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How Long Can Milk Sit Out – A Simple Guide

How Long Can Milk Sit Out - A Simple Guide

How Long Can Milk Sit Out – A Simple Guide that will help you understand all different types of milk and how to store them correctly.
No matter what we use our milk for, whether it goes in our cereal, for a cup of coffee, in baked goods, or just to use on its own, we always need it to be fresh. 

Bad milk will smell sour, taste sour, and usually come ridden with clumps. 

Milk and other dairy products are known for being highly-perishable goods, and even in the refrigerator milk will last a week at best, when it’s out of the fridge, it is a different story. 

Why does this matter? 

Well, bad milk won’t only taste horrible and feel horrible in your mouth, but it can also make you sick. Dairy products are one of the riskiest foods to eat/ drink if they have gone off, so you should always be extra mindful of them. 

Fresh Milk Is The Best Milk

However, cow’s milk is not the only milk there is nowadays, we are creating more milks from more sources than ever before now, and every milk is different, although the best thing you can do to ensure your milk is good, give it a sniff. 

Even if you have the slightest suspicion that it is no good, do not risk it. 

It may sound strange, but your sense of smell and the look of the milk will tell you a lot more than the labeling on the packaging. Most things now will have a best before date, and this doesn’t mean anything, best before is NOT expiry.


How Long Can Different Milks Sit Out?

We cannot tell you exactly how long milk will last outside the fridge, as every milk will be different, so instead, we will tell you how long each type of milk regularly consumed will be able to sit out for.

  • How Long Can Cows Milk Sit Out?

Cow’s milk is the riskiest milk by far. In general, any perishable good should not be sitting out of the refrigerator for any longer than a couple of hours. For cow’s milk, we recommend two hours maximum. 

If the temperature is over 90 degrees, if you have a hot summer, for example, decrease that time to a single hour, any longer than this bacteria will start growing and if you drink it, you will likely get sick.

  • How Long Can Chocolate Milk Sit Out?

Chocolate milk is a little better, however, we still do not recommend leaving it out! Chocolate milk will start to develop signs of spoiling once you have left it out for 4 hours. 

So, even if it might be okay for a little longer than cow’s milk, we would apply the same time frame to it.

  • How Long Can Lactose-Free Milk Sit Out?

Just because lactose-free milk is different from cow’s milk doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply the same rules to it. Lactose milk is exactly the same as chocolate milk and should be discarded if left out for over 4 hours. 

Although, we would still apply the cow’s milk 2-hour rule to it! 

How Long Can Whole Milk Sit Out?

Whole milk is no different from cow’s milk. Apply the 2-hour rule to this milk.

Alternative Milks
How Long Can Milk Sit Out - A Simple Guide

As well as these milks, we are also seeing options that are vegan friendly and are plant-based with no animal products in them. 

These milks taste delicious, unique, and are generally healthier too. 

But there is a catch, can they stay out any longer than cows milk? 

These milks include, but are not restricted to; 

  • Oat milk
  • Almond milk
  • Soy milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Hazelnut milk
  • Potato milk

How Long Can Oat Milk Sit Out?

Starting with oat milk, the answer is no, if it is freshly squeezed. 

However, if your oat milk is shelf-stable and bought from a store, then it can sit at room temperature until the expiry unless you open it, this can last months!. Once opened, the milk must stay in the fridge, aside from when you are pouring from it. 

How Long Can Soy Milk Sit Out?

Soy milk mostly has the same rule as oat milk, where it can sit out if it is store-bought, shelf-stable, and unopened. But once refrigerated, you should apply the typical 2-hour rule to it.

How Long Can Almond Milk Sit Out?

Almond milk also has the same rule as other alternative milk. As long as it is unopened and shelf-stable it can sit out as long as you want until the expiry, but after opening, you apply the 2-hour rule.

To Conclude: In The Fridge

How Long Can Milk Sit Out - A Simple Guide

What’s the real story?

The general rule for any milk is that it should just stay in the fridge. Milk needs to be refrigerated, and even if it is shelf-stable, it needs to remain refrigerated after opening. 

Even if milk may seem to be okay, you should always apply the 2-hour rule to it, this will keep you safe from drinking any spoiled milk. 

So how long can cow’s milk sit out? And, how long can oat milk sit out? Even though they are made very differently, our answer is the same. 2 hours! 

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