Does Milk Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

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Milk is a fragile staple in many diets. Any milk purchased cold should be handled with care to keep it cool and avoid premature spoilage. Store it on refrigerator shelves instead of the door. Leftover canned milk can be saved for later use, and some can be frozen.

Canned milks like condensed milk and coconut milk can keep long-term in the cupboard, as can dry milk. Liquid non-dairy milks should be kept refrigerated and used within five to ten days of opening. Cow’s milk should also be refrigerated and enjoyed by the “use by” date.​

Why Does Milk Go Bad?

The greatest risks to cow’s milk are time and warmth. Per scientists with Science World, when cow’s milk spoils, it’s because the lactose or sugar have fermented.

how long is milk good for

Controlled fermentation of lactose leads to yogurt and cheese; uncontrolled fermentation leads to curdled or sour milk.

Can You Freeze Milk?

If you find a great deal on cow’s milk that’s close to its sell-by-date, it’s perfectly safe to purchase and freeze. Per dairy experts with the Dairy Council of California, you can thaw it in a cold water bath or the refrigerator.

To reduce the risk of spoilage, try to keep it below 35 degrees Fahrenheit / 1.7 degrees Celsius. Be aware that the flavor may not be what you expected. This milk may be better for cooking than for drinking.

SEE ALSO: Does Ice Cream Go Bad?

How To Tell If Almond Milk Is Bad

Almond milk processors often ultra-pasteurize it, or heat it to 280 degrees Fahrenheit / 137.78 degrees Celsius and then cool it rapidly to stabilize it. Thus, almond milk usually has a very long shelf life if kept cool and unopened.

However, once it’s opened, the best flavor quality can be maintained if you drink it within seven days from opening.

almond milk

When almond milk goes bad, the flavor probably won’t change much. You may notice lumps in your almond milk as the calcium supplements settle out.

All almond milk settles. To make sure your almond milk is fresh, simply shake the container before opening it every time you pour and use it within seven days of opening it.

Does Condensed Milk Go Bad?

Both regular and sweetened condensed milk have extremely long shelf lives. Unopened, you can keep condensed milk for six months in the cupboard with no ill effects. However, once it’s opened the clock starts ticking.

Transfer unused sweetened condensed milk immediately to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three weeks. Once it’s sealed, you can freeze it for up to three months. Be aware that it will separate, but you can mix the standing liquid back into the milk.​

Does Soy Milk Go Bad?

Soy milk has a “use by” date on the label that should be followed.

Additionally, once a container of soy milk is opened it must be refrigerated and should be consumed within five to ten days. Soy milk should have a mild scent.

How long is milk good for? If your soy milk has spoiled, your nose will tell you quickly. If you’re not sure, pour some in a small dish and study it. Spoiled soy milk may separate and become lumpy, and will smell and taste terrible.​

Does Coconut Milk Go Bad?

Per authorities at Thai Food and Travel, canned coconut milk often comes with a layer of cream on the top. This is not a sign of spoilage but a sign of quality, and you can spoon out this coconut “cream” for use in many dishes. The coconut milk underneath is also usable.

coconut milk

Once you’ve opened a can of coconut milk whatever you don’t use can be transferred to another container and refrigerated for up to a week. Freezing coconut milk is not recommended as it may curdle when it thaws.​

Does Dry Milk Go Bad?

We recommend stockpiling non-fat dry milk. Fat is less stable and more likely to go rancid over time.

If you open a container of dry milk and notice any yellowing or an unpleasant odor, it should be discarded.

Once you’ve added water to your milk powder, it should be drunk in five days.​

Written By Tara Williams

Tara is a food writer that has been editing and authoring articles for KitchenSanity since its founding. Her writing offers personal experience from experimentation with food and recipe creation. If you’re looking for simple tips, she will make your journey in the kitchen straightforward with a dash of fun.