How Long Can Coffee Creamer Sit Out? & Signs of Spoilage


Many coffee lovers love to have a cup of hot coffee in the morning to start their day. And often times, they like to add a little coffee creamer to enhance the flavor. There are many different types of coffee creamers. And you might be wondering, how long can coffee creamer sit out.

We’ll answer this question as well as help you understand what kinds of coffee creamer need to be refrigerated and what kinds don’t.

coffee creamer
coffee creamer

Different Types of Coffee Creamers

First, let’s take a look at the many different types of coffee creamers. Coffee creamers will fall under one of two basic categories.

They are either liquid creamers or powdered creamers.

Liquid Creamers

Liquid coffee creamers are any form of coffee creamer that’s a pourable liquid. Some of these can be purchased in the refrigerator section at the grocery store while others are stored on grocery store shelves and are not refrigerated.

Chances are regardless of where the creamer is stored at the grocery store, you’ll want to store it in the refrigerator after it’s opened.

hands pouring creamer
hands pouring creamer

All creamers purchased from refrigerated coolers at the store should be placed directly in the refrigerator at home as well.

Dairy creamers. Liquid creamers can include various brands, flavors, and varieties of dairy creamers. Dairy creamers refer to any creamer that uses cow’s milk as an ingredient.

Heavy cream is one of the traditional dairy-based creamers for coffee because it adds flavor and a creaminess that’s enjoyed by coffee drinkers.

Non-dairy products. Liquid non-dairy creamer is manufactured and sold to give coffee a creamy flavor. The non-dairy terminology refers to a product that doesn’t contain cow’s milk.

Non-dairy products can be sold in the refrigerated as well as the non-refrigerated section of the grocery store but should be stored in the refrigerator after it’s been opened.

latte art with creamer
latte art with creamer

Milk That Can Be Used As Creamer

Milk is often a go-to creamer for coffee because it’s naturally creamy. Whether you prefer dairy milk options or non-dairy milk varieties, there are several options that make a delicious coffee creamer. Here are some ideas.

Oat milk. Oat milk is a nice plant-based milk and can be consumed by non-dairy eaters as it doesn’t contain dairy. Oat milk adds somewhat of a sweet flavor as well as a creamy one to your morning cup of Joe. 

Coconut milk.  Coconut milk is another good plant-based option that’s a non-dairy creamer. Consider adding some coconut milk to your coffee for a liquid non-dairy creamer.

Almond milk.  Almond milk is made from grinding almonds. It’s another way to add a liquid non-dairy creamer to your coffee. 

Closeup of barista making latte art
Closeup of barista making latte art

Real milk. Real milk refers to traditional cow’s milk and is often a go-to for coffee creamer to add a creamy aspect to the flavor.

Powdered Creamers

Powdered creamer is another type of creamer that comes in a powdered form.

Unlike liquid form creamer that needs to be refrigerated upon purchase or after it’s been opened, powered creamers are generally manufactured to be shelf stable which means it’s fine to store them at room temperature.

But you’ll always want to check the packaging label to be sure.

How Long Can Coffee Creamer Sit Out

Now that we’ve established the difference between liquid coffee creamer and powdered coffee creamer, the type of creamer plays an important factor in answering the question, how long can coffee creamer sit out.

Liquid coffee creamer that’s been opened or perishable coffee creamer that requires refrigeration shouldn’t be left out any longer than 2 hours when the temperature range is between 40F degrees – 90F degrees.

man pouring coffee creamer
man pouring coffee creamer

If the air temperature is at higher temperatures than 90F degrees, then coffee creamer shouldn’t sit out any longer than 1 hour.  

After that it’s considered to be spoiled and needs to be thrown away as it becomes a breeding ground for unwanted bacteria.

The exception to this rule is the storage of shelf stable powdered coffee creamer. Shelf stable powdered creamer can be stored at room temperature indefinitely.  For best results, we recommend keeping it in a cool place, that’s dry.

Will Creamer Go Bad if Left Out

Shelf stable powdered creamers are generally the only type of creamer that won’t go bad if it’s left out.

And, liquid coffee creamers will generally go bad if they’re left out, with the exception of International Delight Creamer singles that are shelf stable and are made with vegetable oil.

That’s why managing its storage is important for food safety reasons.

pouring coffee creamer in coffee
pouring coffee creamer in coffee

How to Know if Creamer Has Gone Bad

If your coffee creamer needs to be refrigerated, but instead it’s been left in the danger zone for longer than is allowed, you’ll want to treat it as though it’s spoiled, whether any signs of spoilage are currently present.

Here’s what to look for in knowing whether your creamer has gone bad.

Appearance. You’ll want to check the appearance of your coffee creamer. If you notice any changes in appearance such as signs of mold, discoloration, or a texture change, you’ll want to assume that you have bad creamer and throw it away.

Sour Taste. A sour flavor can indicate bacterial growth or bad coffee creamer. If your creamer tastes off, don’t risk eating it and throw it away instead.

Sour Smell. The presence of an unpleasant smell also indicates spoilage. If you notice an unpleasant odor in your coffee creamer, throw it out.

As a rule, if your coffee creamer has any of these key indicators of spoilage present, you need to throw it away. Consuming food that’s spoiled can cause food poisoning and serious illness.

The Shelf Life of Dairy and Non-Dairy Creamers

The shelf life of dairy and non-dairy creamers varies as well as the shelf life from liquid creamers and powdered creamers.

coffee latte art
coffee latte art

The best way to determine shelf life is to start with the expiration date, then to ensure proper storage and the appropriate temperature to lengthen shelf life as long as possible.

How to Store Coffee Creamer

The best way to store coffee creamer is in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Keeping it in an airtight container will help keep it as fresh as possible and will lengthen its shelf life.

If you don’t plan to use the creamer immediately, it’s best to not have an open container sitting around for a long time. This will just let is spoil faster.

For shelf stable powdered coffee creamer, store it in a dry place away from direct sunlight for the best results.  Shelf stable powdered creamer doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

How Long Will Coffee Creamer Last in the Refrigerator?

The length of time coffee creamer will last in the refrigerator will vary depending on variables such as the type of coffee creamer, the storage temperature, and its use-by date.

Once it’s been opened, it’s best to use it within 7 days.

If you’re not sure whether your creamer is still good, be sure to check out the key indicators of spoilage listed above. If any signs are present, don’t risk eating it.

Why Shouldn’t Coffee Creamer Be Kept in the Refrigerator?

The only time that coffee creamer shouldn’t be kept in the refrigerator is when it’s shelf stable. Then it’s okay to leave it out at room temperature when indicated on the packaging.

Can Bad Creamer Cause Food Poisoning?

Yes, if you consume creamer that has spoiled or has sat out too long, it can develop the growth of harmful bacteria which can make you very sick.

Eating creamer that’s bad can potentially cause food poisoning which can cause serious illness such as stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting, and possible death in some situations.

The best thing to do is to throw away any coffee creamer that shows signs of spoilage or has any of the key indicators of having gone bad.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that relate to the question, how long can coffee creamer sit out. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop it to us in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.

Can I drink coffee creamer that was left out overnight?

If the coffee creamer you refer to is a dairy-based coffee creamer or liquid coffee creamer, you shouldn’t eat it after it’s been left out overnight. You risk food poisoning, and the creamer should be thrown away instead.

Why doesn’t coffee creamer need to be refrigerated?

There is only one type of coffee creamer that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. That is the non-dairy coffee creamer that can be purchased from the grocery store in a powder form. This type of coffee creamer can be kept at room temperature.

What coffee creamer does not need to be refrigerated?

The only kind of creamer that doesn’t need to be refrigerated is the kind that’s completely powder and made from milk powder. It’s the kind that’s not liquid and is made to be shelf stable.

Other Ideas:

Will Decaf Coffee Keep You Awake?

Can You Freeze Half and Half for Coffee?

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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