Does Oat Milk Go Bad?

Oat milk has the world abuzz. Its popularity is quickly rising as demand for plant-based options grows.


Plant-based diets reduce the consumption of animal foods and focus on foods derived from plant sources. Reducing red meat and certain dairy products while increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other plant-based foods is said to reduce your risk of heart disease and provide overall better health benefits. 


The switch from dairy to non-dairy, plant-based milk has greatly benefited those who are vegan, vegetarian, lactose intolerant, have allergies to dairy, or prefer the eco-friendly alternative.


Compared to other plant-based brands and types of milk, oat milk is recommended as a better option for a more filling and beneficial addition to your drinks or meals. But since it’s not dairy, does oat milk go bad? Let’s find out!

Table of Contents

Benefits of Oat Milk

Oat milk is beneficial for everyone who wishes to go plant-based. 

The plant-based milk contains calcium, vitamin D, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B12. Compared to other kinds of plant-based milk, oat milk has more protein and fiber. 

 Oat Milk

Oat milk is a better option for anyone who wishes to drink plant-based milk but has an allergy to soy or nuts and cannot drink other plant-based milk. 

In addition to its health benefits, many are switching to plant-based milk for ethical reasons. It has less impact on the environment and does not harm animals.

Making the switch from your traditional milk for oat can also save you a few extra trips to the market since non-dairy products tend to last longer than regular dairy milk. 

What Is the Shelf Life of Oat Milk?

Everything has a shelf-life, so the answer to the question “does oat milk go bad?” is, of course. But oat milk shelf life varies. Determining how long the oat milk you drink lasts depends on the following:


When oat milk is packaged in a sterile and sealed container, the milk can stay fresh for months, some even up to a year. This packaged milk is generally found on the shelves at room temperature. The manufacturer stamps a recommended date when it is best used by.

Oat Milk

Oat milk packed in refrigerated cartons does not last as long as the sealed containers. Most oat milk brands purchased from the refrigerated section are recommended to be consumed within two weeks of purchase.


Ingredients such as preservatives can extend shelf life. Oils, thickeners, stabilizers, flavorings, and sweeteners can also affect oat milk’s shelf life.

If the brand you purchase does not use stabilizers or preservatives, you should consume the oat milk within four days or less.

After the Container Is Open 

Regardless of other factors, the refrigerator shelf-life of oat milk is shortened once it is open. It is best to consume the milk within a few days after you open the container. 

As with any milk, a date is always stamped on the container. Check the date to confirm when it is best to be used.

Should Oat Milk Be Refrigerated?

Knowing when something should be refrigerated or placed in the pantry can sometimes feel like a guessing game. While some products such as ketchup and peanut butter are based on preference, oat milk depends on packaging.

There are two types of oat milk packaging—shelf stable and refrigerated. The different types of oat milk are stocked separately at the market. Some are available in the refrigerated section, and others sit on the shelves at room temperature.

Oat Milk

The two types of oat milk packaging determine whether it can sit in the pantry for some time or if it should be immediately refrigerated. 

Shelf Stable

Shelf-stable oat milk on the shelves at room temperature is packaged in sterile containers that are sealed entirely. The seal prevents air or contaminants from entering the container and spoiling the milk.

Unopened shelf-stable oat milk can sit on the shelves until the date on the container. Once you open the milk, it must be refrigerated immediately and consumed within a few days.


If you grab your oat milk from the refrigerated section, it should be placed in the refrigerator regardless of whether or not it is open.

Refrigerated oat milk is packaged differently from shelf-stable oat milk and must be consumed by the date printed on the carton or bottle.

How To Tell if Oat Milk Went Bad?

Spoilage can be tricky to detect with oat milk and other plant-based milk. Non-dairy products do not always show obvious signs a food or drink has gone bad.

A general rule is to consume oat milk within seven days of opening, but some products may last longer than expected. If you are unsure whether it is good past the few days after opening, here are a few ways to tell if your oat milk has gone spoiled.

Sour Taste 

Any change in taste, specifically a bitter taste, means it is time to dump the milk. 


How food and drinks smell is an obvious indicator that the product has gone spoiled. A funky smell tells you when your oat milk has gone bad.

 Oat Milk Recipe


Similar to dairy milk, the texture of oat milk can be a tall-tell sign of spoiled milk. A chunky consistency means it is time to toss it. If your milk no longer pours as smoothly as it once did when you initially opened it, it is a sign it is spoiled.  


When the color of your oat milk darkens, it is a sign the milk has gone bad.


Swapping your dairy milk for oat milk has its benefits. It is healthy, eco-friendly, and saves the animals. 

Enjoy tasty smoothies, protein shakes, coffee drinks, and your cereal of choice with the creamy, subtly sweet flavor of oat milk that goes easy on the stomach as long as the pour is smooth and bright. 

But many people wonder, does oat milk go bad? Yes. If you see a clump, smell a foul smell, or see a change of color, it is time to dump the carton and grab a new one.

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Jason Hughes
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