Condensed (sweetened) milk is a long-lasting product made of milk and sugar with lower water content you can keep for years before opening a can.
Since it contains sugar as a preservative, you can use it for an additional week or two after opening if you store it appropriately. Now, let’s see does condensed milk go bad and how long does condensed milk last.
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Does Condensed Milk Go Bad?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is YES. Your condensed milk can go bad after a while. However, sweetened condensed milk’s shelf life will be longer than an unsweetened product since sugar is a preservative. Plus, such milk passes the heating process during the productions that eliminates bacteria from it.
The good news is that unopened condensed milk is edible for years and at least a year past the expiration date printed on the label. On the other hand, you haven’t too much time to use the opened product.
It is necessary to store once opened condensed milk in the fridge, but avoid putting it into a freezer to prevent fluid separation. The best option is to keep it in a closed container and use it within about two weeks.
How Long Does Condensed Milk Last?
Unopened condensed milk
This product has a long shelf life. You can keep it without fear of spoilage for a few years, even one to two, sometimes five years after the expiration date. A quality product will last longer, but you should be aware that its quality will decrease over time even though it remains safe to use.
Condensed milk shelf life
Condensed milk type
|Unopened sweetened condensed milk||1 to 2 years||/||
Opened sweetened condensed milk
|/||10 to 14 days||3 months|
|Homemade condensed milk||/||7 days||
Opened condensed milk
You shouldn’t keep an opened can with condensed milk for more than a week or two. However, sweetened condensed milk will last several days longer than an unsweetened product.
To prevent spoilage, it is necessary to store this food in a tightly sealed or airtight container. Otherwise, it will turn sour and start smelling after three to four days, especially when left in a can.
Homemade condensed milk
There is no definite answer about the homemade condensed milk shelf life. You need to keep it in the fridge, but how long it will last significantly depend on the recipe used for preparation.
Therefore, it is recommended to check this information before making the product to plan your spending correctly.
When you pack it in a clean airtight jar and store it appropriately in the fridge, it can last for a week. On the other hand, it can stay edible for three months when you keep it in the freezer.
6 Tips to Tell if Condensed Milk Has Gone Bad
Before determining if condensed milk has gone bad, you should know the difference between evaporated and condensed milk. Both are concentrated milk forms with 60% of the water removed. The primary difference between the two is in sugar content.
While evaporated (unsweetened) milk doesn’t contain sugar, condensed (sweetened) milk has 40 to 45% sugar. The sugar levels will determine the product expiration date.
You will know that your condensed milk is fresh if it is pale creamy, or yellowish. Any discoloration or dark color is a sign of spoilage, so you should throw the content out.
Some manufacturers claim that color change doesn’t necessarily mean the product went bad, but you should consider this change as a warning and be careful before deciding to consume it.
Condensed milk has an adorable creamy and sweet smell, while a spoiled product smells sour and unpleasantly.
Fresh condensed milk has a viscous, chocolate syrup-like texture. Once it becomes thick and you can’t pour it from the can, it is probably spoiled and unsafe for consumption. The lumps occurrence is another sign that something is wrong, so it is better to discard such a product.
If everything seems fine when you open the can, you should try your condensed milk to determine its flavor. The fact is that each brand has a slightly different flavor, but none of them should taste stale, unpleasantly, or sour.
Mold growth is always the sure sign that condensed milk is inedible. It usually occurs when the product is not adequately stored after opening the can.
This package type provides a sterile environment for condensed milk, so contaminants can’t enter until you open it. As a result, your product will stay unspoiled for long.
On the other hand, rusted, leaky, or puffed cans are not sealed appropriately, so you shouldn’t use the inside of such packaging.
3 Tips to Store Condensed Milk
You won’t have any problem storing your unopened condensed milk for years. It will be edible even after its best date since cans are an excellent packaging for keeping it fresh and unspoiled.
On the other hand, storing opened or homemade products is an entirely different story. You should take care to pick out the suitable container and keep such condensed milk in the fridge at an adequate temperature.
That is the only way to use it for at least 10 to 14 days after opening the can or making your own food.
It will be enough to keep an unopened can with condensed milk at room temperature, preferably in your pantry. However, any cool and dry space, including a kitchen cabinet, is an appropriate place for storing this product.
Always place your cans away from heat sources, moisture, significant temperature fluctuation, and direct sunlight to prevent packaging damage.
Basically, there is no need to put an unopened can with condensed milk in a fridge since an undamaged metal container provides adequate protection to the product inside.
On the other hand, you need to keep an opened can in the fridge since a high temperature will speed up the condensed milk spoilage.
Never store this product in the original packaging after opening it since that will be the sure way to shorten its expiration date. Plus, it will quickly pick up other food odors, which will make it unpleasant to use.
Pour condensed milk into an airtight container, a glass jar, or a plastic bowl sealed with plastic wrap fastened with a rubber band. That way, you can use your product for up to two weeks without fear of spoilage or mold growth.
If you prefer using homemade condensed milk, you need to keep it in the fridge without exceptions. It will spoil quickly when left at room temperature.
You can keep opened or homemade condensed milk in the freezer for a few months. However, be prepared that this procedure will disturb its quality and consistency. Also, you can face layer separation, so it will be necessary to whisk the product after thawing it.
The Risk of Consuming an Expired Condensed Milk
In most cases, you can use well-stored, unopened condensed milk for years after the labeled sell-by date. It will be enough to check the can. If it is not damaged, rusted, or there is no leakage, the content is safe for use.
However, if your product goes bad, usually due to improper storage, it is not recommended to consume it. Eating such condensed milk can lead to an upset stomach or even poisoning with symptoms that include:
- Low-grade fever
In most cases, symptoms are relatively mild and usually pass without treatment. If they are more severe, including diarrhea that lasts more than two days and the body temperature going above 98.5 F (37 C), you should consult your doctor.
Can You Freeze Condensed Milk?
Since the opened condensed milk shelf life is never longer than two weeks, you need to place leftovers in the freezer when necessary to keep them for longer.
Never put an unopened can into the freezer to prevent possible damage. The best option is to pour the condensed milk into an airtight container before freezing it.
You can keep your condensed milk in the freezer for about three months. That is an optimum period when your product won’t change its typical flavor and texture.
Keep in mind that this product can’t actually freeze solid because it contains a high sugar level. Plus, too low temperatures will destabilize its structure. If you notice any content separation, you should whisk it before use.
Once you decide to thaw frozen condensed milk, let it sit on the countertop overnight or warm it in a water bath. Never re-freeze once thawed condensed milk.
Even though unopened condensed milk lasts for a long and you can use a homemade or opened commercial product for days, it will become inedible over time.
In some cases, it will lose the primary characteristics and quality. In other cases, it will spoil and become unsafe for consumption. Therefore, be careful. Store your condensed milk properly and check it thoroughly after opening an expired can.