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How to Tell if Coffee Creamer Has Gone Bad: Expiry, Shelf Life & How Long It Lasts

a glass and a bottle of creamer

Coffee creamer is a great add-in for coffee and can brighten up an otherwise boring cup of coffee at home. Creamers are the closest thing to coffee shop flavors, without the extensive price. They even last quite a while unopened, so they’re convenient to have on hand. But how long do they stay good for and how can you tell if coffee creamer has gone bad?  There are a few ways to tell if your creamer- opened or not- is no longer safe to use. Read on to see if your coffee creamer is still okay, even if it’s been a while since you bought it:

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Top 4 Ways to Tell If Coffee Creamer Has Gone Bad:

1. Check the Date on the Bottle

If the creamer bottle is still unopened, there’s a good chance that the creamer is still good because it hasn’t been exposed to air. The first thing to do if it’s unopened is to check the “sell by” date.  If it’s past the date, we don’t recommend using it. However, if you do plan on using it, continue with the rest of the steps to determine if it’s safe to consume.

If the bottle of creamer is opened, try to remember when it was opened. Most creamers have a warning label to use the creamer within 7-14 days, then tossing the rest to ensure it won’t spoil. Go through the next steps to determine if it’s safe to use.

expiration date on bottle
Image Credit: KOKTARO, Shutterstock

2. Smell the Creamer

The next step to check if creamer is good or not is to smell it, checking for the slightest hint of a musky or sour smell. Spoiled creamer will smell unpleasant and sting the nose, so make sure to smell it a few times and slosh it around the container. If it’s been opened for a while, you will notice it fairly quickly. If you’re still not sure, however, keep going through the steps to determine if it’s good or not.

3. Visually Inspect the Creamer

If you can’t tell by date or smell, it’s time to visually inspect it. Pour the creamer into a clear cup or glass and inspect it for clumps, thickness, or spots. When inside the plastic bottles with the labels, it can be hard to see what’s going on. Instead of pouring it into your coffee, pour it in a glass and check.

cinnamon coffee creamer
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

4. Check the Taste (Less than a Teaspoon)

The last test you can do to see if your coffee creamer is good or bad is to take a very small taste. It’s not something we recommend if the other steps yield bad results, but you’ll know for sure if it’s bad once you taste it. If all other steps don’t tell you, take less than a teaspoon and sip it. If the flavor is even slightly off, throw it out and don’t risk getting sick. When in doubt, buy a new creamer and try to use it up before it spoils.

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Some coffee creamer have a long shelf-life if it’s unopened, but they can still go bad before the sell-by date. Checking your coffee creamer is important to prevent getting sick, so check for any inconsistencies before using it or throwing it out. While we do not recommend drinking coffee creamer after the sell-by date or beyond the 2-week mark after opening it, there are ways to check if it’s gone bad or not.

Featured Image Credit: Nina_Hlupich, Shutterstock


Jaimie Wisniowski

Jaimie is a freelance writer fueled by coffee, whether it’s hot, iced, or made from a local coffee shop. She enjoys writing all things coffee, especially if it means trying the latest coffee shop trends (hello cold foam!). After spending years writing poems, college essays, and short stories, it only a matter of time to turn writing into a career. Writing about coffee simply combined two of her favorite things! When she’s not drinking coffee by the minute and writing at her laptop, Jaimie spends time hiking, exercising, and living an active life. She also loves to snuggle up with a good book and her dog, Margo. If you catch her without a cup of coffee, she’s probably on her way to the coffee maker now.

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