Does Almond Milk Need To Be Refrigerated? Shelf Life, Risks & More

Almond milk is one of those shelf-stable milk; this may have you wondering if you need to keep it refrigerated. Well, yes, you need to, especially when you’re talking about an opened carton.

No matter how long some food and drinks can last, you must take extra steps to keep them fresh and healthy for consumption. You should store homemade and store-bought almond milk properly to maximize shelf life.

So, almond milk should be refrigerated. But are there any risks if you do not refrigerate it? Continue reading to find out.

Does almond milk need to be refrigerated?

Refrigerating almond milk is a perfect way to keep it longer, maximizing its shelf life. Regardless of the variety you have, you will have to refrigerate the milk at some point.

Keeping almond milk in a temperature-controlled environment like a refrigerator can help reduce the risk of spoilage. Moreover, it keeps the milk tasting fresh for as long as you still have it.

Should you refrigerate shelf-stable almond milk?

Once you have opened a carton of shelf-stable almond milk, you should keep it in the refrigerator until you have emptied its contents. And you should use the milk within 7 to 10 days when it is still of the best quality.

Shelf-stable almond milk is a variety of this plant-based milk that has gone through a special type of pasteurization at very high temperatures.

This process keeps bacteria from getting into the milk, thereby helping to keep the milk fresh and making it last longer.

Should you refrigerate homemade almond milk?

Homemade almond milk is the variety with the shortest shelf life. The best way to keep it fresh and have it taste fresh all the way is to refrigerate it.

Homemade almond milk has not gone through pasteurization nor does it contain preservatives.

So, the longer it stays outside the refrigerator, the shorter its shelf life and the greater its exposure to bacterial action.

Should you refrigerate a carton of refrigerated almond milk?

Yes. As long as you bought almond milk refrigerated, keep it so.

This variety has also gone through pasteurization and it contains other ingredients apart from almonds and water but it wasn’t made to last as long as the shelf-stable variety.

Should you refrigerate unopened almond milk?

Yes and no.

Based on the variety of almond milk you bought, you may not have to keep unopened cartons in the refrigerator.

For instance, the shelf-stable varieties can stay outside the refrigerator as long as you have not opened them.

On the other hand, the refrigerated and homemade varieties must be kept in the refrigerator even while unopened.

Will almond milk go bad if left unrefrigerated?

Yes, almond milk will go bad if you do not refrigerate it, especially in cases where it has been opened.

But if you get any of the shelf-stable varieties, you can leave it unrefrigerated as long as it’s unopened.

Can you freeze almond milk?

You can but you don’t have to. While freezing almond milk looks like a way to extend its shelf life and keep it fresh, it’s not always a good idea.

Once it’s frozen, you cannot get the same texture and quality as it was before.

When the milk thaws, it becomes less appetizing. But if you prefer to cook with almond milk, it’s okay to freeze it since it will not affect the dish.

How fast does almond milk go bad?

An open carton of almond milk goes bad within two hours of leaving it out. Also, an unopened carton of almond milk goes bad quickly if it wasn’t originally made to last long.

If you suspect that a carton of almond milk has gone bad, check for these signs to be sure:

  • a bloated and leaky carton
  • pour the milk into a glass cup and check for clumping, black spots, or mold growth
  • a foul or sour smell
  • an off taste

What happens if you drink expired almond milk?

Drinking almond milk that’s a few days past its printed date may not have any effect on you if you stored it properly.

But if the carton of milk was left out, open, and exposed to bacteria, you shouldn’t drink it. Otherwise, you may experience symptoms of food poisoning.

Bacterial action on milk makes it rancid and in cases where bacterial growth has multiplied greatly, it could result in severe food poisoning.

How can you preserve almond milk?

  • Always keep opened cartons of almond milk in the refrigerator
  • Also, store the cartons at the back of the refrigerator where it is the coldest
  • Do not keep cartons of almond milk on the door of the refrigerator
  • Additionally, replace the bottle or carton cap tightly every time you take milk


Does almond milk last longer than regular milk?

Yes, it does.

Almond milk has a longer shelf life than regular milk. But this does not infer that it can never go bad. If you don’t store almond milk properly, it will go bad.

How long can homemade almond milk sit out?

Homemade almond milk should not sit out longer than two hours. If you have mistakenly kept a jar of almond milk out longer than this period, do not drink it.

Should you refrigerate Silk almond milk?

Yes, you should.

Although Silk almond milk is shelf stable, you should keep it in the refrigerator once you have opened the carton of milk.

Should you refrigerate Kirkland almond milk?

Yes, you should refrigerate Kirkland almond milk if you have opened it. But, an unopened carton of Kirkland almond milk can stay on the shelves for days.


Almond milk comes in varieties. If you know which variety you have, it becomes easier to preserve it.

For instance, homemade almond milk does not go through pasteurization and does not contain preservatives. If you’re not consuming all of it at once, you should keep the rest refrigerated.

In contrast, some shelf-stable store-bought almond milk varieties can last days unrefrigerated as long as they remain unopened. But when you have opened the carton or bottle of milk, you should refrigerate it.

Most importantly, be vigilant and discard almond milk if you notice any signs of spoilage.

Thanks for reading.

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