Can you consume oat milk after 7 days?

Quick Answer

Oat milk that has been stored properly in a sealed container in the refrigerator should remain safe to consume for 5-7 days after opening. However, oat milk will start to degrade in quality after this time, taking on off flavors and textures. For best quality, it’s recommended to consume opened oat milk within 5-7 days. Unopened, shelf-stable oat milk can usually be consumed several months after the printed expiration date.

How Long Does Oat Milk Last Unopened?

Unopened, shelf-stable oat milk that has been continuously refrigerated can usually last for several weeks or months beyond the printed expiration date on the package. This type of oat milk has been commercially sterilized and specially packaged to prevent spoilage at room temperature. As long as the container remains well-sealed and undamaged, unopened shelf-stable oat milk can retain its safety and quality for a prolonged period under refrigeration. Typically, unopened shelf-stable oat milk may retain good flavor and nutritional value for 2-4 months past its printed date.

How to Tell if Unopened Oat Milk is Bad

Although properly stored, unopened oat milk can last for quite some time past its date, there are some signs that indicate it may be time to discard the milk:

– Bulging or leaking packaging: If the container is swollen or leaking, that is a sign bacteria have contaminated and spoiled the milk. Discard it immediately.

– Mold growth: Any mold, even just a few spots, is a sign of spoilage. Do not consume oat milk with mold.

– Sour odor: An “off” or sour smell indicates the oat milk has spoiled. Do not taste or drink sour-smelling milk.

As long as the oat milk shows no signs of spoilage, it should be safe to consume even past its printed date, although the quality and flavor will slowly decline over time. Use your senses of sight and smell to determine if very old unopened oat milk is still good.

How Long Does Opened Oat Milk Last in the Fridge?

Once opened and continuously refrigerated, oat milk will generally stay fresh and consumable for 5-7 days. The higher fat content in most oat milks helps preserve it a bit longer than lower fat dairy milk. However, oat milk is still perishable and has a limited shelf life after opening.

Follow these tips for maximum freshness of opened oat milk:
– Store in the back, not the door, of the fridge. The back maintains a more constant cold temperature.
– Keep the container tightly sealed to prevent contamination.
– Check for signs of spoilage like mold, sour smell, curdling, etc.
– Don’t mix new and old milk; this introduces bacteria.
– Don’t return milk to the fridge if left sitting out. Bacteria multiply rapidly at room temp.

With proper refrigeration and an airtight container, opened oat milk should retain good flavor and texture for a 5-7 day window.

How to Tell if Opened Oat Milk is Bad

Unfortunately, even when stored properly in the fridge, opened oat milk eventually will show signs of spoilage. Here are indications your opened oat milk has gone bad:

– Sour odor and/or taste
– Change in color or grayish tinge
– Lumpy, thick, or curdled texture
– Mold spots or slimy residue in liquid or on container

Oat milk that displays any of these characteristics should be discarded. Consuming spoiled oat milk can cause foodborne illness. Even if it looks okay but smells or tastes off, it’s safest to throw it out within 7 days of opening.

Does Oat Milk Last Longer Than Dairy Milk?

Oat milk typically keeps fresh several days longer than most dairy milk when properly stored in the refrigerator. There are a few reasons why oat milk has a longer shelf life after opening:

– Higher fat: Most oat milks contain more fat than skim or low-fat dairy milk, which acts as a preservative.

– Lower pH: The pH of oat milk is slightly lower (more acidic) than dairy milk, making it less prone to bacterial growth.

– Fewer nutrients: Dairy milk has more nutrients like carbohydrates that can spoil quickly.

– Processing method: Shelf-stable oat milk undergoes UHT (ultra-high temperature) processing to extend shelf life.

The exact shelf life depends on the specific brand and type. But in general, unopened oat milk stays fresh for 2-4 months in the fridge, while dairy milk is only good for 1-2 weeks past its date. Once opened, oat milk will last 5-7 more days in the fridge, versus just 4-6 days for dairy milk.

Does Oat Milk Go Bad if Not Refrigerated?

Oat milk that is sold refrigerated (not shelf-stable) will go bad rapidly if left unrefrigerated. Refrigerated oat milk is highly perishable and must remain chilled at 40°F or below. If left out on the counter for more than 2 hours, refrigerated oat milk can start growing dangerous bacteria that could make you sick if consumed.

Shelf-stable, aseptically packaged oat milk is formulated to be safe at room temperature for a period before opening. Check the packaging for storage instructions. Unopened shelf-stable milk can typically last 10-12 months stored in a cool, dry pantry away from direct sunlight. However, for best quality and shelf life, it’s still preferable to refrigerate shelf-stable oat milk before and after opening.

Can You Freeze Oat Milk?

Freezing is a great way to extend the shelf life of oat milk and prevent waste. Both opened and unopened oat milk can be frozen for 2-3 months while maintaining a relatively good quality and taste.

To freeze oat milk:
– Make sure container is tightly sealed
– Leave some headspace in container for expansion
– Place in freezer bag if concerned about freezer burn
– Freeze for up to 2-3 months

Thaw frozen oat milk overnight in the fridge before use. Give it a good shake or stir once thawed and taste it before consuming to make sure it hasn’t separated or taken on off flavors. Frozen and thawed oat milk may have some texture changes but remains perfectly safe to drink.

Can You Drink Oat Milk Past Its Expiration Date?

It’s generally not recommended to consume oat milk past its printed expiration date, even if it’s been stored unopened in the fridge. However, the expiration date is simply an indication of when the manufacturer estimates the oat milk will reach peak freshness and flavor. Oat milk doesn’t necessarily instantly spoil or become unsafe once that date passes.

As long as your unopened oat milk was continuously refrigerated and the container is intact with no signs of spoilage like mold, it should retain its safety and nutrition for some time past its date. However, the taste and texture quality will slowly decline. It’s best to use your senses and consume by expiration dates within a few weeks at most.

If you do choose to drink oat milk past its date, inspect carefully for any foul odors, sour taste, curdling, or separation once opened. Never consume oat milk that has truly spoiled, even if just by a few days past its date. When in doubt, remember the old adage “when in doubt, throw it out.”

Does the Expiration Date on Oat Milk Matter?

The printed expiration date on oat milk packaging does provide an important guideline for both food safety and quality. While not necessarily a firm cut-off, the expiration date is useful for a few reasons:

– Indicates peak freshness: The date shows approximately when the unopened product should retain its optimum flavor, texture, color, and nutrient content assuming proper storage conditions.

– Signals potential spoilage: After exceeding the date by many weeks/months, the risk increases that the milk could develop bacteria or other pathogens if contaminated and spoiled.

– Allows for inventory control: Expiration dates help grocery stores and consumers rotate stock, use up older items, and maintain inventory control.

So while oat milk doesn’t necessarily Instantly spoil the moment the expiration date passes, it does remain a helpful benchmark. Within a few weeks past its date, oat milk slowly declines in quality and safety. Use expiration dates as a guideline along with visual and smell inspections to determine if very old oat milk is still good.

How to Store Oat Milk Properly

To get the longest possible shelf life out of oat milk, proper storage methods are key. Here are some tips for storing oat milk:

Unopened: Store in back of the fridge, not the door. Consistent cool temperatures extend shelf life.
Opened: Reseal container tightly and keep near the back of the fridge, not the door.
Shelf-stable: Can be stored unopened at room temp for up to a year (check package instructions). For optimal quality, refrigerate after opening.
Freezer: Allow headspace for expansion, seal tightly, and freeze for up to 2-3 months.
Avoid direct sunlight: Sunlight can accelerate vitamin degradation. Store in an opaque container.
Keep lid clean: Wipe clean before resealing to prevent bacterial contamination of nozzle/opening.

Following proper refrigerated storage guidelines ensures your oat milk stays as fresh and shelf-stable as possible, both before and after opening.

Signs Oat Milk Has Gone Bad

While properly stored, unopened oat milk can last for quite awhile in the fridge, you should watch for the following signs of spoilage once opened:

– Sour, unpleasant odor
– Change in color/grayish tint
– Lumpy texture or curdling
– Mold – discard immediately if any mold is visible
– Gas bubbles/foam or fizzing when shaken
– Separation in liquid with watery layer on top

If old oat milk exhibits any of these characteristics, it should be thrown out. Only consume opened oat milk if it still smells, looks, and tastes normal to avoid foodborne illness. When refrigerated and resealed, oat milk typically stays good for 5-7 days after opening.

How to Use Up Oat Milk Before It Expires

If you find yourself with oat milk that’s close to expiration or that you can’t consume in time, there are some ways to use it up besides just drinking it:

– Smoothies: Blend it into fruit or green smoothies. The other ingredients will mask any decline in flavor.

– Oatmeal: Mix oat milk into your morning oatmeal or overnight oats for added creaminess.

– Baking: Substitute oat milk for other liquids in baking recipes for muffins, breads, cookies, etc. The heat from baking will kill any bacteria.

– Coffee creamer: The coffee flavor will override any slightly spoiled milk flavors.

– Pancakes: Use it instead of regular milk to make fluffier pancakes and waffles.

– Cream sauces: Make creamy pasta sauces, soups, risottos, etc. Heat from cooking makes it safe.

As long as oat milk smells and looks okay, using it up quickly in cooked foods or highly flavored drinks is a safe way to avoid waste before it expires.


The shelf life of oat milk depends on whether it is opened or not and how it is stored. Unopened, refrigerated oat milk typically stays fresh for 5-7 days after the printed expiration date. Once opened, oat milk will maintain best quality for about one week in the fridge. For maximum shelf life, oat milk should be stored sealed in the refrigerator. Frozen oat milk also keeps for 2-3 months. Any oat milk that smells or looks spoiled should be discarded, even if it has not exceeded the printed expiration date. With proper refrigerated storage, oat milk can be safely consumed within a 5-7 day window after opening, but is optimally used by the expiration date on the package.

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