Does Powdered Milk Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

Powdered milk, sometimes called dried milk, is an excellent ingredient to have in your stockpile. It’s made by heating and evaporating the pasteurized raw milk and is highly versatile.

It’ goes in cream sauces, desserts, baking, and more. But, what if you opened a bag and didn’t finish it? Do you remember when you opened it?

Powdered milk can last a long time but read below to find a few things you should know about its shelf life and storage.

Does Powdered Milk Go Bad?

Does Powdered Milk Go Bad

Powdered milk is essentially regular milk, so it can go bad. However, it comes in bags and has a pretty long shelf life before you open it.

It doesn’t last as long when opened, but you can still get months of use. It will stay good as long as you keep it away from moisture since it usually takes only a few days for it to go bad when wet.

If it doesn’t spoil, powdered milk can become useless due to degradation. It develops wet clumps, a weird smell, possibly a color change, and even mold when spoiled.

How Long Does Powdered Milk Last

How Long Does Powdered Milk Last

Powdered milk has a long shelf life and can typically last up to ten years. However, it can last a few months past the best-by date marked on the label.

The best-by date is there for safety reasons, but your milk might still be good if you stored it properly. Still, you might notice the taste changed after a few years. The vitamin content will also be degraded at this point.

Milk is a dairy product, so you can never be too safe when thinking about its expiration. The best-by date tells you how long before the quality starts to degrade.

Another thing you want to remember is that some companies make powdered milk that lasts five years, while others have a shelf life of two years. Survival shops sell powdered milk that lasts for twenty-five years.

Like with any other product, its longevity depends on how you store it and whether you opened the original package. In any way, it lasts much longer than regular milk.

Pantry

Refrigerator

Unopened 2 to 10 years past its date /
Opened and mixed / 4 to 5 days

Unlike baking powder, powdered milk doesn’t lose its potency over time. So it’ll still be good and safe to consume several years after you bought it.

Tips to Tell if Powdered Milk has Gone Bad

Because it’s dry, it can be a bit tricky to determine when powdered milk has gone bad. However, it’s far from regular milk that changes its color, texture, and smell drastically.

With powdered milk, it’s best to use your senses to figure out if it has gone bad. Although, it’s not the most reliable test, it’s the easiest.

Although it takes years for powdered milk to go bad, you’ll probably be able to tell when it’s spoiled. In some cases, you’ll maybe have to mix it with water first.

Consuming spoiled foods carries certain health risks, so it’s best to be avoided. However, doing a little taste test won’t harm you and is by far the best way to tell if your food has gone bad.

Here’s what you can do to tell if your powdered milk is spoiled:

Smell it

Smelling your food is one of the best and easiest ways to determine whether it’s safe to eat. It’s certainly helpful with powdered milk since you can tell if it’s bad without actually consuming it. Spoiled milk tends to smell rancid if it’s years past its expiration date. If not, you might notice a funny smell that is different from the sweet scent of powdered milk.

Taste it

Smelling is the easiest but often not the most reliable way of telling if milk has gone bad. If you’re unsure about the smell, you might want to do a quick taste test. Although nobody likes the idea of tasting spoiled milk, it’s safe to say that the powdered version isn’t as nasty when spoiled. Dip your finger in the bag and taste the powder before using it in your recipe. Is the taste sour? If so, your milk has gone bad.

Check the texture

If you see any clumps, insects, or mold in the bag, it’s best to throw the whole thing away. You can probably remove all these things, but you can never be sure if you removed everything. The risk of consuming mold and bugs isn’t worth it.

Tips to Store Powdered Milk

As we said, powdered milk comes in bags and is relatively easy to store. Proper storage is crucial for its preservation because, although it’s powdered, it’s still milk.

The properly stored product can last several years past its best-by date. If you don’t store it the right way, it’ll go bad much quicker, even before the date on the label.

If you use it regularly and you’re sure you can go through the bag in a month, you probably don’t have to care so much about this. But, if you’re not sure when you’ll use it next, it’s best to store it properly so that’s it’s still useable when you need it.

Here are a few things you should remember when storing powdered milk:

Choose a cool place

No milk likes being close to any heat source, so try to find a cold place to store it. Keep it away from your stove even if it doesn’t seem as hot.

Your pantry is possibly the best place to store powdered milk. It’s typically cooler than kitchen cabinets, although even cabinets work fine if you ensure the temperature doesn’t get too high.

If it gets hot where you live and your pantry is no longer cool during those months, you should store it elsewhere.

Keep it away from moisture

Once you mix powdered milk with water, it turns into regular milk and has a much shorter shelf life. It can no longer last for several years. Instead, you only have a few days to use it, and that’s if you keep it in the fridge.

For this reason, you should keep the bag away from moisture to prevent it from getting to your powder. When exposed to water, milk changes its texture, so you’ll notice big clumps in the bag.

Seal the bag

You should make sure the bag is sealed to prevent any insects from getting in but also to preserve freshness. If the bag isn’t sealable, you can use a clip to close it. If not, you can transfer everything to an airtight jar or a freezer bag.

The Risks of Consuming Expired Powdered Milk

As we said, powdered milk is still milk, so it contains all the same things plus some chemicals to prolong its shelf life. This can easily cause an upset stomach if spoiled.

Powdered milk that’s past its best-by date but was properly stored in an unopened bag is probably safe to consume. Still, take a minute to inspect the smell, color, and taste.

An opened bag that wasn’t stored so well and is past its best-by date is probably not safe to use. At this point, the powder is perhaps showing traces of yellowish color and a funny odor.

If you mixed the powder with water and it’s already been a week, you’re better off not drinking the milk. It can cause food poisoning due to the bacteria that are developed there.

The symptoms you might experience are stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and possibly even fever. These can occur soon after or even a few days after you consume spoiled milk.

Can You Freeze Powdered Milk

Powdered milk has a shelf life of many years, so it’s often pointless to freeze it. However, some people like to preserve the fresh taste when they know they won’t go through the bag so quickly.

You can do it if you know you won’t use it any time soon or you want to keep it fresh for as long as possible. It’s easy to do since all you want is an airtight container or a sealed bag that can fit in your freezer.

The best thing is that you don’t have to defrost powdered milk. Instead, you can just scoop out as much as you need for immediate use without bringing it to room temperature first.

It can stay in the freezer slightly longer than it would in your pantry. We’re talking about up to ten years, but you’ll probably use it up by then.

Powdered milk you mixed with water can also be frozen, but this isn’t something we’d suggest you do. Instead, prepare only how much you need at a time rather than freezing leftovers.

Summary

Powdered milk is one of those ingredients you can use for many things. In addition, it doesn’t lose its power like other powders, so it can last a long time after its best-by date.

Still, it’s always recommended you use your food before the date on the label. It’s the safest way of using any ingredient to avoid health complications.

Powdered milk is versatile and easy to use but just as easy to store, so you have plenty of time to use it before it goes bad.

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