How Long does Milk Last Out of the Fridge?

Everyone wants their milk to stay as fresh as possible for as long as possible, but did you realize that this can depend on how long it is left outside?

Perishable items like milk shouldn’t be left outside the fridge or cooler for more than two hours. If the temperature rises to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, shorten that period to an hour. Bacteria may begin to grow after that point.

Milk contains essential vitamins and minerals and is an important dietary calcium source. It helps to build strong bones. Whether you drink it or not, it’s good to know how long pasteurized milk lasts out of the fridge. High-temperature short-time pasteurization (HTST) is one of the most effective ways to kill bacteria. But it doesn’t keep milk fresh for as long as ultra-heat-treated milk.


What is Milk?

Milk is a fluid that female mammals’ mammary glands secrete to feed their young for a period beginning right after birth. Humans eat domesticated animals’ milk frequently, either directly as a fluid or after processing it to make various dairy products like butter and cheese.

We’ll talk briefly about milk after that. See dairy products for a comprehensive treatment.

Nowadays, almost all milk eaten in Western nations comes from cows, and milk and milk products have grown to be significant commercial commodities. The water buffalo, which is widely domesticated in Asia, the camel, which is significant in northern Africa, and the sheep and goat, which are particularly significant in southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, are additional important milk suppliers.

How Long does Milk Last Out of the Fridge?

UHT Treated Milk

UHT-treated milk is produced using an ultra-high temperature treatment to kill bacteria that might spoil the milk. It is also packaged in an aseptic package to protect it from air and light. The shelf life of UHT-treated milk depends on several factors. Depending on the type of milk, its ingredients, and the packaging, it can last up to six months out of the fridge.

Although the process is new and the technology is not completely understood, researchers have found it safe to consume. Specifically, it is known to kill certain bacteria that might lead to food poisoning. In addition, it is a convenient way to store milk. Unlike fresh milk, it doesn’t need refrigeration once it has been produced.

Shelf-Stable Milk

Shelf-stable milk is a common food in Europe. It is packaged differently from other types of milk and can be stored at room temperature without refrigeration. The shelf life varies from product to product, but most should last between five and seven days.

There are two main types of shelf-stable milk. One is ultra-heat-treated pasteurization, or UHT, used in Europe, Asia, and other areas of the world. This method kills virtually all bacteria, including pathogenic bacteria.

How to Freeze Milk?

If the storage container is plastic, you can freeze the food inside; glass or cardboard containers risk shattering or blowing up. When freezing milk, remember to leave a one-1/2-inch gap at the top of the container because milk expands when frozen. It could also be frozen by dividing the milk into ice cube trays. This permits rapid thawing of the required amount without defrosting the entire container.

Regardless of your method, ensure the container is airtight because milk may readily absorb flavors from other foods in the freezer. Use many layers of plastic wrap to gently wrap the ice cube tray before placing it in the freezer if using ice cube trays.

How to Thaw Frozen Milk?

Like how freezing cheese affects cheese, milk quality may suffer or even spoil. To start with, avoid thawing milk at room temperature! In the fridge overnight is the simplest way to defrost milk. However, if time is of the essence, you can quickly immerse the airtight container in cold water, changing the water as needed.

Place the milk in the refrigerator to slowly thaw it out. Milk quality could be compromised if it is allowed to warm up too much when thawing at room temperature. To expedite the process, you can pour cold water into a sink or a big bowl and submerge the entire container. As the water heats up, you can replace it.

You can notice that the milk has a somewhat gritty texture once it has thawed. This occurs as a result of fat separation. But don’t worry! Shaking the milk briskly will help it get back to its normal texture. Milk that has been defrosted should be consumed in three to four days.

How do Milk Changes After Freezing?

Even while thawed milk will still be nutrient-rich, you could notice a change in appearance. You can use an immersion blender to incorporate the fats into the milk. Vigorous shaking will assist the milk in getting back to its normal texture if the fat separates and gives the texture a tiny graininess. To incorporates the fats into the milk.

The flavor of your milk may also have changed, even though the milk hasn’t gone bad. Even in a container made of durable plastic, frozen milk can acquire the smells of some fragrant foods (looking at you, seafood). This is why you should aim to utilize your frozen milk as soon as possible and keep it away from foods with strong scents when keeping it.

How to Store Milk for Longer Duration?

Here are some details and recommendations for keeping milk as fresh as possible while storing and serving it at home:

Milk should be purchased last at the grocery shop to ensure that it stays as chilled as possible. Immediately after you arrive home, refrigerate.

Milk should ideally be kept in the refrigerator at or below 40 degrees F. This temperature enhances the flavor of milk and increases its overall shelf life.

Milk should be kept in the coldest section of the refrigerator, not the door, where it will constantly be opened to the elements.

To eliminate bacteria that can pose health hazards, milk is pasteurized. Nevertheless, keeping pasteurized milk out of the fridge for an extended period is dangerous.

What are the Side Effects of Consuming Milk?

The color of spoiled milk is frequently off. White milk is the perfect color. So, it may not be good if it appears pale white or yellowish or has a yellowish hue. It may even appear a little brown (via Insider). If you pour the milk into a glass, you might also notice the lumps and bumps there.

If you don’t want to try the milk since it appears spoiled, you might want to try sniffing it first. If you take a good smell of the spoilt milk, you’ll probably detect the same filthy, sour flavor that you would taste if you did take a sip.

“It would make you sick if you drank it. It is food aversion rather than food poisoning. It unmistakably smells like sour milk, “said Theodore Labuza, a Department of Food Science and Nutrition professor at the University of Minnesota and a specialist in food safety. The organisms there produce a variety of chemicals with unpleasant odors.

One of the first obvious indications of spoilt milk is a nasty smell, but it’s not the only one. What occurs afterward when milk spoils? Making claims that a sour taste, color change, and color change are other warning indications that your milk has gone bad. (And believe me, nothing is more unnerving than pouring what you believe to be exquisite, ice-cold milk only to discover pieces flop out in your bowl; it’s something that will stay with you so fiercely that you’ll never neglect your milk’s date or appearance again.)

What are the Side Effects of Consuming Spoilt Milk?

According to Dr. Sonpal, consuming enough spoilt milk can typically negatively impact your digestive system. So, according to the gastroenterologist, your symptoms could include vomiting, cramping, and diarrhea over a length of time, ranging from hours to days, depending on how much-expired milk you drank.

To prevent damage to your kidneys, Dr. Sonpal advises keeping yourself hydrated. Food poisoning symptoms that are mild typically go away on their own in due course. However, according to Dr. Sonpal, if you’re attempting to stay hydrated but keep throwing up the Pedialyte or Gatorade that you’re trying to drink, your symptoms may be more severe. In this situation, you should visit an urgent care facility or your doctor’s office so that an IV fluid can be used to keep you hydrated.

Furthermore, Maeng says you shouldn’t take anti-diarrhea pills if you develop diarrhea after consuming rotten milk. She cautions, “Doing so will slow down the clearance of the germs from your system.”


There are many ways to store your milk to ensure it lasts longer. One way is to use a fridge door bin or compartment. This will limit exposure to warmer air and keep the milk fresher. Another way is to freeze it. However, freezing can lead to changes in color and texture.

When buying milk, you should look for shelf-stable or UHT milk. These glasses of milk have been pasteurized to kill harmful pathogens. They are then packaged in specially designed containers for up to six months. The shelf life is usually based on the type of milk you buy. Although unopened UHT milk can be stored at room temperature for up to four hours, it should be refrigerated after opening. It will spoil within five to seven days if you leave it out.