Clotted cream, also known as Devonshire cream, is a thick, decadent cream made by gently heating cow’s milk and then allowing the rich cream to separate and rise to the top.
It has a smooth, spoonable texture and a rich, nutty flavor that is absolutely delicious on scones, desserts, fruits, and more. But can you freeze clotted cream to extend its shelf life? Below, we’ll cover everything you need to know about freezing clotted cream.
What is Clotted Cream?
Clotted cream is a variety of cream that originated in England, particularly in the counties of Devonshire and Cornwall. To make clotted cream, fresh milk is gently heated and then left to sit for 12–24 hours, allowing the cream to separate and rise to the top.
This thick layer of cream is then skimmed off the top. The high-fat cream is then gently heated again, which causes it to develop a smooth, spreadable texture.
Traditional clotted cream contains approximately 55% milk fat, giving it a rich flavor and an ultra-thick consistency. It can be used as a topping for scones, desserts, porridge, pancakes, and more. Clotted cream has a shelf life of about 2–3 weeks when stored properly in the refrigerator.
Benefits of Freezing Clotted Cream
Freezing clotted cream offers several advantages:
- Extends shelf life: Freezing stops the growth of bacteria and mold, allowing clotted cream to be stored for 4-6 months in the freezer. This gives you more time to use it up.
- Creates a backup supply: Having clotted cream in the freezer means you always have a backup supply ready when you run out of fresh.
- Allows buying in bulk: Freezing makes it possible to buy large tubs of clotted cream when on sale and freeze portions for later use.
- Prevents waste: Freezing unused portions prevents having to throw out clotted cream that goes bad before you can use it.
- Maintains freshness: Properly frozen cream retains its fresh flavor and creamy texture much better than storing it for weeks in the fridge.
How to Freeze Clotted Cream
Freezing clotted cream is simple. Here are some tips:
- Choose good-quality cream that is fresh and not previously frozen. Old or subpar cream will not freeze as well.
- Portion the cream out into usable amounts, about 14 to 12 cups. Freeze in resealable bags, small containers, ice cube trays, etc.
- Press excess air out of bags or containers before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
- Lay containers flat in a single layer to freeze solid quickly. Avoid over-stacking.
- Freeze at 0°F or below. Most clotted cream will freeze solid in 2–3 hours.
- Once solid, packages can be stacked together to conserve space.
- For best quality, use within 4-6 months. Label packages with the date.
- Avoid repeated freeze-thaw cycles. Thaw only what you plan to use in a few days.
Tips for Using Frozen Clotted Cream
To use frozen clotted cream at its best flavor and texture, follow these tips:
- Thaw slowly in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 8 hours. Do not thaw at room temperature.
- Gently stir after thawing to restore a smooth, creamy consistency before serving.
- Use thawed cream within 3–4 days for optimal freshness. Do not refreeze.
- For toppings, thaw just what you need. Spread on scones, pancakes, etc. while still chilled.
- For baking, thaw cream first, then whip briefly to improve texture before adding it to recipes.
- If separating, thaw cream completely before whipping, or separation will not be complete.
- Avoid boiling or overheating thawed cream, as high heat can cause curdling or oil separation.
- For best flavor, use thawed cream as-is, without re-whipping or blending, if possible.
Ideal Uses for Frozen Clotted Cream
Frozen clotted cream retains its richness and performs well in:
- Scones: Dollop on scones fresh from the oven. The chilled cream provides contrast.
- Fruit desserts: Serve slices of pie, cobbler, or poached fruit with frozen cream thawed just enough to spoon over.
- Pancakes and waffles: Top breakfast treats with chilled clotted cream straight from the freezer.
- Milkshakes and smoothies: Blend right into cold drinks without fully thawing first.
- Cream sauces: Swirl into pasta sauces, soups, etc. just before serving. Heat gently.
- Whipped topping: Thaw completely and whip with sugar for sweet frosting, fillings, etc.
- Baked goods: Add to cookie dough, cake batter, etc. Thaw first for best incorporation.
Food Safety Tips
To safely freeze and handle clotted cream:
- Freeze at 0°F or below. The colder, the better for long-term storage.
- Store in clean, sealed containers or bags. Leave no room for air exposure.
- Follow the “First In, First Out” method, using the oldest cream first.
- Label packages with contents and a freeze date for tracking.
- Avoid cross-contaminating cream with foods like raw meats in the freezer.
- Once thawed, handle it just like fresh cream. Use promptly. Do not refreeze.
- Discard the cream if it smells sour or shows signs of mold after thawing.
- Store any leftover thawed cream in the refrigerator and use within 3–4 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does clotted cream last in the freezer?
Properly frozen, clotted cream will maintain its best quality for 4-6 months in the freezer at 0°F. After this, flavor and texture decline.
Can you freeze store-bought clotted cream?
Yes, store-bought clotted cream freezes well. Check for an expiration date and freeze as soon as possible after purchasing for best results.
Is it better to freeze clotted cream in a tub or in portions?
Portioning it out into the amounts you’ll use is best, so you can thaw only what you need. This prevents waste from refreezing partially used tubs.
What’s the best way to thaw frozen clotted cream?
Thaw slowly in the refrigerator, allowing 8–12 hours or overnight. Thawing on the counter risks bacterial growth in the outer layer before the center thaws.
Can you whip up thawed clotted cream?
Yes, but for best results, thaw completely first. Gently whip just until it regains a creamy, spreadable texture. Over-whipping can cause it to separate and become grainy.
Does freezing change the flavor of clotted cream?
Freezing preserves most of the fresh flavor, but it may lose some nuance. Thawed cream may taste slightly more cooked. Use frozen cream within 4-6 months for the best quality.
Is it safe to freeze cream after the use-by date?
Do not freeze clotted cream after its expiration date, as it likely has excessive bacterial growth. Always start with fresh, high-quality cream before freezing.
Can you substitute frozen cream for fresh cream in recipes?
In most recipes, thawed frozen cream can be used in place of fresh with good results. Add it straight from the freezer when possible. Thaw completely if whipping.
What happens if you freeze clotted cream twice?
Avoid refreezing previously frozen cream. The extra freeze-thaw cycle breaks down the texture. Refrozen cream often becomes grainy, watery, or separates when thawed again.
The Bottom Line
Clotted cream can absolutely be frozen to extend its shelf life for 4-6 months while retaining most of its signature rich flavor and silky texture.
Freeze fresh cream in portioned packages, thaw in the refrigerator before use, and use within 3–4 days for best quality results. With proper freezing and handling, you can enjoy delicious clotted cream even when fresh is not available.
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.