Whether you want to enhance your workout recovery or simply want to supplement your diet, protein shakes are a great way to do both. But how long does a protein shake last in the fridge? Here are some ways to store your shakes so they stay fresh for longer.
I started drinking protein shakes a few years ago after a (brief) stint with a personal trainer. Admittedly, I wasn’t very committed to the “working out” he guided me through, but I loved the protein shakes!
So I started to make my own and realized how versatile they could be with various flavors and add-ins, like fruit, seeds, and peanut butter. But sometimes I made a bit too much and needed to store them.
After some trial and error, I find out how long protein shakes usually stay good in the fridge.
Read on to find out – and for ideas on how to freeze homemade protein shake batches if you want to meal plan weeks out.
- How long can a protein shake last in the fridge?
- How long does a protein shake last at room temperature?
- How do you know if your protein shake has gone bad?
- Don’t drink a protein shake if you think it has started to spoil
- Does protein powder go bad?
- Can you freeze protein shakes?
- Bottom line
- More food storage answers
How long can a protein shake last in the fridge?
In most cases, a protein shake can last up to 3 days in the fridge if kept in an airtight container like a sealed plastic shake bottle.
But the ingredients you use can make a big difference in the quality of your shake the longer you store it.
For example, if you’re simply mixing protein powder with cold water or milk, your shake will taste largely the same on day 1 as it does on day 3. Though you might need to re-shake it in case it separates.
That means you could make one the night before and drink it the next morning if you prefer to plan ahead.
However, if you add fresh fruit chunks or leafy vegetables to your shake like bananas, mangoes, or spinach, you may want to think twice about keeping it in the fridge for more than a few hours.
That’s because the fruit and veggies can start to break down and get mushy. It won’t necessarily spoil within a couple of days, but the texture of your shake won’t be very pleasant.
The best way to optimize flavor and texture is to drink your protein shake within 12 hours of making it.
How long does a protein shake last at room temperature?
What if you make a protein shake, drink part of it, then get distracted and leave it out on a counter? I’m asking for a friend. Not that this has ever happened to me.
But if it happens to you, how long do you have before unrefrigerated protein shakes start to go bad?
Generally, a protein shake will keep for about 2 hours at room temperature. After that, components in both whey protein powder and plant-based proteins in the shake will start to spoil.
If you used leafy greens in your shake, warm temperatures can interact with them. Before long, they can start to produce harmful bacterial growth like salmonella if left out too long.
If you mix your shake with dairy products or milk substitutes like almond milk, they will start to go bad as well at around the 2-hour mark.
And if you realize you’ve left your shake unrefrigerated for longer than 2 hours, to be on the safe side it’s best to discard it, so you don’t risk getting an upset stomach.
How do you know if your protein shake has gone bad?
As with most food or drinks, the most common way to tell if your protein shake has gone bad is the smell. If it smells sour or rotten, that’s a sign your shake has spoiled.
If you smell it and are not sure whether it’s gone bad, you can taste a little bit of it. Check the texture. If it’s more gooey rather than smooth — that could be another indication that your protein shake is starting to go bad.
If you notice an unusual or bitter taste, or it simply tastes not as you expect, your shake may be turning bad as well.
Another sign your shake may be spoiling is the color. If your original shake was lighter in color and is now much darker, that could mean ingredients in the shake, like added fruit, have started to turn and spoil.
In all of these cases, your best option is to simply throw the expired protein shake away and clean your shaker bottle well.
Don’t drink a protein shake if you think it has started to spoil
Drinking a protein shake that has started to spoil can result in some health issues similar to food poisoning.
Common effects include upset stomach and diarrhea. In more severe cases, you may experience vomiting as well.
If you have any of these symptoms after drinking a protein shake you think may have gone bad, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. And call a medical professional if the symptoms persist.
Does protein powder go bad?
Yes, protein powders can go bad. Different protein powders will come with their own expiration date. That means the date when the powder will be best to consume.
It still may be fine to use shortly after that date, but you’ll want to check for signs it may be spoiling. These include areas of mold, hardening and clumping of the powder, unusual smells, or discoloration.
The best thing you can do is store protein powder tubs in a dry, cool, dark place like a pantry.
Can you freeze protein shakes?
If you like to plan ahead, you can make a batch of protein shakes and freeze them for a fairly long time. Protein shakes should stay good for up to 3 months in the freezer if kept in an airtight plastic container.
You’ll want to seal the container tightly so odors from other food items in the freezer don’t seep into your shake.
Also, a frozen protein shake will likely expand, so it’s a good idea to leave some room in the cup or container you use. Plus, label each airtight container with the date you made the shake so you know if you’re nearing the 3-month shelf life.
Consuming a protein shake within 45 minutes of ending your workout is the sweet spot. That will allow the protein to most effectively aid in muscle recovery and rebuilding.
This comes down to personal preference, but many prefer milk as it can make the shake creamier and more pleasant to drink. But mixing protein powder with either water or milk will still provide the same benefits.
It’s no secret that fresh food just tastes better. And that’s true for protein shakes, too. For best results, drink them soon after you blend them together.
If you need to keep them for longer, proper storage is key. The maximum amount of time you can safely store protein shakes in the fridge is 72 hours in a sealed container. If possible, drink it within 12 hours of making it for the best taste and texture. And don’t leave it unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours.
If you want to freeze protein shakes, the longest you can safely keep them in the freezer is 3 months.
More food storage answers
Get storage tips on some of your other favorite foods and drinks. Tap the links below.