How Long Can Coffee Creamer Sit Out?

By Mark •  Updated: 05/31/22 •  8 min read

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Espresso may give you the energy to beat the blues, but you need coffee to refresh your mood. What better to lighten your dark-roasted coffee than a lightly-sweetened creamer? With a teaspoon of your favorite coffee creamer, you can replicate the taste of any popular drink. Dozens of flavors are available at your local store.  

So before you head down to the supermarket, let’s find out what coffee creamer is made of and how long it lasts.

What is Coffee Creamer? 

How Long Can Coffee Creamer Sit Out
How Long Can Coffee Creamer Sit Out

Coffee creamer substitutes fresh milk to lighten and sweeten black coffee. It is typically dairy-free, but you can easily find dairy ones with all the available options.

From lactose-free and fat-free to sugar-free, the possibilities are endless. However, creamer is made with the same base ingredients. Whether you purchase Coffee-mate or Delight, they include water, sugar, and vegetable oil. 

Coffee creamers contain generous amounts of sugar, so be careful how much you add to your coffee. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can add creamer to your cereal or fruit smoothie for extra sweetness. 

The Two Types of Coffee Creamer

The market is saturated with many different flavors of coffee creamer, but when it comes to type, there are only two leading contenders–liquid creamer and powdered creamer. 

Both differ significantly in their composition and qualities.

Liquid Creamer 

If you like to pair your cup of coffee with half-and-half or heavy cream, then liquid creamer is ideal. It has a rich consistency that takes your homemade coffee to the next level. Several non-dairy creamers in the market taste just like the real deal!

Unfortunately, liquid creamer is sweetened with corn syrup, containing tons of unwanted sugar. So make sure to pour sparingly.

Powdered creamer has a liquid creamer beat in shelf life, but liquid creamer is a much better option in terms of ingredients as it contains low fats, sodium, and trans-fats.

Powdered Creamer

If you despise making trips to the grocery store, powdered creamer is better for you. It has a much more prolonged shelf life than liquid creamer. It can also be stored anywhere in the kitchen, without any strict requirement for temperature control.

Powdered creamer contains highly processed trans-fat, which can be pretty unhealthy in the long run. So keep track of how many spoons you add to your coffee. 

Does Coffee Creamer Need to be Refrigerated?

Whether or not your coffee creamer needs to be refrigerated depends on the type you’ve purchased.

Traditional liquid creamer must be refrigerated. If it’s kept outside the fridge for more than two hours, harmful bacteria grow inside the bottle.

Previously, it was believed that milk compounds or dairy elements required the creamer to be refrigerated. However, even creamers without dairy or lactose would spoil if not kept cool.

So make sure to put the bottle back in the fridge as soon as you’re done using it.  

However, if you’ve got the powdered type, you no longer have to worry about storing coffee creamer cold. It can be kept unrefrigerated for over two years and still be perfectly fine to make a cup of creamy coffee.

The lack of moisture in the creamer acts as an uninviting feature for the bacteria, making it ideal for prolonged use.  

What Happens If You Drink Bad Coffee Creamer? 

What Happens If You Drink Bad Coffee Creamer
What Happens If You Drink Bad Coffee Creamer

Some days you wake up too groggy to notice your creamer has gone bad. So it helps to be aware of what happens if you consume expired coffee creamer. 

Fortunately, there are no severe implications like food poisoning. You might experience bloating, and a slight stomach ache. But if you ever prepare a cup of coffee that smells weird, then it’s best not to take any chances. 

How Do You Know If Your Coffee Creamer Has Gone Bad? 

If you think your creamer has gone bad, simply looking at the expiration date will not be enough, especially if you have liquid coffee creamer that’s already opened. The creamer may be months away from expiration, but exposure to heat or a moist setting may introduce bacteria. 

Therefore, if you’ve left creamer unrefrigerated overnight or suspect it’s spoiled, it’s better to do a little test. 

Take a close look at the texture and color; if it seems different than usual, toss it. If you’re still unsure, take a sip. Spoiled coffee creamer has a sour taste.

This is typically common in liquid coffee creamers, but you can do the same test with your powdered creamer to put the fear to rest. 

How To Keep Your Coffee Creamer Fresh

Ensuring your tub of powdered creamer stays fresh is an effortless task. All you have to do is make sure the lid of your container is tightly sealed, and voilà, you’re good to go for months!

But when it comes to liquid creamers, you must be more cautious. In addition to tightly closing the bottle cap, you must ensure it’s kept at a favorable temperature.

So be mindful when using liquid creamer because if you forget to refrigerate the creamer overnight, there’s a high chance you’ll be waking up to a funky-smelling liquid. 

How Does Coffee Creamer Perform in the Health Department? 

Unlike natural milk products usually paired with coffee, artificially flavored, non-dairy creamer performs poorly. This is because it lacks any nutritional value offered by milk or cream and has no proteins or good fats. Instead, it contains trans-fats, added flavors and colors, corn syrup solids, and hydrogenated vegetable oil. 

How Does Coffee Creamer Perform in the Health Department
How Does Coffee Creamer Perform in the Health Department

But it’s not all bad! Since the taste of the creamer is not easy to replicate, you can limit your use instead of giving it up completely. Additionally, keep track of how much sugar you’re consuming to be on the safe side.   

Are There Any Substitutes for Coffee Creamer? 

Currently, the global coffee creamer market is valued at 1.81 billion USD. This statistic shows that we love convenience over anything else. But if you’re watching your sugar intake or calorie count, pouring creamer into your coffee isn’t the best choice.

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Instead, you can opt for some of the healthier options:

Non-dairy Options

Almond milk and oat milk remain popular choices amongst avid coffee drinkers. They contain fewer fats and added sugars than any conventional coffee creamer and add a slightly nutty taste to your coffee.

You can also test out canned coconut milk, which comes with a bonus layer of thick coconut cream. This dairy-free coconut version is ideal for anyone looking for a smooth and decadent cup of coffee.

Condensed Milk

You can add condensed milk if you crave a thick, sugary coffee creamer. It’s cooked to a syrupy texture, which promises to satisfy your creamer cravings.

But make sure you don’t go overboard because condensed milk is packed with sugars.

Egg Yolk

If you wake up with nothing but eggs in your fridge one day, it’s worth giving them a shot. Add an egg yolk to a bowl and pour hot coffee from the top as you whisk it. Continue whisking until you achieve a frothy texture. While substituting coffee creamer with an egg yolk may seem bizarre, it lifts the flavor profile.

The eggs also add much-needed protein, vitamins, and antioxidants to your diet. So if you’re thinking of skipping breakfast, have this funky concoction, and you’ll be good to go!

Apple Cider Vinegar

Another option that may seem particularly strange is adding vinegar to your coffee. You may think it will leave a nasty taste, but surprisingly, people are pretty fond of it. When mixed with coffee, apple cider vinegar can remind you of the holidays because it tastes and smells like apple pie.

Vinegar boosts weight loss and lowers cholesterol levels. If you plan to get in shape this summer, replace your creamer with apple cider vinegar. Your morning coffee will be perfect.

FAQs About How Long Coffee Creamer Can Sit Out

Can you drink coffee creamer left out overnight?

Liquid coffee creamer will likely go bad if left out all night. So if you consume it in the morning, you might experience stomach aches and bloat. But if you use powdered coffee creamers, there’s nothing to worry about.  

How long does coffee creamer last out of the fridge? 

The type of coffee creamer determines how long it can stay without proper cooling. Refrigeration is not required for powdered creamer and can last over two years outside the fridge.

However, a liquid creamer may go wrong if left out for more than 2 hours. Therefore, it must be stored in the cold at all times.


G'day from Australia! I'm Mark, the Chief Editor of Portafilter. I'm super passionate about everything coffee-related and love to spend endless hours mastering pulling the perfect shot on my Breville Barista Express. Follow on: Linkedin and Facebook.

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