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Can you freeze coffee creamer? You bet! So you’ve just opened a new container of your favorite coffee creamer, and it expires in February. What do you do?
Do you toss it out? Keep it in the fridge for when company comes over? Give it to your kids to use with their homemade snow cones?
The answer is: freeze it!!!
How long can frozen coffee creamer last before going bad depends mainly on how stable the emulsifiers are in the product.
If it’s a sodium caseinate or similar milk derivative that is emulsified in the product, then you have some leeway.
If the product is emulsified with soybean oil, this will cause some issues when freezing but can be remedied by adding some soy lecithin to the product while it thaws.
*** Soy lecithin can be found at health food stores.
Ok, I’ll stop rumbling about the nitty-gritty details now. Let’s get to the meat of the issue.
Coffee Creamer Overview | What You Need To Know
What Are Coffee Creamers?
Coffee creamer is a mixture of concentrated flavored oils and emulsifiers, designed to be diluted in hot or cold coffee.
When you see the word concentrate, it means that the flavors are extracted with an alcohol base.
This is important because it means that the flavors will not “warp” when frozen.
Some concentrates lose their flavor when they are frozen; this is why some fruit juices go “bad” in your freezer compartment, whereas others do not (note: I haven’t done any research on this topic).
The emulsifiers keep the oils from separating out of the solution (which would make your coffee look like chocolate milk).
Some of the oils are refined vegetable oils, some are refined palm oil, and some are natural emulsifiers.
Some brands use chemical emulsifiers, which contain very volatile compounds.
These “emulsifiers” will turn rancid when frozen (as would any chemical). The chemical emulsifier may be quickly released into the air when it melts.
Other brands indicate on the label that their product is made with “natural emulsifiers”.
As far as I’m aware, there is no standard way to define what exactly makes a “natural” emulsifier.
However, these items will generally not release volatile compounds into the atmosphere when they melt.
The cream must be the major ingredient in this product. Coffee creamers can be made from either cow’s milk or soy.
There are several ways in which coffee creamers are made. Some are emulsified in a blender. Some are emulsified in a high-speed mixer.
Some are made with an alcohol heat-reactive emulsifier, which is used to make certain products that don’t require heat treatment (such as bread, icebox cakes, etc.)
You must also know that there are several types of emulsifiers, and each one has a different stability.
Some emulsifiers get better stability with heat treatment (such as palm oil), and some get better stability in cold temperatures (such as soybean oil).
Liquid Dairy Coffee Creamers
This type of product is made by mixing heated oils with an emulsifier.
This mixture is placed in a tank where the pressure forces the oil through tiny holes, causing the mixture to stream out into a machine that spins at high speeds.
This machine squeezes the liquid into a thin, whipped cream form. They are then passed through a machine that blows air into them to give the “whipping” effect.
They are then refrigerated, packed into containers, sealed and shipped out to stores where they are placed on the shelf for sale.
This is the main difference between regular creamers and powdered creamers.
The powdered kind has to be made under very high pressures in order to get the powder squeezed through tiny openings, also producing a whipping effect on the product.
These high pressures cause all of the volatile compounds in both regular and powdered creamers to come out of the solution, which causes them to turn rancid quicker than if they were in solution.
Emulsified Coffee Creamers
This type of product is made by mixing heated oils with an emulsifier in a high-speed mixer.
The mixture goes through several stages of rolling and spinning until it forms a thick, creamy texture. The finished product looks like soft whipped cream.
Some companies make the traditional version of this item by hand in small batches – this results in more consistent quality.
Powdered Coffee Creamers
Powdered creamers are cheaper to produce than liquid creamers because they don’t require extra high-speed mixers, but they are more volatile due to their original powder form used to make them.
They are mixed with an emulsifier and then packed into containers.
Powdered creamers usually have a very strong vanilla flavor and aroma, and they come in a wide variety of colors and flavors.
Premium Coffee Creamers
These products only aim to be powdered versions of the liquid versions, but they still have to go through the same process as liquid ones, so they still contain some emulsifiers.
The difference is that these are made with very strong flavorings which are not intended to be diluted at all.
They are intended for direct consumption after production.
Plant-Based Coffee Creamers
Plant-based coffee creamer products are also made using emulsifiers; however, they tend to be much less expensive than dairy-based products.
Some do contain some additives, but overall they are still more natural than their animal counterparts.
Vegans, if you’re looking for a healthier option, you might want to try one of these.
What Happens When Creamers Are Frozen?
So what exactly happens to a coffee creamer when it is left out at room temperature for a period of time? Nothing. It doesn’t melt, it doesn’t change.
With one exception: the emulsifiers will begin to separate out of solution, and this will result in the creamer looking milky-like with some white strings floating around.
But if you place your bottle of coffee creamer in your freezer compartment, the milk solids absorb onto the walls of the container and crystallize, forming solid pieces.
This will cause the liquid to separate from the crystals, leaving you with a watery liquid on top.
The mixture of crystals and liquid is almost identical to what you would find inside the butter compartment of your refrigerator.
If you were to put this mixture in your freezer or refrigerator, it would solidify into pats of butter.
Fortunately for us, coffee creamers don’t really taste like butter!
There is one ingredient that coffee creamer manufacturers do not list on their labels that accounts for all of the delicious flavors in most creamers: vanilla (which also happens to be one of the most volatile ingredients).
They contain vanillin, the vanillinoid ester of vanillin. Under normal conditions, vanillin becomes crystalline and separates into two distinct fractions on standing.
Vanilla is often used in conjunction with other substances for creamers to impart final taste (e.g., caramel).
The finished product will bear little resemblance to pure vanilla unless there are additional ingredients added during production.
Can You Freeze Coffee Creamers & Is It Safe?
If you decide to freeze your coffee creamer, take into consideration that it will separate when taken out of the freezer.
You should probably stir it before you pour it into your coffee cup. It also might not take much time for the product to thaw, so if you want to re-freeze it after opening it, make sure to put in a smaller container and do not leave the product in the bottle (or else you’ll end up with dried milk all over your freezer).
One thing that was never tested is whether creamer freezes well in a cooler.
The real question is: will creamers freeze at all?
People might be surprised to know that they do freeze quite nicely. You should be able to freeze it for up to 4 months with no ill effects.
If you freeze it for longer than that, creamer can actually lose its flavor and become really mushy (similar to the texture of mushy butter).
This is because it breaks apart in the freezer.
How To Freeze Your Coffee Creamers The Right Way
Place the creamer in a tightly sealed container. If you’re freezing it for an extended period of time, such as six months or more, you may want to get a slow-freeze container.
Place the container in your refrigerator and let it set for at least one week (to thaw). Some food will freeze for up to six weeks; if your creamers freeze too fast, try using a slower freezer.
Once you remove the creamer, place it back into its original container and place it inside the freezer once again (if possible).
You can even add some ice to help keep its temperature down by slowing the rate that heat dissolves into the frozen mixture.
However, you do not need to add anything else to your creamers or else it is likely that they will become too hard and lose their flavor.
Once frozen again, you may want to transfer your creamer into several smaller cans (if you happen to have them on hand).
This way if you want to use one cup of the product at a time, thawing several smaller cans will be much easier than waiting for one huge can to thaw – and is also more convenient for storing in the refrigerator.
Set your refrigerator to the coldest setting possible to help keep the product as cold as possible.
How do you defrost coffee creamer?
Remember that you can always use your frozen creamer for making milkshakes, smoothies, or for cooking purposes.
For example, if you make pancakes with frozen creamers, they’ll still come out tasting great! There are some other great things that can be done with frozen creamer too.
However, the best way to thaw it out is to just let it unfreeze naturally at room temperature or inside a refrigerator overnight.
The next day, you’ll have a your coffee creamer ready to be used in your morning drink or afternoon pick-me-up!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I freeze coffee creamer?
Can you freeze coffee creamer? Yes, you can freeze coffee creamer for up to 6 months. If it has a thick consistency, you should let it freeze longer.
However, you might not want to use them once you thaw them out because they may separate when thawed – making your coffee look slightly milky in colour with some white strings floating around on the surface.
2. Is it bad to freeze coffee creamer?
Some people have different opinions on this subject.
Some say that freezing coffee creamer makes the product go “bad” more quickly since its flavor is affected by air exposure after being removed from the freezer.
Others say that freezing it doesn’t have any negative effects on the product, since frozen items do not go bad as quickly as unfrozen items.
3. What Are The Signs A Coffee Creamer Has Gone Bad?
Because coffee creamer is an emulsion (a mixture of two liquids that do not naturally mix), it can separate when frozen.
This will cause your creamer to look thick and watery. If the color has changed, this might also be a sign that it has gone bad.
4. Can Coffee Creamer Go Bad?
If it is kept in a freezer for an extended period of time, the texture and flavor can change. It can also develop a sour taste if left for too long.
Therefore, it’s wise to check your coffee creamer every few months to make sure that it hasn’t expired or gone “off”.
5. Can Coffee Creamer Go Bad In The Freezer?
When coffee creamer is frozen, it does not become completely hard.
To keep this from happening, you need to freeze the creamers in a freezer that has been hardened for at least one month. It’s also important to tighten the lid with a clip or rubber band after each use.
6. Is Coffee Creamer Safe To Freeze? Can I Freeze Coffee Creamer In A Glass Jar?
Different types of coffee creamer can be safely frozen without adverse effects on their flavor and consistency.
However, the texture of the product can change while it is being frozen.
The creamer could become hard and goopy once it is taken out of the freezer.
If you want to freeze your coffee creamer, put them in a freezer bag or a container where they will not be jostled around while being freezing.
7. Can You Freeze Coffee Creamer In A Plastic Container?
You can put coffee creamer into a plastic container before placing them into a freezer.
However, this would not be advisable for those who want to store their frozen creamer in the refrigerator.
The best thing to do is to put the creamers into plastic containers that are already sealed with a clip or tie. This will help seal in the flavor and prevent it from leaking out of the container.
8. What happens if I Freeze Coffee Creamer?
Freezing coffee creamer doesn’t make the product go bad – it simply changes its texture and taste after being taken out of the freezer or container.
This is because freezing acts as a stress on coffee creamer, causing it to break apart within its own moisture content.
The texture changes are not necessarily drastic – it is just less spreadable than before being frozen.
So, I hope by now you know that it is perfectly safe to freeze coffee creamer.
Freezing your coffee creamers in a freezer that has been hardened for at least one month and placing in a container that is airtight will keep the creamer safe from going bad.
It is important to remember to fully insert the top of the liquid product when you place it back in the refrigerator after thawing.
This will help prevent it from leaking out and makes it easier to pour out when you need it.