How Long Does Raw Cow's Milk Last In The Fridge


How long does raw cow's milk last in the fridge? If you've ever wondered about the longevity of raw milk in the fridge, you're in the right place.

We will delve into the world of raw cow's milk. We will uncover its secrets, debunk myths, and collect invaluable tips to ensure your milk stays fresh and delicious in the fridge.

Whether you're a seasoned raw milk enthusiast or new to the concept, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to make the most of this wholesome dairy product. Let's dive in!

What Is Raw's Cow Milk

Raw cow's milk is the unprocessed milk obtained from cows containing natural fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It is the primary source of nutrition for calves and has been consumed by humans for centuries.

Raw cow's milk is milk that has not undergone any processing or pasteurization, preserving its natural composition and flavor. Unlike pasteurized milk, which is heated to kill harmful bacteria, raw cow's milk retains its beneficial enzymes and bacteria.

Throughout history, raw cow's milk has been revered for its nutritional value and cultural significance. Ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians and Greeks, consumed raw milk for its nourishing properties.

In traditional societies, raw milk was often considered a sacred food and used in various rituals and ceremonies.

What Makes Raw Milk Different From Other Raw Milk's Types

While raw milk from different animals shares similarities, raw cow's milk stands out due to its unique composition and taste.

Compared to goat or sheep milk, raw cow's milk typically has a milder flavor and creamier texture.


Cow's milk contains higher levels of certain nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, making it a popular choice for many consumers.

How Long Does Raw Milk Last In The Fridge?

When stored properly in the refrigerator, raw cow's milk can typically last for up to three days to two weeks before it begins to spoil.

The exact duration of freshness may vary depending on several factors, including the initial quality of the milk, the temperature of the refrigerator, and how well it is sealed.

Raw cow's milk has a relatively short shelf life compared to pasteurized milk due to the presence of natural bacteria and enzymes. These microorganisms can cause the milk to spoil more quickly if not kept at the appropriate temperature.

Why the fridge is good for storing raw cow's milk?

The refrigerator provides an ideal environment for storing raw cow's milk due to its consistently low temperature, typically around 37 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (or 3 to 4 degrees Celsius).

This cold environment helps to slow down the growth of bacteria and preserve the freshness of the milk for a longer period. The controlled humidity levels in the fridge help to prevent the milk from evaporating or developing off-flavors.


Moreover, storing raw cow's milk in the refrigerator helps to minimize exposure to light, which can degrade the quality of the milk over time.

Factors Determining The Shelf Life Of Raw Cow's Milk In The Fridge

Several factors play a crucial role in determining the shelf life of raw cow's milk when stored in the refrigerator.

Understanding these factors can help consumers better manage and prolong the freshness of their milk.

The initial quality of the milk: The quality of the raw cow's milk at the time of purchase greatly influences its shelf life. Milk that is sourced from healthy cows and handled properly during milking and processing is less likely to contain harmful bacteria or contaminants.

Temperature of the refrigerator: The temperature at which raw cow's milk is stored in the refrigerator is critical in determining its shelf life. Fluctuations in temperature can accelerate bacterial growth and lead to spoilage more quickly.

Packaging and storage conditions: When raw milk is exposed to air, oxygen can promote the growth of aerobic bacteria and oxidation of fats in the milk, resulting in off-flavors and rancidity.

Handling and sanitation: Cross-contamination can occur if raw milk is stored near or comes into contact with foods that contain spoilage or pathogenic bacteria.


Time: The longer raw cow's milk is stored in the refrigerator, the greater the likelihood of it spoiling. While refrigeration slows down bacterial growth, it does not completely halt it.

Tips For Storing Raw Cow's Milk In The Fridge

Proper storage is essential for maintaining the freshness and quality of raw cow's milk in the refrigerator. Here are some valuable tips to help consumers effectively store their milk and prolong its shelf life.

Choose the right container: Opt for glass containers with tight-sealing lids to prevent air and contaminants from entering the milk. Avoid storing milk in containers made of reactive materials, such as metal, as they can affect the taste and quality of the milk.

Keep it cold: Set your refrigerator to a temperature of around 37 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (or 3 to 4 degrees Celsius) to slow down bacterial growth and prevent spoilage. Avoid overloading the fridge, as overcrowding can inhibit air circulation and lead to uneven cooling.

Store on the shelves: Store raw cow's milk on the refrigerator shelves rather than the door, as the door experiences more temperature fluctuations. Additionally, avoid storing milk near strong-smelling foods, as milk can absorb odors easily.

Seal tightly: After each use, make sure to seal the milk container tightly to prevent air from entering and bacteria from contaminating the milk. Use lids or caps that provide a secure seal and check for any leaks or cracks in the container.


Rotate regularly: Place newly purchased milk at the back of the fridge and move older milk to the front for easy access. Labeling the container with the date of storage helps you keep track of its freshness.

Keep stable temperature: Avoid frequent opening and closing of the refrigerator door, as this can cause temperature fluctuations and accelerate the spoilage of raw cow's milk. Also, refrain from placing hot or warm items directly into the refrigerator, as this can raise the internal temperature and affect the milk's freshness.

Avoid exposure to light: Light exposure can degrade the quality of raw milk. You can store it in an opaque container or place it in a dark area of the refrigerator.

Store away from strong-smelling foods: Raw milk can absorb odors from other foods in the refrigerator. Keep it away from strong-smelling items like onions, garlic, or highly aromatic cheeses.

Monitor for signs of spoilage: Regularly inspect the raw cow's milk for any signs of spoilage, such as changes in odor, appearance, or texture. Discard any milk that appears curdled, sour-smelling, or discolored, as these are indicators of bacterial contamination and spoilage.

How To Use Your Raw Cow's Milk While Storing It In The Fridge

When using raw cow's milk that's been stored in the fridge, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind to ensure its safety and quality:


Plan ahead: Before storing raw cow's milk in the fridge, consider how you'll use it throughout the week. By planning ahead, you can minimize waste and ensure that you're using the milk before it reaches its expiration date.

Shake before using: Raw milk tends to separate, with the cream rising to the top. Before using the milk, give it a gentle shake to redistribute the cream evenly throughout the milk.

Use clean utensils: Always use clean utensils, such as a clean spoon or measuring cup, when dispensing raw milk from the container. This helps prevent contamination and maintains the milk's freshness.

Pour what you need: Only take out the amount of raw milk you need for immediate use, rather than leaving the container out for extended periods. This helps minimize temperature fluctuations and reduces the risk of spoilage.

Refrigerate promptly: After dispensing the desired amount of raw milk, promptly return the container to the refrigerator to maintain its freshness and prevent bacterial growth.

Keep it covered: If you're not using the entire container at once, make sure to reseal it tightly after each use to minimize exposure to air and odors from other foods in the refrigerator.

Use within the recommended time frame: Raw milk typically stays fresh for a few days when properly stored in the refrigerator. Use it within this timeframe to ensure optimal taste and quality.

Inspect before consuming: Before using raw milk, always inspect it for any signs of spoilage, such as an off odor, unusual texture, or abnormal color. If you notice any of these signs, discard the milk to avoid consuming potentially harmful bacteria.

Recipes With Raw Cow's Milk

While raw cow's milk can be delicious on its own, there are several recipes you can try to make the most of its creamy texture and rich flavor while stored in the fridge. Here are a few ideas:

Homemade Yogurt: Heat the milk to about to around 110°F (43°C) before adding yogurt culture. Let it ferment for 8-12 hours until thickened, then refrigerate until chilled. You can flavor it with honey, fruit, or vanilla to your liking.

Cheese: Raw cow's milk can be used to make a variety of cheeses, such as mozzarella, cheddar, or paneer. Each cheese has its own specific process, but generally, they involve heating the milk, adding a coagulant like rennet or lemon juice, and then pressing and aging the cheese.

Smoothies: Raw cow's milk can add a creamy richness to smoothies. Blend it with your favorite fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients like yogurt, nut butter, or protein powder for a nutritious and delicious drink.

Overnight Oats: Use raw cow's milk as a base for overnight oats. Combine oats, milk, and your choice of sweeteners and flavorings in a jar, then refrigerate overnight. In the morning, you'll have a ready-to-eat breakfast that's creamy and satisfying.

Panna Cotta: Make a creamy panna cotta using raw cow's milk. Heat the milk with sugar and vanilla until steaming, then dissolve gelatin in it. Pour the mixture into molds or ramekins and refrigerate until set. Serve with fresh fruit or a drizzle of honey.


Milkshakes: Blend raw cow's milk with ice cream or frozen fruit to make indulgent milkshakes. You can customize them with different flavors and toppings for a refreshing treat.

Indicators When Raw Cow's Milk Goes Bad While Stored In The Fridge

When raw cow's milk goes bad, there are several indicators you can look for to determine if it's no longer safe to consume. Here are some common signs that raw milk has spoiled while stored in the fridge:

Off odor: Spoiled raw milk often develops a sour, unpleasant odor that is noticeably different from its fresh, sweet aroma. If you detect an off or rancid smell when you open the container, it's a strong indication that the milk has gone bad.

Unusual appearance: Visually inspect the raw milk for any signs of abnormality. Spoiled milk may appear lumpy, curdled, or have clumps floating in it. Additionally, the color of the milk may change, becoming darker or taking on a yellowish hue.

Texture changes: Spoiled raw cow's milk may undergo clotting or coagulation, resulting in the formation of thick, gel-like clumps or curds. This occurs when bacteria in the milk produce enzymes that break down proteins, causing the milk to thicken and clump together.

Separation: Raw milk naturally separates into cream and skim milk layers over time, but if the separation is excessive or the layers appear irregular, it could indicate spoilage.


Excessive separation may occur due to bacterial activity or enzymatic action on the milk components.

Presence of mold:Mold growth on the surface of raw milk is a clear indication that it has spoiled. Mold can develop when the milk comes into contact with airborne spores, especially if the container is not properly sealed or if the milk has been stored for an extended period.

Taste changes: Spoiled raw milk typically has a noticeably sour or bitter taste, different from its fresh, sweet flavor. If the milk tastes off or unpleasant, it's best to discard it rather than risk consumption.

Gas production: In some cases, bacterial growth in spoiled raw milk can produce gasses such as hydrogen sulfide or methane, leading to bloating or swelling of the container. If you notice any bulging or expansion of the milk container, it's a clear sign of spoilage.

What To Do With Spoiled Raw Cow's Milk

When you discover that raw cow's milk has spoiled while stored in the fridge, it's important to handle it properly to avoid any potential health risks. Here are some steps you can take with spoiled raw milk:

Dispose of it: Pour it down the drain or dispose of it in a sealed container in the trash. Avoid pouring spoiled milk down the sink without diluting it, as it can contribute to foul odors in your plumbing. Avoid pouring spoiled milk directly onto the ground or into storm drains, as it can pollute water sources and harm aquatic ecosystems.

Compost: If you have access to a composting facility or compost pile, consider composting spoiled raw cow's milk along with other organic waste. Milk contains valuable nutrients that can benefit the composting process and help create nutrient-rich soil for gardening and landscaping.

Contact local authorities: In some areas, local authorities may provide guidelines or resources for disposing of spoiled food and dairy products safely and responsibly.

Clean the container: Wash the container that holds the spoiled milk thoroughly with hot, soapy water. Rinse it well to remove any residue or odor from the spoiled milk. If the container is dishwasher-safe, you can run it through a dishwasher cycle for extra cleaning.

Sanitize utensils: If you use any utensils or tools to handle the spoiled milk, such as spoons or measuring cups, wash them with hot, soapy water and sanitize them with a solution of bleach and water (a tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water) or by running them through a dishwasher cycle.

Check other items in the fridge: If the spoiled milk leaks or drips onto other items in the fridge, check them for contamination. Discard any food items that came into contact with the spoiled milk or that show signs of spoilage.

Address any odor: If the spoiled milk has left an odor in the fridge, you can clean the interior of the fridge with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar to neutralize odors. Wipe down all surfaces, including shelves and drawers, and leave the fridge door open for a while to air it out.

Prevent future spoilage: Take the information we talked about to prevent further instances of raw milk spoilage.

Consider alternatives: If you frequently encounter issues with raw cow's milk spoiling before you can use it, consider exploring alternative storage methods or dairy products.

Myths About Storing Raw Cow's Milk In The Fridge

Storing raw cow's milk in the fridge can be subject to various myths and misconceptions. Here are some common ones:

Myth 1: Raw milk becomes safer to drink the longer it is stored.

It's a common misconception that raw milk somehow improves in safety the longer it sits. In reality, the opposite is true.

Raw milk, unlike pasteurized milk, doesn't undergo the process of heating to kill off harmful bacteria. Instead, it retains its natural microbial flora, which can include pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria.

When raw milk is stored for extended periods, these bacteria have the opportunity to multiply, increasing the risk of foodborne illness if the milk spoils.

Contrary to popular belief, time doesn't render raw milk safer. It can actually make it more hazardous to consume.

Myth 2: Adding salt to raw milk can prevent spoilage.

The idea that adding salt to raw milk can stave off spoilage is a persistent myth, but unfortunately, it doesn't hold up under scrutiny.

While salt does possess antimicrobial properties and can indeed inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, it's not a foolproof method for preventing spoilage, especially in raw milk.

Moreover, the concentrations of salt needed to effectively inhibit bacterial growth could significantly alter the taste and quality of the milk, making it unpalatable for consumption.

Proper refrigeration and storage hygiene are more effective measures for preventing spoilage.

Myth 3: Raw milk that smells fine is safe to drink.

While it's tempting to rely on our sense of smell as an indicator of food safety, the absence of a foul odor in raw milk doesn't guarantee its safety for consumption.

Harmful bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella, which can cause serious illness, may not always produce noticeable odors in raw milk.

Consumers should understand that relying solely on odor as a measure of milk safety is risky. Even if raw milk smells fine, it could still harbor harmful pathogens that pose a health risk if consumed.

Instead, it's essential to adopt a comprehensive approach to milk inspection and safety. It's important to inspect raw milk for other signs of spoilage, such as unusual texture or appearance, and adhere to recommended storage guidelines.

Myth 4: Raw milk from certain breeds of cows or specific farms does not


The belief that raw milk from particular cow breeds or specific farms is immune to spoilage is a misconception that overlooks fundamental principles of milk hygiene and preservation.

Regardless of the cow breed or the farm's reputation, all raw milk is inherently susceptible to spoilage if it isn't handled and stored correctly. Milk is a highly perishable food, and bacteria can multiply rapidly in it when it's not refrigerated at the appropriate temperature.

Hygiene practices during milking, processing, and storage also significantly impact milk quality and safety. Even if raw milk comes from a supposedly pristine farm or a prized breed of cows, poor hygiene practices can introduce harmful bacteria and compromise its safety.

Moreover, bacterial contamination can occur at various stages of milk production and handling, from the udder to the milk storage containers. Regardless of the cow breed or the farm's reputation, if proper sanitation measures aren't followed, raw milk is at risk of contamination and spoilage.

Learn more: Why New Zealand Farming Methods Are Better – OneEarthHealth 

Myth 5: Spoiled raw milk can be consumed after boiling.

In essence, boiling spoiled raw milk may provide a false sense of security while still exposing consumers to potential health hazards.

While boiling can indeed kill some bacteria, including pathogens that may cause illness, it's important to understand that it doesn't eliminate all risks associated with spoiled milk.

When milk spoils, bacteria present in the milk can produce toxins that are not destroyed by boiling.

These toxins can cause illness even if the bacteria themselves are killed. Consuming milk that has spoiled, regardless of whether it has been boiled or not, can still pose significant health risks.

Moreover, the quality of the milk itself may be compromised due to spoilage, resulting in off-flavors, unusual textures, and a diminished nutritional value. Boiling may alter the taste and texture of spoiled milk, but it cannot reverse the chemical changes that have occurred during spoilage.

Other Ways To Store Raw Cow's Milk Besides The Fridge

If refrigeration is not an option, there are a few alternative methods you can consider to store your raw cow's milk. However, they come with their own set of challenges and limitations.

Cool, dark cellar, or root cellar

If you have access to a cool, dark cellar or root cellar with consistent temperatures below 50°F (10°C), you may be able to store raw milk there for a short period.

Ensure that the area is clean and free from pests, and store the milk in airtight containers to prevent contamination.

Cooling with ice or cold packs

If refrigeration is temporarily unavailable, you can use ice or cold packs to keep raw milk cool.

Place the milk container in a cooler or insulated bag with ice packs to maintain a lower temperature. However, this method is only suitable for short-term storage and may not be as effective as a refrigerator.

Learn more: Beef Organs – OneEarthHealth


Vacuum sealing

Vacuum sealing raw cow's milk involves removing the air from the packaging to create a vacuum seal that helps prevent spoilage and preserve freshness.

Vacuum-sealed bags or containers are typically used for this purpose, as they provide a tight seal that keeps out air and moisture. Vacuum-sealed raw milk can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for extended periods, depending on the desired storage duration.

This method helps maintain the milk's quality and flavor while minimizing the risk of contamination or spoilage.


Dehydrating raw cow's milk involves removing the moisture from the milk to create powdered milk or milk flakes. This process helps extend the shelf life of the milk and makes it more convenient to store and transport.

To dehydrate raw milk, spread it thinly on a clean, non-stick surface or use a food dehydrator set to a low temperature. Once fully dehydrated, store the powdered milk or flakes in airtight containers in a cool, dry place.

Dehydrated raw milk can be reconstituted with water when ready to use and can be used in recipes, beverages, or as a nutrient-rich supplement.


Freezing raw cow's milk is an effective way to extend its shelf life and preserve its

nutritional value.

Before freezing, pour the raw milk into clean, airtight containers, leaving some space at the top to allow for expansion as the milk freezes.

Label the containers with the date and use them within three to six months for best quality. When ready to use, thaw the frozen milk in the refrigerator overnight or immerse the container in cold water until thawed.

While freezing may alter the texture slightly, frozen raw milk can still be used in cooking, baking, or as a beverage.

FAQ: How Long Does Raw Milk Last In The Fridge?

Can I freeze raw cow's milk?

Yes, you can freeze raw cow's milk. Freezing raw milk extends its shelf life for up to three to six months. Ensure to leave some space at the top of the container for expansion during freezing.

Can raw cow's milk go bad in the fridge?

Yes, raw cow's milk can go bad if not stored properly in the fridge. Factors such as temperature fluctuations and contamination can lead to spoilage, resulting in off-flavors and potential health risks.

Do you shake raw cow's milk before drinking?

It's necessary to shake raw cow's milk before drinking. A gentle stir or swirl can redistribute the cream for a consistent texture.

Does freezing raw cow's milk change the taste?

Freezing raw cow's milk may alter its texture slightly, but the taste remains relatively unchanged. Thawed milk may have a slightly different consistency, but it is still suitable for consumption and retains its nutritional value.

Does raw cow's milk turn into yogurt when stored in the fridge?

No, raw cow's milk does not automatically turn into yogurt when stored in the fridge. Yogurt is made by fermenting milk with specific bacterial cultures at controlled temperatures, which is different from the natural spoilage process of raw milk.


How long does raw cow's milk last outside the fridge?

Raw cow's milk should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours. Bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature, increasing the risk of spoilage and foodborne illness.

Is it safe to consume slightly sour raw cow's milk?

No, it is not safe to consume slightly sour raw cow's milk. Sour milk is an indication of spoilage and bacterial growth, which can lead to foodborne illness if consumed. It's best to discard sour milk to avoid potential health risks.

Is it safe to drink raw cow's milk after the expiration date?

No, it is not safe to drink raw cow's milk after the expiration date. Raw milk can spoil and harbor harmful bacteria over time, increasing the risk of foodborne illness if consumed past the expiration date.

Should I keep raw milk in the fridge?

Yes, it is recommended to keep raw milk in the fridge to maintain its freshness and safety. Refrigeration slows down bacterial growth and helps preserve the quality of raw milk for an extended period.

What is the lifetime of raw cow's milk?

The shelf life of raw cow's milk varies depending on factors such as temperature, handling, and storage conditions. Typically, raw cow's milk can last for a few days to two weeks when stored properly in the fridge.

What should I do if I accidentally drink spoiled cow's milk?

If you accidentally drink spoiled cow's milk and experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, seek medical attention immediately. It's essential to stay hydrated and monitor your symptoms closely.

Why does cow’s milk last so long in the fridge?

Cow's milk lasts long in the fridge due to its low pH level and natural antimicrobial properties, which inhibit the growth of bacteria and spoilage. Additionally, proper refrigeration slows down bacterial growth, extending the shelf life of cow's milk.

Seeking Other Beef Organ Products? Explore One Earth Health's Collection

At One Earth Health, we take pride in offering you the finest beef tallow and beef organ products online. 

We are your go-to source for high-quality, responsibly sourced, and nutritious offerings that will elevate your culinary experience and support your well-being.

Unparalleled quality: We source our beef tallow and organ products from trusted suppliers who adhere to the highest quality standards. You can trust that what you receive is nothing short of premium.

Nutrient-rich selection:Our beef organ supplements are a beneficial complement to any diet. They carry important nutrients. You may choose from a variety of organ meats to meet your nutritional demands, ranging from supplements with beef liver to beef heart supplements and beyond.

Convenient online shopping: Our user-friendly website makes shopping for your favorite beef tallow and beef organ products a breeze. Browse, select, and purchase easily from the comfort of your home.