Non-refrigerated creamers, also known as shelf-stable creamers, are a convenient way to add flavor and creaminess to coffee and tea without needing to keep it chilled. But how long does an opened bottle of non-refrigerated creamer actually last before it goes bad?
An opened bottle of non-refrigerated creamer will generally last 3-4 weeks past its printed expiration date when stored properly. Keeping the bottle sealed and stored at room temperature away from heat and sunlight can help extend its shelf life.
How Long Does Unopened Non-Refrigerated Creamer Last?
An unopened, sealed bottle of non-refrigerated creamer lasts quite a long time past its printed expiration date, generally around 6-9 months. The expiration date is simply the manufacturer’s best recommendation for peak quality, but the creamer does not suddenly become unsafe to consume after that date.
As long as the bottle remains properly sealed and stored at room temperature, the creamer inside should maintain quality well beyond the printed expiration date before starting to degrade in flavor or texture.
Shelf Life of Common Non-Refrigerated Creamers:
- Powdered creamer: Up to 2 years past printed date
- Liquid non-dairy creamer: 9-12 months past printed date
- Liquid coffee creamer: 6-9 months past printed date
Of course, this shelf life can vary based on the specific ingredients and preservatives used in different creamer products. Checking the bottle for any signs of puffing or leaking before use is advised.
How to Store Unopened Non-Refrigerated Creamer
To get the longest shelf life out of an unopened creamer bottle, be sure to store it properly:
- Keep bottles sealed tight.
- Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
- Avoid storage in hot places like near the stove or in the pantry.
- Keep bottles away from any strong odors that may seep into the creamer.
- Store powdered creamer in an airtight container once opened.
How Long Does Opened Non-Refrigerated Creamer Last?
Once opened, non-refrigerated creamers have a shorter shelf life. Exposure to oxygen and repeated contact with utensils introduces opportunities for the creamer to deteriorate and spoil.
In general, an opened bottle of non-refrigerated creamer will last:
- Powdered creamer: Up to 18 months when kept dry in an airtight container
- Liquid non-dairy creamer: 3-4 weeks past printed date
- Liquid coffee creamer: 3-4 weeks past printed date
Proper storage is important for maximizing the shelf life once opened. Keep reading for tips on storage.
How to Tell if Opened Non-Refrigerated Creamer Is Bad
Here are some signs that an opened creamer has gone bad and should be discarded:
- Change in consistency – becomes thinner or thick like paste
- Sour or unpleasant aroma
- Mold growth inside bottle
- Change in color
- Taste is off, bitter or unpleasant
How to Store Opened Non-Refrigerated Creamer
Follow these guidelines to store opened creamer properly:
- Keep bottle tightly sealed after each use.
- Store away from heat, sunlight and humidity.
- Keep area around bottle opening clean.
- Do not store in the fridge, as temperature fluctuations can cause condensation.
- Once a bottle appears bloated, toss it.
- Transfer leftover powdered creamer to an airtight container.
Does Refrigeration Extend the Shelf Life?
Contrary to what you may think, refrigerating an opened bottle of liquid non-refrigerated creamer is not recommended and can actually shorten its shelf life. The fluctuations in temperature and humidity each time the fridge is opened can cause condensation inside the bottle, creating favorable conditions for spoilage.
Non-refrigerated creamers contain preservatives that help them keep at room temperature. As long as you keep the bottle properly sealed and stored when not in use, refrigeration is not necessary for opened bottles.
For powdered creamers, the dry environment of the pantry is still best for an opened package. Just transfer to an airtight container to keep it fresh.
How to Make Your Non-Refrigerated Creamer Last
Follow these tips to extend the life of your non-refrigerated creamer, whether opened or unopened:
- Store bottles in a cool, dry place around 60-75°F.
- Keep away from heat sources like ovens, stoves or dishwashers.
- Keep bottle lid tightly sealed.
- Store opened powder in an airtight container.
- Keep area around bottle mouth clean when pouring.
- Use clean and dry utensils only.
- Do not return any leftover creamer from your mug back into the bottle.
- Purchase small bottle sizes or single-serve packets if you don’t use creamer daily.
- Check bottles for any puffing, leaks or mold before each use.
- Write the date opened on each bottle for reference.
Can You Freeze Non-Refrigerated Creamer?
Freezing can extend the shelf life of opened non-refrigerated liquid creamers for longer storage. Here are some tips if you wish to freeze your creamer:
- Only freeze unflavored liquid creamers, not flavored or powdered.
- Transfer opened liquid creamer to an airtight container leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
- Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the creamer’s surface before sealing the container.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw overnight in the fridge before use.
- Use thawed creamer within 1 week.
- Do not refreeze thawed creamer.
- The creamer may separate slightly upon thawing but will redisperse when stirred.
Freezing can alter the texture and flavor of non-refrigerated creamers slightly, so only freeze as needed for longer storage.
The Shelf Life of Common Non-Refrigerated Creamers
Here is a summary of the shelf life you can expect from common types of non-refrigerated creamers:
|Type of Creamer||Unopened Shelf Life||Opened Shelf Life|
|Powdered creamer||Up to 2 years past printed date||Up to 18 months in airtight container|
|Liquid non-dairy creamer||9-12 months past printed date||3-4 weeks past printed date|
|Liquid coffee creamer||6-9 months past printed date||3-4 weeks past printed date|
Can you use non-refrigerated creamer after the expiration date?
Yes, unopened shelf-stable creamer can typically last for many months past the printed expiration date, as long as the bottle remains properly sealed. For opened bottles, it’s best to use within 3-4 weeks past the date for peak freshness.
How can you tell if non-refrigerated creamer has gone bad?
Signs that opened creamer has spoiled include a change in consistency, odor, color or texture. Mold, fermented smell, bitterness, separation, sliminess or curdling are also indicators the creamer has gone bad.
Does non-refrigerated creamer need to be refrigerated after opening?
No, refrigeration is not needed once non-refrigerated creamers are opened. The temperature fluctuations in the fridge can actually causes them to spoil faster. Properly sealing and storing in a cool, dry place is best.
Can you freeze and thaw non-refrigerated creamer?
You can freeze and thaw unflavored liquid non-refrigerated creamers, but this process can slightly alter their texture and flavor. Thawed creamer should be used within one week. Do not freeze powdered or flavored creamers.
How long does powdered creamer last after opening?
Properly stored powdered creamer can last up to 18 months past its printed expiration date when kept in an airtight container in the pantry. Be sure to keep it dry and sealed.
The Shelf Life of Non-Refrigerated Creamers
Understanding the opened and unopened shelf life of non-refrigerated creamers allows you to store them properly and keep them fresh as long as possible. With adequate storage conditions, most can last for many weeks or months past their printed expiration date.
Be sure to keep your creamers sealed tight, stored in a cool, dry place and away from humidity and sunlight. Properly stored both opened and unopened bottles should maintain quality and flavor well beyond their expiration date printed.
Check bottles periodically for any signs of mold, curdling, separation or off-odors which can indicate it’s time to discard. With proper storage and handling, non-refrigerated creamers can stay fresh and tasty for daily coffee and tea enjoyment.