Can orange juice go bad?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can orange juice go bad?” as well as other related questions pertaining to the subject at hand, like how to maintain the freshness of orange juice by different preservation methods or how to prolong the shelf life of orange juice.

How long does orange juice last?

Orange juice does go bad like any other food product. I can get spoiled or rotten if not stored or handled properly. Fresh homemade orange juice is delicious and has a fresh taste and nutritional value, but it does not last for long. However, Pasteurized orange juice lasts in between 5- 7 days at refrigeration temperature as they contain some amount of preservatives and acidity regulators that aid in enhancing its shelf life.  

Orange juice oxidizes over the course of time. This results in infiltration of the microorganisms, specifically yeast and molds. Yeasts and moulds ferment the sugars in the juice and convert them into alcohol producing carbon dioxide which causes protrusion in cartons or containers where orange juice is kept.

All varieties of orange juice go bad – darken in color and develop a bitter sour taste.

3 different ways to tell if your orange juice has gone bad.

At the end of the day, orange juice deteriorates in its quality. Besides its unpleasant taste and odour, it is not safe to consume the spoiled orange juice. Consuming spoiled orange juice can cause severe health concerns such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and stomach cramps on consumption.

Now let us discuss different ways and tips that help you to identify the expiration of orange juice:

● Sharp pungent sour smell or fizzy texture indicates that juice has been fermented.

● The darkening of colour and the presence of dark spots show the microbial growth of moulds and yeast.

● If a container in which orange juice is placed seems like puffed or bulged it is also a sign of microbial spoilage of the product.

Changes during Storage of Orange Juices

Orange juice is rich in vitamin C and carotenoids. These compounds are liable to oxidative changes either aerobic or anaerobic degradation.

The other noticeable change in orange juice during storage is the darkening – colour change, which is due to the presence of brown coloured compounds formed in the response of chemical reaction known as Maillard Reaction.

These changes and loss of nutritional value of orange juice can be prevented by keeping it at recommended storage temperature and using appropriate packaging material to minimize the availability of oxygen.

Microbiological aspect

The major reason behind the spoilage of orange juice is yeast and moulds. Orange juice is acidic and has low pH which is quite favourable for the proliferation of yeast and moulds. This can potentially initiate the fermentation process in the orange juice.

Microbial spoilage can be prevented by thermal processing and other techniques.

How to extend the shelf life of orange juice?

Storage temperature is the main factor for the shelf life of orange juice. The shelf life of the natural, fresh orange juices stored at room temperature, refrigeration and freezing temperature could be extended for almost 1, 6 and upto 21 days respectively.

Beyond this time limit, quality can be compromised and its odour and chemical changes might be unacceptable.

Does orange juice need to be refrigerated?

Freshly squeezed orange juice should be consumed for its nutritional value and fresh taste. The commercial packed orange juice has been pasteurized and contains preservatives to prolong its shelf life. Once the pack has been opened, it should be stored at refrigeration temperature and at this temperature it may last long for a few days.

Frozen orange juice

The shelf life of Orange juice can be further extended by freezing it. Freezing has its own pros and cons. It might deteriorate the quality of juice, but that can be restored almost fully by proper mixing/shaking so the pulp and water unite. 

Freezing makes it easier for the long term storage by extending its shelf life. The frozen orange juice may last up to several months if stored properly. 

The best way to defrost the frozen juice is by refrigerating it, but if you thaw it by microwaving or putting in lukewarm water try to consume it immediately.

Will expired orange juice make you sick? 

Yes, it can cause nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and even vomiting. For pasteurized orange juice, it may sometimes last a few days longer than its expiry date because it has added preservatives. 

You should never consume a fresh orange juice that has been sitting out for more than 2 hours outside the refrigerator during the summer season. The time period can vary during the winters because it may be able to last just a little bit longer than usual, owing to the cold temperature of its surroundings. 

Other FAQs about Oranges that you may be interested in.

How to know if the oranges are spoiled?

Are blood oranges sweet? 

Are oranges okay to eat before bed?


In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “Can orange juice go bad?” as well as other related questions pertaining to the subject at hand, like how to maintain the freshness of orange juice by different preservation methods that aids in prolonging the shelf life of orange juice.


Does Orange Juice Go Bad?