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Can Sweetened Condensed Milk Go Bad? (Yes & How To Check)

You might have opened a can of sweetened condensed milk months ago, and now it’s time to use it again. From its look, it seems to be just fine, but is it safe to eat? 

It is normal for you to wonder whether sweetened condensed milk can go bad, and we are here to share the answer with you.

So, keep on reading below to find out!

Can Sweetened Condensed Milk Go Bad?

What Is Sweetened Condensed Milk?

Sweetened condensed milk is a milk solid that is used in desserts to add sweet flavor and thickness.

It is produced by first heating milk and sugar together till the sugar is dissolved.

Then, the mixture needs to be left at room temperature so that it can cool down and thicken.

Condensed milk began as a method for seafarers to keep the perishable dairy product for days of travel, but it is now a primary ingredient in many delectable baked products.

For How Long Can I Keep A Sweetened Condensed Milk?

Condensed milk, like every dairy food, can spoil.

However, sweetened condensed milk has a longer lifespan than unsweetened condensed milk thanks to its sugar content.

While there is, of course, an expiry date on the package, condensed milk, when unopened, can last for a year or longer than the date it is supposed to expire.

When opened, the shelf life is rather limited, but still significantly longer than that of other dairy products such as cream cheese.

For reference, sweetened condensed milk can be stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of two weeks or frozen for a maximum of six months.

How Can You Tell When A Sweetened Condensed Milk Has Gone Bad?

The simplest way to determine whether condensed milk has spoiled or not is to look for any visible changes.

Condensed milk normally has a light creamy tone, but it will become darker and turn yellowish as time goes by.

The milk will also thicken considerably. Condensed milk is usually thick, but you can pour it straight from the can.

When you can’t pour it anymore, it’s probably gone bad and shouldn’t be used in your baking recipe.

Furthermore, if the milk is doughy or has a gummy texture, it is most likely contaminated.

Another method for determining whether sweetened condensed milk is spoiled is to try it.

When its taste feels wrong and it’s no longer sweet but rather sour, it’s spoiled.

A further obvious sign of spoilage is odor. Condensed milk has a sugary, creamy smell and taste. If the dairy starts to smell tangy or repulsive, discard it.

Last but not least, you can look for mold. Mold can grow when the condensed milk is not stored correctly after it has been opened.

Throw the milk out once you notice any mold on its surface.

In worst-case scenarios, the can will be rusty and swollen, but that can only happen when you’ve had the milk for years, and given how tasty it is, that’s unlikely to happen!

Is It Safe To Use An Opened Expired Sweetened Condensed Milk?


As we said, if you have an opened can of sweetened condensed milk and it’s now past its expiration date, you should throw it out.

However, if you happen to accidentally use expired condensed milk, you might then feel nauseated, start puking, or even have diarrhea.

Just like with any other expired product, your body will most probably react to it.

Thankfully, you can easily tell when condensed milk has gone bad, so remember to check it before you use it or consume it.

Is It Safe To Use An Unopened Expired Sweetened Condensed Milk?

Yes, it is safe to consume unopened expired condensed milk.

Condensed milk is a dairy product with a lengthy shelf life that doesn’t need to be refrigerated before it’s opened.

So, if you have not yet opened the can, your condensed milk will typically be okay even if it is beyond the expiration date.

Even so, before you use an unopened expired condensed milk, thoroughly inspect both the can and the milk inside following the tips we shared with you above.

How To Keep Sweetened Condensed Milk Fresh?

Unopened condensed milk can be kept in the kitchen cupboard or some other cool, dry place.

As with any canned good, preserving the can away from direct sunlight and moisture will help make sure that the condensed milk will last for a long.

Once the can is opened and you’ve used some of the milk, you then have to refrigerate the rest.

The best way to do it is by transferring the remainder of the milk to an airtight container.

If you cannot find an airtight container, seal the top with some cling film or tin foil and secure it with an elastic band.

Not the best solution, but it’ll do the work.

Since an opened condensed milk has a relatively short shelf life when refrigerated, putting it in the freezer is a wise choice, especially when you know you are not going to use it anytime soon.

If you decide to freeze it, condensed milk must be transferred to an airtight container.

Don’t expect it, though, to fully freeze, as its high sugar content will prevent it from doing so.

When it’s time to use it again, you should take it out of the freezer and refrigerate it for 8-12 hours (or overnight), so that it can gradually reach the right temperature.

The Bottom Line

Sweetened condensed milk is used in many baking recipes and can even be enjoyed on a crepe or waffle.

While it can go bad, it has a relatively long shelf-life in comparison to other dairy products, so all you have to do is store it properly and check that it’s safe to eat before using it.

Jess Smith


Sunday 3rd of December 2023

Jess-recently I came across an idea for small Christmas gifts. But I’m starting to doubt myself… it’s labeled as Caramel sauce but I’m hearing it should be called Dulce le Leche. Sweetened Condensed milk with vanilla and salt in canning jars for 8 hours submerged in my crockpot on low. The jars sealed upon exit of the crockpot and they stayed fully submerged for the 8 hours. I’m worrying about the shelf life of the product. I certainly don’t want to give someone something I’m worried about. Should I tell people to refrigerate immediately? Use within two weeks? Refrigerate after opening? Do you have any thoughts? Thank you!