A blended protein shake will remain safe to drink for 72 hours if refrigerated. That said, the flavor of any fresh ingredients (such as fruits and vegetables) may degrade over this time period. For the best flavor, drink a refrigerated protein shake within 12 hours. If your protein shake is left out of the fridge, it will only be safe to drink for about 2 hours. Drinking a protein shake that is past its prime can result in intestinal distress or even food poisoning.
Table of Contents
Can You Save a Protein Shake for Later?
You can absolutely save your protein shake for later. Whether you’re mixing a protein shake the night before a workout or you want to save half of a large shake, it’s safe to pop the shake in the fridge. However, during refrigeration the ingredients may separate, requiring you to re-blend the shake to give it the correct flavor and consistency.
- It’s safe and often convenient to refrigerate a protein shake for later.
- A refrigerated protein shake may separate, making it necessary for you to blend it again.
- Consider refrigerating your “dry” ingredients in your blender cup, then adding the liquid and blending just before you’re ready to drink your shake.
Rather than pre-mix a shake and save it for later, we recommend putting all the “dry” ingredients such as protein powder, MCT oil, nut butter, veggies, and fruit in the blender cup. Refrigerate this overnight. Then, all that’s left to do later is add the liquid and blend. This eliminates the need to re-blend and preserves the flavor of the shake.
How Long Will a Protein Shake Last in the Refrigerator?
72 hours is the maximum amount of time a refrigerated protein shake will remain safe to consume. Any longer than this and the protein powder will begin to form harmful bacteria. Additionally, any other fresh ingredients (fruits and vegetables) will start to turn bad. This applies to protein shakes made with milk, water, or other non-dairy beverages.
- You can safely refrigerate a protein shake for up to 72 hours.
- For the best flavor, drink your protein shake after no more than 12 hours in the fridge.
For the best flavor, drink your protein shake after no more than 12 hours in the fridge. After this point, fresh ingredients can begin to change in flavor and consistency. Also, the protein powder will separate from other ingredients and may become frothy.
How Long Will a Protein Shake Stay Good At Room Temperature?
A protein shake left at room temperature will spoil in just over 2 hours. The protein content in the shake, as well as any dairy products, will begin to go bad. Not only will the shake’s flavor change noticeably, but it will also greatly increase the odds of giving you an upset stomach. This is the case for shakes made with whey protein powder as well as those made with plant-based proteins.
How Can You Tell if Your Protein Shake Has Gone Bad?
The most common sign that a protein shake has gone bad is the smell. The shake itself will take on a rotten smell as the protein spoils. If your shake does not smell like it did when it was first mixed, throw it out, clean the cup thoroughly, and make a new shake.
- Rotten, spoiled smell.
- Bitter or otherwise unusual taste.
- Slimy texture.
- Darker or lighter color than when it was first mixed.
Other signs that a protein shake has gone bad include a bitter taste, a slimy texture as you drink it, and a change in coloration and consistency. A protein shake that has started to turn bad may look lighter or darker than it did when you first made it.
What Happens if You Drink a Protein Shake that has Gone Bad?
In most cases, drinking a protein shake results in an upset stomach and a case of diarrhea. In some cases, this is mild, in others it can be quite extreme. To avoid this, drink fresh protein shakes and carefully inspect any refrigerated protein shakes before you take your first sip.
- Upset stomach and diarrhea is the most common side-effect.
- Some spoiled protein shakes may cause food poisoning that leads to vomiting.
Keep in mind that protein shakes blended with spinach and other vegetables are breeding grounds for salmonella, a bacteria that causes food poisoning. Food poisoning caused by a spoiled protein shake may result in nausea, vomiting, and worse.
How Long Does a Protein Shake Last Once Mixed?
The shelf life of your protein shake depends on the ingredients and how you store it. A quick guide to protein shake storage is:
- 72 Hours: Maximum amount of time a protein shake can be safely refrigerated.
- 12 Hours: Maximum time before a refrigerated protein shake with fresh ingredients begins to taste noticeably worse.
- 2 Hours: Maximum time a protein shake can be safely left at room temperature.
Follow these guidelines to keep yourself from getting sick from a bad shake. By consuming fresh protein shakes, you’ll get the best-tasting, safest beverage. However, tossing your shake into the fridge for a day or two won’t do it any harm.