Does Oat Milk Need To Be Refrigerated? (Quick Answer)

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Quick Answer: Yes, once opened, Oat Milk Need To Be Refrigerated. Keeping it at a controlled temperature extends its shelf life and maintains its fresh taste. Yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is much more to know about the why’s and how’s of oat milk storage. Read on to learn the science behind it and the best practices to follow.

I recently found out my cholesterol was creeping up, so I researched what foods would bring it down. Do you know what was on the list? Oats! But after eating oatmeal every day for months I began to get bored. How else could I add oats to my diet? Then a friend suggested oat milk!

Have you tried it? It’s become hugely popular!

If you’re one of the many fans of oat milk, you might have wondered about the best way to store it. Should you keep it in the refrigerator like regular milk, or can you leave it on the shelf? Is oat milk more perishable than other non-dairy milks, or less perishable?

Well, worry no more!

In this super-informative article, we’re going to examine the details about oat milk storage.

We’ll answer the trending question: does oat milk need refrigeration?

We’ll also explore the factors that affect oat milk’s shelf life. And, last but not least, we’ll give you valuable tips on keeping your oat milk fresh and delicious for as long as possible. From proper temperature control to packaging considerations, we’ve got you covered!

By the end of this article, you’ll feel empowered to make the most informed choices for your family when storing the popular dairy alternative, oat milk.

Let’s go!

Understanding Oat Milk

What is oat milk, anyway? The name is a bit misleading. As with other non-dairy milk substitutes, the term “milk” is not accurate. Oat milk in its initial stage has two ingredients: oats and water. The fine grinding of the oats results in a powder, which is then mixed with water. The next step is fortifying it with vitamins and minerals.

Oat milk has gained popularity over the past few years as a vegan alternative to dairy milk. It’s creamy, easy to work with, and free of lactose, nuts, soy, or gluten.

Learn more: What Does Oat Milk Taste Like?

Can Oat Milk Go Bad?

As with any food or drink, oat milk can go bad if not stored in the correct manner. Even without dairy present, oat milk contains water and nutrients that are ideal for bacterial growth. If left at room temperature, it will spoil much faster than when kept in the fridge.

Oat milk is also a little more perishable than almond milk, due to a higher fat content.

Learn more: Oatmeal Shelf Life: Does It Go Bad or Expire?

Will Drinking Spoiled Oat Milk Make You Sick?

Yes, drinking spoiled oat milk can make you sick. Spoiled oat milk may contain harmful bacteria that could cause foodborne illness. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain are common signs of consuming spoiled food or drinks.

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The Importance of Proper Storage

Proper storage is essential for any food or beverage, including oat milk. By following appropriate storage practices, you can keep your oat milk at its best flavor while also ensuring food safety. The recommended storage for oat milk differs between opened cartons and unopened cartons.

Unopened Oat Milk: Shelf Stable

One of the most convenient aspects of oat milk is that unopened cartons are typically shelf-stable. This means they do not need refrigeration and are safe to store at room temperature until their expiration date. But it’s still important to check the packaging for specific instructions. Manufacturers will provide guidelines for ideal storage conditions.

When storing unopened oat milk cartons:

  • Keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures or fluctuating heat sources.
  • Ensure the cartons remain sealed to prevent contamination.

Proper storage of unopened oat milk ensures that you always have a fresh-tasting and safe supply on hand.

After Opening: To Refrigerate or Not?

Once you’ve opened a carton of oat milk, the rules change. Unlike unopened cartons, open cartons of oat milk need refrigeration. This is necessary to maintain its quality and prevent spoilage. Refrigeration slows down bacterial growth, keeping your oat milk fresh for an extended period.

Here’s what you need to know about storing opened oat milk:

  • Refrigerate: Oat milk manufacturers recommend storing opened cartons in the refrigerator. This helps maintain its flavor and texture over time.
  • Use within a certain timeframe: While refrigeration helps prolong the shelf life of opened oat milk, it’s still important to use it within a specific timeframe. Most manufacturers suggest using open cartons of oat milk within seven to ten days.
  • Check for signs of spoilage: Always inspect your oat milk before consuming it. If you notice any changes in color, consistency, or an off odor, discard it immediately.

By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your opened oat milk remains safe and retains its delicious flavor. Enjoy every sip!

Extending Oat Milk’s Shelf Life: Freezing as an Option

If you find yourself with more open cartons of oat milk than you can consume within the recommended time frame, freezing can come to the rescue. Yes, you heard that right – you can freeze oat milk! Freezing extends the shelf life of oat milk up to three months, allowing you to stock up with no risk of wasting it.

Here are a few tips when freezing oat milk:

  • Airtight containers: Transfer the remaining oat milk into airtight containers or freezer-safe bags. Make sure there is enough headspace for expansion during freezing.
  • Label and date: Don’t forget to label the containers with the date of freezing. This will help you keep track of how long you’ve kept them.
  • Thawing and using frozen oat milk: When you’re ready to use your frozen oat milk, transfer it to the refrigerator for thawing. Once thawed, give it a gentle shake or stir to remix settled particles.

Learn more: Can You Freeze Oat Milk? (Simple Answer)

The Pros and Cons of Freezing Oat Milk

While freezing oat milk can prolong its shelf life, there are some pros and cons to consider before using this storage method.


  • Cost-effective: Freezing allows you to stock up on oat milk when it’s on sale or in bulk, saving you money in the long run.
  • Convenience: Frozen oat milk can be quickly thawed and used, making it convenient for those with busy schedules.
  • Less waste: By freezing excess oat milk, you can curb waste and prolong its usability.


Texture change: Freezing can alter the texture of oat milk, making it somewhat thicker. There may be some separation of particles. Give it a good shake to try to remix the oat sediment. You can also strain thawed oat milk through a wire mesh strainer for a smoother end result. This step is not necessary when using thawed oat milk in recipes.

What Can I Use Oat Milk In?

Oat milk is incredibly versatile! You can use it in many ways. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Smoothies: Oat milk adds a creamy texture and subtle sweetness to smoothies.
  • Baked goods: You can use oat milk as a substitute for dairy milk in baked goods such as pancakes, muffins, and cakes.
  • Coffee and tea: You can use oat milk as a non-dairy creamer in coffee and tea. It adds a subtle nutty flavor that pairs well with these beverages. As a bonus, it’s also naturally sweet!
  • Sauces and soups: You can use oat milk as a thickening agent in sauces and soups, adding a creamy texture without the use of dairy.

The Final Word

When it comes to unopened oat milk, you’re good to keep it at room temperature. But once you crack open that carton, refrigeration is the key to maintaining its freshness. Be sure to use it within the recommended timeframe provided by the manufacturer.

And if you have some extra oat milk? No worries! Freezing is a fantastic option to extend its shelf life. That way, you can enjoy your favorite dairy-free beverage without any concerns about wasting it.

So, there you have it – the ultimate guide on how to store oat milk! By following our tips on proper storage you’ll always have safe, delicious oat milk on hand. It can be a great addition to your favorite recipes or your morning coffee routine.

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