Does Powdered Milk Go Bad? Explore More About Shelf-Life, Storage Methods, and Spoilage Signs  

Does Powdered Milk Go Bad?

Powdered milk is often found in the pantries of people who are fond of baking. They use it as a substitute for milk as it does not thin the batter. Additionally, powdered milk works as a reliable source of protein and energy, just like regular milk.

However, does powdered milk share its limited shelf life with regular milk as well? Generally, it has a shelf life of 18 months. Fortunately, in most cases, even the old dry milk powder is safe to use past its use-by date mentioned on the label.

If you are unsure what you do with the powder milk after expiry, continue reading to know about its shelf-life, storage methods, spoilage signs, and more.


What is the Shelf-Life of Powdered Milk?

What is the Shelf-Life of Powdered Milk

The store-bought Powdered Milk comes with a use-by date of 12 to 24 months from the date of production. However, it is time that only tells how long the producer guarantees its best quality. So, you must not confuse it with the expiry date.

In most cases, Powdered Milk is safe to use a couple of months more past its use-by date, provided that it is stored properly. If stored properly, the unopened Powdered Milk has a shelf-life of five to twenty years. So, USDA considers it a shelf-stable item, meaning it is a non-perishable item and lasts indefinitely.

In general, Powdered Milk lasts indefinitely and even more after its use-by date. However, after its use-by date, you may experience a taste change. The Powdered Milk is fortified with vitamins and minerals. After the best-by date, these nutritional values of Powdered Milk get lost, especially stored for a prolonged period.

Items Pantry Fridge
Full Fat Powdered Milk – Unopened/Opened Use-by Date Plus One to Two Years
Non-Fat Powdered Milk – Unopened and Opened Use-By Date Plus Two-Four Years
Powdered Milk Mixed Two to Three Days


The above timeframe is only for the best quality and doesn’t confirm its expiry.

Pro Tips!

  • You must prefer buying the non-fat Powdered Milk, especially if you want to make it last for a prolonged period.


What are the Spoilage Signs of Powdered Milk?

What are the Spoilage Signs of Powdered Milk

If Powdered Milk has been sitting in the corner of your pantry’s cupboard for a couple of years, you must ensure to check the spoilage signs before using it. You have to look for a couple of spoilage signs before using the old Powdered Milk.

Color Changes

After expiry, the common sign you will notice in your Powdered Milk is the color change. The fresh Powdered Milk comes with a light creamy color, and it changes to dark yellow when it gets off.

The color changes when moisture penetrates the Powdered Milk’s environment.


Rancid Odor

As your Powdered Milk goes rancid, it changes the color and may cause gas formation, resulting in a funny and unpleasant smell.

The fresh Powdered Milk will smell milky or creamy. When it gets off, the smell changes and gets sour to sniff.


Formation of Mold

When moisture penetrates the milk’s environment, it changes color and smell, offers a breeding ground for mold, and promotes microorganism growth.

When you see brown or gray mold on the surface of the Powdered Milk, it indicates that the Powdered Milk has gone rancid, and it is time to discard it.


Insects Crawling on Surface

You must not terrify when you see small bugs or pests crawling on the surface of your Powdered Milk. Insects may not be poisonous, but they harm the Powdered Milk and make it unfit and inedible.

So, if you see any insects or pests crawling on the surface of your Powdered Milk jar, discard them and don’t consume them any further.

Pro Tips!

If you see any of these spoilage signs in your Powdered Milk, it is better to discard it. All these changes in the Powdered Milk must not be ignored as they can cause serious health issues, including food allergies and food poisoning.


What Happens When You Eat Expired Powdered Milk?

What Happens When You Eat Expired Powdered Milk

Typically, Powdered Milk lasts for years after opening. It is safe for consumption for a couple of months past its use-by date. It is considered safe for consumption as long as you don’t see any spoilage signs in your Powdered Milk.

However, the nutritional values of the Powdered Milk will degrade after its use-by date. So, the expired Powdered Milk won’t make you sick; it tends to lose its potency and taste over time.

Before using the old Powdered Milk, you must always look for the spoilage signs to ensure it is edible and safe. Consuming expired Powdered Milk with spoilage signs can prove to be risky for your health and may cause serious consequences, like food poisoning and allergies.


Can you Freeze Powdered Milk? Refrigerated Vs. Shelf-Stable

Can you Freeze Powdered Milk Refrigerated Vs. Shelf-Stable

Freezing is a good option to perverse your Powdered Milk indefinitely, especially if you have an opened pack of Powdered Milk. The unopened packet of Powdered Milk will also last longer when stored at zero degrees Fahrenheit.

After opening the pack of Powdered Milk, you must always freeze it to sustain its taste and quality for up to three years. But, it is still safe to use Powdered Milk after that up to 20 years for certain types only.

However, there are certain things you have to keep in mind to storing your Powdered Milk in the freezer. Powdered Milk comes in bags, and it is recommended to store it away from any pointed or heavy objects as they may rip the bag and leave it open to spoil quickly.

Powdered Milk has a longer shelf-life, but it is good to store it in your pantry, especially if you plan to use it within two years. If you want to prolong its shelf-life, it is better to freeze it.



Refrigeration is not recommended for Powdered Milk. It is because there is a higher amount of temperature fluctuation in a fridge, and it may expose the Powdered Milk to moisture, making it go rancid quickly and inedible. It also heightens the accidental spills of the Powdered Milk when refrigerated for a prolonged time.

However, once your Powdered Milk is converted into liquid milk, it is safe to refrigerate. When stored in a fridge after preparation, the liquid milk has a shelf-life of two days. After two days, you must discard it and replace it with new liquid milk.

If you plan to store your Powdered Milk in a fridge, ensure to use a sealable freezer bag to prevent moisture exposure and prolong its shelf-life up to two years.



Powdered Milk keeps its quality for a prolonged period when stored in cool and dry places. The pantry or kitchen cabinet is the best place to store your unopened Powdered Milk. With proper storage of unopened Powdered Milk, you can make it last for up to ten years before its nutritional values start degrading.

Powdered Milk is a shelf-stable food item that remains safe and edible even after its use-by date. The best-by date on the label is to tell for how long it will keep its taste and quality. If the package is opened, you must seal it properly to prevent moisture exposure.

If you plan to use it within a couple of months, it is safe to store in your pantry at room temperature. But, use a sealable container or bag to store it. But, if you want to preserve it for more than a year, it is best to freeze your Powdered Milk.


What are the Best Ways to Store Powdered Milk?

What are the Best Ways to Store Powdered Milk

With proper storage, you can increase the lifespan of your Powdered Milk from two years to ten years. But, you have to ensure that proper storage protocols are followed to make your Powdered Milk last indefinitely.

Here are a few easy storage tips to let you preserve your Powdered Milk indefinitely.

Store in Cool and Dry Places

It is always a good option to store your leftover Powdered Milk in cool and dry spots, and the pantry offers the best conditions to store your Powdered Milk.

Whether you store it in your pantry or kitchen cabinet, you must ensure that it is away from the reach of moisture and heat sources.


Seal Tightly

After opening the pack of Powdered Milk, you must keep the pack well sealed to prevent the insects and moisture from penetrating. You may use a clip to seal the pack after opening.

It is good enough to seal the pack after opening. It also keeps the insects and moisture from penetrating and spoiling the Powdered Milk. Since it is a powdered product, it tends to form sticky lumps when it comes in contact with moisture. So, you must keep the leftover Powdered Milk well sealed.


Use Airtight Container

If your Powdered Milk comes in a re-sealable pack, it is best to store it in the original packaging. But, if the package is not re-sealable, you must ensure to transfer the leftover Powdered Milk into a plastic airtight container before freezing or storing it in your pantry.

The airtight containers keep the Powdered Milk safe and protected from pantry bugs. It also prevents moisture from seeping inside the container and causing sticky lumps.

Pros Tips!

  • Never store the liquid form of Powdered Milk for more than 48 hours as it starts degrading even when refrigerated continuously.
  • You must always store the liquid mixture in a fridge and consume it within two days. Leaving it outside a fridge can accelerate the spoilage process.

Alternatives for Powdered Milk if it has Gone Bad

While powdered milk is more convenient, one can try any of the following substitutes in case your packet is showing signs of spoilage:

  • Regular milk
  • Coconut milk powder
  • Rice powder
  • Soy milk powder
  • Cashew powder

Frequently Asked Questions


Why Don’t Powder Milk Packages Have an Expiry Date?

Powdered Milk packages don’t come with an expiry date mentioned on them. Manufacturers only print the use-by date on the label. It is because Powdered Milk lasts indefinitely and never goes bad. After the use-by date on the label, it only degrades in taste and quality. It will not make you sick as it is safe to consume the Powdered Milk past the use-by date.

Can I Use Powdered Milk after Removing the Clumps?

If you see clumps forming in the Powdered Milk, which doesn’t seem natural and separates easily between your fingers, you must discard the Powdered Milk immediately. The sticky clumps, which are hard to separate, indicate that the Powdered Milk has been infiltrated with moisture and will spoil or become rancid very soon.

How to Keep an Open Powdered Milk Pack Safe from Spoiling?

If you have already opened the pack of Powdered Milk, it is best to seal the package to keep the leftover Powdered Milk safe. You may use a clip to seal the package or transfer the leftovers into an airtight container for proper storage and prevent the Powdered Milk from spoiling.

What is the Disadvantage of Milk Powder?

Even though milk powder or powdered milk contains a similar nutritional composition as that of milk, it might contain high doses of sugar. Additionally, the wrong storage techniques can lead to the development of bacteria.

The Bottom Line 

Undoubtedly, Powdered Milk comes with an indefinite shelf-life, provided that it is stored properly away from heat sources and moisture. Powdered Milk keeps its quality and tastes up to its use-by date when stored in the pantry in cool and dry places.

For prolonged shelf-life, freezing is suggested, but in a sealable and airtight container. Don’t forget to check the spoilage before using the Powdered Milk after prolonged storage.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.