Skip to Content

Does Cranberry Juice Go Bad?

Are you looking for the latest in cranberry news? Check that container now: Does Cranberry Juice Go Bad?

Even though cranberry juice may not be as popular as pineapple or orange juice, it has become a staple in bars since the 90s.

It is well-known for its vibrant red color, versatility, and tart flavor.

Furthermore, pure cranberry tastes quite tart.

Cranberry juice cocktail has a lot of sugar in order to cut that tart, sour flavor.

It is typically diluted with apple, orange juice, or sweeteners to reduce acidity. 

You may frequently see cranberries in juice form, cooked, or canned, plus dried as a salad or yogurt topping. 

But cranberries are so much more than that.

They may be sprinkled on top of yogurt, salad, and oatmeal and can be eaten raw, though they can be somewhat sour.

You can even make a relish out of them!

Cranberry juice, on the other hand, is used in various mocktails and cocktails for an added zing. 

Like cranberry Moscow mule, perhaps?

They’re even used to prepare shakes, pastries, pancakes, and smoothies!

If it’s your first time trying out cranberry juice, it’s normal to wonder, does cranberry juice go bad?

If you don’t know, you don’t know!

If you’re reading this during the holidays, you may have found a sealed container of cranberry juice in the back of the pantry or an open can in the back of the fridge.

And it’s better to find out the truth than simply guessing.

So, start here and see if we can some of your questions answered right now.

Table Of Contents

Does Cranberry Juice Go Bad?

You’ve just realized that the half-full container of cranberry juice in your fridge is over its expiration date.

You’re probably wondering if it’s still safe to drink or has gone bad.

Cranberry juice will eventually spoil, much like any other kind of food or drink.

An unopened bottle of this refreshing drink can last up to nine months beyond its best-by date if stored at room temperature.

By storing it unopened in the refrigerator, its quality will stay at its optimum quality for three to six months. 

On the other hand, putting an opened bottle of cranberry juice in the fridge will stay fresh for three weeks.

However, do not keep it for longer than three weeks; beyond that time, it will no longer be okay to drink and should be disposed of.

Once you open a bottle of cranberry juice, the quality will deteriorate, so you should immediately place it in the refrigerator. 

Otherwise, you will encourage the growth of germs and fermentation in the juice, which can pose health risks. 

Despite claims to the contrary, storing an opened bottle of cranberry juice at room temperature for a week is strongly discouraged.

Additionally, if you want to keep your opened bottle of cranberry juice in the pantry, you should drink it as soon as you can because it only has a limited shelf life of no more than 24 hours.

Hence, consume the juice right away to prevent waste.

Furthermore, freezing the cranberry juice concentrate can keep it fresh for a year.

How to tell if cranberry juice has gone bad

You can tell if your cranberry juice has gone bad by its taste and appearance.

By observing the color of your cranberry juice, you may immediately determine whether or not it has gone bad.

If it does not appear to be its typical brilliant red color, then this indicates that it is already spoiled. 

Next, a sour odor might indicate fermentation.

If it smells like beer or wine, it is best to throw it away since it’s likely spoiled.

Keep in mind that it is supposed to smell fresh.

Additionally, when you see bubbles in the juice, you know it’s beginning to ferment.

Many bubbles on the surface are a bit of a giveaway.

Moreover, a change in flavor is one surefire sign that your cranberry juice has expired.

It should not taste bitter but rather pleasantly sweet with a mildly bitter aftertaste.

And if mold is on it, it has gone bad, and you should buy a new bottle instead.

Also, by merely looking at the carton or bottle, you may determine that the juice is no longer fit for consumption.

You should throw away the bulging package of your cranberry juice since it’s a sign of fermentation.

Can I use expired cranberry juice?

From Northland Cranberry Juice:

Are your juice products still good to drink beyond the Best By Date?

Our juices will have the optimum flavor and quality when used by the Best By Date. Beyond that date, it may lack some of the same freshness, color, and consistency as when it was originally packaged.

It is preferable to throw them away if they have gone bad or are more than a week over their best-by date.

It may result in a mild sickness, food poisoning, or an upset stomach.

Although it is safe to drink cranberry juice that has been constantly refrigerated a week after its best-by date and shows no spoilage, it may lack the fresh taste and quality that you experienced when you first opened it.

Therefore, drinking brand-new cranberry juice is always recommended.

How to store cranberry juice

There are three different ways to store your cranberry juice.

It is either in the kitchen pantry, the refrigerator, or the freezer.

If you have a bottle of unopened cranberry juice, you can put it on the shelf as long as you follow appropriate storage practices.

Store them somewhere cold and dry, away from sources of intense heat or sunlight.

Such an environment will not harm the juice’s quality and flavor.

However, as soon as you open the juice package, you must place it in the fridge.

The safest place to keep the juice is in the fridge.

Particularly in regions with warm temperatures or throughout the summer.

Keep the juice in a well-sealed container to avoid contamination and odor absorption from other items in the refrigerator. 

The unopened bottle of cranberry juice may be stored in the fridge for three to six months past its best-by date. 

From Northland Cranberry Juice:

How long can your juice be consumed once open?

Once opened and refrigerated, the juice should remain fresh for up to 7-10 days.

How long can I keep an opened bottle of R.W. Knudsen Family juice?

For the best quality and freshness, we would suggest consuming our R.W. Knudsen Family juices within 10 days after they are opened and refrigerated.

If you don’t feel comfortable storing your cranberry juice in the kitchen cupboard or the refrigerator, you might want to give the option of freezing them some thought.

By freezing the juice, they can last for up to twelve months.

Given that they are packed firmly to prevent contamination and freezer burns.

You should be aware that freezing will reduce the juice’s quality and flavor if you decide to use that method for storage.

But if you want your cranberry juice cold, add ice cubes instead.

How to store opened cranberry juice

An opened cranberry juice, when chilled properly the entire time, can retain its same rich flavor for up to a month. 

However, opened cranberry juice without preservatives usually retain their freshness for only two to three weeks.

From Ocean Spray, about storing their opened juice products:

Ocean Spray juice products do not contain preservatives and must be capped tightly and refrigerated after opening. While we cannot say exactly how long our juice products will stay fresh after opening, in general they may be kept refrigerated for two to three weeks.

If the juice is kept longer than the said time frame, it may lose some quality and flavor.

So, to help prevent cranberry juice from going bad, here are a few more rules to remember.

  • Never drink directly from the bottle or carton of juice to avoid transferring the bacteria from your mouth to the bottle.
  • Don’t leave out the bottle on the counter to come to room temperature. Pour a serving into a glass, recap tightly and then place back in the refrigerator immediately.
  • Keep bottles, cans, and glasses of juice out of direct sunlight and away from heat. 
  • Unopened bottles can be stored in a cool, dry area, like a dark, climate-controlled pantry or cabinet, or refrigerated, until ready to use.
  • Keep the lid on tightly to keep the cranberry juice from absorbing flavors from the refrigerator and to keep the moisture balance in the juice.

Above all, consume them when they are still fresh, freeze in ice cube trays for later use, and keep an eye out for a too-sour smell, mold around the cap or floating in the juice.

Here are some ideas for what to do with leftover cranberry sauce and a few recipes that use cranberries for the holidays and beyond!

Can I freeze cranberry juice?

Yes, you can freeze cranberry juice. It’s best to remove the juice from its original carton, jar, can, or container. 

The extra cranberry juice you have on hand can be frozen if you wish to increase its shelf life.

Here are the best ways we’ve found to freeze cranberry juice:

  • Mason jars, with ½ left at the top for expansion.
  • Freezer bags, well sealed, laid flat
  • Ice cube trays

How to thaw frozen cranberry juice:

Remember that once your frozen juice reaches its defrosted/thawed state, the clock starts again for its freshness.

If it was left out open on the counter for 24 hours, freezing it will not return it to its unopened freshness. 

Move your container of frozen juice to the refrigerator so it has overnight to defrost. 

It will take the longest in a Mason jar and the shortest time in an ice cube tray.

What to expect when you freeze cranberry juice:

Many fruit juice concentrates can be thawed and mixed with water to make a tasty reconstituted juice (like those cans of orange juice you see in grocery stores). 

But the water in cranberry juice can sometimes dilute the flavor when you go to thaw and drink it, sometimes noticeably and other times not that much.

What does bad cranberry juice smell like?

Bad cranberry juice smells like any or all of the following:

  • Fermented, like beer or yeasty bread
  • Sour, like vinegar
  • No smell at all, as in it lacks its original strong fruity and sweet aroma
  • Moldy, which can happen if mold is around the rim or under the cap, or even floating on top of the juice

So if you know that the bottle has sat out too long and perhaps has come to room temperature one too many times, and then next time you open it, it doesn’t smell right, pour it down the sink and recycle the plastic or glass bottle (if applicable).

The bottom line

As a personal fan of cranberries in general, I am happy to share the latest in cranberry news: Does Cranberry Juice Go Bad?

And I hope this article helped you.

Cranberry juice is a fantastic beverage that is delicious in cocktails, recipes, over ice, and, unsweetened, as a helper if you aren’t feeling well. 

It is an excellent ingredient when mixing cocktails and may add flavor to any drink.

Whether you purchase your cranberry juice refrigerated or shelf-stable, you must store it properly.

Additionally, getting a brand-new bottle or carton would be best if you notice anything peculiar about its quality and texture.