Smoothies make for a refreshing, nutritious breakfast or snack any time of day. With busy schedules, you may want to prepare your smoothies in advance. But can you store a pre-made smoothie in the fridge overnight or longer?
The short answer is yes, you can keep a smoothie refrigerated overnight as long as you store it properly. When prepared and stored correctly, a smoothie can last 24-48 hours refrigerated. However, the quality and taste may start to degrade past that time.
There are some best practices you’ll want to follow to keep your smoothie fresh and safe to drink the next day. Read on for tips on proper storage methods, ingredients to avoid, and signs your smoothie has gone bad.
Tips for Storing Smoothies Overnight
Here are some tips for storing smoothies in the fridge overnight or longer:
- Make sure to refrigerate the smoothie as soon as possible after blending. Leaving it out at room temperature will allow bacteria to grow more rapidly.
- Store in an airtight container to prevent oxygen exposure. Mason jars or containers with tight-fitting lids work best.
- Fill containers all the way to the top to minimize oxygen. Smoothies have less surface area exposed when containers are full.
- Add a little lemon juice or vitamin C to help preserve color and antioxidant levels.
- Avoid using ingredients that spoil more quickly like fresh leafy greens or ripe soft fruits.
- Consume refrigerated smoothies within 48 hours for best quality and safety.
Does Blender Type Affect Refrigerated Shelf Life?
The type of blender you use to make smoothies can impact how long it stays fresh in the fridge.
Smoothies made in high-powered blenders like Vitamix or Blendtec tend to last longer than those made in lower powered blenders. That’s because the smooth texture and fine consistency created by high-speed blending allows less separation of ingredients.
With lower powered blenders, smoothies may start to separate overnight leading to changes in taste and texture. The coarser blended consistency can also allow more oxidation to occur which degrades quality faster.
Which Ingredients Should You Avoid?
While most fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds can safely be kept overnight, some ingredients break down more rapidly. Avoid using too much of the following:
|Ingredient||Reason to Avoid|
|Leafy greens like spinach||Wilts and oxidizes quickly|
|Ripe soft fruits like bananas, mangoes||Oxidize and degrade rapidly|
|Ground flax or chia seeds||Can turn slimy or gel-like overnight|
|Herbs like basil||Loses flavor and changes taste|
Firmer fruits like apples, berries, citrus, pineapple tend to hold up better. Chard, kale, carrots and beets also stay fresher longer.
Should You Add Ice When Blending for Later?
It’s best not to add ice when blending smoothies you intend to store overnight. Here’s why:
- The chilled fridge temperature is enough to keep smoothies cold.
- Melting dilutes the texture and alters the flavor.
- Can lead to separation of ingredients overnight.
Simply refrigerate or freeze your smoothie in an airtight container after blending. Then add ice as needed before drinking if you want it extra cold.
Does Nut Milk Type Matter?
Nut milks like almond, cashew or oat milk can be used in refrigerated smoothies. But some types hold up better than others.
Oat milk separates more easily overnight compared to almond or cashew milk. Soy milk also tends to separate more over time.
For best results, choose unsweetened almond or cashew milk. The higher fat content keeps them emulsified better than lower fat milks.
Should You Use Protein Powder?
Protein powders like whey, plant proteins or Greek yogurt can be safely added to smoothies stored overnight:
- Whey protein isolate holds up well refrigerated.
- Plant proteins like pea stay emulsified overnight.
- Greek yogurt thickens the texture which prevents separation.
Avoid collagen peptides or bone broth powders as they can turn gel-like and degrade overnight. Limit high-fiber veggies if adding protein as fiber can cause separation.
Does Smoothie Separation Matter?
Seeing some separation in your smoothie doesn’t necessarily mean it has spoiled. Gently stirring and remixing can temporarily fix separation issues.
However, excessive watery separation, complete layering of ingredients or funky colors/smells can be signs your smoothie is past its prime.
How Can You Tell If a Smoothie Has Gone Bad?
Watch for these signs that indicate your refrigerated smoothie has spoiled and should be discarded:
- Off smells: Sour, rotten, or moldy odors.
- Off flavors: Bitter, sour, or unpleasant tastes.
- Carbonation: Bubbles or fizzing can mean fermentation.
- Visible mold: Fuzzy spots or filmy layer on surface.
- Changes in color: Yellowish, brown, or gray discoloration.
If your smoothie shows several of these signs, it’s best to play it safe and throw it out. When in doubt, remember the general recommendation is 24-48 hours maximum for chilled smoothies.
5 Tips to Keep Smoothies Fresh Longer
Here are 5 handy tips to extend the refrigerated shelf life of pre-made smoothies:
- Limit separation: Blend well and avoid watery ingredients.
- Minimize air: Fill containers fully and avoid shaking.
- Inhibit oxidation: Add lemon juice or vitamin C.
- Prevent bacterial growth: Refrigerate quickly after making.
- Use optimal ingredients: Choose firmer fruits and nuts over soft fruits.
What About Freezing Smoothies?
Freezing is an even better way to store smoothies long-term compared to refrigerating. Here are some freezing tips:
- Leave space at the top for expansion as contents freeze.
- Use freezer-safe containers like mason jars or zip top bags.
- Glass vs plastic makes no difference for freezing quality.
- Add some milk or creamy ingredients to prevent iciness.
- Frozen smoothies last 2-3 months or longer.
Let frozen smoothies thaw 15-30 minutes before drinking for ideal texture. Or microwave in 30 second intervals until desired consistency is reached.
Best Practices for Refrigerating Smoothies
Follow these best practices when storing smoothies in the refrigerator:
- Refrigerate within 1 hour of blending.
- Store in airtight containers like mason jars.
- Avoid using ingredients that oxidize quickly.
- Fill containers to the very top.
- Consume within 48 hours.
- Check for signs of spoilage before drinking.
When preparing and storing smoothies, keep these food safety guidelines in mind:
- Wash all produce thoroughly before blending.
- Use pasteurized eggs if adding raw eggs.
- Discard if left at room temperature over 2 hours.
- Don’t let kids, pregnant women or those with weak immune systems consume aged smoothies.
- If in doubt, throw it out!
Ready-to-Drink Bottled Smoothies
Commercially packaged refrigerated smoothies often contain preservatives and can be kept longer. Always check “best by” or expiration dates and store unopened bottles as directed.
Once opened, consume within 3-5 days and keep refrigerated.
Smoothies on the Go
Looking to take smoothies out of the house? Use an insulated bottle or thermos to help them retain coldness.
Only transport what you’ll drink that day and add ice to help keep it chilled if needed. Avoid leaving smoothies unrefrigerated longer than 2 hours.
The Bottom Line
Storing smoothies in the refrigerator is fine for 24-48 hours if prepared and handled properly. Use storage best practices like airtight containers, minimal air exposure and optimal ingredients.
Signs of spoilage like changes in smell, taste, texture or appearance mean smoothies should be discarded. When unsure if a refrigerated smoothie is still good, it’s best to play it safe and make a new batch.
Freezing allows for longer storage of 2-3 months. And ready-to-drink bottled smoothies often have longer shelf lives as well when stored and handled as directed.
With proper refrigeration methods, pre-making smoothies can be a convenient way to enjoy healthy homemade smoothies any time.