Does Coconut Water Go Bad?

A few months ago you bought a few bottles or tetra packs of coconut water. And one of them still sits in the kitchen cabinet. Does coconut water go bad?

Fortunately for you, unopened coconut water usually lasts quite a long time, and the bottles you’ve got should still be safe to drink.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about storage, shelf life, and signs of going bad of coconut water, continue reading.

Coconut water in hand

How to Store Coconut Water?

While coconut water isn’t by any means a sports drink, you should store it similar to Gatorade.

That means you should keep it in a cool and dry area. The pantry is best for this purpose, but a cabinet in the kitchen works too.

The product usually consists of water and some coconut-derived sugar, or it’s simply all-natural coconut water. And it’s shelf stable.

As long as it’s unopened, there isn’t much there that can go bad. To retain the quality of coconut water for longer, keep the bottles or tetra packs away from sunlight and sources of heat.

Tip

Coconut water sold in aluminum cans is already protected from sunlight by the can. You only need to store it away from heat sources, and you’re good to go.

Coconut water: can and glass with liquid
Coconut water: can and glass with liquid

Once you open the container of coconut water, you should keep the leftovers in the fridge, tightly sealed. The same thing applies to fresh coconut water you can get by opening a coconut.

Since cans aren’t resealable, pour the leftovers in an airtight container, if you don’t plan on finishing the beverage the same day.

Tip

If you don’t enjoy coconut water chilled, pull it out of the fridge and leave it on the countertop for half an hour before drinking.

Coconut water: closeup
Coconut water: closeup

Can You Freeze Coconut Water?

That’s a question that doesn’t come up often, but it’s worth answering nonetheless.

For an unopened bottle of coconut water, there is no reason to freeze it. It has a pretty long shelf life, so you should be easily able to finish your supplies before the water goes bad.

Once you open the bottle, freezing is definitely an option if you can’t finish it within a few days. The question is: does it make sense to freeze leftover coconut water?

After thawing, it won’t taste that good and you probably won’t be happy about its flavor. I’d argue that discarding it is a better choice than freezing, but feel free to freeze it if you want.

Tip

Make sure to leave some headspace in the container as the coconut water will expand once frozen.

Unopened can of coconut water
Unopened can of coconut water

How Long Does Coconut Water Last

Coconut water usually comes with a “best-by” date on the label. That date informs you how long, at the very least, the beverage should retain the best quality.

Similarly to sports drinks and soda, unopened coconut water will last at least a few months past that date. Unfortunately, there’s no way to determine how long it will last exactly.

Tip

More often than not the beverage will be safe to drink after you open it, but the taste might not be that good if you stored it for a couple of years.

Date on coconut water can
Date on coconut water can

Once you open a bottle of coconut water, it starts to lose its quality quite fast.

Various manufacturers give different periods of how long will the coconut drink last after opening. In most cases, that period is between 3 and 5 days.

Of course, the beverage won’t go bad after that period, but its quality will noticeably drop. That means you’d likely prefer to discard it rather than to drink it.

 PantryFridge
Coconut water (unopened)Best by + 6 months 
Coconut water (opened) 3 – 5 days

Please note that the dates above are for the best quality only.

Glass of coconut water
Glass of coconut water

How to Tell if Coconut Water Has Gone Bad?

Freshly opened coconut water has a pleasantly sweet aroma and a refreshing nutty taste. If the coconut water has gone bad, its color, smell, or appearance will change.

If the smell is strong or liquid’s consistency somewhat thick, get rid of it. The same applies if you notice any signs of carbonation.

Image used under Creative Commons from Mike Mozart

If the smell and consistency seem to be okay, it’s most likely perfectly safe to drink. Now it’s time to give it a taste.

If the flavor has gone south, discard it for quality purposes. If it tastes okay, congratulations, enjoy your drink.

Tip

If you stored opened coconut water at room temperature for more than a day or in the fridge for more than a week, it’s better to play it safe and throw it out. Chances are it’s still safe to drink, but there’s little point in risking foodborne illness for a few sips of coconut water.