Smoothies make for a delicious and nutritious breakfast or snack. They’re fast and easy to make, providing a great way to get servings of fruits and vegetables. But can you store leftover smoothie overnight and still enjoy it the next day? Let’s take a closer look at how to store smoothies and how long they last.
How Long Do Smoothies Last in the Fridge?
The shelf life of a smoothie depends largely on what ingredients you used to make it. Here are some general guidelines for how long a smoothie will last refrigerated:
- Smoothies with just fruits and/or vegetables – 2 to 3 days
- Smoothies with dairy (milk, yogurt, ice cream) – 1 to 2 days
- Smoothies with fresh leafy greens – 1 day
- Smoothies with protein powders or nut butters – 3 to 4 days
The perishable ingredients like fruits, vegetables, and greens will cause smoothies to spoil more quickly. Dairy products also tend to shorten the fridge life. Foods like nut butters and protein powders will help a smoothie keep longer.
How to Store a Smoothie Overnight
Follow these tips for storing smoothies in the refrigerator safely overnight:
- Make sure all produce has been washed thoroughly.
- Prep and chop ingredients, then store them in air-tight containers in the fridge until ready to blend.
- Put any dairy ingredients back in the fridge immediately after use.
- Transfer the blended smoothie into an airtight container, mason jar, or bottle.
- Make sure the container has a tight seal to prevent oxygen exposure.
- Fill the container as full as possible, leaving minimal air at the top.
- Refrigerate at 40°F or below.
- Use within 2 to 3 days for best quality.
Do Smoothies Separate Overnight?
It’s common for smoothies stored overnight in the refrigerator to separate. The liquid will settle on the bottom while the thicker ingredients float to the top. This is caused by factors like:
- Gravity – heavier ingredients sink while lighter ingredients float up.
- Temperature – colder temps in the fridge make separation more pronounced.
- Ingredients – produce like berries and insoluble fibers sink.
Separation doesn’t necessarily mean the smoothie has gone bad. The texture just needs to be recombined before drinking. Give the smoothie a good shake or stir to reincorporate any separated layers.
Tips to Prevent Smoothie Separation Overnight
You can minimize smoothie separation by:
- Using a blender to fully puree ingredients into a uniform consistency.
- Adding binding agents like bananas, avocados, silken tofu, yogurt, nut butters, or chia seeds.
- Avoiding watery ingredients like cubed ice or juice.
- Straining to remove excess liquid or pulp if needed.
- Filling storage container all the way to the top.
What Happens if You Drink a Separated Smoothie?
Drinking a separated smoothie that’s been properly stored won’t make you sick or cause harm. However, it may have an unappealing curdled texture or diluted flavor. Make sure to shake or stir the smoothie before drinking to recombine the ingredients.
Letting a smoothie sit at room temperature or warm up allows more time for separation. This can result in a greater loss of texture and taste. For best quality, it’s recommended to consume refrigerated smoothies within 24 hours of making them.
Signs Your Smoothie Has Gone Bad
While separation doesn’t mean your smoothie is spoiled, there are some signs that indicate it should be thrown out:
- Mold growth
- Curdled consistency
- Sour aroma
- Fizzy bubbles
- Change in color
- Yeasty smell
- Unusual changes in taste
Trust your senses – if a smoothie smells or tastes off, err on the side of caution and toss it.
How to Keep Smoothies Fresh Longer
For the best chance of smoothie freshness, consider these storage tips:
- Store in an airtight container to prevent oxygen exposure.
- Chill at temperatures below 40°F soon after making.
- Avoid frequent openings which reduce lifespan.
- Portion into single servings to limit contamination.
- Add lemon juice to help inhibit microbial growth.
- Keep thick, low-water smoothies up to 4 days.
- Consume veggie-based smoothies within 24-48 hours.
- Label container with prep date – follow FIFO method.
Can You Freeze a Smoothie Overnight?
Freezing is a great way to store smoothies for longer periods. Simply pour the blended smoothie into freezer-safe containers or bags, allowing headspace for expansion. Lay containers flat in a single layer and freeze overnight until solid.
Frozen smoothies can be stored for 2-3 months at 0°F. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving. Give it a good shake once thawed to evenly blend any separation that occurred during freezing.
Adding some lemon juice before freezing can help maintain color and flavor. Avoid frozen storage with dairy-based smoothies as milk and yogurt tend to curdle after thawing.
Tips for Freezing Smoothies
Follow these best practices when freezing smoothies:
- Use freezer-grade storage bags, plastic containers, or mason jars.
- Fill containers 2/3 to 3/4 full to prevent overflow as contents expand.
- Flatten bags to make freezing quicker and storage more compact.
- Label bags or containers with contents and date.
- Squeeze out excess air before sealing.
- Store at 0°F or colder for best quality.
- Consume within 2 to 3 months for optimal freshness.
Thawing Frozen Smoothies
Thaw smoothies overnight by transferring containers to the refrigerator. Allow at least 12 hours for contents to fully thaw.
You can also thaw smoothies at room temperature for 1-2 hours. This isn’t recommended though as it allows more time for bacteria growth.
Avoid thawing smoothies on the counter or microwave as this causes texture changes. Stir or shake thawed smoothies before serving to redistribute any separated liquid.
Signs a Frozen Smoothie Has Gone Bad
Check for these signs that a frozen smoothie is spoiled and should be discarded:
- Ice crystals or frosty buildup inside container
- Discoloration or graying
- Freezer burn spots
- Off odors when container is opened
- Unusual change in texture or consistency
- Liquid leaking or oozing
If a frozen smoothie shows no signs of spoilage but has been kept beyond the recommended storage time, it’s best to discard it.
Benefits of Freezing Smoothies
Freezing smoothies offers these advantages:
- Makes a batch of smoothies last longer.
- Allows prepping smoothies in advance.
- Creates an on-hand frozen breakfast or snack.
- Lets you stock up on seasonal or overripe produce.
- Provides a thicker, creamier texture when thawed.
- Makes homemade smoothies accessible anytime.
Smoothie Ingredients That Don’t Freeze Well
Most fruits and vegetables freeze well for smoothies. Some ingredients don’t hold up as well though:
- Dairy milk – can curdle after thawing.
- Yogurt – becomes runnier when thawed.
- Cream – tends to separate and turn grainy.
- Citrus juices – susceptible to bitterness.
- Avocado – oxidizes and changes color.
- Coconut water – develops ice shards when frozen.
For best results, minimize or avoid these ingredients when making smoothies intended for freezing.
Smoothie Add-Ins to Help with Freezing
Consider adding a small amount of these ingredients to help smoothies retain quality when frozen:
- Lemon or lime juice – maintains color and freshness.
- Honey or maple syrup – prevents texture changes.
- Alcohol like rum or vodka – inhibits freezing solid.
- Glycerol or syrup – stops crystallization.
- Gums like guar or xanthan – improves consistency.
Storing smoothies overnight or freezing them can allow you to whip up a batch and enjoy them for days. Keep smoothies fresh for up to 3 days by chilling in an airtight container in the fridge. For longer storage, freeze smoothies in freezer bags or containers for 2-3 months.
Smoothies will likely separate during overnight or frozen storage. Make sure to shake or stir before drinking to remix any settled ingredients. Check for signs of spoilage before consuming stored smoothies. With proper refrigeration and freezing techniques, you can safely store and enjoy smoothies when you need them.