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Does Coffee Mate Need To Be Refrigerated? This Is The Answer

Even though there’s nothing like fresh milk in coffee, most of us have turned to the old Coffee Mate creamer from time to time.

But, once you’ve opened it, does Coffee Mate need to be refrigerated, or can you stick it back on the shelf where it came from?

The answer depends on the type of creamer you have.

I’ve done the research and put together a complete creamer guide to help you out.

Let’s jump in!

Should You Put Coffee Mate Creamer in the Fridge?

The short answer is yes. Coffee Mate creamer has to go in the refrigerator.

The long answer is a little bit more nuanced, however.

You see, refrigeration requirements depend on what type of Coffee Mate creamer you have in the house.

Let’s break it down a bit more.

Liquid Creamer

Coffee Mate liquid creamer is one that usually needs refrigeration.

Most liquid creamers should be stored in the fridge both before and after opening. However, there are a few outliers that can be kept in a cool, dry place before opening.

A good way to figure out which type of creamer you’re getting is to pay attention to where it’s located in the grocery store.

If it’s stocked in a fridge, it should stay in the fridge at home, too. If it’s sitting on the shelf, you can probably leave it out until you open it.

You can also check for labels that say ‘keep refrigerated.’ These tell you how stable the creamer is and whether or not it will go rotten quickly.

NOTE
Liquid coffee creamer usually has shorter expiration dates. Be sure to check the label to see how long it’ll last after opening.

Liquid Creamer Singles

Liquid creamer singles are single-serving packets of liquid creamer.

What’s interesting about singles is that, unlike bulk liquid creamer, these are usually non-dairy products.

They generally contain:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Sugar
  • Corn syrup

They were designed specifically not to need refrigeration. Because of that, they can last up to a year without perishing!

Unopened Coffee Mate liquid creamer singles should be stored in a cool, dry place.

Powder Creamer

instant coffee and powder creamer in a cup

Coffee Mate powder creamers are the longest-lasting coffee creamers on the market. It’s not necessary to put them in the refrigerator.

These creamers are kept in a cool, dry place. You can store them in a dark pantry away from moisture.

They must be away from cabinets close to the stove or the refrigerator. This is because the heat from the appliances causes the powdered creamer to spoil.

Powdered coffee creamer should also never be frozen.

Other than that, these are pretty stable creamers to add to your coffee.

Factors That Affect the Lifetime of Creamer

There are a couple of factors that affect how long your creamer will last.

Namely, these include:

  • Expiration date
  • Ingredients
  • Position in the fridge
  • Whether they’re open or not
  • The time they sit out on your counter

Let’s go over some of these factors in greater detail.

Expiration Date

expiration date

Although it might seem obvious, expiration dates are there for a reason. Typically, you can actually eat products four to seven days after the expiration date

However, both quality and flavor start to deteriorate. As a result, you won’t get the same taste as you would when you first open the creamer.

You might start to notice the change in flavor close as you approach the expiration date.

If you want to keep your creamer from spoiling, pay attention to the expiration date.

Purchase a creamer with a farther away expiration date, and do your best to use it before the time is up.

Ingredients 

As in any product, the ingredients in coffee creamer play a big role in how long it will last.

The fact it’s a regular or flavored coffee creamer doesn’t play a big role. The biggest factor is dairy.

Liquid coffee creamers that have dairy ingredients can start to expire within two hours.

That’s why it’s important that if your creamer contains dairy ingredients, it returns to the refrigerator within an hour.

On the other hand, liquid non-dairy creamers are typically made of vegetable oils and preservatives. And most Coffee Mate creamers are non-dairy.

These ingredients can remain stable at higher temperatures. That’s why they can survive without refrigeration.

Of course, this is a generalization. There are some non-dairy creamers that still need to be kept refrigerated, so it’s best to check the packaging. That way, you’re not met with any nasty surprises (read- food poisoning).

IN A NUTSHELL
You should return liquid dairy creamer to the fridge immediately after use. Some non-dairy creamers can stay out of the fridge for a longer time, but always check the packaging for the exact info.

Position in the Refrigerator

woman looking in the open fridge

Did you know creamers’ position in the fridge can affect their shelf life? That’s right!

For example, it’s not a good idea to put them on the door because the temperature changes slightly every time the refrigerator is opened. Since they receive blasts of warm air every time you open your fridge, they tend to go off faster. 

To better maintain your creamer, it’s best to put it in the back of the refrigerator. There, the temperature doesn’t vary almost at all when the door is opened. 

Open vs Unopened Packages

Opened vs unopened creamers have different shelf lives.

Unopened creamers will typically last longer because they’re sealed, and oxygen and bacteria can’t get in and make them go bad. 

On the other hand, once you’ve opened a creamer, it’s impossible to seal it again fully. As a result, it tends to go off a bit quicker. 

While this is true for both dairy and non-dairy creamers, this rule of thumb is even more applicable to dairy-based creamers. 

IN A NUTSHELL
Don’t be lazy! Always refrigerate opened liquid creamer, both dairy and non-dairy, as soon as you use it.

Counter Time 

woman opening kitchen cupboard

The amount of time you leave coffee creamer out on your kitchen counter can also affect the creamer’s shelf life.

Did you ever forget to put the creamer away after making your morning cup of Joe?

I know I did numerous times… 🙄 

Well, that creamer isn’t going to last so long.

This is because it’s had time to heat up and allow bacteria to start forming.

So, as a rule of thumb, every time you use your Coffee Mate, make sure to return it to the refrigerator. That way, you help preserve its shelf life and avoid it spoiling quickly.

How to Store Creamer?

You should store liquid Coffee Mate in the refrigerator at temperatures below 40ºF.

Coffee Mate, like most dairy products, should be stored in airtight containers (unopened original containers work well). This helps keep moisture and other contaminants out.

Although opinions differ, it’s not ideal to freeze creamers because they will separate upon thawing. If you decide to freeze it, ensure there’s enough room in the container to expand as it freezes.

Powdered Coffee Mate should be stored in a cool, dark pantry, away from moisture.

PRO TIP
If you’re going to keep Coffee Mate out of the fridge for a while, let’s say for a party, put it in a bucket of ice. This helps keep the creamer from going bad even though it’s getting a lot of counter time.

How Long Does Coffee Mate Last?

Coffee Mate’s shelf life depends on how it’s stored.

For example, coffee cream that has already been opened, but has been properly stored, can last from 10 to 15 days.

If creamer isn’t properly stored but has been opened, it will usually last for about a week.

Sealed creamers can last up to 15 days beyond the end date marked on the label. Everything will depend on how well they are stored in the refrigerator.

The liquid creamer singles can last much longer. They last from 6 months to 1 year. This is true even for the dairy ones.

Coffee Mate powdered creamer expires after a few years, although the flavor can change after many months.

FAQ

Do you still have a few questions about coffee creamers? Stay with me because I will clear up any lingering concerns. 

How Do You Know if Coffee Creamer Is Bad?

Pouring Coffee-Mate into your coffee is the best way to determine if it’s spoiled. If it doesn’t dissolve in the coffee instantly but instead forms rings, the Coffee Mate has gone bad. It’s also spoiled if it curdles (the liquid begins to contain lumps) or takes on a sour smell.

Is Coffee Mate Creamer Pasteurized?

Yes, Coffee Mate creamers contain dairy ingredients that are ultra-pasteurized. Ultra-pasteurized milk is heated to 280 degrees to cut all kinds of harmful bacteria. Regular pasteurized milk is only heated to 145 degrees. The ultra-pasteurization helps preserve the creamer for longer than usual.

Can You Drink Expired Coffee Mate Creamer?

It depends. If the creamer is less than 7 days past its expiration date, you can use the creamer in your coffee. But if its taste and smell have changed significantly, it’s best to avoid drinking expired coffee creamer.

Conclusion

So, does Coffee Mate need to be refrigerated? In general, yes.

However, if you’re dealing with powdered creamer, you just need to leave it in a cool, dry place.

With the right storage and a bit of savvy, you should have no problem making sure your coffee creamer lasts for a good long while.

Trying to figure out which the best coffee creamer is? Check out this guide to some of the nicest coffee creamers on the market!

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Jessica Ruth Lee Fleming
Jessica is a seasoned caffeine-addict who spent 3 years behind the bar. Her early coffee days took her from the commercial Starbucks scene in urban DC all the way to helping launch a craft coffee shop in California. Today she prefers sharing her years of coffee capers through media, although you’ll find she does it with a trusty cup of coffee by her side.