Can Soy Milk Go Bad?

Can soy milk go bad? Soy milk is a popular health drink that is high in lean protein. Since soy milk contains less cholesterol and hormones than cow’s milk, this product is often used as a milk substitute in vegetarian and vegan cooking. Soy milk has a creamy, delicious flavor too so it is also served as a drink and a milk substitute for shakes, smoothies, and other healthy beverages.

While soy milk has a decent shelf life, it won’t keep forever. In fact, soy milk could be just as sensitive to storage conditions as regular milk. If you are not careful, there is a good chance that your supply will go rancid. This goes especially if you left the soy milk sitting at room temperature for a while.

Soy milk with rice ballsImage used under Creative Commons from Charles Haynes

Can Soy Milk Go Bad?

Yes, soy milk can go bad because it is sensitive to temperature changes. Soy milk is may not spoil similarly to cow’s milk but the manner in which the product is stored could affect its longevity. Sealed, unopened packs of soy milk will keep much longer than opened bottles of soy milk. Do note that soy milk is prone to mold growth. This is the reason why the product should be sealed at all times.

How the soy milk was processed affects its shelf life too. Shelf stable soy milk will keep much longer at room temperature. Sealed soy milk doesn’t require refrigeration at all. On the other hand, chilled soy milk or soy milk that’s been sold refrigerated has to be kept chilled to extend its shelf life. Never drink straight from the carton to prevent contamination.

Signs that Soy Milk Has Gone Bad

It is easy to see if say milk is no longer safe to use. Just check if the product emits an off-smell. Fresh soy milk has a mild, milky smell. Significant color changes are a sign that soy milk has gone bad. If the container becomes bloated for some reason, the product is no longer safe to drink.  Finally, check for lumps or curds. If the product started clumping, take it as a sign that the soy milk has gone bad.

How to Store Soy Milk?

For shelf-stable soy milk, store the product in the pantry at room temperature. Keep the product in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight. Shelf stable soy milk is quite sensitive to rising temperature so keep it away from sources of heat.

Chilled soy milk or soy milk that’s been refrigerated prior to purchasing should be kept in the fridge. The same thing goes for soy milk that’s nearing its expiry date. The chilly temperature will slow down the degradation of the ingredients. Chilled soy milk won’t do well when stored at room temperature. The sharp changes in temperature could accelerate spoilage.

When kept in the pantry, sealed packs of shelf-stable soy milk will keep for 3 to 4 weeks. On the other hand, chilled soy milk will keep for 7 to 10 days in the fridge. The shelf life of soy milk will be much shorter if you drink straight from the carton, about a few days.

Breakfast with soy milkImage used under Creative Commons from cotaro70s

Can You Freeze Soy Milk?

While freezing is not a recommended storage option, you can freeze the soy milk for later use. Just transfer the product in a freezer-safe container and stick it in the freezer. Ideally, you want to divide the product into manageable portions so you don’t have to thaw the whole container when you only need a small amount of the product.


Soy milk can be prepared in many ways so it pays to have a couple of packs in storage. You never know when you need soy milk! Can soy milk go bad? Yes, soy milk could go bad at some point but as long as you stored the product properly, there is no need to worry about spoilage at all!