Powdered milk is a product that may not get used every day like liquid milk. If you found a bag in the back of your cupboard, you may be wondering if powdered milk goes bad?
Powdered milk will go bad if exposed to moisture or excessive heat. If unopened and properly stored, powdered milk can keep indefinitely, but the taste will slowly degrade after 2 years. Once powdered milk has reached 10 years beyond the best by date, the quality of taste will be close to unpalatable for some products. Certain types of powdered milk can last up to 20 years.
Let’s take a look at how long powdered milk lasts in varying conditions, and how to keep your powdered milk fresh for longer.
Does Powdered Milk Go Bad? How Long Does Powdered Milk Last?
Powdered foods last longer than fresh foods. Here’s a quick glance at how long powdered milk lasts in the pantry, the fridge, and in the freezer.
How Long Does Powdered Milk Last Outside?
The best place to store powdered milk is in the pantry. It is a cool, dry, dark place; perfect conditions. If properly stored, unopened powdered milk will last 2-10 years before it begins to degrade in taste.
Powdered milk will last beyond the best by date. This date is simply the longest amount of time the manufacturers are willing to guarantee quality and taste.
If you’re powdered milk is opened, make sure to seal it properly. If you plan to use it soon, a simple clip will do. If not, transfer it to a sealable bag or container.
How Long Does Powdered Milk Last in The Fridge?
Storing powdered milk in the fridge isn’t recommended. Fluctuating temperatures in the fridge could expose the powder to moisture, making it unusable. Accidental spills are also a possibility.
If you prepare your powdered milk with liquid, you can safely store it in the fridge for up to 2 days. After that, it should be dumped out and replaced with a new mixture.
If you decide to put your powdered milk in the fridge, be sure to properly seal it so moisture does not get in. If properly stored, it should still last up to 2 years.
How Long Does Powdered Milk Last in The Freezer?
Freezing powdered milk is a great way to preserve it, especially if you’ve already opened the bag. Unopened powdered milk kept at 0°F will last indefinitely.
If you’ve opened the bag and store it in the freezer, it keeps its optimal quality and taste for about 3 years. However, it will still be okay to use far beyond that, up to 20 years for certain kinds.
Because powdered milk usually comes in a bag, it’s best to store it away from any heavy or pointed objects that may rip the bag open.
Powdered milk has a long shelf life. The pantry is the best place for it if you plan to use it within 2 years. If not, place it in the freezer.
How to Tell If Powdered Milk Has Gone Bad / How to Know Powdered Milk Is Fresh?
If your powdered milk has been in the cupboard for a few years, there are ways to tell if it’s still fresh enough to use, or should be tossed.
Odor: Much like with any food, if you open your bag of powdered milk and it has a strange odor to it, it’s a good indicator your product has gone bad.
Change in texture: Make sure to inspect your bag of powdered milk for any signs of water exposure, such as dark spots on the outside. Check the contents and see if there is any clumping inside. If there is, it means the powder was exposed to moisture. If there’s clumping, you should throw your product out.
Color: As time goes on, you may notice your powdered milk beginning to change color. Usually, powdered milk will look off-white and sometimes even a bit yellow. If the color changes from white to yellow, or yellow to a darker shade, it means it’s going bad.
Taste: This would be the final test. If everything else looks and smells okay, mix the powder into a liquid and taste it.
How to Store Powdered Milk?
There are several ways to store powdered milk to make it last.
Pantry: When you bring your powdered milk home from the store, the best place to put it is in the pantry. The area needs to be dry, cool, and dark. The shelf life of powdered milk is long enough that freezing it or refrigerating it is not necessary at first.
Freezer: If your powdered milk is old or has been opened, storing it in the freezer will prolong its shelf life. It’s best to keep your product in its original packaging if it is resealable.
Can You Freeze Powdered Milk? How?
You can freeze powdered milk to prolong its quality and freshness.
Original container: You can keep your powdered milk in its original container. If it’s unopened, simply place the bag or container in the freezer, away from large or pointed objects that could puncture the package. If it’s opened, make sure the lid is closed or the bag is sealed with a band or clip.
Sealable bag: If the original container is damaged or opened, you can transfer the powdered milk into a sealable bag such as a Ziplock. Make sure to label the bag with the best by date from the container so you have a reference point.
Only use as much as you need: When you use your frozen powdered milk, it’s best to only use the amount you need. Keep the rest of the package in the freezer to avoid fluctuations in temperature.
How to Thaw Powdered Milk?
Here’s how to use your frozen powdered milk.
Straight from the freezer: It’s not necessary to thaw your powdered milk. You can scoop the amount you need for your recipe and leave the rest in the freezer.
Thaw completely: If you plan to use the entire bag or container, you can take it all out and use it. This is only recommended if you plan to finish the contents.
Frequently Asked Questions About Powdered Milk’s Shelf Life
All the answers to your powdered milk questions.
Why can’t I find an expiration date on my powdered milk? Products like powdered milk do not have an expiration date. They will have a best by date. This is because powdered milk will never technically go bad, it will only degrade in quality. It will not make you sick to eat it.
Can I throw the clumps out and keep the rest of my powdered milk? If there are clumps in your powdered milk that do not seem natural or do not easily separate between your fingers, throw it out. Clumps mean it has been infiltrated with water and will soon spoil.
Powdered milk is best stored in the pantry where it’s cool, dark, and dry. You can also store it in the freezer to prolong the shelf life. Check for signs of spoilage before using.