When Does Coffee Creamer Expire? | Well+Good

The United States is the leading country of coffee drinkers in the world, with 62 percent of adults consuming the beverage every single day. Out of these 150 million daily coffee drinkers, 72 percent enjoy their brew with either dairy or non-dairy creamers and additions, of which, there’s no shortage of options. It begs the question, though: When does coffee creamer expire?

To help you avoid the acutely annoying experience of pouring your first cup of coffee in the morning only to have your creamer curdle in your mug, we’ve looked into answers.

A brief history of coffee creamer

Creamer is the liquid or powder commonly added to coffee or tea in the place of milk and like products such as cream and half-and-half. Creamers were first introduced back in the mid-1940s when an employee of the food corporation, Rich Products, set out to create a soy cream that wouldn’t curdle when mixed with coffee. But it wasn’t until 1961 when Nestlé revolutionized the industry with their powdered dairy-free coffee creamer.

While the ingredients and flavors vary by brand, most creamers contain the base of water, sugar, and vegetable oil. “Most non-dairy creamers that are made from alternative milk include gellan gum, which is an ingredient that helps to stabilize, thicken and bind the ingredients,” shares Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert for plant-based pea milk, Ripple, and author of Smoothies & Juices: Prevention Healing Kitchen. With extra processing and sugars in comparison to milk or mylks, creamers are popular due to their sweet taste and ability to “balance the coffee’s acidity, and add body and flavor,” says food scientist Makenzie Bryson Jackson.

Liquid creamers come in both the cold and room-temperature sections in the grocery store, but both need refrigeration after opening. The main differences between them are in the ingredients and packaging. “Shelf stable products are packaged in aseptic containers, which means that there are no bacteria in the packaging itself that can cause the product to spoil,” explains Largeman-Roth.

When does coffee creamer expire?

The shelf life all depends on the type of creamer you have. Generally, the liquid dairy creamer, both opened and unopened, will last refrigerated between one to two weeks, shares food blog, Lucky Belly.

For liquid dairy-free creamers, an unopened bottle can stay in the pantry for about one month after the best-by date; however, when opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed between two weeks. “Even if a creamer isn’t made with dairy-based ingredients, the other ingredients can still break down and spoil if they are held at a too high or low temperature,” Largeman-Roth says. “These products are emulsions and must be kept in certain conditions to not break apart into an unappetizing mix of oil and sugar.”

Powder alternatives can last in the cupboard longer, between three to six months.

Can you extend the life of your coffee creamer?

While you should always follow the expiry labels on your product, especially when dealing with dairy, meat, poultry, and seafood, non-dairy products have a little leeway up to three days, says Largeman-Roth.

The dietitian also shares that an important part is the placement when refrigerating your products. “Most of us keep creamers in the door as it’s really convenient, however, it’s better to store them in the main compartment as the items in the door are more susceptible to temperature fluctuations from the opening and closing of the fridge.”

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