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How Long Does Raw Milk Last? [Shelf Life Guide]

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized.

Pasteurization involves heating the milk to a specific temperature for a set amount of time, usually about 15 seconds, to kill bacteria and other harmful organisms in the liquid.

The shelf life of raw milk is a hotly debated topic.

We will look at how long does raw milk lasts and how to store it in this article.

Raw Milk vs Pasteurized Milk

raw milk vs pasteurized milk

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized.

Pasteurization involves heating the liquid to kill bacteria or other microorganisms that can cause Listeria, Salmonella, and E Coli.

It also reduces spoilage.

Pasteurization occurs after the milk has been collected and cooled.

The milk is then heated to a specific temperature for a set time.

Raw milk is often claimed to be more nutritious than pasteurized because it contains natural enzymes, proteins, and antibodies that cannot withstand the heat of pasteurization.

The FDA states that raw milk presents a greater risk for harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, E Coli, and Listeria Monocytogenes, which can pose serious health risks in children, pregnant women, or people with weak immune systems.

Pasteurized milk also offers an extended shelf life over Raw Milk by up to 30-45 days, depending on storage conditions.

How to Store Raw Milk?

how to store raw milk

Raw milk is usually not pasteurized.

Raw milk should never sit on a countertop, where it will warm quickly and could spoil within hours.

When storing raw milk, it is important to keep the container cool.

However, when refrigerating raw milk, ensure that the temperature exceeds 40 degrees Fahrenheit or bacteria will grow too quickly.

The best way to store your milk long-term without spoilage issues is by freezing it until you are ready to use it again.

Always keep the lid of the container closed tightly and shake it well before every use.

How Long Does Raw Milk Last? Does Raw Milk Go Bad?

how long does raw milk last

Raw milk is a whole food that has not been pasteurized, so it is filled with living enzymes and beneficial bacteria.

The milk will get sour over time and should be used within two hours of being made when unrefrigerated.

Raw milk can last refrigerated for seven to ten days in the refrigerator or three to six months in the freezer.

Frozen raw milk can have a better taste than fresh because some flavor components are lost during preservation processes like boiling.

After all, this process makes meatless flavorful too.

Once you open your container of frozen raw milk, use it fast – most say about one week at room temperature before freezing again — otherwise, harmful bacteria could grow inside just as on any other perishable food product.

But if done right, frozen raw milk can last from 3 to 6 months in the freezer.

How to Tell if Raw Milk is Bad?

how to tell if raw milk is bad

Raw milk is a product that is not safe for drinking.

The milk might have germs in it, and the person who drank it could get sick.

One way to tell if raw milk has gone bad is by looking at its appearance or smell.

If there are visible clumps of cream on top of the liquid that looks different from usual, you should not drink this particular batch of raw milk because something may be wrong with it.

Another sign that your raw milk has gone bad would be a change in taste associated with sourness, bitterness, rancid flavor, etcetera, making drinking the fluid difficult.

It can also lead to stomach upset like nausea and diarrhea when consumed too often over time due to a weakened immune system from ingesting bacteria found in raw milk.

If your raw milk appears to be in good condition, then it may still have some bad bacteria that is not visible and could make you sick if ingested.

Suppose the cream on top looks like cottage cheese or yogurt.

In that case, this means that lactic acid-producing bacteria present that would generate acidic byproducts such as butyric acid (which tastes sour) and acetic acid (which has a wine vinegar flavor).

This can also happen when scum rises to the surface of the liquid over time because these types of bacterial colonies proliferate best in an environment where they don’t get too much oxygen exposure (like under the layer of cream at the top).

Some people might think that drinking sour-tasting raw milk is more beneficial, but this is completely false.

The bacteria present in raw milk can be harmful to the body and lead to illnesses such as food poisoning or strep throat, etcetera.

how long does raw milk last

How Long Does Raw Milk Last? Does Raw Milk Go Bad?

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Shelf Life
Servings 1 Serving


  • Raw milk
  • Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags
  • Labels and markers


  • Read the guide thoroughly to learn how long it lasts.
  • Label your container with the content and date and keep track of how much you’re using!
  • Make sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (pantry or fridge).
  • If frozen, thaw in the fridge before use. Always check for signs of spoilage before using.
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