Does Soy Milk Go Bad?

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Soy milk is a non-dairy, plant milk that is packed with nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, magnesium, iron, and calcium. It is also a heart-healthy, low-calorie, plant-based milk that is a great alternative for people with allergies and lactose intolerances. Soy milk is also one of the go-to milk options for people who are vegan or vegetarian. Soy milk is made from whole soybeans and is a vegetable protein beverage.

If you have soy milk in your pantry or fridge and are not sure if it is still consumable, then this article is for you. Many of us have plant-based milk in our homes, due to intolerances, taste, or health reasons.

There are two kinds of soy milk available in the market, primarily differentiated by their packaging, shelf-stable soy milk, and refrigerated soy milk. The two kinds of soy milk are different only in the packaging process, the ingredients and taste remain the same. Different brands have slight differences, but soy milk is pretty much universal in its taste and flavor.

The shelf-stable variety is packaged in a process similar to the unrefrigerated cartons that cow’s milk comes in – it is treated with Ultra-High Temperatures and comes packaged in aseptic containers. The shelf-stable type is found in the non-refrigerated section of the grocery store, usually with the other shelf-stable, plant-based milk. This type of soy milk can last comfortably in your pantry or kitchen cabinet for a long, long time without going bad.

The refrigerated soy milk usually comes in bottles, is kept in the refrigerated section, and has a much shorter shelf-life. Even unopened, refrigerated soy milk cannot be kept outside. It has to always be kept in the fridge if you want to keep it from spoiling.

Does Soy Milk Go Bad?

But yes, soy milk does spoil. Even the shelf-stable soy milk, despite its long life, does eventually spoil. Soy milk when opened has a much shorter shelf life and goes bad much sooner.

What Is the Shelf-Life Of Soy Milk?

  • When discussing the shelf life of soy milk, you have to take into account a couple of factors including storage conditions, the kind of soy milk, and its sell-by date.
  • Shelf-stable soy milk that has not been opened will stay good in the pantry for a long time, around 3-5 months after its best-by date.
  • An opened container of shelf-stable soy milk will stay good for about 6 to 10 days in the refrigerator.
  • An unopened bottle of refrigerated soy milk will stay good in the fridge for about 7 days after its best-by date.
  • You cannot store refrigerated soy milk in the pantry or cabinet. It has to be kept in a cold, controlled environment.
  • An opened container of refrigerated soy milk will be consumable and stay good in the fridge for about 6 to 10 days.
  • If you want to extend the shelf life of your soy milk, you can freeze it. Freezing the soy milk does keep it good longer, especially if you are planning to use it long-term in the future. But be aware that soy milk that is frozen and thawed has a different texture. While it definitely does not change the taste, quality, or nutritive value of soy milk, freezing does change the texture.
  • Soy milk will stay good in the freezer for about 6-8 months.
Type of Soy MilkPantryFridgeFreezer
Unopened shelf-stable soy milkBest-by date + 3-5 monthsBest-by date + 3-5 months
Opened shelf-stable soy milk
6-10 days6-8 months
Unopened refrigerated soy milkNot more than 2 hoursBest-by date + 7 days
Opened refrigerated soy milk
6-10 days6-8 months

The above table is just an estimate. If ever in doubt go with the best-by, sell-by expiry dates printed on the container. The best-by date refers to the date when the product reached peak quality. It does not indicate the date of spoilage.

How To Properly Store Soy Milk?

Soy milk comes in proper, air-tight containers, so there is little to do in terms of actual storage. But there are a few things you can take care doing to ensure that your soy milk does not go bad sooner than it needs to.

  • Shelf-stable soy milk can be stored in your kitchen pantry or cabinet. Keep it in a cool, dark place away from direct heat and sunlight.
  • Once you open the milk, it has to be kept in the fridge right away. When kept outside, an opened container of soy milk will stay good for about two hours. Either refrigerate it as soon as possible or just toss it.
  • Refrigerated soy milk on the other hand has to be refrigerated as soon as you get it. Again, a couple of hours outside, when still unopened is okay. It won’t spoil, but longer than that the milk will start souring.
  • And once you open it, it has to be put in the fridge right away.
  • Once opened, soy milk does not stay good beyond a certain period of time, which is usually around 6 to 10 days. You can choose to freeze the remaining soy milk once you have opened it.
  • To freeze, transfer the milk into a freezer-safe, air-tight container and store it in the freezer.
  • Soy milk freezes without a problem, but you will find a distinct difference in texture. Frozen soy milk is best suited to be used in recipes like smoothies, desserts, and other baked goods.

How To Tell If Your Soy Milk Has Spoiled?

Soy milk, although plant-based, has a similar shelf life to dairy milk and shows similar signs of spoilage.

  • The first thing to check if you suspect your soy milk might have turned is the smell. If the milk smells sour, then it has gone bad. Do not consume spoiled soy milk.
  • If the soy milk container is bloated or leaking, then it has turned rancid. The gas from the bacteria is what is causing the container to puff up.
  • If the soy milk has curdled, it will be clumpy have lumps in it, and won’t be smooth. Toss out soy milk that has spoiled.
  • The discoloration is another indicator of spoilage. If the soy milk is graying or has green or black spots, or if you see any type of growth or mold on it, it has definitely gone bad.
  • Consuming spoiled milk will give you a host of health and gut issues and severe food poisoning. You’re better off buying a new batch of soy milk.

Soy milk is already wildly popular, not just because of its numerous health benefits, but also because it is a delicious and healthy alternative for people with allergies and intolerances. Soy milk also comes in a variety of flavors from plain and sweetened to vanilla and chocolate. For anyone looking to get healthy or go vegan, soy milk is a great starting point.

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