Can condensed milk go bad? (3 Factors that make a difference)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can condensed milk go bad? We will discuss the reasons that make condensed milk go bad or prevent it from going quickly. We will shed light on different types of condensed milk and their respective shelf lives.

Can condensed milk go bad?

Condensed milk can go bad, whether it is unsweetened condensed milk or sweetened condensed milk. The stability and life of various kinds of condensed milk are different according to the composition, handling, and packaging of condensed milk.

Is there a difference between condensed milk and sweetened condensed milk?

Sweetened condensed milk has a high sugar content that lies between 40 to 45 percent, while unsweetened condensed milk does not have any added sugar. 

Sweetened condensed milk is used to make desserts and toppings such as fudge, while unsweetened condensed milk is used in soups and smoothies. 

However, if you look for sweetened condensed milk in some countries such as the US, you will find it named ‘condensed milk’. 

In the US, unsweetened condensed milk is referred to as evaporated milk, while other countries call it condensed milk. 

Hence, evaporated milk is the same as unsweetened condensed milk.

How long until sweetened condensed milk goes bad?

Sweetened condensed milk lasts with an opened seal lasts for two weeks in the fridge. If the packaging is intact and the sweetened condensed milk can, has not yet been opened, it will last for years. 

After the best-buy date has passed on the can of sweetened condensed milk, it lasts a year longer than that. Make sure to store the can safely in a cool and dry place away from sunlight. 

How long until unsweetened condensed milk goes bad?

Unsweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk has a shorter life than the sweetened counterpart. Added sugar has an active role in prolonging the shelf-life of food. 

Unsweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk lasts for a significantly shorter period than sweetened condensed milk. An opened can of unsweetened condensed milk will stay good for only 3 to 5 days when it is stored safely in the refrigerator. 

An unopened can of unsweetened condensed milk lasts for anywhere between 6 to 12 months. With the seal intact, you can keep the unsweetened condensed milk in the pantry for up to a year. 

Why does sweetened condensed milk have a significantly longer life than unsweetened condensed milk?

Sugar wards off bacteria, hence, a higher sugar content guarantees a longer shelf-life.

The sugar binds free water molecules that are present in the condensed milk. As the sugar does that, it reduces the water activity. A lower water activity means that bacteria do not have enough water to contaminate, grow and thrive. Hence, lower water activity is linked to delayed spoiling of sweetened condensed milk. 

How long until homemade condensed milk goes bad?

Homemade condensed milk will take a week at most to go bad when you store it in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. Do not leave it out of the fridge for long; otherwise, it will hardly take a day to spoil.

Homemade condensed milk does not have preservatives added, hence last for a significantly shorter time than the store-bought ones. If you add sugar and make sweetened condensed milk, it will last longer than unsweetened condensed milk.

You can also store the homemade condensed milk in the freezer, where it will stay edible for three months. Freezing either homemade or store-bought condensed milk is a viable option to prolong its life. However, it causes the deterioration of the texture of the condensed milk. The layers separate and, the condensed milk declines in quality.

Even if a change in texture, color, or taste occurs, the condensed milk is still safe to eat. 

What are the signs that give away if the sweetened condensed milk has spoiled?

To tell if the condensed milk has spoiled is to observe a difference in color, texture, or smell.

One of the visual changes to the condensed milk is the darkening of the shade. The color of condensed milk changes from pale, creamy white to yellow. 

The milk also becomes thick. Before spoilage, you will be able to pour the condensed milk. After the condensed milk spoils, the texture becomes so thick that you will not be able to pour.

When you smell spoiled condensed milk, it will give off a sour odor. Condensed milk smells sweet and creamy, however, after it spoils it becomes unpleasant and indicates that microbial contamination has occurred.

Sometimes, you will be able to spot mold in old condensed milk. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can condensed milk go bad? We discussed the reasons that make condensed milk go bad or prevent it from going quickly. We shed light on different types of condensed milk and their respective shelf lives.

Other FAQs about Milk that you may be interested in.

Do Oreos Contain Milk

Does Oat Milk Make You Poop?

Does McDonald’s Have Almond Milk


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.