Many assume that because soy milk has no dairy, it can be left unrefrigerated for long periods of time or stored in your cupboard for years. Many of us won't hesitate to drink the soy milk that's been open at the back of our fridge for a few weeks or on our counter for a few hours. Is this really safe? Does soy milk go bad? Thankfully, I’m here to give you the lowdown.

Does Soy Milk Go Bad? 

water, tea, milk
Alex Frank

The answer is yes, and the symptoms of bad soy milk are actually very similar to that of bad cow's milk. A couple indicators of bad soy milk are smell and texture. If you smell the milk and something seems off—soy milk, just like regular milk, will start to smell sour—it’s probably time to toss it.

Soy milk should be smooth and a slightly off-white color. Try pouring your soy milk into a clear glass to check before you begin to cook with it. If you notice the soy milk is lumpy, it has probably gone bad. Another tip is that sometimes when your opened soy milk is expired the carton will begin to expand

How Long Does it Last? 

milk, cream, yogurt, sweet
Kristine Mahan

Soy milk is sold in two varieties: refrigerated and non-refrigerated. Both types of soy milk must be refrigerated once opened, and typically last 7-10 days in the fridge. Before they're opened, the expiry date on the carton is a good indicator of its shelf life. Products often stay fresh after 10 days, but it cannot be guaranteed (this is when the look and smell test comes in handy).

The soy milk sold on shelves is similar to canned food in that it lasts a long period of time in your cupboard if it's not opened. It can have expiry dates that last as long as 8 months

Are There Any Health Risks? 

cake, tea, pizza, coffee, beer, stomach ache, girl looking sick, feeling sick, unwell
Julia Gilman

Again, drinking spoiled soy milk is very similar to drinking spoiled cow’s milk. You are susceptible to experiencing symptoms similar to food poisoning, such as nausea, an upset stomach, and even vomiting. 

The good news is that if you have some soy milk sitting in your fridge that you think is about to go bad, it's really easy to throw in stuff like smoothies, cereal, or coffee to replace regular milk. There are also a lot of recipes to make with soy milk. Check out Nutritious Eats’ favorite ways to use soy milk. Alternatively, you can make some fancier things like this salted caramel sauce or Italian soda