How Long Does Canned Evaporated Milk Keep?

Canned evaporated milk can last for one more year past its printed expiration date when stored in the pantry. Once opened, a can of evaporated milk should be stored inside the refrigerator and must be consumed within 3 to 4 days.

Evaporated milk is basically a milk product with about 60 percent of its water content removed via an evaporation process. After removing the water, the milk is then homogenized, canned and sterilized. The sterilization process of evaporated milk exposes it to temperatures of 240 to 245 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. This gives evaporated milk a darker color to regular milk, as well as its unique flavor.

Evaporated milk is less perishable than regular milk and this makes it ideal for storage or shipping purposes as it has a longer shelf life. The long shelf life of evaporated milk also made it a popular milk alternative before refrigerators became commonplace. Federal regulations in the United States require that evaporated milk must have no less than 6.5 percent milk fat and a total of 23 milk solids by volume.

Physical changes in color and texture are often indications that the batch of evaporated milk has gone bad. Spoiled evaporated milk will likely have taken on a darker color and a thicker consistency. Once opened, remaining evaporated milk in the can must be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator. It is not possible to store evaporated milk in the freezer as this will cause the components of the milk to separate.