How to know if almond milk is spoiled

This brief article will share some ways to know if almond milk is spoiled or not. It will also talk about how almond milk is manufactured followed by the proper way to store almond milk. 

How to know if almond milk is spoiled?

There are several noticeable indicators that almond milk may have spoiled. If you notice a sour or rancid odor, lumpy texture, mold growth or discolorations, or notice bloating in the carton, these are clear indications that the almond milk has gone bad and should not be consumed.

It’s essential to be aware that almond milk provides an optimal environment for spoilage and the growth of harmful microorganisms. 

Additionally, its high concentrations of polyunsaturated fatty acids make it prone to oxidative and hydrolytic rancidity, further exacerbating the risk of spoilage. 

Consequently, undesirable volatile compounds and off-flavors can develop, affecting the quality and safety of the almond milk. This underscores the importance of exercising caution when consuming almond milk that has exceeded its shelf life or displays signs of spoilage. (1)

How do standard processing facilities avoid almond milk spoilage?

Vegetable milk processing facilities employ thermal-based techniques, such as pasteurization and ultra-high temperature treatment, to minimize or eliminate microbial activity. These methods play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the milk.

During processing, great care is taken to optimize the time-temperature combination. This delicate balance allows for effective microbial control while safeguarding the essential phytonutrients present in the milk. 

By carefully managing the processing parameters, the facilities can successfully reduce the microbial load without compromising the nutritional quality of the final product. This ensures that consumers can enjoy vegetable milk that is both safe and rich in valuable phytonutrients. (2)

What is the shelf life of almond milk?

The shelf life of almond milk varies depending on the conditions it is stored in. Regardless of whether it is fresh or pasteurized, commercially packaged or homemade without aseptic conditions, almond milk has a relatively limited shelf life.

When kept at room temperature, the freshness of almond milk typically lasts only a few hours. However, by refrigerating it at temperatures between 4°C and 5°C, the shelf life can be extended to approximately 2 to 3 days, allowing for a slightly longer period of usability.(3)

What is the shelf life of unopened almond milk?

Pasteurized almond milk that undergoes aseptic packaging and is stored under refrigerated conditions can remain fresh for a significantly longer period, typically ranging from 12 to 30 days.

In the case of ultra-pasteurized almond milk that is aseptically packaged, its shelf life is further extended. This type of almond milk can maintain its quality for 90 to 170 days at room temperature before being opened. (3)

How do these processes enhance almond milk shelf life?

These technologies have led to improved emulsion stability, decreased particle size, deactivated enzymes responsible for off-flavors, and reduced microbial presence.

When coupled with appropriate packaging methods, these technologies play a crucial role in extending the shelf life of almond milk. 

These advancements in processing and packaging contribute to enhancing the convenience and longevity of almond milk, ensuring consumers can enjoy it for an extended period while maintaining its quality. (4)

What happens if someone drinks spoiled almond milk?

Consuming almond milk that is contaminated can potentially lead to various digestive issues, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or a combination of these symptoms.

The gastrointestinal problems often associated with contaminated almond milk can be attributed to the presence of mycotoxins, which are harmful substances produced by molds. (1,3) 

Can you use almond milk after the expiration date?

The “best by” or “best before” date printed on almond milk cartons primarily serves as an indicator of the product’s quality rather than its safety. Therefore, almond milk does not necessarily spoil immediately after reaching its best before date.

The shelf life of colloidal foods, including almond milk, is significantly influenced by emulsion stability. Emulsions, by their nature, are thermodynamically unstable systems, and over time, they are susceptible to various physicochemical mechanisms that can occur simultaneously. 

Consequently, the shelf life of almond milk is influenced by the stability of its emulsion, as these processes gradually take place over time, potentially impacting the overall quality of the product. (1)

How to properly store almond milk

Almond milk can be stored similarly to oat and soy milk, offering options for both refrigerated and unrefrigerated storage based on personal preference and storage requirements.

An unopened carton of unrefrigerated almond milk should be stored in a cool, dark place, away from heat sources like direct sunlight or stovetops. Suitable storage locations include pantry or kitchen cabinets. Once opened, the carton should be tightly sealed and refrigerated at all times.(3)

Other FAQs about Almond Milk that you may be interested in.

How does almond milk taste?

Can lactose intolerant drink almond milk?

Can cats drink almond milk?


This brief article shared some ways to know if almond milk is spoiled or not. It also talked about how almond milk is manufactured followed by proper ways to store almond milk. 


  1. Nor Aishah Hassan. Almond milk production and study of quality characteristics  Journal of Academia 2, 1-8, 2012
  2. Kehinde, B. A., Panghal, A., Garg, M. K., Sharma, P., & Chhikara, N.  Vegetable milk as probiotic and prebiotic foods. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research. 2020.
  3. Reyes-Jurado, F., et. al. Plant-Based Milk Alternatives: Types, Processes, Benefits, and Characteristics. Food Reviews International, 1–32, 2021
  4. Vanga SK, Raghavan V. How well do plant based alternatives fare nutritionally compared to cow’s milk? J Food Sci Technol.;55(1):10-20.2018

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