Smoothies make for a refreshing, nutritious drink that can be enjoyed any time of day. However, like most fresh foods and beverages, smoothies do eventually spoil. So how long is a smoothie good for in the fridge before it goes bad? Here’s a look at how to tell if your smoothie has gone bad and tips for maximizing its freshness.
How long do smoothies last in the fridge?
In general, a homemade smoothie stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator will keep for about 3 days. However, there are a few factors that can affect how long your smoothie will stay fresh:
- Ingredients – Smoothies with fresh fruit and vegetables will spoil faster than smoothies made with frozen ingredients. Leafy greens also tend to spoil quicker than fruits.
- Acidity level – Acidic ingredients like citrus fruits and yogurt help preserve smoothies longer than non-acidic ingredients.
- Container – An airtight container prevents oxygen exposure which causes food to spoil. Glass and plastic provide better oxygen barriers than paper or foil.
- Fridge temperature – A temperature of 40°F or below will keep smoothies chilled and slow spoilage.
Taking these factors into account, a general fridge life expectancy for smoothies is:
- Smoothie with fresh, leafy greens – 2 days
- Fruit and yogurt smoothie – 3 days
- All frozen fruit smoothie – 4-5 days
How to tell if a smoothie has gone bad
Watch for these signs that indicate your refrigerated smoothie is past its prime and should be thrown out:
- Change in texture – Smoothies made with fresh fruits and veggies will thicken and become gloopy as they spoil. An entirely frozen smoothie will thaw and become soup-like.
- Mold growth – Fuzzy mold spots indicate advanced spoilage and the smoothie should be discarded.
- Separation – Liquid separating from the solids is a sign the smoothie has spoiled. Toss it.
- Off odor – An unpleasant, sour, or rotten smell means the smoothie has gone bad.
- Off flavors – Spoiled smoothies will taste tangy, fermented, or metallic.
Trust your senses – if a refrigerated smoothie smells, tastes, or looks unpleasant in any way, it’s safest to throw it out. When in doubt, throw it out. Don’t take risks with food safety.
Tips for making smoothies last longer
Here are some tips to help extend the shelf life of homemade smoothies stored in the refrigerator:
- Wash produce thoroughly to remove bacteria.
- Cut fruit into small pieces to minimize surface area exposed to air.
- Freeze overripe fruits or veggies to prolong freshness.
- Replace some fresh produce with frozen versions.
- Use pasteurized eggs or egg substitutes if your smoothie contains raw eggs.
- Add acidic ingredients like citrus juice or yogurt.
- Store in an airtight glass or plastic container, not paper or foil.
- Fill container to the very top to minimize oxygen inside.
- Chill smoothie quickly by placing container directly on an ice bath or freezer pack before refrigerating.
- Set fridge at 40°F or below and avoid opening the door unnecessarily.
- Consume smoothie within 3 days for best quality and safety.
Can you freeze smoothies to extend fridge life?
Freezing is an excellent way to prolong the shelf life of homemade smoothies. Simply blend up a batch of smoothies, then pour into freezer-safe containers or bags, seal tightly, and freeze. Frozen smoothies can keep for 2-3 months in the freezer before quality deteriorates.
To freeze smoothies:
- Choose freezer-safe containers like plastic, glass, or bags designed for freezing liquids. Leave headspace to allow for expansion.
- Smoothies with carbonated ingredients like soda should not be frozen, as this can cause the container to burst.
- Lay containers flat in the freezer so smoothies freeze evenly in thin layers rather than one solid chunk.
- For quick portions, freeze smoothies in ice cube trays, then transfer cubes to a freezer bag.
- Label bags or containers with the contents and date before freezing.
- For best quality, use frozen smoothies within 2-3 months.
When ready to enjoy a frozen smoothie, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Alternatively, blend in a high speed blender for a quick “soft serve” style treat. Add milk or yogurt if a thinner consistency is desired.
How long do store-bought smoothies last in the fridge?
Commercially prepared smoothies sold chilled in grocery stores, cafes, or vending machines also have a limited fridge life. Here are some general guidelines for store-bought smoothie shelf life:
|Smoothie Type||Refrigerator Life|
|Freshly made to-order||3-5 days|
|Pre-bottled, from chilled display case||5-7 days|
|Pasteurized or high pressure processed||14-30 days|
As with homemade smoothies, keep store-bought versions chilled at 40°F or below. Discard if you notice any signs of spoilage like changes in texture, smell, or packaging inflation. Purchase smoothies with furthest away sell-by dates and consume within the recommended timeframe after opening.
Can you eat spoiled smoothies if cooked thoroughly?
It is risky and not recommended to consume a spoiled smoothie, even if cooked. Heat from thorough cooking may destroy some pathogens that cause food poisoning, but harmful toxins can persist even after heating. Consuming contaminated smoothies can lead to gastrointestinal distress or even serious illness in vulnerable populations.
Additionally, the cooking process is unlikely to improve the spoiled flavor, smell, and texture of a bad smoothie. Your best bet is to discard smoothies at the first signs of spoilage and make a fresh batch.
In summary, smoothies made with fresh produce and kept chilled in the refrigerator should stay fresh for 2-3 days. For maximum fridge life, use frozen ingredients, airtight containers, and an acidic base like citrus or yogurt. Discard smoothies that have separated, thickened, smell or taste unpleasant, or show any mold growth. Freezing smoothies allows them to keep for months. Store-bought chilled smoothies generally last 5-7 days after opening. While spoiled smoothies may still contain harmful toxins even after cooking, they should always be discarded at the first signs of spoilage for food safety.