You found a carton of rice milk that’s a couple of weeks past the date on the label, and you’re not sure what to do. Does rice milk go bad?
Or maybe you’ve bought rice milk for the first time, and you’re wondering what’s the proper way to store it and how long it lasts.
If either is true, this article is for you. In it, we’re going to cover all those topics. By the end of it, you should know how to go about rice milk from now on.
Interested? Go on reading.
How To Store Rice Milk
Keep unopened rice milk in a cool, dry, and dark place, like the pantry. Once you open it up, store the leftovers tightly sealed in the fridge.
Always keep leftover homemade rice milk in the refrigerator.
As you can tell, rice milk storage practices are quite similar to other milk alternatives, such as almond milk (here’s my answer to the question: does almond milk need to be refrigerated?) or soy milk.
Store-bought rice milk (like the one made by Alpro) doesn’t need much in terms of storage.
All you need is to keep the carton away from heat (which might affect the quality) and in a dry and dark place ([AL]). Long story short, put it in a cabinet in the kitchen or pantry, and you’re good to go.
After opening the package, remember to place the product in the fridge. I know it’s tempting to leave it on the counter, but room temperature is far from ideal for opened rice milk.
If you don’t plan on finishing the whole thing right away, pour a glass or two, and put the leftovers immediately in the fridge.
How Long Does Rice Milk Last?
Unopened store-bought rice milk keeps for at least a few months past its date and about five days after opening.
Fresh or homemade rice milk lasts about 3 to 4 days.
Rice milk comes with a date on the label that’s usually about a year from the production date. But, just like coconut milk or oat milk, it easily keeps quality for a few more months.
Sure, producers usually advise not to consume their product after that date, but the concern is the quality, not food safety ([AL]). Here’s what Alpro says about this issue on their FAQ page ([AL]):
No, we advise you to not use our products after their expiration date. After the expiration date we cannot guarantee the same high quality standard of our products.
Wondering how rice milk can last that long without any preservatives? It’s thanks to the ultra-high temperature (UHT) treatment ([PV, AL]). This process keeps the nutritional elements untouched while eliminating the bacteria.
Once you open the container, the milk should keep for about a week. Most producers state their rice milk keeps for five days ([AL]), but it’s usually okay for at least an extra day or two.
How To Tell If Rice Milk Is Bad?
Throw out rice milk that:
- Has a bloated package. If the package has changed its shape on its own, pour the contents down the drain.
- Smells off. Rice milk has a very mild rice-y smell. If it smells sharp, stale, or off in any other way, it’s no good.
- Has discolorated particles or lumps. Instead of drinking from the container, pour the dairy-free milk alternative into a glass. This way, you can check its appearance and ensure the color and texture are even throughout.
- Tastes bad. If the rice-like, somewhat sweet flavor isn’t there anymore, it’s no good.
- Is moldy. If your half-open carton sits in storage for close to a week, pour out its contents and cut the package in half. This way, you can check if there isn’t anything funny going on inside.
- Sits in storage for too long. If open rice milk sits in the fridge for more than a week, it’s time for it to go.
Like with pretty much any other drink, the longer it sits open in the fridge, the worse its quality. But this change is gradual, and often you might not even notice it.
Finally, if you’re not sure your rice milk is safe for drinking, assume it’s not. Better safe than sorry.