Why did my almond milk freeze in the refrigerator?

Opening your refrigerator and finding a solid block of almond milk where you expect liquid can be alarming. However, there’s likely a simple explanation for why your almond milk froze – and it may not even mean it has gone bad. Let’s explore some of the common reasons almond milk can freeze in the fridge and what you can do to prevent it from happening again.

Almond Milk Freezes at Higher Temperatures

Unlike cow’s milk, almond milk has a much higher freezing point. While cow’s milk freezes around 30-32°F, almond milk can begin freezing at 40°F. This means the temperature settings you use for dairy milk may allow almond milk to freeze unintentionally.

Milk Type Freezing Point
Cow’s Milk 30-32°F
Almond Milk 40°F

To prevent freezing, the refrigerator section should be set to at least 41°F or higher. However, also check that the temperature throughout the refrigerator is consistent. Spots near the back or sides can sometimes get significantly colder.

Temperature Fluctuations

If the refrigerator temperature varies frequently, the almond milk could freeze and then thaw repeatedly. This temperature instability can occur if:

  • The refrigerator door is being opened frequently
  • Food with different temperature needs are stored together
  • The refrigerator is old and struggling to maintain consistent temperatures
  • The room temperature drops significantly at night

Try to minimize opening the refrigerator door and separate almond milk from frozen items. Also, check the temperature with a thermometer to see if it’s fluctuating. Old fridges may need maintenance or replacement to function properly.

Exposure to Colder Air

Even if the overall refrigerator temperature is above 40°F, almond milk can freeze if stored directly in the path of cold air. Spots like the back wall, bottom shelf, and near vents tend to be coldest. Storing milk on the door or higher shelves avoids the coldest zones.

Refrigerator Section Average Temperature
Back Wall 34-36°F
Bottom Shelf 37-39°F
Middle Shelf 39-41°F
Door 40-42°F

Checking different areas with a refrigerator thermometer can help identify the warmest and coldest spots. Store milk away from vents, cold air outlets, and frequently opened doors whenever possible.

High Altitude Environments

Higher elevations impacts air pressure, which in turn affects how refrigerators cool. In high altitude environments, refrigerators have to work harder to maintain chill temperatures. For example, a refrigerator set at 39°F at sea level may operate closer to 41°F at 5,000 feet above sea level.

This means almond milk is more likely to freeze in mountain towns or other high elevation locales if refrigerator temperature settings aren’t adjusted. Refer to the owner’s manual to see if your refrigerator has a high-altitude setting or feature that can compensate for the air pressure difference.

Ultra-Cold Freezer Air Leaking

Standalone freezers that are attached to the refrigerator can indirectly cause freezing if cold air leaks between the compartments. This is especially likely if the freezer seal is not sealing properly.

Check that the freezer door shuts completely and the gasket Seal appears intact. If you notice issues, address these right away to prevent freezer air from flooding the refrigerator compartment. Keeping freezer settings at 0°F instead of much colder temperatures can also help prevent this.

Is Frozen Almond Milk Safe to Drink?

If unopened, commercially packaged almond milk freezes by accident, it remains safe to consume after thawing in the refrigerator. However, freezing can cause separation, texture changes, and a loss of flavor. Stir thoroughly after thawing to remix any separated components.

Once opened, almond milk has a shorter shelf life. If previously opened milk froze, it’s best to smell and inspect it before drinking. Signs of spoilage include an off odor, texture changes, or visible mold.

Freezing likely ruins the taste and texture of homemade almond milk. Consider tossing homemade milk that was frozen by accident.

Preventing Almond Milk from Freezing

Here are some tips to avoid finding frozen almond milk again:

  • Set the refrigerator to 41°F or warmer
  • Check temperature consistency in different sections
  • Avoid storing near vents, the back wall, or other cold spots
  • Minimize opening the refrigerator door frequently
  • Separate almond milk from frozen foods
  • Use freezer settings of 0°F or higher
  • Inspect door seals for leaks
  • Adjust for high altitude if needed
  • Don’t overstuff the refrigerator

With some simple adjustments, you can prevent the accidental freezing of almond milk in the future. But if it happens again, your almond milk is likely still safe to consume after thawing in the refrigerator.


Finding frozen almond milk can be startling, but in most cases, it simply froze due to temperature fluctuations or improper storage. Adjusting refrigerator settings, avoiding cold spots, and preventing cold air leaks should help prevent it from happening again. Check for signs of spoilage after thawing, but accidentally frozen almond milk is generally safe to consume if stored properly beforehand.

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