Does Lemon Juice Go Bad? – What You Need to Know

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The characteristic sour taste of lemon juice makes it an irreplaceable ingredient in lemonade and lemon pie. But what happens if you have more freshly squeezed lemon juice than you need? If that’s the case, you’re likely wondering does lemon juice go bad.

Yes, lemon juice can go bad. How long it stays fresh will depend on whether it is freshly squeezed lemon juice or whether it’s a store-bought variety. The good news is that lemon juice has a pretty long shelf life when stored properly. Store lemon juice in a fridge to prolong its shelf life. 

This article tells you how long lemon juice lasts, how to tell if your freshly squeezed lemon has gone bad, and whether you can use outdated lemon juice. 

Can Lemon Juice Go Bad in the Fridge?

Lemon juice can go bad in the fridge. How long lemon juice will last in the fridge depends on the type of lemon juice and how you store it. 

Homemade squeezed lemon juice has the shortest shelf life. Freshly squeezed lemon juice can last up to four days in the fridge when stored properly. 

Because it lacks preservatives, fresh lemon juice is highly perishable. The spoilage process starts as soon as you squeeze the lemons and the fluid is exposed to microorganisms and the air.

On the other hand, store-bought refrigerated lemon juice lasts a little longer than homemade lemon juice because it has a small amount of preservatives. This type of lemon juice can last one week in the fridge before it becomes rancid. 

Unrefrigerated bottled lemon juice is loaded with preservatives and has the longest shelf life. Not only that, but many manufacturers also remove up to 90% of the water content from bottled juice to curb bacterial growth. 

How Long Does Bottled Lemon Juice Last Once Opened?

How long bottled lemon juice lasts once opened depends on the type of lemon juice and how it’s stored. 

Bottled lemon juice that’s sold refrigerated has a small number of preservatives and lasts up to a week in the fridge once opened. 

Unrefregirted bottled lemon juice can stay fresh in the fridge anywhere from six to 12 months after being opened. 

Check the best-before dates on the bottled lemon juices. Most store-bought juices are safe to use several days after the best-before date. 

How to Tell if Your Lemon Juice has gone Bad?

Freshly squeezed juice can become spoilt if left at room temperature for more than two hours. An opened bottle of unrefrigerated lemon juice can also become rancid if the juice isn’t properly stored in the fridge.

Having said that here are some tips to help you tell if your lemon juice has gone bad:

1. Check the Lemon Juice’s Color

Fresh lemon juice has a pale yellow, watery color. As the lemon juice starts to go bad its color will change to a darker, cloudy yellow. 

If the juice is stored in a nontransparent bottle, pour a small amount into a clear glass, and look for any color changes.

2. Take a Good Sniff

The way lemon juice smells is a good indicator of its freshness. Not stale, either fresh or bottled, lemon juice should have a bright citrusy smell.

Leaving the juice for too long at room temperature or not storing it properly will cause it to ferment. As a result, the lemon juice will develop a strong sour smell, which is a sure sign of spoilage. 

3. Take a Small Sip of Lemon Juice

Checking the color and smell is typically all you need to do to tell if the lemon juice has become spoilt. However, if you still can’t tell for sure, you can take a small sip of juice to check its taste. 

Spoiled lemon juice will either be super sour or just be tasteless, having none of the lemon’s typical zesty flavor. 

4. Look for Mold

Like all fruit, lemon contains some percent water which is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. A clear sign of spoiled, bacteria-infested lemon juice is mold. 

Throw away lemon juice if you notice even a tiny trace of mold or yeast. Wash the container thoroughly to avoid spreading the mold and contaminating any other food in the fridge. 

Is Outdated Lemon Juice OK to Use?

No, it’s not okay to use outdated lemon juice. Expired lemon juice can become contaminated with yeast, mold, and bacteria. 

Consuming outdated and spoiled lemon juice can lead to food poisoning. Symptoms of food poisoning typically occur a few hours after ingesting spoiled food and include chills, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach aches among others. 

The best way to avoid food poisoning is to dispose of outdated lemon juice. 

How Long Is Lemon Juice Good After Expiration?

An unopened bottle of store-bought lemon juice can last a few months after the printed expiration date. However, there’s no way of knowing how long will the expired lemon juice last once opened.

The flavor, nutritional value, and texture of the lemon juice start to degrade after the expiration date. Consuming expired lemon juice can make you sick, even if the bottle hasn’t been opened. 

When it comes to expired lemon juice it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it in a trash can. 


Like all other perishable foods and beverages, lemon juice can go bad. How fast it will turn bad, depends on whether it’s freshly squeezed or a store-bought variety. Homemade lemon juice will always spoil faster than bottled lemon juice.

The way the lemon juice is stored will also affect how long it stays fresh. Refrigeration is the best way to increase the shelf life of lemon juice. If you have a large amount of freshly squeezed lemon juice, consider freezing it. 

Homemade freshly squeezed lemon juice can last up to four days in the fridge. Store-bought refrigerated juice can stay in the fridge for up to seven days, while opened bottled lemon juice can be stored in the fridge anywhere from six to 12 months. 

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