How Long Does Coffee Creamer Last?

By Robert Parsons March 10, 2021

If you are anything like us, adding the perfect splash of caramel and vanilla creamer to a yummy cup of coffee just hits the spot, but how long until that splash of creamer turns into a not so yummy addition?

That’s what we’re here to find out.

Types of Creamer 

Before we can answer the question, “How long does coffee creamer last?” we have to talk about the different types of creamer. A dairy-based creamer that goes in the fridge will not last the same amount of time as a powdered coffee whitener. 

Large Liquid Creamer

There are two types of liquid creamer, the kind that you find in the refrigerated section, and the kind you find on the shelf. To be expected, these are going to be stored differently. 

  • – Refrigerated section creamers should go straight in the fridge from the grocery store. These are most likely made of milk, cream, sugar, and some flavoring. Make sure to keep these shut tightly and avoid them being exposed to heat otherwise they can go bad prematurely. 
  • – Shelf section creamers are fine to sit at room temperature until they are opened. After you open the pack or bottle, keep it sealed tightly and store it away in the fridge.
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Sealed Liquid Packets

Much like the large liquid creamer, there are two types, those already refrigerated and those on the shelf. Considering that these are one time use packets, if you follow the rule of putting the already refrigerated ones in the fridge at home, you won’t have to worry about refrigerating the ones from the shelf. These should be ready to pour straight into your next cup!

Powdered Whitener

These are simple. Make sure the container is sealed tightly and you’re in the clear. Room temperature is perfectly fine for these just like any other type of powder such as powdered milk.

The Short Answer

Now, the answer we really want. How long do they last? 

The dairy creamers we talked about normally come with a use-by label. The non-refrigerated creamers can last about a week or two until they are opened, and then there should be a label telling you how long they last after opening. These are normally no longer than two weeks. 

The non-refrigerated creamers also come with a use-by date but can be prolonged if unopened for a week or two. But make sure to stick to the two-week rule after opening. 

Now, the sealed one-use creamer cups have a much longer shelf life. With much more preservatives, they are good for quite longer than 2 weeks. They normally have a use-by date around 6 months, but even if they are a month past, they could potentially be fine. 

Lastly, powdered creamers are definitely the longest-lasting of the three. They do not have a use-by date like liquid, but they can lose flavor over time. Much like spices, this is a bit of a guessing and testing game, but the rule of thumb is around 6-8 months if not longer. 

How to Tell if Creamer is Bad

There’s some easy tells for creamers going bad. The big three being changes in texture, smell, or taste. This could be clumps in powdered creamer, chunky liquid creamer, a sour odor, or bad, unnatural taste. Basically, if something seems off, it’s probably bad. 

A change in fridge temperature or not keeping your container air tight can cause creamer to prematurely go bad, so make sure to be aware of this before pouring straight into your coffee. If your fridge had to keep up with a hot day, or your husband never put the lid back on fully, these rules might not be as foolproof for you. It might be safer to always test before use.  

If you’re questioning it, test out a tablespoon or inspect the container before using it. Better safe than sorry!

Last-Minute Tips

Okay, so now we’ve talked about how long they last, but what combination is going to work the best. For fewer preservatives, go with the refrigerated liquid creamers, but leave it unopened as long as possible to get the maximum use. 

If length is the concern, powder creamer will keep you from being without creamer for quite some time, just be aware of the decline of taste in the later months. 

Don’t forget to use your own judgement on each of these. If it doesn’t seem good, don’t risk it, in-date or not. 

Final Thoughts

There are so many types of creamer with so many types of rules to shelf life, but you can narrow it down to some basic rules to live by. Keep it shut, keep it cold, or follow the label.

However, don’t be afraid to give the creamer a shot after the expiration date because the labels are simply suggestions. Knowing what you are wanting out of a creamer will make the choice and upkeep much simpler. 

Now that you are a coffee creamer expert, take a break and enjoy a nice cup of your favorite creamer with your preferred coffee and rest at ease. Enjoy!