Sweetened condensed milk is a highly concentrated form of milk from which most of the water has been removed, and sugar has been added. This creates a thicker, dense product with a very high sugar content. The sugar acts as a preservative, giving condensed milk a much longer shelf life than regular milk.
An unopened can of condensed milk will last at room temperature for approximately 2-3 years. However, once the can is opened, it should be used within 10-14 days and stored in the refrigerator.
In this article, I will cover some of the best ways how to store condensed milk after opening.
Did You Know? Gail Borden invented canned sweetened condensed milk in the early 1850s. It acted as a military ration in the 1860s because it was nutritious, long-lasting, portable, and safe.
The easiest way to store condensed milk after it has been opened is to place it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It is best to use the condensed milk within 14 days of opening. Remember to cover it up with a lid when storing it in the fridge because milk tends to absorb odors nearby.
Below I have listed the best ways to store opened, fresh condensed milk so that it won’t spoil and has a longer shelf life:
1. Keep It In The Refrigerator
Storing condensed milk in the fridge is probably the best way to ensure it does not go bad.
After opening, never keep the canned condensed milk in its original packaging; there is a risk of the food becoming contaminated with metal particles from the can.
Before storing it in the refrigerator, make sure to transfer the condensed milk into an airtight container or a glass jar. This way, you can use your condensed milk for two weeks without worrying about molds or spoilage
It is essential to pick a suitable container for your condensed milk. Your container should ideally have an airtight seal to prevent airflow and deterioration.
Note: If you made your own homemade condensed milk, even though you have boiled it, it is still considered perishable food, and it must always be kept in the refrigerator. Don’t leave it at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
2. Freeze It
Yes, indeed, you can freeze condensed milk. When freezing, use a good freezer-safe container and be sure to leave a little bit of headspace in the container to allow for expansion during freezing. It will last a few months in the freezer if appropriately stored in an airtight container.
To thaw, simply place the container in the fridge overnight. Once thawed, stir well before using.
However, sweetened condensed milk in unopened steel cans shouldn’t be frozen. This may cause the milk to expand, causing your can to leak or even explode.
Read Also: 5 Ways To Make Caramel From Condensed Milk (From Quick To Slow).
Can Sweetened Condensed Milk Go Bad?
Sweetened condensed milk is a shelf-stable product that can last for years in a closed steel can without refrigeration. After that, the quality of the milk begins to deteriorate and lose its taste and texture.
However, once opened and exposed to oxygen and light, it could spoil quite quickly if not stored properly.
Here are some signs that your sweetened condensed milk has gone bad:
Freshley opened, sweetened canned condensed milk is pale or yellowish in color. However, when condensed milk starts to spoil, the color changes from pale yellow to dark yellow to light brown to eventually dark brown. If there is any unusual discoloration or any sign of mold, then it is time for you to throw it away.
Even if recently opened, the high sugar content in sweetened condensed milk makes it thick and gloppy. The water content is also very low, which contributes to its thickness. It can be difficult to work with, but this thick texture is normal and nothing to worry about.
However, once spoiled or well past the use-by date, it becomes almost solid and unable to be poured. If so, you should avoid consuming it and throw it away instead.
Another sign of spoilage is the smell. Fresh sweetened condensed milk has a milky smell, but it is not as strong as the smell of fresh milk. The scent of sweetened condensed milk is pleasant and inviting, with a slight hint of sweetness.
However, if it starts to smell funky, bad, or sour, do not consume it and throw it away.
If everything appears to be in order, with no discoloration or bad smell, you can taste the condensed milk if you are not sure about its freshness. Each brand does, in fact, have a little distinct taste, but none of them should taste rancid, sour, stale, or unpleasant.
The flavor of fresh, sweetened condensed milk should be rich and sweet with a slight hint of caramel.
5. Sign Of Mold
Any sign of mold is a sure sign that condensed milk is gone bad. Don’t try to skim off the mold, as the whole patch is already contaminated. Get rid of the item as soon as any mold symptoms appear.
Read Also: 7 Avocado With Condensed Milk Recipes You Must Try!
How To Preserve Condensed Milk Without Fridge?
An unopened can of condensed milk can be stored in a cool, dry place away from sunlight or heat sources. Once opened and there is no option for refrigeration, place the leftover in a sealed container and keep it in the cooler with ice or in the cold cellar or outside as long as the temperature is below 40°F (5°C).
Can You Use Sweetened Condensed Milk After The Expiration Date?
It is generally not recommended to consume sweetened condensed milk after the expiration date, as it may no longer be safe to eat. However, if stored properly, many canned products are fine even a year past the expiration date. If you do choose to consume expired sweetened condensed milk, make sure the thin has no damage, and it looks, smells, and tastes ok.
What Happens If You Eat Expired Condensed Milk?
If you eat condensed milk past its expiration date and it smells and tastes ok, you will most likely be fine. However, if there is some bacterial growth or it has developed some toxins, you may experience food poisoning symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Read Also: 13 Best Condensed Milk Substitutes (Dairy And Plant-Based).
The best way to store unopened canned, sweetened, condensed milk is to place it in a cool, dry location. After opening it, pour the leftovers into an airtight jar or container and store it in the fridge for up to 14 days.
Be sure to label the container with the date it was opened. Use caution if the can is out of date or the leftover condensed milk has been in the fridge for more than 14 days.
Here is an easy way to turn a can of condensed milk into a delicious dulce de leche: