Smoothies can be a quick and nutritious meal replacement when you’re short on time. Many people make large batches of smoothies and store them in the refrigerator to drink throughout the week. But can you still drink a smoothie after 5 days, or will it go bad? Here’s what you need to know about the shelf life and safety of drinking older smoothies.
How Long Do Smoothies Last in the Fridge?
The shelf life of a smoothie depends on several factors:
- Ingredients used – Fruits and vegetables with higher water content will shorten the shelf life. Leafy greens also degrade faster.
- Acidity level – Ingredients like citrus juice and yogurt help preserve the smoothie.
- Storage container – An airtight container will keep a smoothie fresher than a porous container.
- Refrigerator temperature – Storing at 40°F or below will extend the shelf life.
Taking these factors into account, a smoothie made with fruits and veggies alone will generally last 3-4 days in the fridge. If dairy ingredients like yogurt or milk are used, the smoothie should be consumed within 2-3 days for best quality.
Signs Your Smoothie Has Gone Bad
Here are some signs that indicate your refrigerated smoothie has spoiled and should be discarded:
- Change in consistency – Becomes very thick and gloopy or has completely separated into liquid and solids.
- Mold growth – Fuzzy mold spots appear anywhere on the surface.
- Strange odor – Smells rotten, fermented, or very acidic.
- Fizzing or bubbling – Caused by fermentation of sugars into CO2 gas.
- Discoloration – Has turned an unnatural brown, grey, or green tint.
- Unpleasant taste – Strong bitter, sour, or off flavors.
Can I Drink a Smoothie After 5 Days?
If a smoothie has been refrigerated for 5 days, it is generally not recommended to drink it. While the shelf life can vary based on ingredients and storage, most smoothies will not taste good or be safe to consume after sitting for almost a week.
Here are some risks of drinking a smoothie that’s 5 days old:
- Food poisoning – Bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria can grow over time, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
- Spoiled milk – Dairy ingredients can curdle and taste rancid.
- Mold exposure – Even if mold isn’t visible, toxins may be present.
- Off flavors – Fat oxidation and enzymatic browning leads to an unpalatable taste.
- Nutrient loss – Vitamins like C and B vitamins degrade during prolonged storage.
- Gastrointestinal issues – Your body may have trouble digesting and absorbing the altered nutrients.
If you see any signs of spoilage like changes in texture, smell, or appearance, the smoothie should not be consumed and should be thrown out. When in doubt, remember the old adage – “When in doubt, throw it out!”
Tips to Safely Store Smoothies
To help your smoothies last as long as possible, follow these tips:
- Use fresh, high-quality ingredients – Avoid old or bruised produce.
- Wash produce thoroughly – This prevents contamination from dirt and bacteria.
- Blend well – Smooth, uniform consistency prevents separation.
- Store in airtight containers – Prevent oxygen exposure and contamination.
- Refrigerate promptly – Slows microbial growth and enzymatic reactions.
- Freeze for longer storage – Keeps smoothies fresh for 2-3 months.
- Check frequently for spoilage – Discard if any signs appear.
- Label the container with prep date – So you know when it was made.
How Long Do Smoothie Ingredients Last?
To make smoothies that will last in the refrigerator, it helps to understand the shelf life of common ingredients:
|Leafy greens (spinach, kale)
|Berries (strawberries, blueberries)
|Chopped fruit (apple, mango)
By combining ingredients with longer shelf lives, you can maximize the refrigerated life of your smoothies.
Should You Freeze Leftover Smoothies?
Freezing is a great way to preserve leftover smoothies for later use. To freeze:
- Let cool completely – Freeze within 4 hours of blending.
- Store in freezer bags or airtight containers – Prevents freezer burn.
- Lay flat if using bags – Makes thawing easier.
- Label with flavor and date – Helps with identification.
- Freeze for up to 2-3 months – For best quality and taste.
Thaw frozen smoothies overnight in the fridge or for a few hours at room temperature before drinking. Give it a good stir or shake once thawed. Add ice as needed to restore thickness.
Benefits of Freezing Smoothies
Freezing smoothies offers several advantages:
- Longer shelf life – Frozen smoothies keep for months versus days in the fridge.
- Better flavor – Prevents oxidation and separation that occurs during refrigeration.
- Time saving – Make and freeze batches ahead of time for quick meals.
- Reduced waste – Freeze leftovers instead of having them go bad.
- More nutrients – Locks in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
- Convenience – Thaw and enjoy smoothies any time.
Creating Smoothies for Storage
You can boost the shelf life of smoothies by following these preparation tips:
- Use frozen fruit and veggies – Adds thickness and slows spoilage.
- Incorporate lemon/lime juice – The acidity helps preserve.
- Add yogurt or milk – Dairy products will keep longer than produce.
- Include nut butters – For nutrition and extended fridge life.
- Sweeten with honey or maple syrup – Natural antimicrobial properties.
- Store in small portions – Less surface area exposed to air.
- Fill containers to the top – Limits oxygen exposure.
- Use storage containers, not glass – Avoid light degradation.
Following proper storage methods and using the right ingredients will help your smoothies stay fresh and delicious.
In most cases, it is not recommended to drink a smoothie that has been refrigerated for 5 days or more. The optimal storage time is up to 3-4 days for fruit and veggie smoothies and 2-3 days if dairy is included. Beyond that, spoilage bacteria, yeasts, and molds can grow to dangerous levels. Signs like changes in texture, smell, taste, or appearance indicate a smoothie has gone bad and should be discarded. To get the most out of your smoothies, freeze leftovers for long-term storage and make sure to follow proper refrigeration temperatures and storage methods. With some planning ahead, you can safely enjoy smoothies all week long.