How Long Does Homemade Almond Milk Last?

Written by: Jeana Marie

When I first started drinking dairy-free milk, almonds were my go-to.

I’d heard about the health benefits of almond milk, so my first move was to try the commercial brands at my local supermarket. 

I quickly realized that these brands contained a list of preservatives and added ingredients I didn’t want to drink regularly.

This led me to start making homemade almond milk to better control what was going into my beverage. 

While making your own almond milk has several advantages, you may be wondering - without a manufacturer expiration date, how do you know how long the beverage will last? 

Generally, the shelf-life of homemade almond milk is around 3-5 days, depending on how you prepare and store it.

I’ve put together the following guide to help you understand the ins and outs of homemade almond milk and its expiration date so you know how long to keep it in your fridge.

What’s the Difference Between Homemade Almond Milk and Commercial Brands?

Okay, let’s start with the basics. What is the difference between homemade almond milk and commercial brands you see at the store?

While both are made with almonds and filtered water, they have major differences in their ingredients, freshness, customization, and nutritional value.


A major difference between most commercial brands and homemade almond milk are the ingredients.

When you make almond milk at home, you can use additives, but most of us simply blend water with whole, de-skinned almonds or use a pre-blended almond milk base like JOI

Most, though not all, commercial brands use additives in their product to change the texture, extend the shelf-life, and fortify the product.

With store-bought almond milk, you sometimes drink more water and additives like sunflower oil, gellan gum, locust bean gum, and calcium carbonate than blended almonds. 

silk unsweetened almond milk ingredients


Homemade almond milk is prepared fresh, potentially using your preferred source of almonds and filtered water. This means a more vibrant, nutty flavor. 

In contrast, commercial brands are often extended with preservative ingredients like emulsifiers such as guar gum and carrageenan.

While these are considered safe by the FDA, their presence means the almond milk product can be several days or weeks old by the time you open the carton, leading to a less enjoyable taste.

Check out our Instagram Reel below to learn more about emulsifiers.


Homemade almond milk allows you to customize the drink as you see fit. You can make it thicker or thinner, add a sugar-free or vegan sweetener, or add flavorings like cocoa powder or vanilla.

This lets you control what you put into your body, whether you have a digestive issue, allergies, or are just focusing on healthy eating.

Check out some of our recipes like Vanilla, Horchata, or blueberry almond milk for inspiration!

Nutritional Value

Homemade almond milk does offer nutrients naturally found in almonds, such as healthy fats, calcium, and vitamin E.

In a fresh product, they are more readily available for your body to process. 

Commercial brands may offer added nutritional value, making almond milk similar to cow’s milk in terms of calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients.

However, these are added in during manufacture, meaning they are often synthetic instead of naturally bioavailable. 

mooala unsweetened almond milk with arrow pointing to calcium and vitamin e

How Long Does Homemade Almond Milk Last?

Now to the main question - how long does homemade almond milk last?

Since it’s made at home without laboratory testing, there’s no hard data on how long homemade almond milk lasts.

Most sources say that homemade almond milk lasts between 3-5 days but could be up to around 7 days if you take extra precautions. doesn’t list almond milk specifically, but looking at their cold food storage chart, most foods last under a week when kept in the refrigerator at 40℉ or below.

For most foods, the guidance says 3 to 5 days. 

The exact expiration of your homemade product depends on how you store it, the process you used to make it, and whether you put in any extra ingredients that could extend its shelf-life.

Why Doesn't Homemade Almond Last As Long?

So, what influences the shelf-life of homemade almond milk - in other words, what makes its shelf-life so much shorter than commercial brands?

The short answer is - bacteria and pathogens. The longer answer has to do with how you make it and what you add to it. 


Home “cooking,” no matter how careful you are, simply doesn’t meet laboratory standards of sanitization.

Manufacturers (ideally) have sterile conditions when making almond milk, including sterilized machinery, gloved and suited workers, pasteurization processes, and aseptic cartons for product storage.

This minimizes the potential for contamination with bacteria, leading to a longer-lasting product. 

When you make almond milk in your kitchen, you aren’t going to take the same strict sanitization standards.

While you can (and should) take measures to prevent contamination, such as washing your hands, cleaning your blender, sanitizing your countertops, and maybe even boiling a glass container for storage, you probably aren’t going to wear gloves and a mask at home. 

This means that normal bacteria are more likely to get into your almond milk, making it expire more quickly than a store-bough product. 


Temperature plays a big role in how long your almond milk lasts.

If you make almond milk at home, keeping it refrigerated and off the counter helps prevent mold and material growth, keeping it fresher for longer. 

oat milk in glass bottle in refrigerator

Always keep your almond milk at the recommended 40°F or below.

Taking your almond milk out and leaving it on the counter can shorten its shelf life.

For example, if it sits out for over 2 hours at room temperature, you probably want to throw it away. 

The USDA says that if your home is around 90°F, you should get rid of refrigerated foods after 1 hour if left out


Pasteurization is a process that heats foods to a certain temp to kill off pathogens and bacteria.

For almond milk, this is typically High-Temperature, Short-Time (HTST), Ultra-High Temperature (UHT), or Extended Shelf Life (ESL) pasteurization. 

Almost all commercially available almond milk products will have some type of pasteurization, meaning they should be free of microbes that can cause quick spoilage. 

Technically you can pasteurize at home - HTST only requires the food to be heated to 161°F for 15 seconds.

However, the other methods are a bit more complicated and require special machinery. 

Pasteurizing homemade almond milk is impractical for most people, and you’d have to be very specific about timing and temperature to be effective. 

Without pasteurization, naturally present microbes and bacteria remain in the product - which is why a homemade product typically only lasts a few days. 

The good news is that U.S.-grown almonds from California, where most almonds come from, are required to be pasteurized before being sold.

This means that you are unlikely to get contamination from the raw almonds you use to make your almond milk at home.


You know how long homemade almond milk lasts and what factors can influence its shelf-life.

However, you might still have a few random questions about homemade almond milk and how to tell if it’s safe to drink. 

The following should help you know when you may need to through your almond milk out and what’s normal when it comes to the taste and texture of homemade almond milk:

How Can I Tell If Homemade Almond Milk Has Gone Bad?

Unlike dairy milk, almond milk doesn’t contain lactic acid. This enzyme gives spoiled milk its unpleasant smell, which tells us it’s not good anymore.

With almond milk, you’ll need to look at a few different elements:

  • Color - if your almond milk starts to look brown or gray, it’s likely gone bad
  • Smell - fresh almond milk smells a bit sweet and nutty; any sour or off smell means it’s probably ready to be thrown out
  • Taste - you could taste a tiny amount to see if it’s normal, but if there’s visible clumping or spotting, don’t use this method.

How Should I Store Homemade Almond Milk?

Aside from the temperature storage requirement addressed above, the container in which you store your almond milk can affect its “use by” date. 

You could use plastic or paper carton containers, but those are more likely to have bacteria than glass containers.

They are more porous, which means pathogens may already exist before you pour in your almond milk. 

Instead, opt for a sanitized glass container with an air-tight lid. This will keep your almond milk fresher, longer.

soyabella almond milk in glass mug

Is It Normal for Homemade Almond Milk to Separate?

Yes, it’s quite normal for homemade almond milk to separate a bit. Almonds contain natural fats, which emulsify with water when blended. 

However, without artificial emulsifiers and stabilizers (like commercial brands), the fat and water molecules can separate as the beverage sits in your fridge. 

defrosted almond milk with separation

Also, if you don’t have a high-speed blender, your milk may have bigger almond particles, which can cause further separation upon sitting. 

To fix this, simply shake your homemade almond milk before using it to re-mix the particles.

Depending on your preference, you could also use natural emulsifiers like flaxseed, chia seeds, or xanthan gum to thicken your homemade product and help it hold together. 

Can I Add Preservatives to Extend the Shelf Life of Homemade Almond Milk?

You can add your own preservatives to almond milk at home to extend its shelf life.

Ingredients like potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and calcium sulfate can easily be found online at most grocery stores. 

However, it may not be worth it

If you're making homemade almond milk to avoid extra ingredients, it might be healthier and more cost-effective to find a brand you like to save you the extra money and hassle of measuring the right preservative amount for your homemade almond milk. 

Keep Homemade Almond Milk Fresh!

No matter how you look at it, homemade almond milk only lasts about a week or less.

If you leave it on the counter, store it in a non-airtight container, or dont clean your utensils and machines ahead of time, it will probably only last closer to 3 to 5 days.  

Making your own almond milk at home lets you enjoy a customized, dairy-free beverage free of unhealthy additives.

With proper storage and refrigeration, you can make almond milk that lasts throughout the week to support a healthier lifestyle.

About the Author

Jeana Marie is a freelance digital content writer. Her writing focuses on mental health, self-improvement, and healthy living. When she's not writing, Jeana enjoys spending time with her daughters and discovering new coffee and herbal tea flavors.