How Long You Can Store Unopened Canned Milk In The Pantry

Canned milk is more useful to keep on hand in the kitchen than you would think. With varieties ranging from traditional ultra high temperature (UHT) milk, to evaporated milk, to sweetened condensed milk, this ingredient can be used to elevate beverages, main dishes, and desserts — like luscious oreo cheesecake — alike. As such, it is not a bad idea to buy a few cans at once and keep them in your pantry for when the need strikes, especially since these milks can last quite a bit longer than the refrigerated variety. 

If stored properly, in fact, canned milk can last up to six months before you need to worry about it declining in quality. To store unopened canned milk for as long as possible, be sure to place it in a cool, dry location like a kitchen cabinet, a basement, or a temperature-regulated garage. Like all canned goods, be sure to examine the cans for swelling, dents, or punctures before putting them away, as swollen or dented cans indicate that the goods are no longer safe to consume no matter what the typical shelf life may be.

The best way to store canned milk after it's been opened

All of these storage rules only apply until you open the can, however. Once opened, canned milk of any variety is no longer shelf-stable. This is because the seal that had previously protected the food from contamination is now broken. In order to keep this milk fresh after use, you should transfer it into a clean, dry, airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. Refrigerated canned milk will last for up to a week.

While it may be tempting to freeze your opened canned milk to preserve it for even longer, we strongly advise against going this route. Especially in the cases of evaporated and condensed milk, using this storage method will cause the water and solids in the liquid to separate. Once this happens, the texture of the milk cannot be restored, even after thawing out.

Believe it or not, you can also store opened canned milk for up to a week in the pantry so long as you transfer it to an airtight container and keep it below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to check your milk for signs of spoilage before using it, and shake it gently to counteract separation and restore its ideal texture.