Does Orange Juice Go Bad?

Having some orange juice in your fridge or your pantry and discovering it right when you need a fresh drink can give you quite a lot of relief. However, if you are not aware of how long it has been in that place, then the most obvious solution is to look at the expiry date.
While this might give you a general idea about how old the orange juice is, it might still be possible that the juice is still in good condition, making it easier for you to consume and make use of.
In other situations, you might have made some orange juice yourself and kept it in storage. If you find it once again, it can be a good idea to carry out a few simple tests or observe its appearance to understand whether or not it is safe to drink.
Technically speaking, orange juice contains citric acid, a preservative that can allow your orange juice to last for quite a long time. However, the quantity of citric acid present in orange juice is not that high, which means that it will not give you the kind of longevity compared to lemon or lime juice.
Orange juice also contains plenty of other added ingredients that can impact its shelf life. For instance, its sugars can end up fermenting over time, not to mention that bacteria and microorganisms can form as well.
To give you a more detailed idea about orange juice going bad, we have compiled this guide so that you can figure out whether your orange juice is safe to drink.

Best Way to Store and Maintain Orange Juice

You can either store orange juice in your pantry or in your refrigerator to ensure that it lasts as long as possible. You should, however, account for the kind of orange juice that you have. Let’s take a look at what this means.

Store-Bought and Unrefrigerated

Orange juice that you buy from stores is bound to contain a bunch of additives and preservatives that can ensure that it lasts for a relatively long time. This kind of orange juice is also pasteurized to get rid of and prevent bacteria, allowing to last for even longer.
If the orange juice you bought was kept unrefrigerated in the store, you can easily store it in your pantry, shelf, or cabinet until you wish to consume it. However, avoid bringing too much light and heat close to it; otherwise, this might harm its quality.
Once you open up this carton or bottle, you will need to store the remainder in the fridge. You can use the same bottle if you can manage to close it properly or you can pour it into another sealable bottle.

Store-Bought and Refrigerated

When you get home, you must immediately put the orange juice in the refrigerator if you purchased it from the store’s refrigerated department. You can wait to consume it before opening it.
It is crucial to keep it refrigerated since the majority of juices sold in refrigerators are not pasteurized, which means that if the temperature is changed, germs may readily grow. Nevertheless, given the number of preservatives, you can still anticipate that it will last you for a while.
You might need to pour it into another container or bottle that you can manage to close or seal firmly when you open it, though.

Related: Food Storing Guide: Storage Times For The Refrigerator And Freezer


If the orange juice you have is homemade, you might need to consume it within a few days since it usually does not contain preservatives. It is also much more vulnerable and prone to bacterial growth.
You should store this kind of orange juice in a tightly sealed bottle in the fridge.
Apart from the storage options mentioned here, you can also simply store your orange juice in the freezer to make it last for a long time. You can do this in a freezer-compatible container or even in ice cube trays.

Lifespan and Durability of Orange Juice

How long orange juice lasts can also depend on its variety. Let’s take a look.

Store-Bought and Unrefrigerated

Store-bought orange juice from the unrefrigerated section can last the longest due to the presence of preservatives as well as because it has been pasteurized. This can allow it to last on your shelf or in your pantry for as long as a year or two, provided that you maintain the conditions around it.
Once you open it, it will only last for up to ten days, even if you refrigerate it.

Store-Bought and Refrigerated

Store-bought orange juice from the refrigerated section is that which has preservatives but has not been pasteurized, which means that it will not last as long even though you keep it refrigerated from the start.
Check the expiry date on the bottle or package, although you can probably push it for up to two weeks beyond this date. In case you open the carton or bottle, you should aim to finish the juice within a week.


Homemade orange juice will not last long at all. You should try to consume it the day you make it, but you can still keep it refrigerated and drink it all within the next couple of days. If it contains pulp, then its lifespan is bound to be even shorter.
If you happen to freeze either of these kinds of orange juice, you can expect it to last for as long as a year while also retaining more or less the same taste.

Further Reading: How Long Do Oranges Last? Storage, Shelf Life, Expiration

How to Figure Out If Orange Juice Has Gone Bad?

  • See the expiry date. While this is not a definitive answer, you can still get a good idea of how long it has been since its expiry.
  • Smell and/or taste the juice. An unpleasant, sour or even downright foul odor means that it has gone bad.
  • If the container appears to have filled out or is sticking out, the orange juice has gone bad.
  • Mold or spots in the juice means that it has gone bad.

Further Reading:

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