Does lime juice need to be refrigerated?

In this brief guide we will address the question, “Does lime juice need to be refrigerated?” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like how long does lime juice last and how to extend the shelf life of lime juice.

Does lime juice need to be refrigerated?

Yes, in order to store it for longer durations, freshly squeezed lime juice does need to be refrigerated. However, in case of store-bought lime juice, you don’t necessarily need to refrigerate it before opening. Just storing in a cool, dry place will get the job done. Once you have opened it, storing it in the refrigerator is the right thing to do.

Freshly squeezed lime juice should be used 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 is opened it should be stored at refrigeration temperature and at this temperature it may last long for a few days. 

If you leave the fresh lime juice out in the open, there are greater chances of oxidation by the surrounding air and the lime juice will go bad in a day. 

How long does lime juice last?

Like any other fruit product, lime juice does go bad or spoil/rot if not stored and handled properly. Fresh homemade lime juice is delicious and has a fresh taste and nutritional value, but it does not last very long. However, Pasteurized lime juice lasts for about a week or two or even a month at refrigeration temperature as it contains some amount of preservatives and acidity regulators that aid in enhancing its shelf life.  

Lime juice is more acidic compared to lemon juice. This nature makes it impossible or very difficult for bacteria of any kind to live and multiply in it. That is the unique quality of lime juice which makes the juice long-lasting and not likely to get spoiled fast. If lime juice is not stored properly, yeast or moulds may grow in it. 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.

How to extend the shelf life of lime juice?

Like other citrus juices, storage temperature is the limiting factor for the shelf life of lime juice. The shelf life of the lime juice stored at room temperature, refrigeration and freezing temperature could be extended for almost 1, 6 and more than 21 days respectively.

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

Frozen lime juice

The shelf life of lime juice can be further extended by freezing it. Freezing has its pros and cons, it might deteriorate the quality of juice but stored for the long term by extending its shelf life. The frozen lime juice may last up to 3-4 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.

How to tell if your lime juice has gone bad.

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

If your lime juice has a sharp pungent, sour smell or fizzy texture, that indicates the juice has been spoiled. The other noticeable change in lime juice during storage is the darkening – colour change. 

This is mainly due to a process known as enzymatic bittering in which some chemical compounds convert into bitter tasting limonin as a result of enzymatic reactions.

The darkening of colour and the presence of dark spots show the microbial growth of moulds and yeast. If a container in which lime juice is placed seems like puffed or bulged, it is also a sign of microbial spoilage of the product. 

If you observe any above mentioned signs you can easily identify that your lime juice has been expired.

Expired lime juice that contains any form of bacteria, viruses, or even toxins that have been produced from the lime juice going bad will get you sick with food poisoning. Therefore, discard the container and get yourself a new bottle of lime juice.

These changes and loss of nutritional value of lime 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 lime juice is yeast and moulds. Lime juice is acidic and has low pH which is quite favourable for the proliferation of yeast, moulds and some lactic acid bacteria known as acid-tolerant bacteria.

This can potentially initiate the fermentation process in the lime juice. Microbial spoilage can be prevented by thermal processing and other techniques.


In this brief guide we will address the question, “Does lime juice need to be refrigerated?” as well as other questions pertaining to the question at hand like how long does lime juice last and how to extend the shelf life of lime juice.


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.