Does Condensed Milk Go Bad? Shelf Life, Storage & More

Does Condensed Milk Go Bad

Condensed milk is a delicious dairy product that, as a child, we loved dipping our fingers in. But did you know sailors used it to preserve dairy products at sea? However, condensed milk is used in many recipes and as a topping.

Condensed milk is cow milk, where most water is taken out and mixed with sugar to give its iconic sweet taste. Stores have canned condensed milk which you can store for a long time. But what if you just bought two cans a year ago and forgot? Does condensed milk go bad?

We are here to answer questions about condensed milk’s shelf life, storage, and ways to tell if it’s gone bad.

How to Tell If Condensed Milk is Bad?

First, let us answer the question, “Does condensed milk go bad?” Yes, condensed milk does go bad, and when it does, you will see clear signs of it. So, checking your condensed milk before adding recipes to anything is better.

Signs of Bad Condensed Milk:

1. Color of Condensed Milk

The best way to tell if your condensed milk is spoiled is by looking at the color. If your condensed milk expires and becomes spoiled, you will notice the color has gotten darker than usual. It may also look more yellow than pale cream.

2. Consistency of Condensed Milk

Condensed milk already has a thick consistency, but it is also slightly runny. So, if you can’t pour your condensed milk like before, throw it out because it has gone bad.

3. The smell of Condensed Milk

Condensed milk has a sweet and milky smell. But if you notice it smelling unpleasant or sour, it’s not suitable for consumption.

4. Mold Formation

If you have an opened can of condensed milk, you will likely notice molding if it needs to be stored correctly. So, don’t try to scoop out the molds; throw the whole can!

5. Look for Signs on the Can

Condensed milk cans can stay intact for a long time; however, unopened ones can still spoil. So, if you notice your can is swelling, rusting, or starting to dent, then it has gone bad. Usually, it is hard to know from the outside, so you can also cut into it to check for the above signs.

What is the Shelf Life of Condensed Milk?

The shelf life of condensed milk depends on how it’s stored in the first place. Usually, sweetened condensed milk has a higher shelf life value than unsweetened milk. Do you know why? Because sugar is a natural preservative and helps keep food safe for consumption longer.

Regardless, believe it or not, unopened condensed milk will last more than a year past its expiration date. On the other hand, an opened can will last for 2 to 3 weeks if it is sweetened condensed milk.

condensed milk in pancakes

Does Condensed Milk Need to be Refrigerated?

Condensed milk doesn’t need to be refrigerated. You can easily keep it on your pantry shelf if you haven’t opened the can yet. However, you must adequately seal an opened condensed milk can and keep it refrigerated to increase its shelf life for a few more days. But if you use it in a day or two, the pantry shelf works fine.

How Long Does Condensed Milk Last in Fridge?

Here is a quick chart to give you an idea of the shelf life of condensed milk.

Type of Condensed MilkFridgeFreezer
Unsweetened and Opened Condensed Milk4 to 5 DaysN/A
Sweetened and Opened Condensed Milk12 to 15 Days3 to 4 Months
Homemade Condensed Milk7 to 8 DaysN/A

(If you didn’t already know, you could easily make homemade condensed milk, which tastes way better than any store-bought ones.)

How to Store Condensed Milk Correctly

Condensed milk isn’t hard to store if your can is still unopened. But the challenging part is storing it when the can is already opened. However, we will let you know all the ways of storing condensed milk that will make it last longer. Let’s jump in, then!

1. Pantry/Kitchen Cabinet

You can easily store your unopened condensed milk cans on your pantry shelf or in kitchen cabinets at room temperature. However, you must remember to keep the place dry and cool. Direct sunlight, moisture, and heat can affect the packaging and cause damage to the inside product.

2. Refrigerator

If you have already opened a can of condensed milk, you have to put it in the refrigerator to avoid spoiling it. A high or even room temperature can cause the condensed milk to go rancid and shorten its shelf life. It can also smell bad since it rapidly takes up other food scents.

Moreover, you should never store the opened condensed milk in its packaging container. The best way is to grab a glass jar or an airtight container and pour the condensed milk into it, then seal it with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

3. Freezer

A freezer is a good option if you plan on storing condensed milk for months. Just empty it into a different container and freeze it. Remember to give it a good whisk before using it.

You may also like: Does Buttermilk Go Bad

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Sweetened Condensed Milk Go Bad?

In simple words, yes, sweetened condensed milk goes bad. It’s a dairy product and is bound to spoil.

Can I Use Expired Sweetened Condensed Milk?

Although the expiration date may be gone, you can use an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk a year after. However, the taste will change over time.

How Long Does Sweetened Condensed Milk Last?

If it is an unopened can of condensed milk, it can last for a year or even two. On the other hand, opened cans will last for two weeks in the fridge.


Condensed milk will eventually go bad, even if you can use homemade products for days. Sometimes, it will lose its essential qualities and attributes. Other times, it will spoil and stop being safe to eat. So, after opening a can past its expiration date, store your condensed milk carefully and thoroughly inspect it. If you find any signs of being spoiled, throw it in the trash. It is better to be healthy than eat rancid condensed milk.

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