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Shelf-Stable Almond Milk: The Ultimate Guide to Long Shelf Life

by Snovia Ali
Shelf-Stable Almond Milk-The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Long-Shelf-Life

Almond milk packaged in shelf-stable containers, is a deliciously creamy alternative to dairy that can be conveniently stored in any cupboard or pantry. It is lactose-free, soy-free, and calcium-enriched. It contains as few as 30 calories per glass. It’s a long-lasting win-win for the whole family.

Almonds and almond milk may provide health benefits for people with diabetes. Almond Milk Chocolate: Easy to Make, has healthy fats, and fiber, and makes a satisfying snack. They may help regulate blood sugar and manage body weight.

What is Shelf Stable Almond Milk?

Shelf-stable milk doesn’t have to be refrigerated is that it’s been pasteurized, unlike refrigerated milk. Pasteurization is a process that applies heat to destroy pathogens in foods (similarly to the way white blood cells destroy pathogens such as bacteria and viruses in your body), according to the International Dairy Foods Association.

For refrigerated dairy products, high-temperature short-time (HTST) pasteurization involves heating every particle of milk or milk product to at least 161°F using metal plates and hot water. The milk remains at high heat for at least 15 seconds, followed by rapid cooling. It then has a shelf life of five to 15 days.

Shelf-Stable Almond Milk The Ultimate Guide to Long Shelf Life

Ultra-high-temperature (UHT) Pasteurization

Ultra-high-temperature (UHT) pasteurization, also known as aseptic processing, involves heating milk using sterile equipment and packaging it under “aseptic conditions.” Voilà! You’re presented with shelf-stable milk that will help you survive should you ever find yourself invaded by aliens or stuck on a desert island and forbidden from going to Whole Foods.

What About Dairy-Free Shelf Stable Milk?

Processing of Shelf-stable, nondairy milk products is the same way. Blue Diamond Almond Breeze processes its refrigerated almond milk products using standard dairy processing (HTST) and produces its shelf-stable milk products using UHT processing.

The shelf-stable stuff comes in aseptic carton packaging that is for shelf stability of the unopened product for an extended period,” according to Blue Diamond. Silk says the same of its soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and cashew milk. Still, all brands suggest refrigerating milk boxes before using them.

And always refrigerate shelf-stable dairy and plant-based milk after opening the package.

Is Shelf Stable Almond Milk Less Nutritious than Refrigerated Milk?

You can count on getting nutrients from your favorite milk, boxed or otherwise. “While heating [shelf-stable milk] to high temperatures through the sterilization process can deplete some nutrients. It doesn’t affect key nutrients such as protein or calcium. It is usually fortified back with many nutrients that it may have lost, including vitamins A and D.

But wait — aren’t “fortified” products typically a no-no? “In this scenario, the fortified shelf-stable milk shouldn’t pose any danger since the nutrients are only being reintroduced back, and not necessarily over what the milk had to begin with,” explains Moskovitz. Overall, the nutritional value of both options is the same.

Does Shelf Stable Milk Taste Different?

Boxed milk flavor may vary slightly due to the heating process. Additionally, “when you finally open up the carton, it is room temperature versus cold, refrigerated milk,” says Moskovitz. So have some patience and place your shelf-stable milk in the refrigerator for an hour or so before you drink it.

Now you can return to your office kitchen and snag yourself a nice cup of joe without wrinkling your nose at the “creepy” boxed milk options in front of you. It’s only weird if you make it weird.

How Long Does Unopened Shelf-Stable Almond Milk Last?

  • The precise answer to the question depends mainly on storage conditions
  • Store unopened bottles of shelf-stable almond milk (almond milk sold unrefrigerated) in a cool, dark area
  • To extend the shelf life of unopened shelf-stable almond milk, keep unopened shelf-stable almond milk away from direct sources of heat or light
  • Properly stored, unopened shelf-stable almond milk will generally stay at its best quality for about 3 to 4 weeks
  • Is unopened shelf-stable almond milk safe to drink after the “expiration” date on the bottle? Yes, provided it is properly stored and the package is undamaged

How To Store Almond Milk

It is relatively easy to get almond milk in your local stores. You can find it both on an unrefrigerated and refrigerated shelf.

The ideal storage conditions are generally similar to storing soy milk or other kinds of milk. It means, for refrigerated almond milk, you should always keep it chilled⁠—before and after opening.

Unrefrigerated almond milk is shelf-stable and doesn’t need refrigeration. You can safely keep it in a cool, dry area, away from sources of heat or sunlight. Like other packaged foods, your pantry is a perfect place. But, a kitchen cupboard or cabinet will do the job too.


What is shelf-stable almond milk?

Shelf-stable almond milk is a type of almond milk that has been pasteurized and packaged in a sterilized airtight container, allowing it to be stored at room temperature for an extended period without refrigeration.

How long does shelf-stable almond milk last?

The shelf life of shelf-stable almond milk varies by brand, but it typically lasts anywhere from six to twelve months if left unopened.

How is shelf-stable almond milk different from refrigerated almond milk?

The main difference between shelf-stable and refrigerated almond milk is its storage requirements. It can be stored at room temperature until opened, while refrigerated almond milk must be kept in the refrigerator at all times. The processing method and preservatives used may also differ, with shelf-stable almond milk often containing stabilizers and emulsifiers to prevent separation and spoilage.

Is shelf-stable almond milk as nutritious as refrigerated almond milk?

Shelf-stable almond milk typically contains the same amount of nutrients as refrigerated almond milk, as long as it is not fortified with additional vitamins and minerals. However, some people prefer the taste and texture of refrigerated almond milk over shelf-stable almond milk.

Can you cook or bake with shelf-stable almond milk?

Yes, it can be used in cooking and baking just like refrigerated milk. However, some people may notice a slightly different taste or texture compared to using fresh almond milk.

Is shelf-stable almond milk better for the environment than refrigerated almond milk?

It depends on the individual brand and packaging used. Some brands use more sustainable packaging materials, such as Tetra Pak cartons, which are recyclable.

Almond Milk Recipe


  • Whole almonds (can use with skins on or blanched)
  • Filtered water
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt (I like to use sea salt though table salt is just fine)
  • Maple syrup (optional for a hint of sweetness)


  • Place almonds in a bowl, and add 2 cups water or enough to cover by 1-inch. Let rest for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature
  • Drain almonds. Transfer to a blender
  • Add 4 cups water. Cover and blend on moderately high speed until finely ground about 1 to 2 minutes
  • Pour mixture through a clean nut bag or kitchen tea towel set over a bowl. Pull the top string of the bag closed or wrap the corners of the cloth up and twist to close. Strain and squeeze the mixture to extract all the liquid
  • Discard solids (or add to smoothies or another use). If using maple syrup stir in along with vanilla extract and sea salt
  • Store in the fridge in an airtight container

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