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We are all guilty of investing in a huge tub of protein powder and then only touching it twice. January kicks in, new year’s resolutions, aiming for that summer body, upping the protein and smashing the gym. But for many of us, we get a good few weeks of this and then life returns to our busy schedule and the motivation is quick to slip away.

Maybe this was you? And maybe you are now looking to get back into it all. The weather is getting better, the sun is shining, maybe you have a holiday booked? Maybe you have more time to get back to the gym.

Whatever it is, that big tub of protein is still sitting at the back of the cupboard and it might finally be time to get some good use out of it.

But does protein powder expire? It has been sitting there, barely touched, but how long is protein powder good after opening?

Well, I am currently in the position I have just described. I entered the year full of motivation and determination, and with two large tubs of protein powder. Before I knew it, work took over, the weather was awful, and the last thing I wanted to do was head out to the gym in the dark.

Now that things are looking brighter and I have some holidays on the horizon, I was curious to find out if I could save some money by delving back into those tubs of protein powder from months ago.

So, today I am going to share everything I have found out about how long protein powder lasts. Not only will you be back to that healthy lifestyle, but you might save yourself some pennies as well!

Superfood powders

How do I know if my protein powder has expired?

Before anything, it is important to check if your protein powder is even out of date. You might be in luck, and the rest of this article will be entirely irrelevant to you!

If it is out of date, it is also important to know how long it has been out of date for. This may make a difference to whether or not you can still use it.

Like any food product, your protein powder will have an expiration date printed somewhere on it. It will usually appear as a “use by”, “sell by”, or “best by” on the package. This indicates exactly what it says – when it should be used or sold by.

Where is the expiration date on protein powder?

The expiration date will usually be found on the bottom or the lid of the tub. If it is a bad protein powder it will potentially be on the bottom. If in doubt, you can google your specific brand. Alternatively have a look for the storage instructions as this can often direct you to the location of the expiration dates.

However, like many pantry items, expiration dates are often an indication of the quality rather than the safety of the food. Lots of food can begin to lose its texture or taste, depending on how long it is left. This does not necessarily mean the item has become unsafe to eat, it just means you might not get the best experience out of it.

Companies often have to sell their products with a lot of excess time after to allow the customer to enjoy the product. This means that “sell by” dates are often even more premature than other expiration dates and they tend to leave room for a few months – this does depend on the product though.

Fresh food is not the same, and fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish will go bad by the date mentioned. Whilst you may get a couple of extra days out of something, it is more important to stick by expiration dates with fresh foods.

With protein powder, the color and taste of your powder may slightly alter in time, but this does not mean that it is a no-go to consume. 

Does protein powder expire if unopened?

If unopened, your protein powder will still eventually expire, hence the reason for having an expiration date on it. However, if your protein powder does remain sealed, it will last a lot longer than after it has been opened.

Once opened, the air getting into the protein powder can alter the flavor and consistency of the powder and this will help bacteria to grow more quickly and will speed up the process of your protein powder no longer being edible. 

How long does protein powder take to expire once opened?

Whilst this varies from brand to brand, and even type to type depending on ingredients, most protein powders will last up to around 12 to 14 months once opened.

This is also dependent on storage. If your powder has been opened and you intend on keeping it for a while, it is important to store it properly. 

Realistically, the best way to test if your opened protein powder has gone bad is to smell it. If your protein powder has a bad smell to it, it definitely needs to be thrown out.

How long does whey protein last past expiration date?

When it comes to different types of protein powder, many contain whey. Whey is a milk protein and whilst many may believe that a milk-based protein would expire quicker than other forms of protein, this is not the case.

Whey is a by-product of milk, as opposed to milk itself. Whilst dairy products typically expire a lot quicker than many other foods, due to the growth of bacteria on bacteria that are already live in the products, whey powder is not the same.

Like powdered milk, whey protein is made from dried out whey which means that there is no moisture for the bacteria to grow. Of course, if your powder isn’t sealed properly it may become damp and this is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and this will ultimately make you ill.

So, when looking at individual types of protein, the base of the protein powder makes little difference as all proteins are made from dehydrated ingredients so they can be used in a dissolvable powder form. This is the same from pea protein to whey protein.

Can expired protein powder hurt you?

If your protein has been open for more than 12 to 14 months and you decide to have some, don’t worry too much!

Drinking protein once it has started to go bad will not cause harm. But it wont taste great and may be an awful experience. Of course, if we are talking years after the expiration date, like anything this may end up making you sick.

It is also important to know that protein powders can lose protein content with age. This is one of the main reasons they have expiry dates on them. If your protein powder is way past the expiry date then it may be the case that you are not consuming as much protein as you might think.

How do I store protein powder?

The best way to store protein powder is in an airtight container. They will usually come in a resealable bag or an airtight tub that can be closed properly. This should then be kept at room temperature and out of sunlight – so really it will be fine in any pantry or kitchen cupboard!

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Final Thoughts

Protein powder has a much longer shelf-life than many people think, so don’t be too quick to throw it away. 

When it comes to protein powder, it can usually last about a year past its expiry date. Although expired protein powder will not make you sick, unless it is a few years old, it will decrease in its level of protein. This is something to consider when consuming protein that may be far beyond its ‘use by’ date. 

The best way to check if your protein powder has gone bad is to simply give it a smell. Any off smells or noticeably odd coloring are both clear signs that it may be time to pop that batch in the trash.

So, when it comes to protein, store it properly. Even if you decide to take a break from that gym bulking life, your protein will be happily and healthily waiting for you to get back!


Can you use whey protein after the expiration date?

Yes, whey protein will last around 12 to 14 months after its expiration date, but may lose some of its protein contents. 

How do I know if my whey protein is expired?

You can check the expiration date however this does not mean it needs to be binned. The best way is to give it a smell and if it doesn’t smell off then it’s good to go.

How long does whey protein last past expiration date?

Up to 12 to 14 months.

How do you dispose of expired protein powder?

You can simply decant it into the bin as a powder and then recycle the container as necessary.

When does protein powder expire?

You can check the packaging on any protein powder for the expiration date. This will advise you on when it expires but does not necessarily mean it can no longer be consumed.

Why does protein powder expire?

Like any food product, protein powder contains ingredients that will eventually begin to go stale if left for too long. This process is speeded up if the protein is not stored correctly. 

How long does it take for muscle milk protein powder to expire?

Muscle Milk protein powder is like any other protein powder and will begin to go bad around 12 to 14 months after the expiration date. If opened, give it a smell first and if it smells okay then it is likely okay to consume.