Does Coffee Creamer Go Bad? (4 Ways Can You Tell)

A coffee creamer is a must-have in your pantry if you like a creamy cup of coffee in the morning.

Unlike other coffee additives like milk, creamers last longer. However, if your creamer has been in the fridge or cabinet for some time now, you're probably wondering, does coffee creamer go bad?

Luckily, there are ways for you to tell whether your coffee creamer is spoiled. I'll discuss the shelf life of different types of creamers and how to properly store them.

Even though most creamers don’t contain dairy, they still expire and go bad. So, how can you tell if a creamer has gone bad? Here are four ways to tell:

1. Always Check The Expiration Date

The easiest way to tell if a coffee creamer has gone bad is to check the expiration date. If it's already past the expiration date, it's a safer bet to discard the creamer.

However, not all creamers have an expiration date on their packaging. You might find some that have a best-by date instead. So, what's the difference between the two?

The expiry date tells you the last day the creamer is safe to consume.

I recommend that you throw away expired creamers because they can be a health hazard. On the other hand, the best-by date tells you the last day recommended for the best quality creamer.

Consuming the creamer after the best-by date is generally safer than consuming it after the expiration date. However, you might find that the creamer isn’t of its best quality anymore.

2. Take A Closer Look

Do you know that you can tell if a creamer has gone bad by simply looking at it?

Yes, you’ve read that right. A quick look at your favorite creamer can easily tell you if it’s safe to consume.

For liquid creamers, pour it into a glass and check for any spoilage signs. If you notice that it doesn't have a silky smooth texture or is lumpy and starting to curdle, you have to throw it immediately.

Curdling is an obvious sign of spoilage, especially for dairy-based creamers.

For powdered coffee creamers, spoilage signs include dark gray spots and molds on the creamer.

If the powder hardens, it hasn't been stored properly and should be discarded. Any other signs not present when you initially bought creamer usually mean it has gone bad.

Adding Liquid Creamer to Coffee

3. Use Your Nose To Smell It

Another way to tell if your creamer is spoiled is the sniff test. Bad coffee creamer will have a strong odor and usually smells sour and funky.

I make it a habit of smelling my liquid coffee creamer before using it to ensure its freshness. It doesn't add much time to my coffee preparation and prevents me from using spoiled creamer in my drink.

So, even if you think your creamer is fresh, make it a habit of sniffing it before using it, as it will save you time and effort in case you have a bad creamer.

The same goes for powdered coffee creamers. A quick whiff can tell you if it has gone bad.

4. Be Brave and Taste It

If the above steps fail to tell if coffee creamer is bad or not, the last resort is to taste it.

Don't worry; even if it has gone bad, a quick taste won't harm your body. It may taste weird, but that's pretty much it.

If it tastes like it usually does, continue using it in your cup of coffee. However, if it tastes sour that makes you want to gag, it's time for you to toss it in the trash can.


How Long Do Coffee Creamers Typically Last?

There are different types of coffee creamers, and each has its own shelf-life.

Some have a longer shelf life, while others won't last as long. Follow this guide to determine your coffee creamer's shelf life, so you can make the most out of them:

Non-Dairy Creamers

These types of coffee creamers last longer than most types since it doesn’t contain any dairy at all.

In fact, dairy is one of the ingredients that spoil the quickest.[1] So, if you rarely use creamers but want to have one in your pantry, this is the coffee creamer for you.

Non-dairy liquid creamers come in two types: shelf-stable and refrigerated non-dairy creamers.

Shelf-stable non-dairy creamers can last 6 to 12 months unopened and can be kept for a few extra months past the expiry date.

It's generally safer to consume liquid non-dairy creamers even past their best before or expiration date than their dairy counterparts.

As its name implies, refrigerated non-dairy creamers are sold refrigerated and require refrigeration. They also have a shorter shelf life.

Still, they can retain quality for an extra week past the expiry date. Once you open the bottle or container, most non-dairy creamers can last up to 10 days. 

However, be sure to check the label of the non-dairy creamer. Some of them can extend that period to up to two weeks.

Barista HQ tip: The longer the shelf life of the non-dairy creamer, the longer it keeps quality even after the printed date. So, if the liquid non-dairy creamer can only last for a couple of weeks, it only has a few extra days, while a non-dairy creamer that lasts for more than a year has a month or two of extra shelf life. They're usually perfectly fine even past the expiration date as long as they're stored properly.
Adding Starbucks Non-Dairy Creamer to Coffee

Dairy Creamers

If you don’t mind milk-based products, dairy creamers are perfect for your favorite coffee beverage. However, compared to non-dairy products, this type of liquid coffee creamer has a shorter shelf-life.

A liquid dairy creamer can last for about two weeks to 6 months, depending on the kind of creamer you choose.

If you like using condensed milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half creamers, they can last for a couple of weeks but must be refrigerated.

They can also last a couple of days past the printed date, but I wouldn't recommend that, since drinking a dairy product that has gone bad or expired may cause illness.

Shelf-stable liquid dairy creamers are also available but are usually harder to find.

They have a longer shelf-life, more than six months or so. They can also last longer after their expiry date, but again, it’s a risk to consume them.

Once you open your dairy coffee creamer, it can last for around 5 to 10 days, depending on the product and brand. Some can last for one to two weeks when refrigerated.

Always check the label for specifics to ensure that the creamer remains fresh. Just don't let the creamer sit outside the fridge for too long, or it might spoil easily.

Coffee with Milk Creamer

Powdered Creamers

This type of coffee creamer has the longest shelf life. Depending on the brand, powdered creamers can last for 1 to 3 years and can keep an extra couple of months, often longer if properly stored.

This is because a powdered form of coffee creamer contains preservatives and other ingredients, allowing it to maintain its quality over the years.

However, there’s no easy way to tell if a powdered coffee creamer can last after its expiration date. The best approach depends on what you’re comfortable with and what your taste buds tell you.

For those not scared of drinking expired coffee creamer, go ahead and consume it. However, if you're wary, save time and throw the powdered creamer right away.

Also, make sure to taste your coffee if you're using expired powdered creamer. This will tell you whether the coffee creamer has gone bad or not.

Even though your powdered creamer looks and smells good, it doesn't guarantee it will have the same taste as it originally had. Just keep this in mind if you plan to consume expired coffee creamers.

Adding Teaspoon of Powdered Creamer to Coffee

Individual Coffee Creamers

Coffee creams can also come in tiny cups, which are usually enough for one cup of coffee.

Single-serve coffee cream has a shelf life of around 6 months, but other brands, like Coffee-Mate Liquid Creamer Singles, can last for 9 months or longer.[2]

Once the tiny cup is open, you need to use the whole thing immediately. If not, you can refrigerate the leftovers and use them within the next three days.

Plant-Based Creamers

While there are non-dairy liquid coffee creamers and powdered creamers, they sometimes contain dairy ingredients that may not be suitable for some diets.

That’s why there’s an increasing number of plant-based creamers in the market. Here are the most popular ones:

  • Coconut milk creamer: For coffee lovers who enjoy a creamy foam in the morning cup, this plant-based milk is for you. Thanks to its healthy fats, it can be frothed easily like plain milk or cream.
  • Almond milk creamer: For a better coffee taste and texture, look for this low-calorie plant-based creamer.
  • Soy milk creamer: This is one of the most common alternatives to dairy creamers, providing a texture similar to regular milk. It also comes in different varieties of flavors.
    One thing to note: some varieties may contain high sugar content due to flavoring.
  • Oat milk creamer: Perfect for all types of coffee, including cold brew.

The shelf life of these plant-based coffee creamers is very similar.

They can sit unopened in a cold and dry place for about 3 to 6 months. After opening, you should refrigerate them right away, making them last for up to 10 days.

Plant-Based Oat Milk Creamer And Coffee

What Happens If You Drink Expired Coffee Creamer?

Drinking expired coffee creamer can have mild side effects.

One common misconception about expired food is that they have gone bad or spoiled too. However, that's not usually the case, and most of the time, expired doesn't mean spoiled.

So, if you have consumed expired creamer, it's usually not much of a health risk unless, of course, it's also spoiled.

The effects of drinking spoiled coffee creamer are usually similar to drinking spoiled milk.

Heartburn and Indigestion

If you have drank a small amount of spoiled coffee creamer, you'll likely experience heartburn and indigestion. This usually resolves within 12 to 24 hours after ingestion.

Stomach Pain

Drinking lots of spoiled creamers can make you sick. This includes stomach pain, such as abdominal cramps. In some cases, it is also accompanied by heartburn and indigestion.

Diarrhea

Dairy-based coffee creamers spoil easily, especially if left out of the fridge after opening. In this case, consuming it can lead to diarrhea. If this happens, drink lots of water to avoid dehydration.

If the symptom doesn’t resolve within 24 hours, consult with your doctor right away. Some cases can lead to food poisoning and require medication.

Organizing Stocks In Pantry

How To Properly Store Coffee Creamer For Freshness

There are many different types of coffee creamers, each requiring different storage. Here are some tips to make your coffee creamer last longer:

  • If you’re using dairy or non-dairy liquid creamer, the best way to store them is by freezing them. This will provide maximum freshness as opposed to those that are stored only in the refrigerator. So, how does a liquid creamer remain fresh? One trick I like doing is pouring them into ice cube trays and freezing them instead of freezing their plastic bottles. In the morning, I just plop a cube in my cup for a fresh creamer.
  • Powdered coffee creamers can be stored at room temperature, away from heat sources, moisture, or water. Once opened, the packaging should be sealed tightly, or the powder transferred to an airtight container. Storing them in the freezer can keep the mold away and can keep them fresh longer.

What about single-use cups, you ask?

Those little individual coffee creamers contain real milk or cream but have a pretty long shelf life. Store them at room temperature, and they'll keep for about 6 months.

They can also be frozen and pulled out as needed.


Frequently Asked Expired Coffee Creamer Questions

How long is creamer good for after the expiration date?

This depends on the type of creamer. Non-dairy creamers can last a couple of days to months after the expiry date, while dairy creamers don’t last long.

How long is coffee creamer good if not opened?

A coffee creamer can last for a long time if not opened, depending on the type. Be sure to check the label to find out the exact length.

How long does International Delight creamer last after opening?

Once opened, an International Delight creamer can last for 14 days.

How long does Coffee Mate creamer last in the fridge?

A Coffee Mate creamer can last for up to 9 months unopened or 14 days after opening.


Conclusion

If you're a coffee lover but detest the bitter taste of coffee, adding cream is your best bet.

However, coffee creams can go bad, especially if not stored correctly. Just follow our guide, and you'll be able to enjoy drinking coffee with fresh creamer every time!

References:

1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022030220310353#!
2. https://www.nestleprofessional.us/coffee-mate/original-liquid-creamer-375-fl-oz

Kim Fernandez

Author

Kim Fernandez
Kim offers a unique perspective on coffee culture and trends. Kim's writing is personal and experiential, providing readers with firsthand advice on the latest in coffee. Beyond her writing, Kim is an avid explorer of new coffee trends and spots, always seeking to share the most genuine advice and latest trends. True to her love for coffee, you'll often find her in a café, immersed in a book with a freshly brewed cup of joe.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... A freshly brewed cup of joe

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1 thought on “Does Coffee Creamer Go Bad? (4 Ways Can You Tell)”

  1. I had one go thick but none of those mentioned above. I wasn’t sure what to do with it. A friend told me to cook with it, since it still tasted and smelled good but didn’t work well in coffee. I made pancakes. The best I’ve been told.

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