How long can almond milk be left out?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long can almond milk be left out?” with an analysis of the shelf life of almond milk at room temperature. Moreover, we are going to discuss different ways to spot bad almond milk.

How long can almond milk be left out?

  • Unopened shelf-stable almond milk: before opening, it can perfectly stay for up to 10 months in your pantry, at room temperature [1]. 

This is possible because shelf-stable almond milk undergoes sterilization to make the product commercially sterile, and aseptic packaging in cartons to protect it from light, oxygen, and recontamination. 

However, after opening it, move the carton into the refrigerator (4°C) [2]. Almond milk should not be left out for more than 2 hours [2]. If the ambient temperature hits 30°C or higher, the almond milk cannot be left out for longer than 1 hour [2]. 

  • Freshly made-almond milk and other non-shelf-stable almond milk: the same rules apply, do not leave them out for more than 2 hours. If you live in areas where temperatures hit 30°C or more, the limit is only 1 hour [2].

Chilling is necessary because bacteria grow rapidly between 4°C and 60°C, particularly at 25-30°C, and almond milk composition (mostly water, proteins, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals) encourages microbial growth [3, 4].

Therefore, chilling will inhibit the development of spoilage and harmful microorganisms in almond milk, extending its shelf life and ensuring safety. 

What is the optimum temperature to store almond milk?

Store your almond milk at 4°C or below in the fridge. According to the United State Department of Agriculture (ÙSDA), bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 4 and 60°C.

Therefore it is always advised to store almond milk at a low temperature to preserve its safety, freshness, and quality for a long time.

You can freeze almond milk, but keep in mind that freezing damages the texture of the product, so upon thawing you may have a product with different quality.

What are the risks of leaving almond milk out?

When you consume almond milk that has been left out for more than 2 hours (non-shelf-stable or after opening the milk carton), you put yourself at a high risk of poisoning. 

Almond milk is highly perishable because it has a very favorable environment for microorganisms’ growth, which is boosted between 4 and  60°C [2].

Specifically, harmful bacteria, such as salmonella, prefer temperatures between 25 and 35°C.  According to studies, at such optimal temperature conditions, the bacteria population doubles every 20 min [5]. 

 How to tell almond milk has gone bad?

To know whether your almond milk has gone bad, observe its appearance and feel its smell. 

While developing in food, fungi and bacteria release enzymes that break down almond milk components, promoting texture change, as well as metabolites that can produce color modifications, unpleasant odors, and flavors [5].

If the almond milk is curdled or has lumps present in it, it is also an indication of bad almond milk.

If you notice any of these signs, simply discard the almond milk. Tasting is not a good idea, because bad appearance and smell already indicate complete taste deterioration.

In addition to microbial spoilage, fat in almond milk can oxidize. This can be perceived by a rancid smell. It is not promptly harmful to your health, but you will probably reject it due to the unpleasant odor [3].

Tips to properly store almond milk

  • Unopened shelf-stable almond milk: keep it in a clean, cool place, away from heat sources.
  • After opening shelf-stable almond milk: keep it refrigerated (4°C), and protected from light and air. You can do it by sealing the lid tightly every time you handle the pack. 

Do not leave your almond milk on the door shelves of your refrigerator. In this area, there is significant temperature fluctuation, which may negatively impact the shelf life of the product.

  • For homemade milk, store it refrigerated (4°C), in dark, airtight containers to make it last longer. This will reduce fat oxidation and contamination. 


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long can almond milk be left out?” with an analysis of the shelf life of almond milk at room temperature. Moreover, we discussed different ways to spot bad almond milk.




3. Silva ARA, Silva MMN, Ribeiro BD. Health issues and technological aspects of plant-based alternative milk. Food Research International. 2020;131:108972.

4. AlozieYetunde E, Udofia, editors. Nutritional and Sensory Properties of Almond ( Prunus amygdalu Var . Dulcis ) Seed Milk. World Journal of Dairy & Food Sciences. 2015;10 (2): 117-121.

5. Jay JM. Food – Microbiology. 6th Ed, Aspen Food Science, 2000.