Does Evaporated Milk Go Bad? Shelf Life Explained (2023)

Milk is one of the essential drinks in every home (unless you are lactose intolerant). Whether you are in your 50s or have a kid at home, you might find cartons of milk around your kitchen. 

If you have had a carton/tin of evaporated milk for some time, you might wonder: Does evaporated milk go bad?

Yes. Like every dairy product, evaporated milk can go bad. An open evaporate milk pack will last 4-5 days max. Look at the label for the expiry date of the milk. If you have a carton lying around, also check for signs of spoilage.

Evaporated milk is like regular milk, the only exception being it has less water content. In this article, we will discuss ways to extend the shelf-life of evaporated milk by storing it correctly. We will also look at the risks associated with consuming bad milk. 

So read along.

Does evaporated Milk Go Bad? How long does it last?

Evaporated milk lasts longer than regular milk. But that does not mean it won’t go bad! An unopened evaporated milk pack can last for months after its expiry date. It is because the milk gets pasteurized before being sealed. This eliminates the chances of bacteria and mold growing inside the tin.

If you want to check the shelf-life of evaporated milk, go by the label. If the label has an expiry date, the product will expire soon, if not already. So, buying an expired pack is a big no-no if you can’t consume the milk at once.

evaporated milk in Glass

Once the evaporated milk pack is opened, it loses its quality and freshness. This happens at a relatively faster pace as compared to the milk sitting on the shelf. An opened milk can go bad in about 48 hours unless you store it properly. But if stored properly, evaporated milk can last for up to 4-5 days from the day it is opened.

How long the evaporated milk lasts after its expiry also depends on its packaging. If the milk carton has no breaks or dents in the seal, it can even last for 2-5 months past the date.

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Best ways to store evaporated milk

As mentioned earlier, evaporated milk is a shelf-stable product. This means the milk tin can survive at room temperature past its date if unopened. However, once you open the evaporated milk, you must refrigerate the rest.

The best way to store the evaporated milk is in a cool, dark place. The dark place is checked as the milk already comes in a tin. So, storing the can in the pantry or kitchen cupboard will check the cool place. It is important to note that the milk must be stored in a place with a stable temperature.

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But once the milk tin is opened, you MUST store the remaining in the fridge. You must also put the remaining milk in an airtight container. Resealing the tin will be difficult, so transfer the milk to another airtight container. 

You might also see a layer forming on the surface of the milk. This layer is called ‘milk skin’, and no, it does not mean the milk is bad. However, it indicates that the milk was not stored properly and can go bad soon. So make sure you seal the container properly.

Tip: If you leave the milk out in the open after using it, it might already be ruined. If you see the milk having floating particles or a change in consistency, toss it away.

Can you freeze the evaporated milk?

Yes. You can always freeze the evaporated milk to make it last longer. However, freezing the milk alters the texture after defrosting it. It causes the milk to separate and degrades the product’s quality. But if you want to use defrosted milk to enhance your dishes, it will work fine.

If you are unsure of the milk after defrosting it, stir it up. Although the texture won’t return to normal, it will slightly improve. You can also use an ice cube tray to freeze the remaining milk. It will be convenient and easy to use.

milk in bottle

Don’t want to consume the evaporated milk after thawing it? You can turn the defrosted evaporated milk into regular milk by adding water. Don’t worry. The milk is still safe to use.

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How to tell if evaporated milk is bad?

Like any other dairy product, Evaporated milk will eventually go bad. One of the best ways to judge the quality: rely on your senses. Your eyes and nose can tell you a lot about the quality of the product.

Mentioned below are some of the common signs of spoilage:

1. Sour smell

The milk starts to change smell when the product gets infested with bacteria. Instead of a fresh milky smell, you will smell a sour and vinegary smell. This is a clear indication of the milk gone bad. Toss the milk away and buy a new pack.

2. Appearance

The best judge is your eyes. So pour the milk into a transparent glass and look at the consistency and the colour. If the milk has a thicker consistency as compared to regular milk. Then yes, the milk is safe to consume. A fresh pack of evaporated milk has a cream or white colour. So, if the milk is darker than white, it is probably ruined.

3. Change in texture

A fresh tin of milk will have a smooth texture. If the milk has floating particles or is separated, discard the product.

4. Look at the packaging

If the milk cans, tins, or bottles are rusty, leaking, or dented, toss them away. If the product packaging is damaged, the content is not far from spoiling.

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Risks associated with drinking expired milk

Spoiled evaporated milk is not hard to spot. The sour smell and color change prove that the milk has gone bad. However, what would happen if the signs were not prominent and you consumed bad evaporated milk? 

If you consume a small quantity of bad milk, you won’t experience major problems. But by consuming the bad evaporated milk in excess, you will likely experience food poisoning. Common symptoms of food poisoning include abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Although these symptoms can pass once you take proper medications. In severe cases, however, you must visit a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Is it okay to use expired evaporated milk?

Ans. Yes. You can use expired evaporated milk if the milk does not smell sour or acidic. Look at the color of the milk. If the milk is white or cream color, it is safe to consume even if the date is passed.

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Q2. How can you tell if evaporated milk has gone bad?

Ans. A bad can of evaporated milk starts to show signs of spoilage. The milk has gone bad if you see the milk developing a sour smell or a watery consistency. You can also taste the milk to see if the milk is consumable. If the milk tastes acidic, it is time to throw it away.

Q3. Is evaporated milk good 2 months after the expiration date?

Ans. Yes. Evaporated milk can last for 2 months and more if it was unopened and stored properly. However, although it may not be as flavorful as a fresh can of milk, it will still be safe to use. Before going all in with an expired can of milk, look for signs of spoilage.

Q4. How long can I keep evaporated milk?

Ans. Unopened evaporated milk can last for months even if the expiry date is passed. An opened can of milk, however, can last for 4-5 days before going bad. Therefore, make sure you use the opened can of milk during that duration.

Q5. Why does evaporated milk last so long?

Ans. As compared to regular and condensed milk, evaporated milk has less water and sugar content. This makes the milk last longer than most dairy products. The evaporated milk also goes through a pasteurization process. This process minimizes the risk of molds and bacteria, hence, making it a shelf-stable product.

The Bottom Line

Evaporated milk is a versatile dairy product that lasts longer than regular milk. Whether you want to enhance your drinks or recipes, it can elevate the taste. But if stored properly, the milk can stay good before expiration. Store the unopened milk can in the pantry or kitchen cupboard. This will last up to 3-5 months past the expiry date. But once opened, the milk can must be finished within 4-5 days. If you think the milk is spoiled, drain it down the sink. Buy a fresh evaporated milk can, and you are good to go!

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Archana Bisht

Archana Bisht

A foodie with a flair for talking non-stop. You can find me hogging down food or browsing Pinterest for more recipes in my free time. My favorite cuisine is Italian. That being said, I am an excellent pasta cook and love experimenting with ingredients. You can also find me petting strays and feeding them every chance I get