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Does Oat Milk Need to Be Refrigerated?

Oat milk has not been that popular in India in recent times, but in a couple of years, it has gained great popularity because of its plant-based goodness and creamy texture. So the question is about its storage.

You have opened it and kept it at room temperature. What if you have not opened it? Does it need refrigeration? Are there preservatives inside it? Do they ensure safety against bacterial growth? What is its shelf life?

Is it shelf-stable? For the short answer, I would say once you open it, no matter if it’s homemade or one with preservatives, you always need to refrigerate it to maintain freshness and avoid bacterial growth.

Now, the homemade one is more sensitive because it doesn’t contain any stabilizers. It will demand immediate consumption within three to five days, even if you have refrigerated it. The store-bought one will last for 7-10 days because it does have preservatives.

Oat Milk 101: To Chill or Not to Chill

Oat Milk 101 To Chill or Not to Chill

  • The store-bought sealed: If your store-bought oat milk is perfectly sealed, you don’t need to refrigerate it directly. You can keep it on the shelf for a few days, then open it, drink it and keep the rest of it in the refrigerator.
  • After opening: Once you’ve opened it, it becomes mandatory for you to refrigerate it because now the oat milk has come in contact with the moisture in the air, which may lead to bacterial growth. Its simple freshness won’t be maintained that way.
  • Homemade vibes: So, if you are making your own oat milk, first of all, I appreciate you because I know it’s pretty tough, but at the very same time, I will advise you to store it in the fridge right from the first hour because there are absolutely no preservatives in it.

Unpacking the Shelf Life of Oat Milk

Unpacking the Shelf Life of Oat Milk

  • Sealed and sitting pretty: Unopened store-bought oat milk can stay on the shelf for even two months. It depends upon the process of packaging. You just need to check the expiry date.
  • The fridge after-party: After opening, it won’t last in your fridge for more than ten days. You need to keep an eye on it. It’s very easy to figure out if it is stale because it will give a very unpleasant smell.
  • Homemade Milk: For those whipping up their own oatmeal will have to drink it within four days of creation. Now, as it is all-natural, it won’t be able to stay fresh as long as it’s stored by its cousins.

Storing Your Oat Milk: A Practical Guide

Storing Your Oat Milk A Practical Guide

  • Before opening: Just keep it in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight. That’s more than enough.
  • Post-opening rituals: Now, if you open the carton or the bottle, it’s time to say hello to the fridge. Just store it at or below four degrees centigrade. That’s the best.
  • Mind the cap: After opening it, I won’t say you are entirely safe after keeping it in the refrigerator. If the cap is not sealed properly, then I’m sorry we are playing with the health of your oatmeal and, later on, with your own health as well.
  • Homemade care: If you are having freshly made oatmeal at your home just airtight the container and store it in your refrigerator. Don’t try any funky things.

The Impact of Temperature on Oat Milk Freshness

The Impact of Temperature on Oat Milk Freshness

Now, whether you talk about the oatmeal, the soy milk or the milk itself, temperature has some impact on them:

  • Consistency and Flavor: It’s very easy to figure out when these kinds of milk are okay to drink and when they have caught the bacterial problem. You won’t be able to feel the consistency in creaminess and flavour of any of these milk. Warm temperatures can mess up with any of these milks. So, warm temperatures are clearly not on my side.
  • The spoilage speed: We all know that high temperature speedifies spoilage. Bacteria love warm temperatures, and oat milk acts like milk only. It has almost similar properties.
  • Fridge life: Refrigerators cannot stop the degradation process, but yes, they can slow it down. The milk’s natural taste will be preserved for, let’s say, one week, but after that, it’s again at risk.

Opening the Carton: Refrigeration After Use

Opening the Carton_ Refrigeration After Use

After baking the oat milk carton, the countdown actually begins. Now you have put your carton along with your other shopping bags on the shelf. What’s gonna happen? You just wait for a few hours, and it won’t be good enough to be drunk.

It needs more time in the refrigerator. Keeping it inside your refrigerator right after opening isn’t just a good practice. It’s actually mandatory to stay ready for bacteria to destroy your oat milk.

When you are not using it, just seal the container very tightly and keep it away from other kinds of milk and a few other food items. For instance, I would say keeping it near lemon or other lime fruits is not a good idea at all.

Even after doing everything fine, if a slight leakage is there, the lime will destroy it in, let’s say, two days or so.

Homemade vs. Store-Bought Oat Milk: Storage Differences

Homemade vs. Store-Bought Oat Milk Storage Differences

Well, the difference between a store-bought oat milk and the one that you have created in your home doesn’t just have different textures and tastes, but yes, they have different lifespans as well.

The homemade thing is natural with no preserved weight whatsoever in it, which means that it will have a shorter shelf life and will seek refrigeration right after. Four days is the maximum limit I’d recommend you to drink.

In my case, I tried four or five containers made at the very same time. I tried tasting them day by day till the fourth day. There was consistency in texture and colour, but on the fifth day, I was very easily able to figure out the difference in the texture, and on the sixth day, the taste was also altered.

So, the fourth-day limit is the maximum from my side. You just need to treat your oat milk with care, and that’s it.

Common Misconceptions About Storing Oat Milk

Common Misconceptions About Storing Oat Milk

  • Need immediate refrigeration: Many folks believe that you need to put your oat milk right in the refrigerator state when you bring one from the mall or nearby shop. Well, it’s not like that. Don’t you feel like it literally needed refrigeration that quickly? Why are these malls storing them on open shelves? That’s common sense. It can withstand room temperature for a few days.
  • Lasts forever and open: Now, if you’re buying one from the mart, as I said, and if you’re feeling that it’s not gonna expire because it has preservatives in it, then let me tell you, even the preservative has some time limit. So read the expiry date.
  • Homemade has the same shelf life as store-bought: See, that’s the biggest assumption because, as I already explained to you, there are differences in the ingredients, and the main one is preservatives. If you are adding preservatives, then I would say yes, it will be as long-lasting as the one you buy from the mart, or it will be close to that, but if you’re not adding any preservatives, then I’m sorry, it won’t even last for half of the time.
  • Freezing ruins oatmeal: Now you might feel like if I freeze my oatmeal, there will be deterioration in the taste or texture, but it’s not like that until you’re not freezing it to zero degrees. It’s not gonna leave its consistency or taste by any chance.

Tips for Maximizing the Life of Your Oat Milk

Tips for Maximizing the Life of Your Oat Milk

  • Check dates: Best before date is a must-watch thing whenever you buy not just oatmeal but any other milk from the supermarket.
  • Store properly: No matter if you’ve done everything right if you are not storing your oatmeal properly, let’s say you are placing it near the window or near heating parts. I don’t recommend it by any chance because it will destroy your oat milk within hours.
  • Tight seal: While buying and after usage also, make sure that the seal is 100% tight. It must not be able to absorb any outside moisture at all.
  • Use clean utensils: Milk gets contaminated very easily if your utensil is not properly cleaned. The same thing happens with cow and buffalo milk as well. And the same happens with oat milk.
  • Considering freezing: For longer preservation, you need to consider freezing oat milk. Yes, that will create some ups and downs in the texture. I agree with that. But yes, for longer preservation, zero-degree temperature is needed. You can use this frozen oat milk for smoothies. It will taste better.
  • Rotate stuff: Now, if you have a lot of oat milk in your refrigerator, let’s say there was some sale or something, then I’d recommend you use the oldest one first so that your stock stays fresh.


Nishant Rajput is the CEO and the head author at He recently returned from Melbourne, Australia, after studies. Nishant is an engineer and carries colossal enthusiasm for guiding the Indian public to invest money in the right products. He hires a paid team of experts for analyzing data and narrating comprehensive reviews & guides! Besides that, he's a martial artist, gym freak, guitarist, and singer.

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