Does Nesquik Go Bad?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “does Nesquik go bad?” and discuss how to know if Nesquik is spoiled, the risks of consuming spoiled Nesquik as well as how to properly store Nesquik. 

Does Nesquik Go Bad?

Yes, Nesquik does go bad. Although it is considered a shelf stable product with a long shelf life, Nesquik can go bad, especially when improperly stored.

The prolonged storage or the storage under unfavorable conditions can lead to the increased moisture of the product. As a result, Nesquik clumps and creates favorable conditions for the development of microorganisms (5).

How to know if Nesquik powder is spoiled?

To know if Nesquik is spoiled, you should be able to identify the possible signs of spoilage in this type of food product. There are many changes that can happen during the long storage or the improper storage of Nesquik. 

Some of the possible signs that Nesquik is spoiled are (2,3,4,5):

  • Caking or clumping: the absorption of the moisture from the surroundings, especially after opening and in a high humidity environment changes the physical state of the powder, leading to their agglomeration. When the moisture is increased, microorganisms may develop, especially fungi
  • Alterations in the color: during storage, Maillard reactions occur, leading to darkening of the color
  • Growth of mold: fungal growth is possible, as cocoa products carry spores from fungi such as Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium. They can form mycelia and colored colonies on food products
  • Generation of off-odors: the spoilage caused by microorganisms can lead to odor changes. In addition, rancidity can occur due to the degradation of lipids in the product

What is the shelf life of Nesquik powder?

The shelf life of unopened Nesquik is about 12 to 18 months, according to research studies (4). It can last longer or have its shelf life reduced, depending on the storage conditions. By increased moisture, pre-existing dormant bacteria or their spores, as well as fungal spores may develop. 

The US Department of Agriculture suggests that cocoa powdered mixes can be consumed for one year after opening, when stored at room temperature and in dark places (1).

It is safe to drink Nesquik powder after the expiration date, if there are no signs of spoilage. However, as its shelf life ends, old Nesquik develops a weaker flavor and aroma, so you won’t be able to enjoy its original taste. 

The nutritional properties also reduce with time, due to the loss in antioxidants present in the cocoa. In addition, other changes can occur, such as lipid oxidation and oxidation of the vitamins. 

As a result, there is an alteration of the flavor and the odor. Darkening occurs due to browning reactions, which can also lead to the loss of amino acids (4).

Does Nesquik ready-to-drink milk need refrigeration?

Nesquik ready-to-drink milk is processed and packaged to be shelf-stable, hence it does not require refrigeration before opening. Nesquik ready-to-drink is thermally processed at high temperatures of 110 to 130°C (230 to 265°F) for a few minutes, which results in its sterilization (3).

That means, the initial microbial load of the milk and the other ingredients are successfully reduced to ensure a prolonged shelf life of 5 months at room temperature. 

However, according to studies, ready-to-drink cocoa beverages are not free from suffering changes that decrease their quality and alterations of the texture and the color may occur (3). Once opened, ready-to-drink Nesquik needs refrigeration.

How should you store Nesquik powder?

Nesquik powder, as a powdered food product sensitive to moisture, should be stored in a cool, dry place, like your pantry or a cupboard.

Keep away from heat sources, such as electric equipment and protect from sunlight (6).

What are the risks of consuming spoiled Nesquik?

The risk of consuming spoiled Nesquik is to experience an intoxication by fungal toxins (mycotoxins). The most common type of microbial contamination in powdered cocoa beverages is the contamination by fungal toxins (5).

The ingestion of fungal toxins can cause negative effects on health, such as gastrointestinal adversities, allergic reactions and in the long term, frequent exposure to these toxins can lead to mutation and severe diseases, such as cancer.


In this brief article, we answered the question, “does Nesquik go bad?” and discussed how to know if Nesquik is spoiled, the risks of consuming spoiled Nesquik as well as how to properly store Nesquik.

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United States Department of Agriculture. Food Safety and Inspection Service.


Mittal, Shikha, and Usha Bajwa. Effect of heat treatment on the storage stability of low calorie milk drinks. J food sci technol, 2014, 51, 1875-1883.


Granados-Chinchilla, Fabio, Mauricio Redondo-Solano, and Daniela Jaikel-Víquez. Mycotoxin contamination of beverages obtained from tropical crops. Beverages, 2018, 4, 83.


Van Laanen, Peggy. Safe home food storage. Texas FARMER Collection. 2002.