Almond milk is considered a flavorful vegan substitute for dairy milk. It’s one of the most commonly used and inexpensive plant-based milk, right up there with soy milk.
Due to its sweet taste, Almond milk is often used as a creamer for coffee rather than normal animal milk.
Alternative to cow and goat’s milk, almond milk is ideal for anyone who wants safe, natural, and healthy plant-based milk. It’s perfect for lactose-intolerant people, and when you choose almond milk, it never feels like you are sacrificing flavor or that dairy experience.
So, how exactly do you know your almond milk is still palatable? Keep reading on to find out.
How Long Does Almond Milk Last?
Ultimately, the shelf-life of almond milk depends on two things; the type of almond milk you have bought and how you are storing it. Shelf-stable almond milk usually has a longer shelf life than refrigerated one.
Generally, shelf-stable almond milk that has not been opened can stay fresh at room temperature for 1 year and will last for about 3-4 weeks past the date on the package after opening. Pasteurized/refrigerated almond milk may stay fresh for about a week after the date markings on the product.
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How to Tell if Almond Milk is Bad
Here is how to tell whether your almond milk has gone bad.
Foul smell: Almond milk often has a slight nutty smell. So, when you notice any weird smell or Eau de sour milk, it’s is likely time to toss it.
Odd appearance: Homemade almond milk may start to separate, and a simple shake may bring it to normal consistency. However, when you begin to notice curdling, strange textures, lumps, or a weird consistency that doesn’t fix after shaking, your almond milk has likely gone bad.
Bloated carton: If the unopened carton looks a bit bloated or plump, theirs is a higher chance your almond milk has gone off.
Sour taste: Almond milk usually tastes somewhat nutty and may be flavored or sweetened depending on the type or brand you buy. If you notice anything off or sour when you take a sip, it’s probably not safe for consumption.
Mold: Mold might grow inside your milk container. If you notice any fungus spots or specks, toss the milk immediately. Tiny black spots could be specks of almond skin if your milk is homemade, but it’s a good idea not to take any chances and still toss it.
The scientific Shelf Life of Almond milk
Shelf-stable almond milk only needs refrigeration after opening the container, while homemade and refrigerated almond milk needs to sit on the fridge continuously.
Scientific tests on almond milk shelf life have shown that the shelf-stable milk will last up to 1 year when unopened. Normal almond milk, on the other hand, has a scientific shelf life of about 5 to 7 days at room temperature.
Shelf-stable vs. Refrigerated Almond Milk
Shelf-stable almond milk is any kind of almond milk that can be kept long-term in the pantry when unopened. You can find this kind of almond milk on the shelf together with dry foods in the grocery stores. They mostly come in an aseptic or Tetra Pak packaging.
On the other hand, refrigerated almond milk is sold in the supermarket’s refrigerated section and should be stored in a refrigerator when you get home since it isn’t shelf-stable.
Shelf-stable almond milk is usually sterilized by heat treatment whereas normal almond milk just undergoes pasteurization.
This handy table shows how long your almond milk is likely to last.
|Type of Almond Milk||Common Types of Containers||Unopened||Opened|
|Shelf-stable||Aseptic/ Tetra Pak packaging||Roughly 1 year||Up to 10 days (in a fridge)|
|Refrigerated||Glass, plastic, or paperboard||About 10 days (in a fridge)||Up to 7 days (in a fridge)|
|Homemade||Jar||N/A||About 5 days (in a fridge)|
Does Almond Milk Really Go Bad After 7 Days?
Almond milk is likely to go bad after seven days, but this will depend on a few factors:
The temperature of your refrigerator: If it’s 40-degree Fahrenheit and above, or you keep your almond milk on the door and frequently open your fridge, then your milk will go bad more quickly.
How often you shake up and open the milk container: The more you expose your almond milk to the air, which is naturally rich with microbes that love nutrient-dense concoctions, the faster it will spoil. Air also makes it susceptible to oxidation which is a catalyst for rancidity.
How Long Does Almond Milk Last in the Fridge Unopened?
Unopened almond milk will generally stay fresh for about one week after the date provided on the package, provided it’s continuously refrigerated.
Tip: As an almond milk enthusiast, I have noted that to increase the shelf life of unopened almond milk, don’t keep it close to the fridge door where the temperature is not cold enough. In its original package, the unopened almond milk will last longer in the coldest parts of the refrigerator.
How Long Does It Last Out of the Fridge Unopened?
Properly stored shelf-stable almond milk that hasn’t been open can generally remain fresh for about 3-4 weeks after the date on the package when kept at room temperature.
How Long Does Unopened Almond Milk Last Past the Expiration Date?
An unopened carton of shelf-stable almond milk may last three to four weeks past the use-by date when stored at room temperature. Its longer shelf life is because of the sterilization process, where the product is dried or heated to kill foodborne microorganisms that cause spoilage.
It also uses aseptic carton packaging designed to increase the shelf life of the almond milk for an extended period.
Refrigerated, unopened regular almond milk, on the other hand, can last for 5 to 7 days. It lasts slightly shorter since the pasteurization process is a milder heat treatment compared to sterilization.
How Long Can Opened Almond Milk Last Unrefrigerated?
Once opened, almond milk (sold refrigerated) should be consumed within 10 days and not left unrefrigerated for more than two hours. However, this time is a scientific date-marking consumer guideline. The milk can still be safe to drink a few days after the best before dates as highlighted before in this article here.
The best test is how the milk appears and tastes. If it’s thick, clumpy, has an off smell, or sour taste, it’s likely the time to toss it.
How Long Does Opened Almond Milk Last in the Refrigerator?
Once opened, refrigerated almond milk should be consumed within seven days. However, don’t simply toss the milk after those days as the milk could not have gone bad yet.
How Long Does Homemade Almond Milk Last?
How long homemade almond milk will last depend on several factors, including the freshness of ingredients, how well you sterilize your equipment, and your fridge temperature.
On average, unrefrigerated homemade almond milk will last 2-3 days.
Homemade almond milk can last up to 4-5 days in the fridge. However, always store homemade nut milk in a refrigerator with a tight lid to keep it fresh longer.
Store purchased nut milk is usually pasteurized, so they last much longer in the fridge than homemade nut milk.
Is it OK to Drink Almond Milk Past the Expiration Date?
If you take sour or expired milk, you could get sick, but it’s unlikely that you will die. However, as I have been saying before, our bodies are extremely diverse and will react differently.
So, it is definitely not OK to take anything you are sure is expired.
Risks of Drinking Expired Almond Milk
If it has not gone bad, taking expired almond milk can pass without adverse effects. Nevertheless, there is a risk of common stomach issues with food poisoning symptoms, such as diarrhea, cramps, abdominal pain, or vomiting.
The severity of digestive issues will depend on the amount of spoiled milk you have taken. If you take only one or two sips, you may not suffer from any side effects. However, taking a large amount may lead to poisoning.
Although bacteria developed in spoiled milk might only cause mild discomfort that lasts for a few hours, you need to consult a doctor if the symptoms worsen. The best thing is not to consume expired milk, especially if you are susceptible to or have a chronic disease.
What to do with Expired Almond Milk
Don’t throw away your expired almond milk just by reading the date markings. Instead, you can use it for baking muffins, pancakes, or other baked goods if it doesn’t clearly exhibit physical and organoleptic signs of spoilage.
i. Can almond milk go bad and make you sick?
Like regular spoiled milk, bacteria are the main cause of almond milk spoilage. So, when you take bad almond milk, you will be consuming a lot of harmful bacteria, which may lead to diarrhea, vomiting, or stomach upset. Extremely rancid almond milk may cause more severe food poisoning.
If you realize too late that your almond milk has gone bad, the best thing you can do is stay hydrated. Diarrhea and vomiting, which are likely to occur, will dry out.
ii. How can you tell if almond milk is bad?
As with most food products, the easiest way to tell whether or not almond milk has gone off is by using your sense(s). Almond milk does not contain any dairy, but the natural fats in nuts are likely to go rancid in much the same way.
Anyone who has come across a spoiled nut can easily identify this, but it’s not hard to detect, even if you never have. When your almond milk becomes thick, smells a bit off, or develops a sour flavor, the best thing to do is to toss it and start anew.
iii. What does almond milk taste like when it goes bad?
Rancid almond milk has a faintly sour taste. The taste may not be as bad as sour dairy milk, but you should still notice the difference from fresh almond milk.
iv. Can you cook using almond milk?
In most modern recipes, you can use almond milk as an alternative for regular cow’s milk by simply doing a cup-to-cup replacement. That means if a recipe needs 1 cup of cow milk, you can instead use 1 cup of almond milk.
Of course, some recipes may require slight adjustments, but generally, it’s possible to cook with almond milk.
You can use almond milk in recipes for baking items such as cakes, cookies, pancakes, muffins, or even savory dishes, including hummus and garlic bread.
If you need some almond recipes, you can try Chocolate Banana Smoothie with Goji Berries or use almond milk as an alternative for coconut milk when preparing Thai red curry dish or creamy mushroom pasta. It has the same smooth texture but with a nuttier flavor.
v. Can you freeze almond milk?
Although most manufacturers don’t recommend putting almond milk in a freezer, you can theoretically freeze it before the use-by date to extend its lasting.
However, the milk quality and texture will not be the same once you defrost it, and you may notice spot lumps in it. As such, you can only use almond milk from the freezer for cooking and preparing milkshakes, but not for drinking.
The most practical way to freeze almond milk is to put it in a freezer in the small doses required to prepare a meal.
For instance, you may pour it into an ice cube and freeze it. If you want a large amount of milk for soup or sauce, use muffin tins.