Oat Milk’s Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad? How To Know For Sure!

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Milk is such a delicious drink that you can mix in with other drinks, dishes, and baked goods. But when you’re lactose intolerant, cow’s milk or other dairy products end up in stomachaches.

But fret not, there are a ton of dairy-free options so you can enjoy your cereal and coffee!

Oat milk’s one of the famous milk alternatives since it’s healthier and better for the environment than dairy milk. (*)

Since it’s not dairy or made from cow’s milk, you might be wondering:

  • Does Oat Milk go bad?
  • How Long Does Oat Milk last?
  • How To Know If Oat Milk Has Gone Bad?
  • How To Store Oat Milk Correctly?
  • …and other commonly asked questions about the oat milk!

Here’s the deal: Oat milk DOES go bad, so let’s get into the nitty-gritty details here.


How Long Does Oat Milk Last?

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You’re probably here because you have a pack of store-bought oat milk that’s gone way past the best by date. Is it still possible to drink it, or will you need to chuck it out?

Well, that depends on various factors, such as:

  • How do you store oat milk
  • The best by label
  • If it still looks and tastes good

The best by dates aren’t based on the most accurate sciences. That is why these dates are there for helping people know when the food retains its best quality. It doesn’t completely determine the product’s food safety but shows you how long something will stay good for. That said, oat milk can last past the expiration date!

And fortunately, oat milk can last very long if stored properly.

Here is oat milk’s shelf life based on how it’s stored:

  • Shelf-stable oat milk lasts for one to three months past the best by date.
  • An unopened pack lasts for seven to ten days past the best-by date if refrigerated.
  • An opened carton of oat milk lasts for about four to seven days if refrigerated.

Of course, another major factor to consider is whether you opened your carton of oat milk or not.

Opened oat milk becomes exposed to bacteria, pollutants, and moisture, which makes it spoil quicker.

Also, take note that the mentioned shelf life recommendations are based on adequately stored oat milk.

Oat milk can spoil even quicker if left out in the open.

That’s not all, folks! We’ve got more in store so you know whether your oat milk’s gone bad and how to keep it fresh for longer.

How Do You Know If Oat Milk is Bad?

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Oat milk goes bad from improper storage, whether it’s before or after its past the expiration date. Before you drink it, we recommend that you test it out and watch out for signs that oat milk has gone bad.

Here are ways to tell if oat milk is bad and needs to be disposed of:

#1. Check the consistency

Pour oat milk into a glass. If it is lumpy, thick, or slimy and difficult to pour, it’s spoiled. But if you notice oat milk separating a bit, that’s normal.

We recommend shaking it gently before you drink it.

Check the color as well. It should be creamy white. If it isn’t, then it may mean it’s bad. A yellow tint on oat milk will indicate spoilage and mold growth.

Speaking of mold growth, pour a bit more milk into the glass, and you might see spores or other signs of mold and bacteria in the milk. If you do, dispose of the milk immediately.

But flavored varieties may have different colors. If the color is different from when you first got oat milk, it’s best to throw it out.

#2. Smell It

Next is to smell oat milk. If it’s gone sour or smells expired, it’s time to throw it away. Usually, rancid oat milk smells acidic or not fresh, compared to when you first opened it.

Fresh oat milk would have a sweet, nutty aroma to it. You can smell it when you first open it so that you can compare the smell over time.

#3. Taste It

Lastly, if you are still unsure whether it’s spoiled, taste it. Only have a small amount of it first. If it tastes sour, spit the milk out and dispose of the milk. But if it tastes normal, the oat milk is still good for drinking.

How to Store Oat Milk Properly?

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Storing oat milk properly is essential for it to last longer than its expiration date. Here are a few storage tips to follow:

Storing Opened Oat Milk

Once you open the carton of oat milk, shelf-stable or not, you’ll need to place it in the fridge. Chilled cartons already need to be placed in the fridge immediately, even if unopened.

Storing Unopened Oat Milk

For unopened cartons of shelf-stable oat milk, you can place it in your pantry, kitchen cabinet, or countertop. Just make sure that it stays away from heat sources and light. A cool and dry place is the best storage location, similar to being stored in supermarkets.

Other tips to consider

These are basic practices we recommend following to keep your milk from lasting longer:

  • Keep the milk’s carton sealed tight if not using it
  • Never drink straight out of the milk carton unless you plan on finishing it in one sitting
  • Pour all oat milk needed in one glass and place it right back in the fridge after use
  • If you don’t have a resealable carton, pour oat milk into your glass jar or plastic container.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve got more in store for you to learn more about this cow milk alternative! Check out these frequently asked questions:

1. What is oat milk made of?

Oat milk is made of oats, with some brands fortifying it with vitamins and minerals. These are plant-based milk alternatives for vegans and those allergic to nuts (like almond milk, soy milk) or lactose intolerant. Free from dairy and nuts, oat milk became very popular for its health benefits.

There are different brands of oat milk to invest in, each having different flavors and vitamins fortified in it.

2. What does shelf-stable oat milk mean?

Shelf-stable oat milk means that you can leave it in the kitchen cabinet or pantry. Provided it’s properly stored, you can keep it outside, which can last for months.

You’ll know if you have shelf-stable oat milk if it doesn’t sit in the supermarket fridge. It’s shelf-stable as it’s packaged in aseptic formats, producing a completely sterile environment. Because of this, it has a longer shelf life and doesn’t require refrigeration until you open it.

3. Can I freeze oat milk?

Yes, you can freeze oat milk, and it can last for up to 6 months past the expiration date. However, the longer it stays frozen, the more likely It is for its texture to change. The ingredients begin to settle, resulting in grainy milk.

When storing oat milk, please keep it in the back of your freezer and away from any heat sources, light, and smelly food.

Furthermore, transfer it to another airtight container. Water is the main ingredient and will expand while freezing, so the packaging may explode. There should be an inch of extra room in your container, as milk expands if frozen.

4. Can you get sick from expired oat milk?

If you drink rancid oat milk, there’s a possibility of getting sick. We don’t recommend trying expired milk of any kind, as food poisoning may occur. You wouldn’t want to experience vomiting, diarrhea, or intestinal inflammation!

If you tasted a sip of rancid oat milk, that’s fine. Just don’t drink an entire cup of it! Throw it out immediately.

Wrapping It Up

How long does oat milk last? Fortunately, it can stay fresh for long, provided you store it properly. Now that you know more about oat milk keep your cartons in the proper place and test it continually to ensure it’s safe to drink.

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