Does Orange Juice Go Bad or Does It Just Taste Funny? Read This to Find Out

Orange juice is a breakfast staple, so if you’re anything like me, you probably have a bottle in your refrigerator at all times. But what happens when that bottle gets neglected for a while? Will it still taste fresh? Does orange juice go bad?

The good news is that orange juice is pretty resilient. It will typically last for a couple of days after opening, even if it’s not refrigerated.

This article discusses what orange juice is, whether or not it goes bad, how to preserve it, and more. Keep reading to find out.

What Is Orange Juice?

Orange juice, often referred to by its initials OJ is a fruit juice made from oranges. It can be obtained by squeezing an orange fruit until all the juice within has been extracted.

While OJ is delicious on its own, you can also combine it with other juices to make a flavorful combo. For example, you can combine OJ with lemonade or grapefruit juice.

You can also use this juice as an ingredient in recipes for soups, sauces, and marinades. However, keep in mind that OJ has a strong citrusy flavor, so you mustn’t overdo it when adding it to these recipes.

Does Orange Juice Go Bad?

The answer is yes. Like most things in life, orange juice doesn’t last forever. OJ’s main enemies are heat, light, and air, all of which cause it to oxidize.

After some time, OJ will start to become rancid. It might go from fresh-squeezed OJ to something more akin to a glass of water with orange-flavored wax floating on top.

How fast this happens depends on if the OJ has been pasteurized or not. If the juice has gone through a pasteurization process (which flash-heats liquids to kill bacteria), then it should be safe for up to ten days after opening.

If your OJ hasn’t been pasteurized, it will go bad faster, so be sure to keep it in the fridge and drink it within 7 days of opening.

What Is the Shelf Life of Orange Juice?

Generally, unopened pasteurized bottles of orange juice have a shelf life of around 1 to 2 years. Once opened, make sure to refrigerate the juice and consume it within 7 to 10 days to avoid spoilage.

And if your OJ is not pasteurized? Well, it’ll stay at good quality for about 1 to 2 weeks past its best-by date. Once opened, you should also refrigerate it and consume it within 4 to 7 days.

Freshly-squeezed OJ has the shortest lifespan of all and will only last for about 2-3 days if stored in the refrigerator.

Can You Drink Expired Orange Juice?

The answer is yes, but only if it hasn’t gone bad. Orange juice that has gone bad will develop an off-flavor and appearance because of bacteria and yeast.

Also, check to make sure it doesn’t smell like vinegar or other weird smells (it should smell like oranges). If your expired OJ doesn’t look, smell, or taste bad, it’s safe to consume.

SEE: Get Free Food or Amazing Discount at Church’s Chicken

How to Tell if Orange Juice Is Bad

Look for an expiration date

To tell if your OJ is bad, check the expiration date on the bottle. Usually, manufacturers print it on the side of the bottle or near the bottom, where they are most visible. If your OJ has passed that date, it’s probably time for a new bottle.

Inspect the container

If you notice any liquid leaking from the bottle, discard the product immediately. This means that bacteria have gotten into the bottle and spoiled the juice.

In addition, if you notice that your OJ’s container is bulging or has an unusual pattern, discard it. Unhealthy gasses are most likely building up inside the container.

Furthermore, if you open your OJ’s container and hear an “explosive” sound or a hissing noise, discard it. This means the contents have been fermenting inside, an indicator that it’s no longer safe to drink.

Smell it

OJ should smell just like oranges. If your juice smells like vinegar, there’s a good chance it has gone off, and you should not drink it. Pour out the remaining juice into the sink so that you don’t contaminate the rest of your food.

Check the color

Look at your OJ after pouring it into a glass. If it looks cloudy or has taken on an odd color (like gray or brown), throw it out. These are signs that your OJ has been contaminated by yeasts or molds.

Take a taste test

If your orange juice tastes bad or off, get rid of it.

Look for chunky bits

If there are chunky bits and pieces in your juice, it’s time to throw it away. Even if you can’t see other spoilage signs, chunky bits and pieces in your juice mean it has lost its freshness.

SEE: How to Stop Food Spoilage and Food Poisoning

Check for bubbles

If you’re still unsure about whether your OJ has gone bad, look at it through clear glass and check for any bubbles. This indicates fermentation activity; you don’t want that in your stomach.

How to Preserve Orange Juice

Store in a cool dry place

An easy way to preserve your OJ’s freshness is to keep it away from heat and light. Any juice that has been exposed to heat or light will not last as long as it would in a cool, dark place.

Keep it closed

It may seem like common sense, but this step is essential to keep your juice fresh. Make sure the container you’re storing your OJ in has a tight lid. Only pour out what you need and then put the lid back on right away.

SEE: You Should Avoid These Food Storage Mistakes

Store in the refrigerator

Refrigerating your juice allows you to keep it at a constant temperature so that it doesn’t lose its flavor over time. This also keeps the nutrients inside the juice intact, making it more readily available when you need it.

Go for glass or stainless containers

Glass or stainless steel containers are ideal because they don’t give off flavors or odors like plastic containers. This will help ensure that your juice won’t absorb any tastes or chemicals while it sits in the container.

Make juice cubes

Making OJ cubes is a simple way to keep your juice around for a while longer. All you need are ice cube trays, some wax paper, and juice.

Simply pour the juice into the ice cube trays and lay a sheet of wax paper on top. Place the filled ice cube trays in your freezer and wait for them to freeze (it shouldn’t take more than a few hours). Once frozen solid, pop the orange cubes out of the trays and place them in a resealable freezer bag.

SEE: Freeze These Foods Before They Go Bad (So They Last Longer)


Can you be allergic to orange juice?

Yes, you can. Although rare, some people have allergic reactions to the various ingredients in orange juice. Signs and symptoms include hives or skin rash, shortness of breath, and swelling around the mouth and tongue area.

When is the best time to drink orange juice?

During breakfast. Drinking a glass of orange juice during breakfast can help keep you active throughout the day. Orange juice contains vitamins and minerals—two essential nutrients that help you function properly.

Can orange juice damage your teeth?

Yes, it can. Drinking excessive amounts of orange juice can lead to dental problems. The acidic nature of the beverage deteriorates the enamel over time, leading to tooth decay and other dental issues.

To minimize this problem, drink only moderate amounts of OJ and rinse your mouth with water after consumption.

Is orange juice good for your health?

Yes, it is. Orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C, which is important for building immunity and preventing disease. It also contains potassium, which helps prevent heart disease by regulating blood pressure.

Can orange juice cause acid reflux?

Yes, it can. Drinking too much orange juice can cause acid reflux in your body. When this happens, stomach acids can enter your esophagus, which leads to an upset stomach and heartburn.

To prevent this problem from occurring, do not drink OJ on an empty stomach or shortly before eating meals.


Hopefully, this article has cleared up some confusion about whether your orange juice will go bad, and how long it will stay fresh. While opened OJ can stay fresh in the refrigerator for at least a week, unopened OJ will last for quite a while.

You can tell if your orange juice has gone bad by looking for an off-color, cloudy appearance, or an unpleasant smell. You can also taste the juice to check for any off-flavors from yeast growth or bacterial contamination.

Thanks for reading.

For more information on orange juice and oranges, visit Cheffist today.