How long can OJ sit out?

Orange juice is a refreshing and nutritious drink that many people enjoy. However, it does require some special handling to keep it safe and tasty. In particular, knowing how long orange juice can sit out before it goes bad is important. This article will examine how long orange juice lasts at room temperature and in the refrigerator.

How Long Can Orange Juice Sit at Room Temperature?

Freshly squeezed orange juice should be consumed immediately. Once exposed to air, the flavor and nutrition of orange juice starts to deteriorate. After just 30 minutes at room temperature, some of the vitamin C content in orange juice begins breaking down. After 8 hours at room temperature, up to 25% of vitamin C can be lost.

Enzyme and microbial activity also increase at room temperature. This can start changing the flavor of orange juice. Off-flavors, bitterness, and a stale taste can develop. For best quality, orange juice should not sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

How Long Does Orange Juice Last in the Fridge?

Refrigerating orange juice helps slow down the nutrient loss and microbial growth. Properly stored in the fridge, orange juice can last between 5-7 days past the printed date on the container. Whole oranges will usually last a week to two weeks in the fridge.

The actual timeframe depends on a few factors:

  • Container: Juice in a sealed container will last longer than juice in an opened container.
  • Acidity: Juices with higher acidity, like orange juice, last longer in the fridge than lower acid juices.
  • Pulp: Pulp and sediment provide surfaces for microbial growth, shortening fridge life.
  • Temperature: Juice lasts longer stored at colder fridge temperatures closer to 32°F (0°C).

With optimal storage, orange juice can maintain good flavor and nutrition for 5-7 days in the refrigerator. After this time, it’s best to discard orange juice.

How to Tell If Refrigerated Orange Juice Has Gone Bad

Besides observing the use-by date, there are a few signs that indicate orange juice has spoiled and should be discarded:

  • Appearance: Separated liquid, clumping, increased cloudiness, visible mold, or bubbles can indicate spoilage.
  • Smell: Rancid, “off,” or fermented odors point to spoiled orange juice.
  • Flavor: Sour, bitter, or unpleasant tastes mean orange juice should not be consumed.
  • Texture: Excessively watery or thick and viscous juice has likely spoiled.

Trust your senses – if orange juice smells, looks or tastes off, err on the side of caution and throw it out. Discolored or slimy pulp chunks are also signs orange juice is past its prime.

Does Orange Juice Go Bad or Expire?

Yes, orange juice does eventually expire and go bad, even when properly stored. Here are some signs that your orange juice is expired:

Signs of Expired Orange Juice Description
Separator liquid Clear liquid separating from cloudy juice
Mold Cottony mold growing in juice
Fermented smell Yeasty, wine-like smell
Fizzing Bubbles or fizzing when container opened
Curdled texture Grainy, lumpy, or curdled appearance
Off-flavors Rancid, bitter, or unpleasant taste

Once orange juice expires, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it even if there are no obvious signs of spoilage.

Does Orange Juice Last Longer Refrigerated or Frozen?

Frozen orange juice lasts significantly longer than refrigerated juice. Properly frozen, orange juice can last 8-12 months in the freezer. Refrigerated juice lasts only 5-7 days.

Here’s a comparison of how long orange juice keeps refrigerated vs. frozen:

Orange Juice Type Refrigerated Frozen
Fresh-squeezed 3-5 days 6 months
Store-bought 5-7 days 8-12 months
Concentrate 7-10 days 12 months

Freezing stops most microbial growth and slows vitamin degradation almost completely. For long-term storage, frozen orange juice maintains higher quality and freshness.

Tips for Storing Orange Juice

Follow these tips for maximizing orange juice shelf life and freshness:

  • Squeeze and freeze fresh juice in airtight containers.
  • Keep store-bought juice sealed until ready to use.
  • Store orange juice on an interior fridge shelf, not the door.
  • If separating, shake juice to reincorporate before drinking.
  • Store juice cans or cartons in a cool, dark pantry.
  • Freeze leftover juice in ice cube trays for adding to drinks or recipes.

Can You Refreeze Thawed Orange Juice?

Previously frozen orange juice can be safely refrozen, though the quality may decline slightly. To refreeze orange juice:

  • Make sure juice was thawed in a fridge, not at room temperature.
  • Inspect juice closely for signs of spoilage like off-colors or odors.
  • Pour juice into a clean, airtight freezer container.
  • Leave 1⁄2 inch of headspace to allow for expansion.
  • Freeze for up to 2 months.

Refrozen juice may taste more watery or diluted. For best results, consume thawed orange juice within 3-5 days.

Is Frozen Concentrate or Refrigerated Orange Juice Better?

Frozen Concentrate Refrigerated
Shelf life 12 months frozen 5-7 days refrigerated
Convenience Requires mixing with water Ready to pour
Cost Typically lower price per ounce Typically costs more
Nutrition May degrade over time frozen Retains nutrients when refrigerated
Flavor Can taste watered-down when reconstituted Better fresh-squeezed flavor

In general, refrigerated orange juice tastes fresher and contains more nutrients. But frozen concentrate has a much longer shelf life and lower cost. Choose refrigerated juice for maximum freshness or frozen concentrate to stock up for longer storage.

Should Orange Juice be Refrigerated After Opening?

Yes, opened orange juice should always be refrigerated. The fridge temperature slows down microbial growth, enzyme activity, and vitamin degradation. After exposure to oxygen, the countdown starts for orange juice to start losing quality and freshness.

Some tips for refrigerating opened orange juice:

  • Transfer to a sealable container if opening original carton.
  • Ensure juice is refrigerated within 1 hour of opening.
  • Use within 3-5 days for best quality.
  • Keep refrigerated until ready to consume.

Keep orange juice refrigerated right up until you’re ready to drink it. Don’t leave it sitting out on the counter after pouring a glass.


Orange juice has a relatively short shelf life. With optimal refrigerated storage, juice can last 5-7 days past printed date. At room temperature, juice starts deteriorating rapidly after 2 hours. For long-term storage up to a year, freezing orange juice is best. Store juice properly in the fridge or freezer, watch for signs of spoilage, and enjoy it within a few days of thawing or opening for the best flavor and nutrition.


Orange juice is a delicious but perishable beverage. Pay close attention to storage methods and signs of spoilage to determine if your juice is still fresh and safe to drink. Refrigerate promptly after squeezing or opening, and freeze for long-term storage. With proper handling, you can continue enjoying fresh, tasty orange juice.

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