Does Unopened Orange Juice Need To Be Refrigerated? Remove Your Confusion!

Breakfast without orange juice feels like a day without sunshine. If you also agree with this quote, then you must be one of those who always have a bottle of orange juice in the kitchen.

And when you do store the bottles, one of the common questions that may come to mind is, “Does unopened orange juice need to be refrigerated?” Not only this, but many questions arise with this one.

The answer to these quarries depends on various things like what type of orange juice is the specific one, what is its shelf life, whether it’s a non refrigerated orange juice, and many more.

So, my today’s writing goal is to answer all of the quarries that ever pop into your mind regarding this topic.

Let’s Start…..

Do You Need to Refrigerate Orange Juice?

As you know, there are different types of orange juice. So, whether you need to refrigerate them depends on their type.

First of all, freshly squeezed homemade orange juice has to be refrigerated. And those orange juice that you buy from the refrigerator in the store also needs to be refrigerated as soon as you reach home. They can spoil after a few hours if you leave them unrefrigerated (at room temperature).

On the other hand, pasteurized orange juice can be kept on dry shelves and doesn’t require refrigeration until you open the seal.

Moreover, frozen and refrigerated juice should be stored in the fridge when defrosted.

Putting orange juice in the fridge
Figure 1 – Putting Orange Juice In The Fridge

Okay, now the next question is, does orange juice need to be refrigerated if unopened? Let’s find out the answer.

Does Unopened Orange Juice Need to Be Refrigerated? Discussing Different Type

While unopened, some types are okay to keep in a cool dark place, while others should be refrigerated. Most juice bottles that were not refrigerated when you bought them from the store can be left in your kitchen cupboard or pantry. These are called shelf-stable juice, and usually, you can keep them out for up to 18 months.

If the juice was refrigerated when you bought it, then you must refrigerate it at home even though you didn’t open it. Still, some brands can be left out at room temperature for a few hours.

If you are unsure whether to refrigerate the juice, there is a great rule of thumb for your confusion. You should store unopened orange juice at the same temperature as when you bought it from the store. But, once opened, you have to place it in the fridge. 

Now, to help you more, I have answered some popular brands storing requirements, opened and unopened. Keep reading to find your ones. 

1. Does Unopened Tropicana Orange Juice Need to Be Refrigerated?

No, you don’t need to refrigerate unopened Tropicana orange juice. Orange juice has a high acid content and spoils easily in warm weather. But Tropicana orange juice is pasteurized and has about two weeks of shelf life while stored at room temperature.

However, Tropicana orange juice is also sold in refrigerated bottles. So, if you buy it from the fridge in the store, it’s best to store it that way at home. 

But one thing is sure, after opening the package seal, it should be refrigerated and consumed within seven days.

2. Does Simply Orange Juice Need to Be Refrigerated If Unopened?

According to the manufacturer, Simply orange juice must be refrigerated all the time. Simply beverages don’t contain any preservatives to provide their customer with a fresh taste. 

But this does not mean it cannot be left out of the refrigerator for brief periods (such as when driving home from the store). It means you shouldn’t keep it out of the fridge for extended lengths of time on purpose.

Simply orange juice
Figure 2 – Simply Orange Juice

3. Should Unopened Donald Duck Orange Juice Be Refrigerated?

Donald Duck is another orange juice that does not need to be refrigerated, at least not until the seal on the container has been broken. 

After opening, refrigeration is highly advised. So, before opening, you don’t have to worry about letting it sit out.

But, of course, don’t leave it outside for over its shelf life.

4. Does Minute Maid Orange Juice Need to Be Refrigerated If Not Opened?

Minute Maid sells shelf-stable beverages, which means it doesn’t require refrigeration before opening. 

When unopened, you may keep it at room temperature (64 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit) or colder. And after opening, store it in the fridge and make sure to consume it within 7 to 10 days. 

5. Does Unopened Ocean Spray Orange Juice Need to Be Refrigerated?

Ocean Spray juices don’t contain any preservatives. But, if unopened, you can keep them at room temperature in a pantry until the Best Before End date that is printed on the top of the carton.

Once opened, you need to twist back the cap securely and put the container in the fridge. 

Typically, Ocean Spray orange juice can be kept in the fridge for two to three weeks after opening, but the company recommended using it within 4 days. 

6. Does Pasteurized Orange Juice Have to Be Refrigerated While Not Opened?

As I said before, pasteurized orange juice doesn’t require refrigeration until you open it. So, if you are buying a brand that I didn’t include above, just read the package to see if it’s pasteurized. If so, you may keep it outside. 

You may also ask the store manager to confirm if the one you are buying is pasteurized and safe to store outside or not.

Orange juice in store
Figure 3 – Orange Juice In Store

7. Do You Need to Refrigerate Fresh Orange Juice?

Yes, fresh orange juice definitely needs to be put in the refrigerator if you are not planning to drink it all right away. 

However, keep in mind that fresh orange juice won’t last very long, even in the refrigerator. As a result, it would be ideal if you drank it immediately.

What Happens If Orange Juice Is Not Refrigerated After Opening?

An opened, unrefrigerated orange juice will spoil quickly. As stated by the US Food and Drug Administration, any food that is meant to be refrigerated, like juice, can only be kept at room temperature for 2 hours. After that, bacteria and mold will possibly grow, making it unsafe to consume for humans.

You may think that pasteurized juice has undergone processing that includes preservatives, so it will be fine outside the fridge. Well, it’s only true when you don’t open the seal. However, once it has been opened, it is still prone to microbial development like any perishable product, especially in warm climates.

On the other hand, unpasteurized juice that is made entirely from raw oranges will start to degrade in quality if exposed to air. So, open or not open, they have to be refrigerated immediately.

Unrefrigerated orange juice
Figure 4 – Unrefrigerated Orange Juice

What Is The Right Way to Store Different Types of Orange Juice?

The storing technique depends on the type of orange juice. Generally, there are 4 kinds of orange juice such as freshly squeezed juice, commercially canned, commercially bottled, and the last one is the orange juices that are sold refrigerated. 

So, let’s learn how to store each of these types.

Freshly Squeezed

Freshly squeezed orange juice has a limited shelf life and should always be kept in the refrigerator. Also, it should be consumed as soon as possible because it is created freshly and doesn’t contain any preservatives. 

Freshly squeezed orange juice
Figure 5 – Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

Refrigerated Orange Juice

Any orange juice you purchase from the grocery store’s refrigerated department must be stored in the refrigerator at home. Each time you put this kind of orange juice back in the fridge, make sure it is tightly sealed. 

You shouldn’t keep it at room temperature for too long; instead, keep it in the fridge all the time.

Commercially Canned And Bottled

This type of orange juice is the most common one. You can easily find these at your local grocery store. Typically, these are sold unrefrigerated. Before opening them, you can store them in a cool, dark place, such as your kitchen cabinet or pantry area.

Be extra careful while storing orange juice that has a clear container. Make sure they are stored away from light. They are best to keep in a dark and cool place. Otherwise, the light and heat will affect the juice inside the container negatively.

Orange juice in clear container
Figure 6 – Orange Juice In Clear Container

Once you have opened these types of orange juices, they must be sealed tightly and then stored in the fridge.

Tips on Storing in Refrigerator, Pantry, And Freezer 

While storing orange juice, there are some things that you may follow to make sure it stays fresh for a long time. Hence, try to follow the tips I am gonna share now.


Ensure the orange juice lid is properly sealed each time you put it in the refrigerator. This keeps your juice fresh for as long as possible and stops it from taking up other food odors.

While making homemade squeezed orange juice, you should always use fresh oranges that are washed right before squeezing. 

Put freshly squeezed orange juice in a glass container so that you can monitor the color. Before putting the juice in the refrigerator, ensure it is tightly closed.

Lastly, don’t ever keep open cans of juice in the fridge. If you do so, harmful bacteria may grow in the juice. 


As you know, pasteurized or canned is the type to be kept in the pantry. If the orange juice comes in a clear or glass jar, it should be protected from both light and temperature changes. 

Even if you keep them in the pantry, they should be put close to the floor in the dark. This will help the juice stay at a cool temperature in the dark.


While storing in the freezer, make sure to use a sealed container. Keep frozen for no more than six months before using. Before putting it, always write a description and the date it was frozen in the container.

You may also utilize ice cube trays to freeze the juice for a short amount of time. You can flavor different drinks with these orange juice cubes just like how we use frozen fruit in drinks. Also, having them readily available in ice cube trays is convenient. 

Frozen orange juice ice cubes
Figure 7 – Frozen Orange Juice Ice Cubes

When you want to thaw the frozen orange juice, put it in a new clean container. Then, let it sit in your refrigerator compartment for a few hours before drinking. 

Since the water portions of the orange juice thaw before the other parts, it is best to allow it to sit and completely thaw.  

Moreover, check on it daily and stir. If not stirred often, frozen orange juice has a tendency to separate.  

Orange Juice Shelf Life Refrigerated Vs. in Pantry

Another common concern is, how long can you keep orange juice in the refrigerator or in the pantry. Whether the juice is freshly squeezed, opened, unopened, canned, or concentrated, my table below will let you know how long it will last.

Types of Orange JuiceFridgePantry
Freshly Squeezed2-3 days2 hours
Shelf-stable orange juice (unopened)Not suggestedUp to 1-2 years
Shelf-stable orange juice (opened)7-10 days2 hours
Refrigerated orange juice (unopened)2 weeks2 hours
Refrigerated orange juice (opened)7-10 days2 hours
Canned orange juice (unopened)Up to 7 daysUp to 1-2 years
Canned orange juice (opened)7-10 days2 years
Orange juice concentrate7-10 daysNot suggested

An orange juice that is “from concentrate” signifies that all the extra water from the oranges is removed, and it is seven times more concentrated than the original juice. Compressing and then freezing the orange juice allows more efficient packaging and transportation. Water is then added in again before it is sold. 

Well, now that you know the shelf life of different types of orange juices, let’s move on to learn in which situation your orange juice will be spoiled. 

Can Orange Juice Go Bad And Why?

Yes! Just like many other food items in the world, orange juice also goes bad when it’s exposed to air for a couple of hours. 

Also, it has an expiration date. This is due to the fact that orange juice oxidizes over time, which causes microorganisms to infect the juice. As a result, the color changes, and a sour flavor develops.

In fact, your carton of orange juice will still spoil even if you don’t open it. The sugar in the orange eventually breaks down into alcohol and carbon dioxide. In other words, orange juice ferments as it ages. The juice will taste like beer or wine, which you may think is good, but actually not!

7 Ways to Determine Whether Your Orange Juice Gone Bad

There are many ways to tell whether your orange juice has been spoiled, and I have listed them below. So, look for the sign and throw it away if it has gone bad.

1. Smell It

One technique to determine if orange juice has gone bad is to smell it. If it emits an acidic or sour odor, it is ruined and shouldn’t be consumed. 

Bad smell from juice
Figure 8 – Bad Smell From Juice

2. Give It A Taste

Even though the juice looks okay but the taste is off, then it has most probably started to go bad.

3. Look for Sediment

Sediment is when a portion of a liquid starts to settle at the bottom of the drink. In this instance, when you look at the orange juice, you will notice materials separated and settled at the bottom of the juice.  

And when you see these, the orange juice is no longer edible.

4. Mold

If you notice that the bottle of orange juice has some dark patches, then those are molds rather than dirt. If you are not sure, pour a small amount of juice into a glass to see. Don’t even try to taste it; just throw it away.  

Figure 9 – Mold

5. Observe The Color

Orange juice should have the pretty color of orange. Your orange juice is probably no longer good if the color has become dark orange, green, or brown.

6. Alcohol-Like Or Bubbly

Has the orange juice’s acid begun to ferment? If it has, you can tell because the liquid will get bubbly or may start to taste alcoholic. When orange juice starts to taste like alcohol, it has gone bad and needs to be thrown out.

7. Bloated Container

The last way to determine whether your orange juice is no longer good is to look at the package it is in. Check if the container is bulging. If so, then it’s a clear indication of fermentation, and it is not suitable for drinking. 

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully, you have got a well-detailed answer to the question: does unopened orange juice need to be refrigerated? Related to this, I have also answered many other common questions which might help you widen your knowledge. 

Although the storing process varies until you open the container, it must be refrigerated once opened. So, keep this in mind.

Lastly, try to follow all the tips I have given throughout the whole writing, and I can assure you that nothing will go wrong!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can orange juice go without refrigeration if unopened?

An unopened shelf-stable package of orange juice can be stored for up to 2 years at room temperature. On the other hand, unopened refrigerated orange juice can be kept outside the fridge for about 2 hours. 

Can you drink expired unopened orange juice?

After the expiration date, orange juice starts to ferment. Even if you put it in the refrigerator, germs will start to develop once the fermentation process begins. Food poisoning may be the outcome of this bacterial growth.

So, even if you don’t open the expired orange juice, consuming it will put your health at risk. And there is a high chance that you will get sick from it. 

Can I drink orange juice from the bottle if it’s refrigerated?

When you drink from the container, you will transfer some bacteria from your mouth and lips, which can thrive inside even when refrigerated. Since you’ve already been exposed, this effect won’t be as harmful unless you drink the juice without cooling it down. 

Also, make sure to finish the juice as soon as possible. And it’s better if you don’t share this same juice with someone else. It’s because the transferred bacteria may not be harmful to you but may cause problems for other people. 

Can I refrigerate orange juice that has been frozen?

Yes, you can refrigerate orange juice that has been stored in the freezer. In fact, it is one method of defrosting and thawing food for eating. It will defrost overnight if you store it in the refrigerator compartment to thaw.

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