Does Orange Juice Go Bad Or Can It Last Forever?

Orange juice is a breakfast staple and if you’re like me, you probably have a bottle in your refrigerator at all times. But what happens when that bottle gets neglected for a while? Will it still taste fresh or will it go bad?

The good news is that orange juice is pretty resilient. It will typically last for a couple of days after opening, even if it’s not refrigerated.

This article discusses what orange juice is, whether or not it goes bad, how to preserve it, and more. Keep reading to find out.

What is orange juice?

Orange juice, often referred to by its initials OJ, is a fruit juice made from oranges. It can be obtained by squeezing oranges until all the juice within has been extracted.

While it is delicious on its own, you can also combine it with other juices to make a flavorful combo. For example, you can combine it with lemonade or grapefruit juice.

This juice is also an excellent ingredient in recipes for soups, sauces, and marinades. However, keep in mind that it has a strong citrusy flavor, so you mustn’t use too much of it in these recipes.

Does orange juice go bad?

The answer is yes. Like most foods, orange juice doesn’t last forever. Heat, light, and air are major factors that cause orange juice to oxidize.

After some time, OJ will start to become rancid. It might go from fresh-squeezed OJ to something more akin to a glass of water with orange-flavored wax floating on top.

How fast this happens depends on if the juice has been pasteurized or not. If the juice has gone through a pasteurization process (which flash-heats liquids to kill bacteria), then it should be safe for up to ten days after opening.

If your juice hasn’t been pasteurized, it will go bad faster. So, be sure to keep it in the fridge and drink it within 7 days of opening.

What is the shelf life of orange juice?

Generally, unopened pasteurized bottles of orange juice have a shelf life of around 1 to 2 years. Once opened, make sure to refrigerate the juice and consume it within 7 to 10 days to avoid spoilage.

And if your juice is not pasteurized? Well, it’ll stay at good quality for about 1 to 2 weeks past its best-by date. Once opened, you should also refrigerate it and consume it within 4 to 7 days.

Freshly-squeezed orange juice has the shortest lifespan and will only last for about 2-3 days if stored in the refrigerator.

Can you drink expired orange juice?

Yes, you can. However, you must be sure that it hasn’t gone bad. Check for signs of spoilage and the printed date. These will help you detect if it has gone bad or not.

If your expired juice doesn’t look, smell, or taste bad, it’s safe to consume.

How to tell if orange juice is bad

Look for an expiration date

To tell if your juice is bad, check the expiration date on the bottle. Usually, manufacturers print it on the side of the bottle or near the bottom, where they are most visible.

If your juice has passed that date, it’s probably time for a new bottle.

Inspect the container

If you notice any leaks on the bottle, discard it immediately. This means that bacteria have gotten into the bottle and spoiled the juice.

In addition, if you notice that the container is bulging or has an unusual pattern, discard it. Unhealthy gasses are most likely building up inside the container.

Furthermore, if you open the bottle of juice and hear an “explosive” sound or a hissing noise, discard it. This means the contents have been fermenting inside. This is an indicator that it’s no longer safe to drink.

Smell it

Orange juice should smell just like oranges. If your juice smells like vinegar, that’s a sign that it has gone off and you should not drink it. Pour the remaining juice into the sink so you don’t contaminate the rest of your food.

Check the color

Look at your juice after pouring it into a glass. If it looks cloudy or has taken on an odd color (like gray or brown), throw it out. These are signs that the juice has been contaminated by yeasts or molds.

Take a taste test

If your orange juice tastes bad or off, get rid of it.

Look for chunky bits

If there are chunky bits and pieces in your juice, it’s time to discard the bottle of juice. Even if you can’t see other signs of spoilage, chunky bits and pieces in your juice mean it has lost its freshness.

Check for bubbles

If you’re still unsure about whether your juice has gone bad, look at it through clear glass and check for any bubbles. This indicates fermentation activity which shouldn’t get into your stomach.

How to preserve orange juice

Store in a cool dry place

An easy way to preserve your juice’s freshness is to keep it away from heat and light. Any juice that has been exposed to heat or light will not last as long.

Keep it closed

It may seem like common sense, but this step is essential to keep your juice fresh. Make sure the container you’re storing your juice in has a tight lid.

When you need the juice, pour out what you need and close the lid tightly.

Store in the refrigerator

Refrigerating your juice allows you to keep it at a constant temperature so that it doesn’t lose its flavor over time. This also keeps the nutrients inside the juice intact.

Refrigerating orange juice will give you a long supply of juice.

Go for glass or stainless containers

Glass or stainless steel containers are ideal because they don’t give off flavors or odors like plastic containers. This will help ensure that your juice won’t absorb any odors, tastes, or chemicals while it is in the container.

Make juice cubes

Making juice cubes is a simple way to keep your juice around for a while longer. All you need are ice cube trays, some wax paper, and juice.

Simply pour the juice into ice cube trays and lay a sheet of wax paper on top. Place the filled ice cube trays in your freezer and wait for them to freeze (it shouldn’t take more than a few hours).

Once frozen solid, pop the orange cubes out of the trays and place them in a resealable freezer bag.


How long can orange juice sit out?

Orange juice should not sit out for more than two hours at room temperature or more than one hour at 90°F. If the juice sits out longer than this, bacteria will begin to grow in it and trigger spoilage.

Can you freeze orange juice?

Yes, you can freeze orange juice for at least six months. You can make frozen orange juice cubes, freeze unopened cartons of orange juice, or transfer leftover juice into empty containers.

Can you freeze orange juice with pulp?

Yes, you can. However, you may not like the end product, especially if you freeze juice with a lot of pulp. The pulp will come out grainy after it thaws. To get the best out of your juice, freeze only the juice or with little pulp.


Hopefully, this article has cleared up some confusion about whether your orange juice will go bad and how long it will stay fresh. While an opened carton can stay fresh in the refrigerator for at least a week, an unopened carton will last for quite a while.

You can tell if your orange juice has gone bad by looking for an off-color, cloudy appearance, or unpleasant smell. You can also taste the juice to check for any off-flavors from yeast growth or bacterial contamination.

Thanks for reading.

For more information on homemade recipes, food spoilage, and preservation, visit Millenora.