Almond milk has become a popular plant-based milk alternative for many people. It is made from ground almonds and water, giving it a creamy, nutty taste and texture similar to dairy milk. Unlike regular milk, almond milk has a relatively long shelf life unopened. But can you still drink almond milk after it has been open for 7 days? Here is a comprehensive look at the shelf life of almond milk and whether it is safe to drink after a week.
How Long Does Unopened Almond Milk Last?
The shelf life of unopened almond milk depends on the type of almond milk and how it is packaged. Here is a table showing how long unopened almond milk lasts past its printed expiration date:
|Type of Almond Milk||Unopened Shelf Life Past Printed Date|
|Refrigerated almond milk||7-10 days|
|Shelf-stable almond milk||3-5 months|
|Almond milk powder||6-12 months|
As you can see, unopened almond milk lasts 1-2 weeks beyond the printed date if refrigerated. Shelf-stable, unopened almond milk lasts much longer – up to 5 months past its printed date. Almond milk powder has the longest shelf life, lasting up to a year past its printed expiration date when kept sealed.
How Long Does Opened Almond Milk Last?
Once you open a carton of almond milk, its shelf life decreases quickly due to exposure to air and bacteria. Here is how long opened almond milk lasts refrigerated:
|Type of Opened Almond Milk||Refrigerated Shelf Life|
|Refrigerated almond milk||7-10 days|
|Shelf-stable almond milk||7-10 days|
|Almond milk powder (reconstituted)||3-4 days|
As you can see from the table, all types of opened almond milk only last about 7-10 days in the refrigerator. The exception is reconstituted almond milk made from powder, which has a shorter shelf life of 3-4 days.
Signs Almond Milk Has Gone Bad
How can you tell if your opened almond milk has gone bad and should be thrown out? Here are the most common signs that almond milk has spoiled:
- Sour smell
- Thick, curdled texture
- Mold visible on surface
- Change in color
- Odd taste
Almond milk is naturally creamy and white. If you notice your milk separates, looks curdled, changes color, or smells or tastes sour or funky, it has likely spoiled and should not be consumed.
Can You Drink Almond Milk After 7 Days?
Based on food safety guidelines, opened almond milk will generally last 7-10 days past its printed date when refrigerated properly. So can you drink almond milk after 7 days?
Yes, you can safely drink refrigerated almond milk within 7 days of opening, provided it has been continuously refrigerated and does not have signs of spoilage like smelling sour or being thick and curdled. The taste may start to change slightly after a week, but it should still be safe to consume.
However, once almond milk is open for more than 7-10 days, it is not recommended to drink it. The risk of foodborne illness increases the longer almond milk sits at refrigerator temperatures. Some bacteria can continue slowly multiplying, even in the fridge.
How to Tell if Almond Milk is Still Good After 7 Days
To determine if your opened almond milk is still safe and wholesome to drink after a week in the fridge, look for the following signs of freshness:
- Milk looks normal – no separation, curdling, or color changes
- No sour or “off” odors
- Milk smells subtly sweet and nutty when container is opened
- Flavor tastes normal without bitterness or sourness
- No mold, sliminess, or bubbles inside the carton
As long as your refrigerated almond milk looks, smells, and tastes normal after 7 days, it should be fine to consume or cook with. However, your nose and taste buds are the best tools for determining if your milk is still fresh enough to drink.
How to Store Almond Milk to Maximize Freshness
To get the longest safe shelf life out of your almond milk once opened, be sure to store it properly:
- Keep refrigerated – Store opened almond milk in the fridge, not pantry
- Seal container tightly – Close bottle caps or cartons tightly to block air
- Use quickly – Try to use opened milk within 7 days for best quality
- Don’t cross-contaminate – Use clean utensils to dispense milk
Also, check the “use by” date before buying almond milk to ensure you can use it before it expires after opening. By properly storing and handling almond milk, you can safely keep and enjoy it for 7-10 days past opening.
Should You Freeze Almond Milk?
Freezing is not recommended for almond milk. The high fat content from the ground almonds means it does not freeze well – the fats can separate and the texture is often grainy or watery after thawing.
However, if you do have extra almond milk you want to preserve, here are a few tips:
- Place milk carton in freezer bag to prevent freezer burn
- Thaw overnight in fridge before using
- Shake well to recombine solids after thawing
- Use within 1-2 days of thawing for best quality
- Don’t refreeze after thawing
While not ideal, freezing can extend the shelf life for a few more days. Just expect some separation and a thinner texture once thawed.
What About Shelf-Stable Almond Milk?
Shelf-stable, aseptic packaged almond milk has been heated to high temperatures so it can be stored unrefrigerated until opened. Once opened, it should be handled just like refrigerated milk:
- Refrigerate after opening
- Use within 7-10 days
- Discard if signs of spoilage like odor, changes in texture, etc.
The shelf life of shelf-stable and refrigerated almond milk is similar once the container is opened, so use the same freshness guidelines.
Uses for Almond Milk Past 7 Days
If your almond milk is approaching the end of its peak freshness but still smells and tastes okay, you can use it up faster in any of these ways:
- Overnight oats
- Chia pudding
- Hot cereal or oatmeal
- Substitute in baking quick breads and cookies
- Add to coffee drinks
- Grain bowls
- Protein shakes
Mixing almond milk into cold foods like smoothies or hot foods like oatmeal can mask any decline in freshness. But avoid using almond milk that is separating or smells odd.
Should You Throw It Out at 7 Days?
At 7 days after opening, almond milk is still safe to consume for most healthy adults if it has been stored properly in the fridge. But some people may want to err on the side of caution and toss almond milk after exactly 7-10 days.
It’s a judgment call based on how sensitive you are to spoiled foods. If you see any signs of spoilage like changes in look, smell or texture, throw out the almond milk. Likewise, if you have a compromised immune system, you may want to toss it after a week to be safe.
But if your refrigerated almond milk still looks, smells and tastes normal at 7 days, it should be fine to enjoy until you notice signs of spoilage. Make sure to inspect and smell it before drinking to catch any issues.
The Bottom Line
So can you still drink almond milk after 7 days? The answer is yes, you can safely consume refrigerated almond milk for 7-10 days past the printed expiration date or when opened. But it depends on proper storage and there being no signs of spoilage.
The shelf life of opened almond milk is only 7-10 days because of the potential for bacterial growth over time, even when refrigerated. Check your almond milk for changes in appearance, texture, odor or flavor after a week before consuming or using it.
With proper handling and storage, almond milk can retain its freshness and taste for close to 10 days after opening. But it’s always smart to rely on your senses too. If your almond milk smells or tastes off after sitting for a week, it’s better to be safe and toss it out.