Does Oat Milk Need to Be Refrigerated?

If you drink oat milk daily like me, you would want to buy it in bulk. But, the question of how to store it properly becomes a problem.

You might have found different instructions for refrigeration based on the brands, and you are wondering what to believe.

Do all oat milk need to be refrigerated or just some kind?

Oat milk needs to be refrigerated once it is opened. If unopened, shelf-stable oat milk can be kept without refrigeration for six to nine months. However, homemade and store-refrigerated oat milk needs to be kept in the fridge before and after opening. Because oat milk is a perishable substance, the USDA advises that oat milk can stay out at room temperature for no more than 2 hours.

 Open/SealedPantryFridge
Shelf-Stable Oat MilkSealed6 – 9 monthsNot Necessary
Chilled Oat MilkSealedNot Applicable7 – 10 days
Shelf-Stable Oat MilkOpenedNot Applicable7 – 10 days
Chilled Oat MilkOpenedNot Applicable7 – 10 days

If you are new to oat milk, we know you still have many questions. How do you know your oat milk is still safe for drinking?

This question and more will be answered in this article.

Does Oat Milk Need to Be Refrigerated After Opening?

Oat milk is a healthy, dairy-free milk for people of all ages. It is plant-based, lactose-free, and gluten-free, therefore vegan friendly.

Oat Milk

While it looks like cow milk, the storage rules for this milk can be a little different.

Oat milk needs to be refrigerated after opening. It is a perishable good that shouldn’t be left out after opening.

Once you open your carton or bottle of oat milk, ensure you reseal it and keep it in a fridge.

Opened oat milk can last for 4-7 days in a fridge. The milk can even last as long as 10 days if you don’t expose it to air and keep it at a cool temperature always.

But the rules are quite different before you open it.

Does Oat Milk Need to Be Refrigerated Before Opening?

You don’t always open your oat milk immediately after getting it from the store. You might wonder if you have to refrigerate it when you don’t open it.

It depends on the kind of oat milk you buy.

When You Buy Shelf-Stable Oat Milk

If your oat milk is unopened shelf-stable oat milk, you might not have to refrigerate it.

This kind of oat milk is packed in an aseptic format that doesn’t allow for any milk contamination during packaging.

Therefore, this milk doesn’t need refrigeration before opening. Note that aseptic packaging doesn’t involve preservatives.

It only uses sterile radiation or boiling and an airtight seal to ensure that the milk doesn’t get contaminated.

Shelf-stable oat milk has the same nutritional value and ingredients as refrigerated ones.

Shelf-stable oat milk can last for as long as nine months without refrigeration, as long as you don’t open it. You only keep the milk in a cool, dark area on your shelf or pantry.

You need to put the milk in the fridge once you break the seal on the carton or bottle.

When You Buy Chilled Oat Milk or Make It At Home

You can make oat milk on your own and want to keep it for a while. You might also want to keep the cold oat milk you bought at the store till the next day.

If your oat milk is homemade or refrigerated, you need to keep it in a fridge.

Before opening your oat milk, the rule is to keep it in the same state you found it at the store.

If you found the oat milk in a fridge, keep it refrigerated. If it is on a shelf, it can stay on the shelf before opening.

How Long Does It Last?

Homemade oat milk needs to go in a fridge if you want it to last. It can stay as long as five days before going bad. Refrigerated milk can last for seven to ten days.

Note that the expiration date of the oat milk depends on the brand. You might have to check the labels of your oat milk for proper instructions before leaving the store.  

Does Oat Milk Need to Be Refrigerated Once Opened?

Once your oat milk is opened, it must be refrigerated regardless of whether it was refrigerated or shelf-stable.

However, the brand of oat milk can determine how long the milk will last.

Some brands add additives and preservatives to the oat milk, affecting its sell-by date.

Some brands produce both shelf-stable and refrigerated oat milk, so you need to know the difference.

We have examined a few brands to let you know if they need refrigeration. Don’t forget to read the label, too, as you’re dealing with perishable food.

Brand NameOat Milk TypeRefrigeration Need
Chobani Oat MilkShelf-StableNot till Opened
Silk Oat MilkShelf-StableNot till Opened
Alpro Oat DrinkShelf-Stable & ChilledDepends on Type
Califia Oat MilkShelf-Stable & ChilledDepends on Type
Planet Oat MilkShelf-Stable & ChilledDepends on Type

Does Chobani Oat Milk Need to Be Refrigerated?

Chobani Oat milk is shelf-stable, so it doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It can sit on a shelf at 40°F to 75°F for 4 months.

You only need to refrigerate it once you open the carton. It would last for 7-10 days after opening. The manufacturers advise that you don’t freeze it.

Does Silk Oat Milk Need to Be Refrigerated?

Silk Oat milk is shelf-stable, so you don’t need to refrigerate it before opening it.

It can last up to 10 months if you don’t break the original packaging.

Once opened, you can store it in the fridge for 7-10 days. You can also chill it before drinking.

Does Alpro Oat Drink Need to Be Refrigerated?

Alpro Oat drink has long-life and chilled options. You have to keep the chilled option refrigerated even if you don’t open it.

You can keep the long-life option on the shelf until you open it.

You would find the expiration date on the top of the pack. You are also advised to take the drink within five days after opening.

Does Califia Oat Milk Need to Be Refrigerated?

Califia Farms distinguish between the products that need refrigeration before opening and ones that don’t.

Bottled oat milk products are perishable and need to be kept refrigerated always.

Carton oat milk products, on the other hand, are shelf-stable and can stay unrefrigerated till you open them.

Once opened, you’re advised to consume it within 7-10 days. You should always check the label instructions for all the products before leaving the store.  

Does Planet Oat Milk Need to Be Refrigerated?

Planet Oat milk has shelf-stable and chilled options. The shelf-stable option doesn’t have to be refrigerated until opened.

Planet OatMilk

The chilled option has to be kept refrigerated always. So, refrigeration depends on the kind of oat milk.

How Long Can Oat Milk Sit Out Opened?

According to the USDA, your opened oat milk can only sit out for two hours before it starts getting spoilt.

When oat milk is left out at room temperature, bacteria and pathogens begin to grow in the milk.

From the two-hour mark, the goodness of the oat milk begins to take a downward slope.

While you can still use it if the milk spends three hours sitting open, you will have to throw it away if you forget it overnight.

When you’re refrigerating your oat milk, don’t leave it sitting out for long.

Once you open your oat milk carton, pour out the quantity you need, reseal the carton, and put it in the fridge immediately.

Don’t keep your oat milk sitting out for more than two hours if you want to enjoy all the full benefits.

Can You Drink Unrefrigerated Oat Milk?

You can take your shelf-stable oat milk without any refrigeration. You pour out the amount you want to drink and keep the rest in the fridge.

You can also decide to chill it a little. However, nothing stops you from taking your shelf-stable oat milk straight from the carton.

You can also add it to your coffee or tea directly.

Pre-chilled oat milk has to be kept chilled always. But if you want warm oat milk, you can heat it.

However, you need to keep the rest of the oat milk refrigerated once you open the container like other plant-based milk.

Can You Freeze Oat Milk?

You can freeze your oat milk for up to 6 months. However, it is best to keep it in the fridge.

Freezing your oat milk causes a grainy quality when you defrost the milk.

However, you get rid of the graininess of the milk by straining it with a cheesecloth. You can also thaw it over low heat to prevent graininess.

The oat milk can be used in cooking after thawing.

What to Do with Expired Oat Milk?

When your oat milk passes the ‘best by date, you might want to throw it out immediately.

However, it does not mean that the oat milk has gone bad completely. While you might not want to drink it, there are some things you can do about expired oat milk.

Use for Beauty

Expired oat milk can make soap bars, body scrubs, and bath bombs. It still has minerals and vitamins that help hydrate the skin, treat acne, and ease dry and irritated skin.

You have to heat it into a smooth paste and apply it to the affected areas.

Reduce Pet Odor

Your old oat milk can also work for your pets. It serves as a gentle moisturizer that neutralizes odor.

It won’t irritate your pet’s skin, and the paste works effectively.

Make It Fun

You can turn your oat milk into a play project. Thicken the milk to the consistency of traditional paper mache, and you can use it as you wish.

Your children can have some fun creating something new from your old oat milk.

How Do You Know the Oat Milk Has Gone Bad?

While expired oat milk doesn’t always mean bad oat milk, you must learn to spot when it has gone bad.

Your oat milk might not have expired, but it might have gone bad due to its storage.

Your oat milk has gone bad if:

  • The milk is lumpy, slimy, and difficult to pour.
  • The milk has changed from its original color.
  • It smells bad or off.
  • The carton has mold.
  • It is 5 days past the recommended expiration date.

If oat milk doesn’t meet any of the criteria above, you can taste it. If it tastes fine, you can go ahead and use it.

However, don’t hesitate to throw it out if you don’t feel comfortable with it.

What Happens If You Drink Bad Oat Milk?

Some people drink expired oat milk without any serious consequences. But, it is a different case when you spoilt oat milk.

It can cause food poisoning, leading to vomiting, intestinal inflammation, or diarrhea.  

Bad oat milk also doesn’t give you the nutrition you want to get. So, ensure that your oat milk has not gone bad before you drink it.

Final Considerations

Oat milk is a healthy alternative to dairy and is suitable for people who are allergic, lactose-intolerant, or vegans.

Depending on how you bought it at the store, you can refrigerate or keep your oat unrefrigerated.

However, all kinds of oat milk should be refrigerated after opening. You should also watch your refrigerated oat milk and avoid spoiled milk.

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