While you may not like the texture of frozen milk after it has thawed, you can safely defrost any type of milk, according to the California Dairy Council. Skim or low-fat varieties of milk will fare better when defrosting due to the separation of the fat that occurs. Whole milk contains more fat, so the degree of separation of its components is greater.
Remove the frozen milk from the freezer within three months for best results.
Place the container of milk in the refrigerator to thaw. Leave it to thaw for approximately 24 hours.
Shake the milk before pouring to encourage the original texture. It will likely have a grainy texture after thawing due to separation.
Cold Water Thawing
Fill a sink or large container with cold water from the tap.
Submerge the container of frozen milk in the container of cold water to thaw.
Set a timer for 30 minutes. Allow the milk to thaw until the timer finishes. Press on the sides of the container to see if the frozen milk is breaking up and thawing. Drain or pour out the water and replace it with fresh cold water.
Reset the timer for another 30 minutes and check the milk when the timer finishes. If the milk has changed to mostly liquid form, shake it, pour out what you need and place the rest into the refrigerator. If not, change the water and set the timer for 30 minute intervals until the milk reaches a point where you can pour it. Shake and store in the refrigerator.
You may prefer using previously frozen milk for cooking or baking instead of drinking due to texture and possible flavor changes that resulted from freezing.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, placing the frozen milk in the refrigerator is the safest way to thaw it.
You can also beat the milk with an electric mixer in an attempt to restore its original texture.
Don't place the milk in a sink full of cold water to thaw and leave it indefinitely, because you may forget it's there. If the milk thaws and slightly warms, the warmer temperature could encourage harmful bacterial growth.
- Dairy Council of California: Milk Handling and Food Safety
- O Chef: May I Please Freeze My Milk?
- Virginia Department of Health; Virginia Child Care Health Consultant E-Newsletter; Spring 2011
- United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service: The Big Thaw — Safe Defrosting Methods — for Consumers