Does Coffee Creamer go bad?

In this article, we will answer the question, “does coffee creamer go bad?” and discuss how to store coffee creamer, what is the shelf life of coffee creamer and how to tell if your coffee creamer has gone bad.

Does coffee creamer go bad? 

Yes, coffee creamer goes bad with prolonged storage and also due to incorrect storage conditions. 

As a dairy product, coffee creamers are found in different forms and each product has its particularities regarding storage recommendations, shelf life and spoilage susceptibilities (1,2).

While liquid pasteurized coffee creamers have a shelf life of about 3 weeks in the refrigerator, dry powdered coffee creamers have a shelf life of about 2 years at room temperature when kept unopened (3).

Does powdered coffee creamer go bad? 

Yes, powdered coffee creamers can go bad, although they have a prolonged shelf life and are shelf stable. Oxidation and agglomeration are the most common indications that the coffee creamer is no longer safe to consume.

Powdered coffee creamers are also susceptible to contamination by spore-forming bacteria, such as Bacillus and Clostridium. When the moisture in the product is maintained low and below 4%, these bacteria are inhibited by the lack of available water.

However, if moisture increases, especially due to poor storage conditions and prolonged storage time, spores are able to develop and cause infections, leading to foodborne diseases (1).

Do liquid coffee creamers go bad?

Yes, liquid creamers go bad, both shelf stable and refrigerated coffee creamers. Heat treatments are used to reduce the microbial load of the cream products and prolong their shelf lives.

While the shelf stable creamer is sterilized and treated at temperatures of  120°C for 1 min or 135°C for 30 seconds, ensuring a more effective reduction of the microorganisms and inactivating the enzymes naturally found in the milk, pasteurization is realized at lower temperatures (75°C for 15 seconds minutes or 85°C for 1 minute).

The less intense heat treatment can better preserve the nutritional and sensory properties of the cream, however, it reduces the microbial load to a limited amount, resulting in a shorter shelf life.

The microbial activity leads to spoilage of milk and dairy, in addition to enzymatic and chemical reactions, leading to the generation of altered flavor, odor and texture (1,2).

How to store coffee creamer?

The recommended storage conditions for coffee creamer varies, depending on the product type.

Powdered coffee creamer is relatively simpler to handle and a shelf-stable product. It can be kept in a cool, dry area, away from sources of heat and direct sunlight, such as your kitchen, pantry or cupboard (3). 

However, once opened, make sure you tightly close the lid, since coffee creamers contain a high amount of fat that are able to oxidize when exposed to external air and heat (1,2). 

Avoid exposing powdered coffee creamer to air and humidity, the moisture can lead to agglomeration and accelerate lipid oxidation. A higher humidity in the product also favors microbial development.

Pasteurized liquid creamer sold in the refrigerated form should be kept in the fridge at all times. This type of creamer has a limited shelf life, due to the higher concentration of microorganisms, which rapidly grow if stored at temperatures above 5°C (40°F).

Single serving mini-cup liquid creamer is a shelf-stable, portable product that does not need refrigeration, as it has been sterilized. It should be stored in a cool and dark place at room temperatures.

How to tell if a coffee creamer has gone bad?

To tell if a coffee creamer has gone bad, you should be able to identify the possible signs of spoilage in the different types of coffee creamers, which are (1,2,4): 

  • Powdered coffee creamer: agglomeration or clumping (increased moisture), generation of off-odors, such as oxidized and rancid, due to the oxidation of lipids, generating aldehydes, ketones and other volatile compounds that characterize off-odors, in addition to browning caused by Maillard reactions, which lead to nutrient loss
  • Shelf stable coffee creamer: generation of gas (bloating of the package), generation of off-odors, such as sour and oxidized, fruity flavor, and coagulation of the protein related to microbial activity, including bacteria and yeast
  • Pasteurized coffee creamer sold in refrigerated form: generation of off-flavors and off-odors such as bitter, sour, rancid, oxidized, due to the action of bacteria and yeast; generation of gas which is noticed by the bloating of the package; phase separation, noticed by the aggregation of fat and liquid watering off; precipitation of proteins

How long does coffee creamer last?

How long a coffee creamer lasts depends on many factors, such as the quality of the raw milk, the manufacturing process, the hygienic practices during the production and the temperature conditions of the product during transportations and storage.

The approximate shelf life of different coffee creamers is shown in the table below (1,2,3):

ProductShelf life unopenedTemperature of storage °C / °F
Powdered coffee creamer2 years20 / 68
Shelf stable coffee creamer7 months20 / 68
Refrigerated coffee creamer3 months5 / 40

Other FAQs about Coffee which you may be interested in.

Coffee Tastes Sour

What color is coffee?

What is a Donut Shop Coffee?


In this brief guide, we addressed the question, “Does coffee creamer go bad” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like how can you store coffee creamers and what are the ideal storage practices to prolong the shelf life of coffee creamers.


  1. Hoffmann, W., and W. Buchheim. Significance of milk fat in cream products. Advanced Dairy Chemistry Volume 2 Lipids. Boston, MA: Springer US, 2006. 365-375. 
  2. Havea, P., A. J. Baldwin, and A. J. Carr. Specialised and novel powders. Dairy powders and concentrated products. 2009..
  3. Food keeper. United States Department of Agriculture.
  4. Ledenbach, Loralyn H., and Robert T. Marshall. Microbiological spoilage of dairy products. Compendium of the microbiological spoilage of foods and beverages. 2009.

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