Does Lime Juice Go Bad? (Fresh Vs Shelf Stable)

Quick summary: Fresh lime juice will go bad in a few days, but pasteurized one will be okay significantly longer. It’s more likely that the loss of aroma will occur way earlier than actual spoilage.

Lime juice is an indispensable part of the vast majority of cocktails, as well as numerous recipes for sweets, adorable creams, and other desserts. It is usually added in small amounts due to its extremely strong citrus flavor. For this reason, it often comes packed in small bottles, but it also has a habit of the leftovers lasting for months until you use them up.

There is a big difference between freshly squeezed lime juice and processed lime juice that you can find in stores. The shelf life, storage method, and durability after opening are different. Read on for all the exciting details.

How Long Does Lime Juice Last?

You’re probably not entirely sure how long lime juice can last and whether you can use it after it expires. The basic two divisions would be the juice that is freshly squeezed or the processed one. So here’s which one you can keep longer.

Freshly squeezed lime juice

Whether you squeezed it yourself at home or found a fresh-squeezed, preservative-free version at the store, your lime juice has a very short shelf life. In any case, it must be stored in the refrigerator, and its durability is a few days at most. Let’s say a maximum of three to four days is something you can hope for. Therefore, if you want to preserve fresh juice for a long time, freeze it.

Pasteurized lime juice

What you will most often find in the grocery store is pasteurized lime juice. In addition to being heat-treated, it also contains preservatives added to protect quality and durability. Such liquid is truly long-lasting. It will certainly last at least a month or two longer than the expiration date written on the package. Also, once opened, if you refrigerate it, it will likely live past its supposed best-by date. And in any case, it will last half a year without any problems.

Can Lime Juice Go Bad?

The correct answer would be not often, for sure. However, it won’t last forever, without a doubt. At some point, deterioration may occur. But long before that, you will probably experience a loss of aroma and citrus strength.

Sign 1: The taste is bland

As we said, the bland taste will happen over time before the juice actually goes bad. You will simply taste a little lime juice and realize that it no longer has a citrus flavor or pleasant aroma. This does not mean that the product is unfit for consumption. But there’s no point in adding it to recipes because it certainly won’t help.

Sign 2: The smell is very off

If anything will tell you that a product is no longer safe to eat, it’s the smell. After you open a bottle that may have been sitting for too long, especially if the storage conditions were poor, you would smell a horrible scent that does not at all resemble the lime juice it used to be. In this case, don’t even try to taste it. The product is simply off and should be thrown away.

In the absence of lime juice, you may resort to lemons as a substitute. In this case, read our advice on lemon juice shelf life and storage tips.

Which is the Best Way to Store Lime Juice?

Storage conditions are significant for any foodstuff. Any product that has a shelf life depends on good storage. It’s the same with lime juice. If you decide to keep it exposed to the sun or near strong heat sources, don’t count on the durability we talked about. But the requirements of this product are reasonable. Here’s what you need to do.

Tip 1: Place at a comfortable temperature

Until you open the bottle of lime juice, you can keep it at room temperature. But it is preferable that this temperature be comfortably cooler and that it is definitely a dark place that is not exposed to light. An ordinary pantry or a cozy kitchen cabinet is an entirely logical choice.

Tip 2: Keep refrigerated after opening

After opening the bottle, keeping the lime juice in the refrigerator is necessary. This is the only way to preserve the correctness of the product and its quality. For freshly squeezed juice, it is essential to always keep it in the refrigerator.

Tip 3: Seal well

Remember to close the bottle well after using it and before storing it in the refrigerator. This is important in order to prevent contamination by possible external bacteria, as well as odors that may reside in the fridge.


How can you tell if lime juice is bad?

A very bad smell will clearly indicate that the lime juice has gone bad. If you smell an unpleasant odor after opening the bottle, it’s time to throw the product away.

Can I use expired lime juice?

Yes, if you have kept the bottle unopened under favorable storage conditions, it is very likely that it is still good for at least another month or two after the expiration date. It can even last a few months longer, but be sure to check the quality of the product before using it.

Can lime juice give you food poisoning?

This is unlikely to happen unless you have consumed severely spoiled lime juice without prior heat treatment. But cases of lime juice poisoning are really very rare.

Lime juice is a great friend of the vast majority of cocktails, and it is also used in numerous dessert recipes. If you have it freshly squeezed, it is furthermore rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C, so it is an excellent choice to enhance the aroma of drinks or desserts. 

Fresh juice must be kept in the refrigerator and must be consumed within a few days. Pasteurized juice, however, can last a very long time. Before opening, it can be at a comfortable room temperature, and after opening, place it in the refrigerator and use it freely for at least half a year.

*image by d_mikh/depositphotos

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