Does oat milk go bad?
Does oat milk go bad?

Oat milk is one of the best milk alternatives, but does oat milk go bad? How will you recognize that that oat milk has gone bad? How to store it to prevent its spoilage? Keep reading to find out all the answers on the subject does oat milk go bad?

For all those who do not drink dairy milk for health or any other reasons, it is a great advantage that we live in a time when there are many substitutes that we can use instead of animal milk.

One of those healthy substitutes is definitely oat milk.

Oats have many health benefits and are best known for their high concentration of protein and fiber associated with cholesterol regulation. This also helps strengthen the immune system, has a preventive effect on heart disease, maintains cholesterol and blood sugar at a healthy level, provides energy through natural proteins and sugars, and improves the health and appearance of the skin and hair.

In addition, it will provide your body with many minerals and vitamins such as manganese, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B, E, and A.

Oat milk is one of the most popular non-dairy kinds of milk
Oat milk is one of the most popular non-dairy kinds of milk (shutterstock.com)

Oat milk is a lactose free (lactose intolerant people can drink it) and nut free (suitable for people allergic to nuts) product that is more popular than almond milk and all other non dairy milks.

You can buy this milk in all better-stocked stores or you can make it by yourself, but you should keep in mind that oat milk can go bad, like all other kinds of milk. Shelf-stable oat milk can last a couple of months after its expiry date, but the homemade product has a lot shorter shelf-life.

How long does oat milk last?

There are two different kinds of oat milk and they have different shelf-life. 

The first kind is shelf-stable oat milk, which can last a few months after its expiration date, but only if it is unopened. Shelf-stable oat milk is best to use 9 months up to a year from the production date. Once opened shelf-stable oat milk will last up to 7 days at the best quality. 

The second kind of oat milk is refrigerated oat milk. Refrigerated oat milk has a lot shorter shelf life and can last only a few days after its expiration date, even when it is unopened. It retains the best quality a few weeks after the production date. Then it goes bad. Opened refrigerated oat milk will be good to use up to 7 days after opening, but only if it is kept in the fridge.

Store oat milk properly – sealed and refrigerated – this way it will last for up to 5 days.

How long does oat milk last after opened?

After opening, shelf-stable and refrigerated oat milk will last 4 to 7 days, according to the manufacturers of those products. You should always read the label on the package and act accordingly, as there is no general rule for all oat milk.

There are shelf-stable and refrigerated oat milk (shutterstock.com)

Oat milk is made out of oats and water, but some manufacturers add a sprinkle of oil, sweeteners, or other ingredients to improve the flavor and texture of oat milk.

Those additional ingredients can change the shelf-life of opened oat milk, so some of them will be good 4 days after opening and some can last up to 10 days if you’re storing oat milk in the refrigerated section, of course.

Does unopened oat milk need to be refrigerated?

Depending on the kind of oat milk you bought. As we mentioned in the previous section, there is two kind of oat milk – shelf-stable and refrigerated. 

If you buy a refrigerate oat milk kind, you should be storing oat milk it in the fridge the entire time – unopened carton and opened.

If your choice is shelf stable cartons of oat milk, which has a longer shelf life, you can keep it at room temperature, at your pantry or countertop while it’s unopened, just avoid areas where temperature frequently changes.

Shelf-stable oat milk can also be stored in the fridge, but not necessarily. 

Tip: If you are not sure how to store unopened containers of oat milk, just store it the way it was stored in a supermarket where you bought it. Opened oat milk should always be kept refrigerated. Also, never buy oat milk with the damaged container.

Can you preserve homemade oat milk?

Yes, there is a way to preserve home made oat milk.

Pouring oat milk that is freshly made into a clean airtight container or sterilized glass jar and putting it in the fridge is a good way to preserve it. The package must be airtight to reduce export to air and moisture and moved to the fridge where milk would remain fresh for a maximum of 5 days.

You’ll know that oat milk that is homemade is bad when it changes its smell. 

Tip: As it doesn’t contain any additives, oat milk that is homemade will separate in the fridge. That doesn’t mean it’s spoiled if the smell is alright. Simply give it a good shake when you take it out of the fridge.

Can you freeze homemade oat milk?

Yes, oat milk can be frozen, both store bought oat milk and home made. If you made a bigger amount of home made oat milk and want to preserve it, you can also freeze it.

Simply pour it into an airtight container, but leave about an inch at the top of the bottle empty, as oat milk expands while it freezes. Water is the principal ingredient and water expands as it freezes thus the package explodes.

Oat milk is the best when it is fresh
Oat milk is the best when it is fresh (shutterstock.com)

Frozen oat milk will be good to use for up to three months.

You can expect that homemade oat milk will be a bit grainy once you thaw it, so it’s not recommendable to use it in coffee, tea, or any other dish where you can see its texture.

What happens when oat milk goes bad?

Unfortunately, if you don’t store oat milk properly it can go bad after its expiration date. After a certain amount of time oat milk will start to change its texture, color, taste, and smell. 

How do I know if oat milk has gone bad?

Dates on oat milk containers are recommended guidelines, but your visual senses, smell, and flavor will eventually decide if milk is good to use. After opening the carton of oat milk its nutritional value reduces slowly. Oat milk will not spoil at once, but will gradually change color, smell, taste, and texture. 

After opening oat milk should be stored in the fridge
After opening oat milk should be stored in the fridge (shutterstock.com)

Simply give your oat milk eye and taste test to make sure it is bad:

  • Texture – Fresh oat milk should be smooth and silky, but if it has thicker consistency or it becomes lumpy, that is a secure sign of spoiling. Sip a little bit of oat milk into the sink – if you see chunks or uneven texture, your milk has probably gone bad.
  • Color – Oat milk has creamy white color. If the color changes and oat milk has turned yellow or light brown, it has gone bad. Yellow tint means your milk is not good for use any more. That doesn’t go for flavored or infused oat milk that is naturally colored. If you see mold formations you have in your hands spoiled oat milk.
  • Smell – Every kind of plant milk has a different smell than animal milk, but you’ll know how oat milk smells once you make it or buy it. If the smell changes and gets sour scent it is time to throw oat milk away.
  • Taste – Oat milk surprisingly reminds cow’s milk by its taste, but it’s slightly lighter. It is also a lot sweeter than all other plant kinds of milk. If taste changes and oat milk becomes stale or sour, that’s the sign that it has gone bad.
  • If oat milk sits in your fridge more than 7 days after it’s open, chances are it has gone bad, but before you throw it away give a taste or smell it to make sure it’s spoiled.

What happens if you drink oat milk after 7 days?

Mostly nothing. Shelf-stable oat milk should be used within 7 days after opening, but it can last a few days more. It is ok to have oat milk up to 10 days after opening the carton in most cases.

Still, before you try it, pour oat milk into a glass and check it for any signs of spoilage.

Is curdled oat milk bad?

Oat milk can react similar to cow’s milk – when it’s added to hot coffee or hot tea, for example, it could curdle. The reason for this is the level of acid – more acidity bigger chance oat milk will curdle. In some cases, oat milk could curdle when it’s expired, but as long as it’s not bad, it will be perfectly safe for you to drink it.

Can you get sick from expired oat milk?

Yes, by drinking bad oat milk you can get sick. As we mentioned above, unopened oat milk that is shelf-stable can be used for months after its expiration date, but only if it’s stored properly and if the carton of oat milk is not damaged or swollen. Opened oat milk is exposed to air, which means it can get in touch with bacteria and all other pathogens.

Spoiled oat milk is easy to recognize
Spoiled oat milk is easy to recognize by its smell, color, taste, and texture (shutterstock.com)

Oat milk loses its nutritional value once it’s open, so it would be best to drink it while it’s fresh, but as long as it’s not spoiled you can drink it or use it without worry.

If expired oat milk is bad (spoiled) you could easily get food poisoning with all typical symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, fever, fatigue, etc. You can drink expired oat milk, but if you notice any kind of moldy residues or strange smells, throw it away.

What can I do with expired oat milk?

If you have expired oat milk that is not spoiled, you shouldn’t be rushing to throw it out, as there are numerous ways to use it.

  • Use it in your body skincare routine – Expired oat milk can easily be added to your skincare routine, as it has many advantages for your skin – it makes it look lighter, smoother, and younger. Simply add oat milk to your bath or use it to make soaps or bath bombs.
  • Make a face mask or natural remedy for acne – Simply put oat milk on the stove and heat it until it thickens. Keep the mask on your face for 15 minutes and wash it off.
  • Make kid-friendly glue – If your kids enjoy playing paper mache, you can cook oat milk until it thickens and use it for fun games.
  • Use it to remove odors from your clothes and furniture – Oat milk successfully removes unpleasant smells of your pets or baby vomit.

Final thoughts

Oat milk is a healthy substitute for animal milk, but like all other kinds of milk, it can go bad, too. For best quality use oat milk within 4 to 7 days since you open the package, or else your oat milk could go bad.

You’ll recognize spoiled oat milk by changing texture, smell, taste, and color. To prolong oat milk shelf-life store it properly in the fridge or freeze it.