Coffee Mate products are one of the most popular ways to create coffee shop-quality drinks at home — but if your creamer isn’t stored properly, it can ruin the flavor, fast.
Whether you prefer liquid or powder, the right type of refrigeration can extend the lifetime of the creamer, preserve the flavor, and keep you safe.
Do You Need to Refrigerate Coffee Mate?
In most cases, you should refrigerate liquid Coffee Mate creamers after you open the bottle.
Powdered Coffee Mate creamer does not need to be refrigerated at any time.
There are a few exceptions to these rules.
Pay attention to the location of the product in the store — if you find a Coffee Mate creamer in the refrigerated section, you should keep it in the refrigerator before and after opening.
Some Coffee Mate liquid creamers don’t need to be refrigerated at all.
When this is the case, the container will say “no refrigeration needed” or “do not refrigerate or freeze.”
Usually, these products are designed to be left out on the counter in a hotel, office break room, or other high-volume spot.
They’re almost always packaged in single-serve cups or a bottle with a pump dispenser.
If you’re not sure about a specific type of Coffee Mate, check the label for refrigeration instructions.
What Types of Coffee Mate Creamers Require Refrigeration?
Liquid Coffee Mate creamers are the most likely to require refrigeration.
If the label says “keep refrigerated after opening,” you don’t need to worry about cold storage right away.
Simply keep the bottle in a cool, dark place, like a pantry or a cool kitchen cabinet, until you’re ready to use it.
Once you’ve broken the seal, store it in the fridge.
Not all liquid creamers are shelf stable — some Coffee Mate products should always be stored in the fridge.
When this is the case, you’ll see the statement, “keep refrigerated” on the label.
The brand’s fat-free French vanilla liquid coffee creamer is a prime example; it’s non-dairy, but it must be kept cold for safety.
Coffee Mate’s plant-based creamers should also be refrigerated at all times.
Products like the Natural Bliss oat milk and almond milk need cold temperatures.
Any time you’re storing a Coffee Mate creamer in the fridge, Nestle suggests that you maintain a temperature between 33 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
The “recommended” or mid-range setting on your fridge dial should be fine — it usually keeps the interior around 40 degrees, in accordance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines.
If you notice that your creamers and milks spoil quickly, it’s a good idea to lower the temperature.
How Is it Safe to Store a Dairy Coffee Mate Creamer at Room Temperature?
Look closely at a dairy-based Coffee Mate creamer, and you’ll see that it doesn’t need refrigeration before it’s opened.
If you’re accustomed to keeping milk in the fridge, this might seem alarming.
Don’t worry; it’s perfectly safe to store the bottle in the cupboard.
Coffee Mate’s dairy creamers are made with ultra-pasteurized milk and cream.
That means that they’re heated to at least 280 degrees to kill off harmful bacteria.
As a result, the milk is shelf stable at room temperature.
In contrast, normal pasteurized milk — the kind you buy in the refrigerated section — is only heated to 145 degrees.
Keep in mind that the ultra-pasteurization process depends on an airtight seal.
When you open the bottle and break the seal, bacteria starts to form.
By storing your opened Coffee Mate in the fridge after that point, you can slow bacteria growth.
It’s impossible to stop the process completely, so you should consume the creamer within 7-14 days.
What Types of Liquid Coffee Mate Creamers Do Not Require Refrigeration?
Some types of liquid Coffee Mate creamers are shelf-stable before and after opening — that means they never need to be refrigerated.
These products are always made with non-dairy ingredients to increase the shelf life.
Since these products are left out of the fridge, they’re always at room temperature.
That can be jarring if you like to use cold creamer to temper hot coffee.
If the creamer is packaged in an individual cup, you can safely put it in the fridge.
However, if your non-refrigerated creamer has a pump dispenser, it’s important to leave it on the counter; the cold temperatures in the fridge can clog the pump.
How to Store Powdered Coffee Mate Safely
Powdered Coffee Mate creamers are some of the hardiest, longest-lasting creamers on the market.
They don’t need to be refrigerated, but you should keep them in a cool, dry place.
Avoid cabinets near the stove or refrigerator — the heat from the appliances can cause the powder to spoil. The steam from cooking is also a problem; it creates hard, dense clumps.
Like most Coffee Mate products, powdered creamer should never be frozen.
Can Coffee Mate Creamers Go Bad?
All types of Coffee Mate creamer can go bad — even powdered versions.
In most cases, Nestle prints the recommended usage schedule on the label.
If a product must be refrigerated, you should use it within 14 days of opening.
Non-refrigerated liquid creamers should be used within 30 days of opening.
For powdered creamers, you’ll need to check the use-by date on the bottom of the container.
The creamer won’t necessarily make you sick after these dates, but you might notice a change in taste or texture.
Keep in mind that the lifetime of a creamer can vary based on your fridge.
Too-warm temperature settings and frequent door-opening can make the creamer go bad in less time.
If you notice a chunky texture, an odd smell, or a foul taste, the product probably isn’t safe to drink.
Do you want to help your Coffee Mate creamer last longer?
Don’t keep it in the door of your fridge.
The air in this area warms and cools every time you open the door; these constant temperature cycles can make the creamer spoil faster.
A better option is to store the bottle at the back of the bottom shelf.
That’s where temperatures are consistently the coldest.
Powdered Coffee Mate probably won’t develop odors when it goes bad.
Instead of dissolving, it will form small clumps that give your coffee a curdled look.
When that happens, it’s a good idea to get a new package.
Pre-refrigeration storage also affects the lifetime of Coffee Mate creamers.
Shelf-stable products can usually last unopened for 6-9 months in a cool, dry place.
After that, the taste and quality start to decline.
If you’re thinking about stocking up on seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice and peppermint, make sure to open the bottles within 6 months.
Every Coffee Mate package has an expiration date, so it’s easy to keep track of the safe-storage window.
How Long Can You Leave Coffee Mate Creamer out of the Refrigerator?
It happens to everyone — you make your morning coffee and leave the bottle of Coffee Mate sitting on the counter.
Before you know it, three hours have passed.
Is it safe to put the bottle back in the fridge?
When the weather is mild, you can usually leave Coffee Mate creamer out of the refrigerator for up to two hours.
If the kitchen is hot from sunshine or cooking, reduce that time limit to one hour.
Why does the temperature matter?
As the creamer gets warm, it creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.
If it’s left out for too long, the bacteria levels start to affect the taste of the milk.
With enough time, the levels can become harmful to your health.
Will Expired Coffee Mate Creamer Make You Sick?
It is possible for expired Coffee Mate creamer to make you sick.
The likelihood of illness depends on two key factors:
- Type of storage: Creamer lasts longer at room temperature if it’s stored in a cool, dark place. If your bottle was stored in a warm cupboard, it can go bad even before the expiration date.
- Expiration date: The further you get from a creamer’s expiration date, the more likely it is to make you sick.
What does that mean?
If your bottle expired yesterday, and you kept it in a cool, dark cabinet, it’s probably safe to drink.
If it expired 6 months ago, you might want to toss it.
Before you drink an expired creamer, smell it to make sure there are no unusual odors.
Then, as you pour it into your coffee, ensure that it’s not chunky or curdled.
The final step is a taste test — if the creamer tastes normal and doesn’t hurt your stomach, you should be able to drink it without negative effects.
Expired creamer is more likely to go bad after you open it.
To reduce the risk of illness, be vigilant for signs of spoiling, and consume the entire bottle within one week.
Coffee Mate creamers give you the power to make delicious java drinks in the comfort of your own home.
By paying close attention to storage, refrigeration, and consumption instructions, you can consume your favorite flavors safely.