not degrade the calcium content of chocolate milk. It’s still an excellent source of this bone-strengthening mineral.
- Vitamin D – Frozen chocolate milk retains most of its vitamin D, an essential nutrient that supports immune health.
- Antioxidants – Cocoa in chocolate milk is high in antioxidants like flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory effects in the body. These are preserved through freezing.
- Prebiotics – Compounds like oligosaccharides in chocolate milk function as prebiotics to feed healthy gut bacteria. Freezing does not significantly impact these compounds.
As long as it’s consumed before quality deteriorates, frozen chocolate milk delivers many of the same nutritional perks as fresh.
Frozen Chocolate Milk Recipes
Freezing chocolate milk isn’t just convenient for drinking. It can also be used creatively in recipes. Here are some delicious ideas:
Frozen Chocolate Milk Popsicles
Pour chocolate milk into popsicle molds or small paper cups. Add popsicle sticks and freeze until solid, at least 5 hours. Enjoy popsicles as a nutritious frozen treat!
Chocolate Milk Ice Cream
Blend 1 cup frozen chocolate milk with 1 cup heavy cream and 2 tbsp sugar until smooth and creamy. For variations, add chopped cookies or candy mix-ins. Freeze until firm, at least 24 hours.
Frozen Chocolate Milk Cubes
Pour chocolate milk into an ice cube tray and freeze until solid, about 8 hours. Pop out cubes and store in a resealable plastic bag. Add cubes to smoothies or blender drinks for a nutritional boost and thick, creamy texture.
Chocolate Milk Slushies
In a blender, blend 4 cups frozen chocolate milk cubes with 1⁄4 cup milk, 2 tbsp sugar and a dash of vanilla until thick and slushy. For a boozy slushie, add 1 oz vodka or rum.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does chocolate milk need to be completely thawed before drinking?
No, frozen chocolate milk cubes can be enjoyed in smoothies or protein shakes without fully thawing. But for drinking straight, it’s best to thaw overnight in the refrigerator until there are no more ice crystals remaining. Avoid partially thawed chocolate milk, which can taste watery.
Can you refreeze thawed chocolate milk?
It is not recommended to refreeze thawed chocolate milk. Refreezing can result in off-flavors, loss of nutrients, and potential bacterial growth. Refreeze only unused portions of frozen chocolate milk that have not been previously thawed.
Does freezing chocolate milk cause it to separate or get watery?
Freezing can sometimes cause minor separation of milk fat when thawed, leaving it looking curdled. This is easily fixed by shaking vigorously before drinking to reincorporate. Freezing should not make properly thawed chocolate milk watery. Avoid partial thawing, which can cause this.
Can you freeze chocolate milk in plastic bags?
It is best to avoid freezing chocolate milk in plastic bags, as they can easily leak or rupture. Opt for rigid plastic containers or freezer-safe mason jars, leaving headspace. Make sure all containers are tightly sealed. Bags designed specifically for freezing liquids can work in a pinch.
How long does chocolate milk last in the freezer?
Properly stored chocolate milk can last 2-3 months in a 0°F freezer before quality starts to decline. For best flavor and texture, aim to freeze chocolate milk for no more than 2 months. Homemade chocolate milk may not last quite as long.
Can you freeze chocolate syrup or cocoa powder?
Yes, you can freeze unused portions of chocolate syrup and cocoa powder. This allows you to make fresh chocolate milk whenever you want. Simply thaw syrup or cocoa powder overnight in the fridge before remixing with milk. Tightly reseal or rewrap containers between uses.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.