How do I know if my almond milk is spoiled?

Almond milk has become a popular plant-based milk alternative. However, like regular dairy milk, almond milk does eventually spoil. Knowing the signs of spoiled almond milk can help you avoid consuming bad milk that could make you sick.

How to Tell if Almond Milk is Spoiled

Here are some tips for identifying if your almond milk has gone bad:

  • Check the expiration or “use by” date on the carton. If the date has passed, the milk may be spoiled.
  • Smell the milk. Fresh almond milk should have a mild, nutty smell. If it smells sour or unpleasant, it’s likely bad.
  • Inspect the consistency and color. Good almond milk should be creamy white. If it’s watery, chunky, or yellowish, toss it.
  • Take a sip. If it tastes odd, bitter, or tangy, it’s gone off.

How Long Does Almond Milk Last?

The shelf life of almond milk depends on the type:

Type of Almond Milk Unopened After Opening
Shelf-stable Several months 7-10 days
Refrigerated 10-14 days 7-10 days

Shelf-stable, unopened almond milk stored in a cool, dry pantry will stay fresh for several months beyond the “best by” date. Once opened, it lasts about 7-10 days in the fridge.

Refrigerated almond milk will keep for 10-14 days past the printed date if unopened. After opening, it stays good for another 7-10 days.

How to Store Almond Milk

Proper storage helps almond milk stay fresh longer. Follow these tips:

  • Store unopened shelf-stable milk in a cool, dark pantry.
  • Once opened, transfer to a sealed container in the fridge.
  • Don’t store almond milk on the fridge door, where the temperature fluctuates.
  • Keep refrigerated milk towards the back of the top shelf.
  • Always screw the lid on tightly.
  • Keep the spout and rim of the carton clean when pouring.

Signs Almond Milk Has Spoiled

Watch for these indications that your almond milk has gone off:

  • Sour smell: Fresh milk smells mildly nutty. Foul odors mean it’s spoiled.
  • Clumps:cottage cheese-like clumps in bad milk.
  • Gas buildup: Bulging carton from gas production.
  • Mold: Hairy dots or splotches of color on surface.
  • Curdling: Liquid separation with clumpy texture.
  • Sliminess: Viscous, slippery texture when poured.

Health Risks of Spoiled Milk

Consuming spoiled milk comes with risks like:

  • Food poisoning from bacteria like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria
  • Digestive distress such as nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea
  • Unpleasant tastes and textures

Infants, children, pregnant women, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems are most susceptible to foodborne illness from spoiled dairy products.

What to Do if You Drink Spoiled Milk

If you accidentally ingest spoiled almond milk, stay hydrated and contact a doctor if severe symptoms arise. Signs of food poisoning include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting lasting over 24 hours
  • Difficulty seeing or confusion
  • Muscle aches

Try to identify the problematic milk and discard it so others don’t get sick. Also, sanitize containers, utensils, and surfaces exposed to the spoiled product.

How to Avoid Spoiled Almond Milk

You can prevent almond milk from spoiling too soon with these tips:

  • Check “sell by” and “use by” dates before buying.
  • Store unopened shelf-stable milk in a cool, dry pantry.
  • Refrigerate opened cartons promptly in a sealed container.
  • Keep the rim and spout of carton clean when pouring.
  • Finish opened milk within 7-10 days.
  • Freeze extra refrigerated milk in airtight containers if you can’t use in time.

Using Spoiled Milk

While spoiled milk is unsafe for drinking, if it’s only slightly sour you can salvage it for other uses like:

  • Make pancakes or baked goods like muffins – the acidity gives a tasty tang
  • Soak grains or beans for cooking
  • Tenderize meat as a marinade
  • Sour milk baths to soothe skin
  • Add to garden as fertilizer

However, if the milk is chunky, smells rancid, or is growing mold, it’s best to discard and not use.


Checking for sour odors, curdling, mold growth, and other signs of spoilage will help you determine if your almond milk is still safe to consume. Proper refrigeration and observing expiration dates prevents premature spoilage. If you accidentally drink spoiled milk, watch for concerning food poisoning symptoms. But with proper handling and storage, almond milk can stay fresh for over a week past its printed date.

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