How Long Will Your Fancy Leftover Iced Coffee Last In The Fridge?

When the sun starts setting later and the jackets come off, we've got iced coffee on our minds — and, statistically speaking, we aren't alone. According to a recent YouGov survey, 65% of regular coffee drinkers reported "liking" or "loving" iced coffee. In 2023, 10% of coffee drinkers even named iced coffee as their favorite type of coffee, per data analytics firm Statista.

But if you're a regular iced coffee drinker, you've likely noticed that standard iced coffee "sizes" tend to run a lot larger than hot coffees. The industry norm for a "small" hot drip is 8 ounces — for iced drinks, it's typically 12 or 16 ounces. Whether you got side-tracked or had to pee, there are plenty of totally justifiable reasons why you didn't finish the entire iced coffee that you waited for 20 minutes in the drive-thru to get. Luckily, there's no reason to despair and dump it down the drain.

As the ice melts, it's going to dilute the coffee. So, first things first, if there are any remaining ice cubes floating around your brew, fish 'em out and toss 'em in the sink. To get the most out of the leftovers, transfer your coffee to an airtight container and refrigerate it. Ditch the plastic coffee shop cup and dump that iced coffee into a glass jar with a lid. (Bohemian vibe check, passed.) Even a plastic Tupperware container would get the job done. But how long can iced coffee remain in the fridge?

Three is the magic number

Step aside, coffee elitists. Cinnamon spice latte lovers have just as much right to enjoy their favorite cuppa joe as the next coffee drinker. In fact, per the aforementioned YouGov survey, 79% of coffee drinkers prefer their coffee with some kind of milk, cream, or sugar added. (We see you, and we feel you.)

Any iced coffee with cream, sugar, or other additives should be kept in the fridge for no more than three days. If you're running late for work on day four, that iced coffee might be alright, but it definitely won't look quite as good as it did on day two. Meanwhile, a cold brew without any creamer can last in the fridge for a full week.

Keep in mind that these tips only work if your leftover iced coffee actually makes it into the fridge. As with any dairy product, leaving your iced coffee out on the kitchen countertop all afternoon — or worse, locked inside a hot car for an hour while you get groceries — is a bad idea. It's the road to spoiled milk and a spoiled evening for you.

That's because dairy spoils at room temperature in two hours or less. "But, Tasting Table," you might posit, "I'm vegan. How long does my oat milk creamer last?" Per USDA guidelines, any perishable food is considered unsafe after it's sat out for two hours at room temperature. After that long, play it safe and take a pass.