Coconut milk is a popular dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk, but it also goes bad just like regular milk. So, exactly how long does it last after opening?
The answer might surprise you – up to 7-10 days! That’s right, you can keep that coconut milk in the fridge for a whole week, maybe longer, if stored correctly. Although in my experience, the sooner you use it up, the better.
What is the shelf life of coconut milk?
Coconut milk has a very long shelf life, but this can vary depending on the type, storage conditions, and whether the milk is homemade or store-bought.
Unopened coconut milk will last up to 2 to 5 years if stored in a cool dry place. Once opened, you should put any unused coconut milk in the fridge right away, where it can last for 7 to 10 days. However, some brands of coconut milk may last longer, up to 14 days. If you’re unsure of which kind of coconut milk to buy, check out our list of the best coconut milk brands.
If you have made homemade coconut milk, it will typically last for 3 to 5 days when stored in the refrigerator. But in my experience, it’s best to use it ASAP before the quality goes down.
Comparison of coconut milk shelf life
|Shelf life – room temperature||Shelf life – refrigerator, unopened||Shelf life – refrigerator, opened|
|Canned coconut milk||2-5 years||2-5 years||7-10 days|
|Carton coconut milk||6-12 months||6-12 months||7-10 days|
Canned vs. carton coconut milk – differences and storage
In general, carton coconut milk (often used for coffee) is less shelf-stable than canned coconut milk. Carton coconut milk is usually pasteurized at a higher temperature than canned coconut milk, which can result in a shorter shelf life of up to about a year. As a result, it often contains added sugars or preservatives that are needed to make the coconut milk shelf-stable. Canned coconut milk does not require additives or preservatives to remain shelf-stable.
Canned coconut milk is often made with a thicker and richer consistency, which can help to preserve it for longer periods. The canning process also involves sterilization, which can help to kill any harmful bacteria and extend the shelf life of the product. As a result, canned coconut milk typically has a longer shelf life of several years. Read more about the differences between canned vs carton coconut milk.
It’s important to note that both types of coconut milk can separate and become thicker over time when stored in the refrigerator, so it’s a good idea to give the can or container a good shake before using.
How do you know when coconut milk is bad?
Coconut milk can spoil and go bad, so it’s important to know how to recognize when it’s no longer safe to consume. Some signs that coconut milk has gone bad include a sour or off odor, curdling, separation of the liquid and solids, or the presence of mold. If the milk appears thicker or clumpy, or has an unusual color, these are also indicators that it has gone bad.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to discard the coconut milk to avoid getting sick.
Potential risks of drinking coconut milk that has been open for a long time
As the coconut milk sits in the refrigerator (never leave opened coconut milk out!), it may become contaminated with harmful bacteria, which can cause food-borne illnesses, such as salmonella, listeria, and E. coli.
Leaving coconut milk out at room temperature for long periods of time increases the risk of spoiling and contamination.
Consuming spoiled or expired coconut milk can lead to gastrointestinal problems, which is no fun, so make sure to check the expiration date on coconut milk before purchasing it and refrigerate the leftover portion promptly after opening.
So, how long does coconut milk last after opening?
Once opened, coconut milk can last for up to 7-10 days in the refrigerator, provided it is stored using best practices and promptly refrigerated after opening. Just be sure to give it a sniff test before use and make sure that it still smells okay; if there’s any off-putting odor or unusual texture, it’s time to toss it out.
Coconut milk can be consumed 7 days after opening if it has been properly stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. However, it’s always important to check for any signs of spoilage such as an off odor, curdling, or mold before consuming. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to discard the coconut milk.
Rancid coconut milk tastes sour, spoiled, and unpleasant. It may have a sour, funky or moldy odor, and its texture can be thick and lumpy. Not something you’d want to put in your morning smoothie, that’s for sure!
Coconut milk, when opened, should be creamy and white with a smooth, homogeneous texture. It should not have any clumps, separation, or curdling. The consistency should be thick and creamy. Some separation is normal in canned coconut milk, and can be easily remedied by shaking the can before using.