How Long Does Apple Cider Last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Posted on December 24th, 2022

If you’re a fan of apple cider, then you know how delicious it can be. But how long does apple cider last? Here we’ll take a look at the shelf life of apple cider and some tips to ensure its freshness.

What is Apple Cider?

Apple cider is a beverage made from freshly pressed apples. It is usually served cold and can be either sweet or tart, depending on the type of apples used. It is similar to apple juice but has a stronger taste and contains less sugar. Apple cider can also be made into vinegar, which can be used for cooking and cleaning. Apple cider is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a great addition to any healthy diet.

person holding goblet glass and highball glass

Refrigerated Apple Cider: How Long Does it Last?

Refrigerated apple cider can last up to 7 to 10 days after opening. For raw apple cider, refrigeration is a must, lasting up to 2-3 hours unrefrigerated. Apple cider vinegar is also shelf-stable and can last many years in food storage cupboards. On the other hand, boiled cider is said to last indefinitely in the refrigerator, but it’s usually consumed before that point.

Unopened Apple Cider: How Long Does it Last?

Unopened apple cider will usually last up to two months in the refrigerator. It is important to note that it should be kept at a consistent temperature and away from direct sunlight. Unpasteurized apple cider should be consumed within two weeks of opening.

This is because it does not contain preservatives, making it more susceptible to going bad. It is also important to note that the shelf life of unopened apple cider can vary depending on its manufacturer and the type of apple used. It is best to check the expiration date printed on the package for more accurate storage instructions.

Opened Apple Cider: How Long Does it Last?

Once you’ve opened a bottle of apple cider, the clock starts ticking. Refrigerated apple cider will keep for about 7 to 10 days after opening. To extend the shelf life of opened apple cider, freeze it. Store the cider in an airtight container, leaving at least half an inch of headspace at the top, as the cider will expand when frozen. If you’re freezing hard cider, it will remain drinkable after defrosting.

Pasteurized vs. Unpasteurized Apple Cider

Apple cider is available in two forms, pasteurized and unpasteurized. Pasteurized apple cider is heated to high temperatures to kill off bacteria, while unpasteurized cider has not been heated and may contain bacteria.

Pasteurized apple cider is generally safe and will last longer than unpasteurized cider. Unpasteurized apple cider is more prone to spoiling and should be consumed within a few days of opening. It is important to know the type of cider you are purchasing and its shelf life when deciding which kind to buy.

How to store apple cider

When storing apple cider, the key is to keep it cold and dark. Unopened cider can be stored at room temperature for up to two months if it is in a dark, dry place. If you plan to store apple cider for longer, you should refrigerate it.

Refrigeration will extend the shelf life of unopened apple cider up to three months. Once opened, apple cider should be kept refrigerated and consumed within seven to ten days.

To extend the shelf life of opened apple cider, freeze it in an airtight container with at least 1/2 inch headspace at the top. Apple cider will expand when frozen and needs extra space in the container.

Refrigerate After Opening

Once you open your bottle of apple cider, you must refrigerate it immediately. This will help keep its fresh taste and extend its shelf life. Refrigeration will slow fermentation, and the cider should last up to three weeks while stored in the refrigerator. If you leave your cider unrefrigerated, it will begin to ferment and become carbonated in as little as two hours. Therefore, it is important to refrigerate your cider as soon as possible after opening it.

The Risks of Consuming Spoiled Apple Cider

Consuming spoiled apple cider can be risky, as it can contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning. If the cider has an off-smell, off-taste, or off-color, it is best to discard it. Additionally, if the cider has been sitting out for more than two hours, it is best to discard it as well. It is important to store your apple cider correctly and quickly consume it after opening it to ensure the highest quality and safety.

If you want to get the most out of your apple cider and extend its shelf life, you can freeze it. To freeze apple cider, store it in an airtight container and leave at least 1/2 inch headspace at the top, as apple cider will expand as it freezes. Frozen apple cider can last up to six months in your freezer without losing flavor or quality. Frozen apple cider can be thawed in the fridge or on the counter and, once thawed, should be consumed within 7-10 days. Always check the expiration date on your bottle of apple cider before consuming it.

Pasteurized vs. Unpasteurized When Freezing

There are two types to consider when it comes to freezing apple cider: pasteurized and unpasteurized ciders. Pasteurized ciders are heated to kill off potentially harmful bacteria, while unpasteurized ciders are not. When freezing unpasteurized cider, it is important to note that freezing will not kill any bacteria present, so you should ensure the cider is consumed within a few weeks as the taste and quality may degrade over time.

Pasteurized ciders can be frozen for up to 3 months and will keep their freshness, flavor, and quality. It is important to store pasteurized cider in an airtight container and leave at least 1/2 inch headspace at the top, as apple cider can expand when frozen. Once defrosted, consume the cider within a few days, or it may spoil.

How To Tell if You Have a Good Bottle of Apple Cider

When it comes to telling if you have a good bottle of apple cider, you have a few

Smell Test

When it comes to the shelf life of apple cider, a smell test can be one of the most reliable indicators of its freshness. Apple cider should have a pleasant, sweet aroma when it is safe to drink. If the smell is sour or off, it is likely that the cider has gone bad and should not be consumed. You may also notice a slight vinegar scent if you open an older bottle of apple cider, which is a sign that the beverage has fermented and is no longer safe to drink.

Color Test

The color can be a great indicator when determining if an opened bottle of apple cider has gone bad. Many apple cider brands are naturally a light caramel color, but if it has turned a darker shade, this can mean that it has gone bad. Furthermore, if the cider has turned cloudy, it is likely past its prime. If you notice discoloration, discard the cider and look for a fresh bottle.

Taste Test

Tasting your apple cider is one of the best ways to determine if it has gone bad. Take a sip and look for any sour, acidic, or off-flavors. If the cider tastes too acidic, it may be spoiled and should not be consumed. Additionally, if you find a slimy layer on the surface of the cider, it is likely spoiled and should be discarded.

What Temperature Should I Store My Apple Cider?

When it comes to storing apple cider, the temperature is key. Ideally, store your cider in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. A pantry or cupboard is a great spot. For opened cider, keep it in the refrigerator for optimal freshness and to maximize its shelf life.

The cold temperatures slow the fermentation process and help keep your cider from spoiling too quickly. If you are storing unopened cider for an extended period, the best place to store it is in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight – such as a basement or cellar. Keeping it at cooler temperatures will help it last longer and remain in its best condition.

Does It Matter What Type of Container I Use for Storage?

When storing apple cider, it’s important to consider the type of container you use. Glass, ceramic, and stainless steel containers are best for long-term storage. Avoid using plastic containers or bags, as these can easily absorb flavors and odors from the cider.


As you can see from the information in this blog post, apple cider can last for a long time when stored correctly. Unopened bottles can remain fresh for up to two years, while opened bottles can be stored for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

Additionally, freezing apple cider can extend its shelf life by a few months. To determine if consuming is safe, you can use the smell, color, and taste tests outlined in this article. Finally, storing your cider at the right temperature in an airtight container is important. With this knowledge, you can store and enjoy your apple cider for longer!


Editorial Staff

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