I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of the day is sitting down with my morning coffee. But too often, I get distracted by work or kids and neglect my warm cup of joe.
How long is too long to leave my coffee with creamer sitting out? When should I cut my losses and dump my coffee out (the horror!!)?
I’ve done the “taste test” or said, “Meh, I’m sure it’s fine” plenty of times. But is it? I think I can attribute a few tummy aches to those methods.
So, I finally decided to research it and find a REAL answer for how long coffee with creamer can sit out.
First, you need to know whether or not the coffee creamer is good before you even add it to your coffee. Then, you need to know how long after that it’s good for. I quickly answer all of those questions below.
Typical Shelf Life of Coffee Creamer
How do you know if you have expired coffee creamer? You should always check the label of the creamer for the “use-by date” before adding it to your hot coffee. But the shelf life of coffee creamer depends on the type of creamer and how it is stored…
Dairy Coffee Creamer Shelf Life
Unopened dairy-based creamers usually have a shelf life of about 1-2 months when stored as directed on the packaging. Once opened, they should be refrigerated and consumed within 7-14 days.
Non-dairy creamers, whether liquid or powder, have a longer shelf life than dairy-based creamers, as they do not contain milk or cream…
Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer Shelf Life
Unopened non-dairy liquid creamers usually have a shelf life of about 6-9 months when stored in a cool, dry place. Once opened, they should be refrigerated and consumed within 7-10 days. Non-dairy powdered creamers can last for about 18-24 months, with quality possibly deteriorating thereafter.
Coffee Creamer “Best By” vs. Expiration Date
Many coffee creamers (especially powder creamers) have a “best by” date rather than an expiration date. This “best by” date refers to the quality of the product, not the safety. That means after that date, its quality may wane, but oftentimes, it’s still safe to consume.
But how do you know if your coffee creamer is bad, especially once the ‘best by’ date passes? You need to look for signs of spoilage…
How Do I Know If My Coffee Creamer is Bad?
As mentioned, the “best by” date doesn’t determine if the creamer is bad. It can last longer or can even go bad sooner. So, it’s good to know how to tell if the coffee creamer has gone bad.
Here are a few signs that can indicate that a coffee creamer should be thrown away:
Change in color or texture: A significant change in color or texture, such as a thicker consistency or an appearance of clumps or chunks, can indicate that the creamer has gone bad.
Smell: A sour or rancid smell can indicate that the creamer has gone wrong. If the creamer has an unpleasant odor or doesn’t smell like it used to, it should be discarded.
Signs of Mold: Check for any visible mold growth on the surface of the creamer or container. If you find any mold, discard the creamer.
Expiration date: Always check for an expiration date on the package and discard the creamer if it has expired.
Taste: If the creamer has a rancid or sour taste, or if it just tastes “off”, it’s best to throw it out.
It’s important to note that these signs may vary depending on the type of creamer (dairy or non-dairy) and how it has been stored. It is best to use the creamer before its expiration date or “best by” date to ensure maximum freshness and quality.
To ensure the safety and quality of coffee with creamer, store it in the refrigerator if you’re not going to consume it immediately.
Proper storage of coffee with creamer can prevent harmful bacteria and microorganisms from growing.
How Long Can Coffee with Creamer Sit Out?
According to food safety guidelines, all refrigerated perishable foods should follow the “2 hour rule.” So, refrigerated coffee creamer and coffee with refrigerated creamer should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
At higher temperatures (over 90 F), coffee creamer and coffee with creamer shouldn’t be left out for more than 1 hour. So, if you forget your cup of coffee with creamer in the hot car for over an hour, toss it.
This is how the USDA puts it:
Leaving food out too long at room temperature can cause bacteria (such as Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella Enteritidis, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Campylobacter) to grow to dangerous levels that can cause illness. Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F, doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes. This range of temperatures is often called the “Danger Zone.”
So, let’s stay off the highway to the Danger Zone, and toss coffee that’s been sitting out for more than 2 hours. It’s not worth risking food poisoning from harmful bacterial growth.
If you’re also a tea drinker, check out How Long Does Tea Last? (Does It Expire or Go Bad?).
Different Types of Coffee Creamers
From liquid non-dairy creamers to flavored powder creamers, there are several types of coffee creamers available on the market, including:
Dairy creamers: A dairy-based coffee creamer is made from milk and cream. They can be found in various forms, such as liquid, powder, and concentrate.
Non-dairy coffee creamer: These creamers are plant-based and do not contain any dairy products. They are made from soy, almond, or coconut milk.
Flavored creamers: These come in various flavors, such as vanilla, caramel, and hazelnut. They can be dairy or non-dairy based.
Low-fat creamers: These types of creamers contain less fat than traditional creamers. They are often made from skim milk or a blend of milk and cream.
Sugar-free creamers: These creamers contain artificial sweeteners or are sweetened with natural sweeteners such as stevia.
Organic creamers: They are made with organic ingredients and are free of preservatives and artificial ingredients.
Barista creamers: These are specially formulated for coffee shops and designed to foam and steam well.
Powdered creamers: These are made from a blend of oil, sugar, and milk powder. They are easy to use and can make coffee creamier and sweeter.
It’s important to note that creamers often contain added sugar and artificial ingredients. So, it’s best to check the label for nutritional information and ingredients before buying to fit your personal diet.
Most Popular Brands of Coffee Creamers
There are so many different coffee creamers on the market that you could try a new one every day for a month. That being said, the following two brands are the most popular ones in America.
Coffee Mate Creamer
Coffee-Mate Creamer is a brand of coffee creamer that has been in production since 1961. Nestle makes it one of the most popular creamers in the United States. You can peruse all the Coffee Mate liquid coffee creamers and powder products on their website.
Some of the popular flavors of Coffee-Mate creamers include Original, French Vanilla, Hazelnut, and Caramel Macchiato. Additionally, they offer seasonal or limited flavors, such as Peppermint Mocha and Pumpkin Spice.
Coffee-Mate creamers are also available in zero sugar, fat-free, and alternative milk-based options such as almond and coconut creamer. Their Natural Bliss® line of Dairy Milk and Plant Based creamers is quickly growing in popularity.
Coffee-Mate liquid creamer and powdered products can be found at most major grocery stores and supermarkets and can also be purchased online.
International Delight Creamer
International Delight is a coffee creamer in various flavors, available only in liquid form. The brand was founded in the United States and is a favorite among coffee lovers.
International Delight flavors include classic options such as French Vanilla and Hazelnut, as well as specialty flavors like Southern Butter Pecan, Cinnamon Churro, and Cinnabon®. Plus, they have Holiday Cheer flavors.
International Delight creamers are also available in sugar- and fat-free options.
International Delight creamers do not contain hydrogenated oils or lactose. They are classified as non-dairy products, however, they do contain a milk derivative called sodium caseinate.
You can find International Delight creamers at most local grocery stores and supermarkets, and they can also be purchased online.
Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about coffee creamers…
Q: How long does coffee creamer last?
A: The shelf life of coffee creamer depends on the type of creamer and how it is stored. Dairy-based creamers typically have a shelf life of 1-2 months when stored in a cool, dry place, while non-dairy creamers have a shelf life of 6-9 months. Once opened, they should be refrigerated and consumed within 7-10 days.
Q: Is coffee creamer healthy?
A: Some creamers may contain added sugar and artificial ingredients, which can be unhealthy if consumed in large amounts. It’s best to check the label for nutritional ingredients before buying. Non-dairy creamers made from soy, almond, or coconut milk can be healthier options than dairy-based creamers.
Q: Can I use coffee creamer after its expiration date?
A: It’s best to use coffee creamer before its expiration date to ensure maximum freshness and quality. If the creamer has any signs of spoilage, such as a change in color, smell, or texture, it should be discarded.
Q: How do I store coffee creamer to prolong its shelf life?
A: To prolong the shelf life of powdered coffee creamer, it should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat. The best way to prolong the shelf life of liquid creamer is in the fridge.
For refrigerated creamers, please keep them in an airtight container. A sealed container can keep creamer fresh for a long time. But once opened, it should be refrigerated and used within 7-10 days.
Q: Can I freeze coffee creamer to extend its shelf life?
A: Some types of creamers can be frozen to extend their shelf life, but it’s best to check the packaging for freezing instructions. Freezing and thawing can affect the texture and taste of the creamer, so it’s best to use them as soon as possible after thawing.
Q: How can I tell if my coffee creamer has gone bad?
A: Bad coffee creamer usually exhibits a change in color, smell, or texture. If the creamer has any of these signs, it should be discarded.
Q: Can I use coffee creamer in cooking and baking?
A: Yes, coffee creamer can be used in cooking and baking to add flavor and richness to various dishes.
Q: Can I use coffee creamer to substitute milk or cream?
A: Yes, coffee creamer can be used as a substitute for milk or cream in many recipes. However, it’s important to note that the flavor and texture may be different from using milk or cream.