Skip to content

How Long Is Canned Evaporated Milk Good For?

Canned Evaporated Milk

Imagine this: you’re in the midst of whipping up a scrumptious dessert, only to realize that you’re out of milk. Panic sets in as you frantically scour your pantry for a substitute. But wait, what about that can of evaporated milk tucked away in the back? It may not be your go-to choice for a refreshing glass of milk, but don’t underestimate its versatility and surprisingly long shelf life.

Let’s delve deeper into the shelf life of canned evaporated milk:

  • With proper storage, canned evaporated milk can last up to 12 months past its printed expiration date.
  • This type of milk undergoes a process where about 60% of its water content is removed, resulting in a more concentrated form that is less prone to spoilage.
  • The high heat used during canning also helps extend its shelf life.
  • Once opened, refrigerate canned evaporated milk and use it within 3-4 days.
  • For longer storage, freeze any unused portion for up to 2 months.
  • Evaporated milk isn’t just for baking; it also adds creaminess and richness to savory dishes like soups and casseroles.
  • Plus, it’s a staple ingredient in many beloved holiday recipes, so stocking up now can save you from last-minute grocery store dashes.

So, next time you spot that can of evaporated milk sitting on your shelf, don’t overlook its potential. Its lengthy shelf life and versatility make it a valuable addition to any pantry.

Does Canned Evaporated Milk Go Bad?

Canned evaporated milk can go bad if not stored properly, with signs of spoilage including changes in color, texture or smell. These signs may include lumps, bubbles, discoloration such as green, blue or brown, or gas emitted from the can when opened. Other indications of spoilage may include a sour or rancid smell, an off-white or grey color, or a slimy or curdled texture.

When unopened and stored in a cool and dry place, canned evaporated milk can last for 6 to 12 months. However, once opened, it should be consumed within 2 to 3 days if refrigerated and within 2 to 3 hours if left at room temperature. If tightly sealed and refrigerated, this timeframe can be extended to 4 days.

It is essential to note that the “best before” date on cans is not an expiration date but rather a guideline for optimal quality. Regular evaporated milk should still be safe to consume for at least 3 to 6 months after this date, as long as there are no signs of spoilage. However, the shelf life of skim variety is shorter and should not be consumed if more than 2 to 4 months past its date.

Proper storage and handling are crucial to ensuring the safety and quality of canned evaporated milk. Leftover milk should be refrigerated in an airtight container or sealed can with foil and a rubber band. It is not recommended to freeze evaporated milk as it can affect the product’s quality.

See also  Can You Freeze Almond Milk?

Canned evaporated milk can go bad due to various factors, such as compromised cans or exposure to heat. To avoid spoilage, it is important to adhere to storage guidelines and check for any signs of spoilage before consuming.

What Makes Canned Evaporated Milk Go Bad?

The expiration date on canned evaporated milk indicates the suggested time for consumption, after which the quality and safety of the product may begin to deteriorate. However, this does not necessarily mean that the milk will go bad immediately after the expiration date.

The shelf life of canned evaporated milk can vary depending on several factors, including storage conditions and the quality of the can. If stored in a cool and dry place, unopened canned evaporated milk can last for up to 2-3 months after the expiration date. However, once opened, it should be consumed within 2-3 days and kept refrigerated.

The expiration date also acts as a guide for retailers to rotate their stock and ensure that customers are buying fresh products. It’s essential to note that consuming canned evaporated milk past its expiration date may not necessarily cause illness, but there is a risk of it losing its flavor and texture.

It’s always recommended to check for any signs of spoilage before consuming canned evaporated milk, even if it’s within its shelf life. Signs of spoilage can include changes in color, consistency, or an unpleasant odor. If any of these are present, it’s best to discard the milk.

While the expiration date does affect the shelf life of canned evaporated milk, proper storage and handling are vital factors in ensuring its safety and quality.

What Are The Signs That Canned Evaporated Milk Is Bad?

There are various indications to observe for in order to determine if canned evaporated milk has gone bad. These may include:

  • Swelling or corrosion on the can: If the can appears swollen or shows signs of rust, it could possibly mean that the seal has been compromised, allowing for potential contamination of the milk.
  • Unusual color or lumps in the milk: If the color of the milk seems darker or contains lumps, it is a sign that harmful bacteria or other pathogens may have entered the can and caused spoilage.
  • Strange smells or tastes: Spoiled evaporated milk may have an unpleasant or sour smell and taste. If it has an off-putting odor or taste, it is best to dispose of it.
  • Expired “best before” date: While the expiration date serves as a guideline, if it has passed, it could indicate that the milk has lost its quality and may potentially be unsafe to consume.

It is important to keep in mind that factors like exposure to heat, damage to the can, and exposure to oxygen or harmful pathogens can all contribute to evaporated milk going bad. Additionally, skimmed evaporated milk has a shorter shelf life compared to full-fat evaporated milk due to its lower fat and sugar content. Cartons of evaporated milk also have a shorter shelf life compared to cans due to their increased risk of damage during handling.

See also  How To Store Leftover Evaporated Milk?

To ensure the safety and quality of canned evaporated milk, it is best to store it in a cool and dry place and use it within two years of canning. Once opened, transfer the remaining milk to a sealed container and refrigerate for 3-5 days. At room temperature, it should be consumed within 2-3 hours.

Does Skimmed Evaporated Milk Go Bad Quicker?

The shelf life and potential for spoilage of evaporated milk are greatly affected by its fat content. In general, whole evaporated milk has a longer shelf life compared to skimmed evaporated milk due to the presence of fat. This fat acts as a natural preservative, providing an extra layer of protection against spoilage.

As previously mentioned, evaporated milk undergoes a sterilization process that extends its shelf life. However, the fat content in whole evaporated milk adds an additional safeguard against spoilage, making it more resistant to bacteria growth.

On the other hand, skimmed evaporated milk has a lower fat content and is therefore more susceptible to spoilage. It is important to note that while fat content does play a role in determining shelf life, proper storage and handling also play a significant role.

When it comes to the potential for spoilage, whole evaporated milk has a lower risk compared to skimmed evaporated milk. This is because the presence of fat helps prevent bacteria growth, which can cause the milk to spoil. Additionally, skimmed evaporated milk has a higher water content, making it easier for bacteria to thrive.

Does Evaporated Milk In A Can Or Carton Last Longer?

When it comes to the packaging of evaporated milk, the type you choose can have a significant impact on its shelf life. While cans are known for their airtight seal and opaque material, making them the most effective option, cartons may be more convenient and environmentally friendly. However, regardless of the packaging type you choose, proper storage and regular checks for expiration dates are crucial.

Choosing between cans and cartons for storing evaporated milk can be a tough decision. On one hand, cans provide a secure seal that prevents air from entering and causing spoilage. Plus, their opaque material protects the milk from light exposure, which can also affect its quality. On the other hand, cartons are more eco-friendly and easier to handle, making them a popular choice for many consumers.

But ultimately, the key to ensuring your evaporated milk lasts longer lies in proper storage and monitoring of expiration dates. Even with cans, it is important to store them in a cool and dry place to avoid any potential damage to the seal. And with cartons, it is crucial to check the expiration date regularly and consume the milk before it goes bad.

It’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to food safety. So whether you prefer cans or cartons for your evaporated milk, make sure to follow proper storage guidelines and keep an eye on expiration dates to ensure its freshness. After all, no one wants to end up with spoiled milk in their recipes or morning coffee.

How Long Can Opened Evaporated Milk Be Kept?

Once opened, evaporated milk can be safely stored in the fridge for up to 5-7 days before it needs to be thrown away. This is because evaporated milk is a canned dairy product with 60% of its water removed, giving it a thicker consistency and longer shelf life. However, it’s crucial to always check for signs of spoilage before consuming, such as a sour smell, rancid taste, mold, or discoloration.

See also  Can You Drink Water From Brown Coconut?

To ensure the longest shelf life for opened evaporated milk, it’s best to transfer the remaining contents to an airtight container and store it in the fridge. This will help prevent contamination or exposure to air, which can cause bacteria growth and spoilage.

If you’re unable to finish the opened evaporated milk within the recommended 5-7 days, you can also freeze it for up to three months. Simply transfer the milk into an airtight container with enough room for expansion and place it in the freezer. When thawing, make sure to do so in the fridge and use it within 24 hours.

It’s essential to note that while it’s generally safe to consume expired evaporated milk if stored properly and showing no signs of spoilage, the taste and quality may have deteriorated. Therefore, it’s best to discard any expired evaporated milk for optimal taste and freshness.

So, opened evaporated milk can be safely stored in the fridge for up to 5-7 days before it needs to be thrown away.


In conclusion, the underestimated canned evaporated milk is actually a versatile and long-lasting ingredient that can be a reliable pantry staple. Its high heat processing and concentrated form make it less prone to spoilage, allowing it to last up to 12 months past its expiration date with proper storage. But don’t limit its use to just baking, as it adds creaminess and richness to savory dishes and is a key ingredient in many holiday recipes.

Once opened, refrigeration is recommended for consumption within 3-4 days. But for those looking for longer storage options, freezing is also an option. However, keep in mind that while cans offer the best shelf life protection, cartons are convenient and eco-friendly alternatives.

It’s important to note that signs of spoilage include changes in color, texture or smell. So always check before consuming to ensure safety and quality. And if you’re wondering about opened evaporated milk, it can be kept in the fridge for 5-7 days or frozen for up to three months.

In summary, proper storage and checking expiration dates are crucial in maintaining the safety and quality of your canned evaporated milk.