Can spoiled milk make you sick? (+5 Tips)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can spoiled milk make you sick?”, and how to use spoiled milk?

Can spoiled milk make you sick?

Yes, spoiled milk can make you sick. Taking a small sip of the spoiled milk won’t hurt you. Consuming large amounts of spoiled milk will lead to food poisoning reflected in diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, and nausea. 

How to use spoiled milk?

If your milk starts to develop mold, It is of no use and must be discarded. In case If It has just started curdling and going sour, there are ways you can take advantage of it.

Baked goods 

If you do not have buttermilk or yogurt at hand, use slightly acidic spoiled milk to make biscuits, pancakes, scones, and cornbread. You can also use it in place of fresh milk.

Soups and stews 

Milk imparts richness, creaminess, and a lot of flavor to soups and stews. Adding slightly acidic milk to soups and stews is a great way to improvise.

Salad dressings 

Creamy salad dressings like ranch, caesar, and blue cheese have hints of tanginess for which all of these sauces require an acidic ingredient. The acidity of spoiled milk is the perfect choice for this ingredient.


Acid can be added to old milk to make delicious cottage and farmer’s cheese.


Marinate your meat or fish in sour milk to soften the muscle fiber. Meat marinated in sour milk turns out very juicy. Uncooked whole grains can also be soaked in sour milk.

What is spoiled milk?

Spoiled milk simply refers to milk with significantly high levels of spoilage microbes. Pasteurization is performed on raw milk to limit the number of vegetative spoilage microbes within acceptable limits. 

So essentially, the bacteria are there but within safe levels and are not growing due to unfavorable conditions. 

When pasteurized milk is handled or stored incorrectly, these bacteria grow and form colonies, thus, spoiling the milk. E.coli, Listeria, and Campylobacter are some of these common microbes.

Signs your milk has spoiled 

Spoiled milk develops a chunky texture, a yellowish appearance, and a striking acidic/sour smell. It may also turn slimy indicating the growth of mold. The spoilage rate varies with the rate of microbial growth, temperature, and exposure to light.

Slightly different from sour milk 

Spoiled milk refers to the milk with significantly high levels of spoilage and pathogenic microbes that withstood the pasteurization process. 

When raw milk starts to undergo fermentation and turn sour, It is called sour milk. This fermentation is carried out by a variety of lactic acid-forming bacteria. 

Some of these bacteria are goof probiotics. However, consuming raw milk, whether fresh or sour, is not worth the risk.

Other FAQs about Milk which you may be interested in.

How to use condensed milk in place of milk?

How to keep milk from curdling?

How do you scald milk in the microwave?

How long does it take for milk to spoil at room temperature?

Milk is perishable and should not be left unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours at 4°C and 1 hour if the temperature is above 32°C according to the FDA, or else the milk will spoil quickly. The crux is to never leave your perishables for long periods of time in the ‘danger zone.

The extent of spoilage of the milk that has been left on the counter depends a lot on the milk quality. Raw milk tends to spoil quicker than pasteurized milk. Milk with a higher initial microbial load will be more prone to spoilage even after pasteurization.

How long does milk last after the sell-by date?

There is a difference between ‘Best-by’, ‘Sell-by’, ‘Use-by’, and ‘Expires on’ dates. Milk, If stored correctly, remains safe to consume even after the ‘Best-by’ date.

‘Expires on’ refers to the date on which the quality degradation speeds up and after that date, the product might not remain safe for consumption. 

The ‘Sell-by’ date is of importance to the seller. This date decides how long the product can safely stay on the shelves. Expiration dates vary with how the milk was processed, packaged, and stored.

How long is the milk safe to drink after the expiration date?

UHT or aseptic milk can typically stay good for 2–4 weeks past the labeled date if stored in a cool, dry place such as the pantry, and up to 1–2 months in the fridge. Once opened, UHT milk should always be kept in the fridge and consumed within 7–10 days.

UHT milk is heated above 135°C for 2-5 seconds to kill the vegetative spores. Therefore, It has an extended shelf life than HTST milk.

Past printed date 
Lactose-free milk7-10
Non-fat milk7-10
Skim milk7
Reduced-fat 7
Whole milk 5-7
Past printed date 
All types of milk5-7


In this article, we answered the question “Can spoiled milk make you sick?”, and how to use spoiled milk?



Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.