How To Tell If Condensed Milk Has Gone Bad? (5 Helpful Tips)

Condensed milk is a popular ingredient commonly used in baking and on top of desserts. It is usually sweetened and used as a milk substitute because it adds creaminess to desserts without moisture. People use sweetened condensed milk for fudges and parfaits to enhance the flavor or add an aesthetic touch to the dessert. 

Since condensed milk is consumed in smaller quantities, it’s important to know how long you can store condensed milk before it goes bad. In this article, I will be talking about the shelf life of condensed milk, ways to make condensed milk last longer, and signs to look for if you suspect that your condensed milk is unfit for use.

Sweetened condensed milk is a rich source of calcium and phosphorus. It is thicker, sweeter, and creamier than ordinary milk. It is quite a popular ingredient in several dishes all around the globe.

In this article, I’ll take you through how to preserve opened condensed milk to extend its shelf life.

Why is it Important to Know About The Shelf Life of Condensed Milk?

Knowing about condensed milk’s longevity or any type of food is very important. Every food product has an expiry date, after which they are bound to go bad and cannot be consumed. Likewise, condensed milk (whether store-bought or homemade) has an expiry date too.

If consumed after expiry, spoiled condensed milk can give rise to illnesses and infections that can be seriously detrimental to our health. Not only that but knowing about the shelf life of condensed milk will also help you determine how much you should buy.

No one wants to waste their hard-earned money on 5 cans of condensed milk only to find out that they all went bad before use! You can also learn how long to store leftover condensed milk before throwing it away.

How Long Does Condensed Milk Last Before Going Bad?

Generally, the shelf life of condensed milk is based on whether the can was opened or not.

1. For an Unopened Can

If you’re storing canned sweetened condensed milk, expect it to last for a year or two.

Cans are commonly used in food storage companies to preserve the quality of foods. As they prevent the entry of light or bacteria, canned condensed milk is expected to last longer. To give you more of an idea about the exact expiry date, check the “best before” date on the can.

Sometimes, condensed milk can last well over the expiration date; this is only possible if you store it properly.

So after purchasing a can of condensed milk, store it in a cool and dry place away from heat and sunlight. This will ensure that the condensed milk lasts as long as it is supposed to (i.e., a year or two from the production date).

2. For an Opened Can

The problem arises once you open the can of condensed milk. Opening the can means fresh condensed milk gets access to the environment, thus spoiling faster.

After opening, expect the condensed milk to last up to two weeks. Bear in mind that this rule does not apply to homemade condensed milk, as its shelf life varies from recipe to recipe.

This time for opened condensed milk is variable. It depends on factors like:-

How sweet the condensed milk is

Sweetened condensed milk, as the name suggests, is condensed milk with additional amounts of sugar. The extra sugar gives condensed milk a day or two extra worth of shelf life.

Such condensed milk lasts around 2 weeks plus 1 or 2 days extra.

How you store condensed milk after opening

Storing condensed milk in an airtight container helps it last longer. Moreover, placing it in the fridge or freezer can increase its life dramatically. Even up to 3 to 6 months!

Tip: If you use homemade sweetened condensed milk, always store it in the refrigerator.

2 Ways to Store Condensed Milk After Opening

So you’ve opened the can of condensed milk, used it for desserts, and want to store it for later. Here are a few ways in which you can store condensed milk and conserve its goodness:-

1. Refrigeration

After opening the can of condensed milk, you should refrigerate it (below 40℉ or 4℃) in a sealed, airtight container. This is important as a properly sealed container will prevent the entry of microbes, air, and light, extending the life of condensed milk.

Plus, sealing the container will also stop your milk from catching any bad smells from the fridge. I recommend using an airtight jar or container, but if you don’t have one, you can always use aluminum foil or plastic wrap with a plastic band to cover the top of the can.

Although, the covering method will decrease the life to 3 to 4 days.

2. Freezing

It is also possible to freeze sweetened condensed milk. Unlike evaporated milk, the sugar of condensed milk prevents its contents from separating after you take it out of the freezer, thus making it easy to freeze.

Frozen condensed milk is the best option for having long-lasting condensed milk as it has a shelf life of 3 to 6 months.

To freeze sweetened condensed milk, all you have to do is pour the milk into an airtight container and place it in a freezer (below 0℉ or -18℃).

After taking out the condensed milk from the freezer, you just have to defrost it (not thaw). The consistency is expected to be a little thick but not too solid.

5 Signs that Your Condensed Milk Has Gone Bad

Leaving condensed milk for too long can make it go bad. Here are a few signs to look out for in case you think your canned milk has expired.

1. Color

The easiest way to tell if condensed milk has gone bad is to check for color changes. Normal condensed milk is pale or cream in color. With time condensed milk gets darker in color. Hence if your condensed milk looks dark yellow or green, it is likely spoiled.

2. Texture

Normal condensed milk is a little thick in consistency, but you should be able to pour it easily. If you find out that the condensed milk has thickened to the point it does not flow, it might have gone bad.

Also, look for other signs like frothiness, splitting of contents, or thinning; all of these are abnormal.   

3. Appearance of the can

If you’ve stored your condensed milk in a can with plastic/aluminum sealing, look for changes in the appearance of the can before use.

Changes in the can are highly unlikely but throw it away immediately if you see things like rust, swelling, or denting on the can.

4. Mold

Molds are microorganisms that grow whenever the environment is favorable. They usually grow on substances that are stored improperly.

Consuming mold gives rise to many health complications. Hence, if you see any odd green growth on your condensed milk, discard it immediately.

5. Smell

Typically, condensed milk has a sweet/caramel-like scent to it. If you find that your jar of condensed milk smells sour, tangy, or unpleasant—just anything that doesn’t seem normal—it is time to buy a new can.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Should I Store Unused Condensed Milk?

If it is still sealed, the condensed milk only needs a cool, dry spot away from sunlight or sources of heat. Place the leftovers in a sealed container after it has been opened, then place the container in the refrigerator.

Can You Still Use Sweetened Condensed Milk After The Expiration Date?

Condensed milk that has been properly stored and has not been opened can typically be used for years after the stated expiration date. The tinned can only need to be checked. The content is safe for consumption if it is not harmed or corroded or if there is no leakage.

Is Condensed Milk Good For Your Health?

Like milk, condensed milk is rich in calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin A, riboflavin, and protein. These vitamins and minerals are essential for a healthy cardiovascular system, strong bones and teeth, and a strong immune system.

What Happens If I Consume Expired Condensed Milk?

Unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk typically retain their optimum quality for a year or two after the best-before date. If properly stored, it should easily endure another 10 years. However, if it goes bad and you consume it, you will have some problems. Symptoms include upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, fever, etc. Therefore, always be careful of what you eat.


Using condensed milk is a great way to add creaminess and sweetness to your desserts without moisture. That being said, using condensed milk in due time is important otherwise, it may expire and give rise to health complications upon consumption.

Additionally, buying your cans can also help you save money as you’ll know how much to buy before milk goes bad. Following the tips above can help you extend the life of your condensed milk after opening the can. And if you find your canned milk has gone bad, the signs mentioned can also help you confirm your suspicion.