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How Long Does Oat Milk Last and How to Tell if It’s Bad?

What Does Oat Milk shelf life and How to Tell if It's Bad?

Here we will explain everything about oat milk shelf life or storage and about spoilage of oat milk. After finishing reading this article, you should hopefully know how long does oat milk last, how to store it and whether needs to be refrigerated and how to tell if your oat milk is bad.

If you buy a box of oat milk, and then you drink a glass of it, and put the rest in the refrigerator. Then you wonder how long it lasts in the refrigerator? A question that is asked a lot and is very important to know so that your stored milk can still be used while the quality is still good.

Or the case is, you have stored the rest of the oat milk in the refrigerator and you are not sure whether it can still be drunk or should be thrown away.

Did any of you ever think like that, and these questions brought you here? If so then you are in the right place.

Let’s explore more about this milk, starting whether it needs to be refrigerated, what does oat milk shelf life, what to do if you have opened the container, and how to tell if oat milk is bad.

Does Oat Milk Need to Be Refrigerated?

The unrefrigerated while in store, you can store it at room temperature until you open it. Once opened, the rest must be stored in the fridge. However, if you buy refrigerated oat milk at the store, such as the one stored in the refrigerator while at the store, then if you buy it, of course you have to drink it all at once or store it in the refrigerator too.

Oat milk that has been cooled, it must be kept in the refrigerator at all times.

That is, you have to store oat milk as in the store, if it is stored in the refrigerator in the store, then you also have to store it in the refrigerator. If you store it on a shelf, then you can store it on a shelf or at room temperature.

Likewise, if you have opened the container, the rest must be stored in a cool place. This also applies equally to almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk and soy milk.

Maybe you are wondering why containers that have been opened must be stored in the refrigerator, and those that have not been opened and are not cold can survive in room milk.

See more: What Does Oat Milk Taste Like? We Provide Detailed Answers

Refrigerated vs. Shelf-Stable Oat Milk

In almost all cases, shelf-stable and refrigerated oat milk have differences and this lies in the packaging. Both have the same ingredients.

Oatly has explained this issue on its site:

“The shelf-stable cartons are packaged in an aseptic format that produces a totally sterile environment, resulting in a product with a longer shelf life and no need for refrigeration (until it’s been opened for the first time, that is).


Bottles or cartons that require cold temperatures should not be packed aseptically. While the rest is pretty much the same, meaning you don’t have to worry about any preservatives in shelf-stable products.

So it is very important when buying oat milk to read the label so you can store it properly.

There are brands like Califia farms, they try to make things easy for the customer, they use bottles for oat milk that need refrigeration, and use cartons for the shelf variety.

Not all brands offer the refrigerated variety, so check with your favorite brand to find out more about their products.

Tip: If you use oat milk as a cream on your coffee, then consider buying the barista variety, it tastes a bit like regular milk, the steam and froth taste better.

If you buy to store it, then the shelf-stable variety is the best choice.

How Long Can Oat Milk Sit Out? Oat Milk Shelf Life

According to the USDA, once the oat milk has been opened, it will only last for 2 hours at room temperature, if it is more then you should throw it away.

If you want to consume it after more than 2 hours in case the container has been opened, be careful. If you leave it for up to 3 hours, it might still be okay, but we recommend not drinking it anymore.

I think, Better safe than sorry.

Another way to store oat milk

Apart from storing the cardboard container in the right place, there are some basic rules for storing oat milk that you should know.

Some of those rules are:

– If you have used it, always close the carton tightly

– Don’t drink straight from the carton, unless you’re sure you can finish straight away.

– Pour the milk in a glass, and then put the carton back in the fridge.

– If the carton (cardboard container) is difficult to close, then store leftover food or drinks in a plastic container or glass jar.

– Shake the carton or bottle when you want to pour into the glass

Check out more:

How Long Does Oat Milk Last?

Shelf-stable oat milk shelf life is so long last as long as you don’t open it. In fact, this can last up to several months past its best date.

While refrigerated oat milk, it can only be stored for a week past the best date, if it is more than a week from the expiration date, then you must throw it away.

If you open a carton or bottle, then you should finish it within 7 to 10 days, this really depends on the brand of your drink.

Pantry Fridge
Oat milk (shelf-stable) Best-by + 3 – 6 months
Oat milk (chilled carton) Sell-by + 5 – 7 days
Oat milk (opened) 5 – 10 days

Expired Oat Milk

Expired Oat Milk
Coffee and oat Meal

We know that there are two types of oat milk on the market. Some are sold in the fridge and some are shelf-stable. The basic difference between the two is the way they are stored and their respective shelf life.

The shelf-stable oat milk usually lasts 6 to 12 months. It can also be used after a certain number of dates, as long as it hasn’t been opened. While the variety is refrigerated, it only lasts a few weeks from production and can still be used after one week past its due date.

So, whether oat milk has expired or is still OK to use depends on which variety we are talking about. So, each variety has a different shelf life and different storage methods.

For the shelf-stable variant, it is possible that the shelf life will be quite long after the date stated. Sometimes it can still be used for 6 months after the date. But if you find any indication of rot, don’t hesitate to open it and check the smell, and taste.

If the oat milk has been refrigerated since it was in the store or in your storage at home (in the fridge), then we will throw it away if it is more than 7-10 days from the date.

After Opening

After the first time you open the carton, the oat milk shelf life should be about 7 to 10 days. Recommendations may vary between brands.

Tip: Write down the date of the day you opened the container, so you can see how many days you’ve opened it.

Some manufacturers like Toast, they suggest storage within 4-7 days in such cases. While others, such as oatmeal, use a more relaxed guide, namely 7-10 days.

If you have oat milk that you opened and has been in the refrigerator for 10 days, throw it away.

How to Tell if Oat Milk Is Bad?

How to Tell if Oat Milk Is Bad?

To find out whether oat milk is bad or not, do the following steps:

Try opening the carton and sniffing it, if it smells like mold, sour then throw it away.

Pour some in a glass and watch.

Also check the consistency and color, there may be slight changes even if they are not significant. If you find the oat milk is slimy, has separated, then throw it away. Likewise if you see there is microbial growth.

If you find signs that make you no longer confident about drinking, then you should just throw it away instead of taking the risk.


From various brands of oat milk have different tastes. If you buy from a different brand than usual, then don’t be surprised if you find a different taste. So, this is normal and not a sign of decay.