Does Orange Juice Need To Be Refrigerated? (Different Types of OJ)

When picking out orange juice on your grocery runs, you might have paused to wonder why some products line the dry shelves of an aisle while others are stored in refrigerators.

There’s more to it than just the supermarket keeping the drink chilled for your convenience. You may be wondering whether or not orange juice needs to be refrigerated? Find out the answer below!

Does Orange Juice Need To Be Refrigerated?

Homemade and chilled store-bought orange juice should be refrigerated because they can go bad once exposed to room temperature. On the other hand, pasteurized orange juice stocked on dry shelves does not need to be refrigerated until the seal is broken. Additionally, orange juice kept frozen and thawed should be kept in the refrigerator when defrosted.

Knowing about the storage requirements of different orange juice varieties can be helpful the next time you go grocery shopping. If you’re interested in keeping your orange juice game strong, then keep on reading!

Why Does Orange Juice Need To Be Refrigerated?

Orange juice needs to be refrigerated to keep it fresh and prevent it from going bad. Exposing it to warm temperatures can promote the growth of mold and bacteria.

This applies to freshly-squeezed homemade orange juice as well as products stored in supermarket refrigerators.

Additionally, pasteurized orange juice stocked on dry shelves can be left unrefrigerated until the seal is broken or until its sell-by date.

What Happens If You Don’t Refrigerate Orange Juice After Opening?

If you don’t refrigerate orange juice after opening, it will spoil and go bad in a few hours. Bacteria and mold will grow making it unsafe for consumption.

While pasteurized orange juice may have undergone treatment procedures, it’s not immune to microorganism growth especially in warm climates once opened.

Additionally, unpasteurized OJ which is raw and made 100% from oranges is not subjected to any processes and will also go bad because of exposure.

Can Orange Juice Be Left Out If Unopened?

Yes, orange juice can be left out if unopened if it is pasteurized.

The OJ you bought from the dry shelves section can last for about 12 to 18 months at room temperature.

What’s more, you can consume unopened orange juice beyond the 18-month mark as long as you store it away from direct heat or sunlight.

How Long Can Orange Juice Be Left Out Of The Refrigerator?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, orange juice can be left unrefrigerated for a maximum of two hours.

This applies to all kinds of orange juice including freshly squeezed and pasteurized, whether bottled, canned, or in carton packaging.

That’s because when these orange juice products are unsealed and exposed to room temperature, they serve as a breeding ground for harmful microorganisms.

How Long Does It Take For Orange Juice To Go Bad If Refrigerated?

Does Orange Juice Need To Be Refrigerated?

The shelf life of refrigerated orange juice depends on how the product was made.

The first, freshly-squeezed orange juice, will last for two to three days if kept refrigerated in a tightly-sealed container or a covered glass.

The second, store-bought chilled OJ, should be consumed within a week if kept refrigerated. This type can go bad easily as it contains only a small amount of preservatives.

Additionally, store-bought chilled OJ products have a use-by label which means that they can go bad when the expiration date has passed even when refrigerated.

Finally the third, packaged orange juice that is shelf-stable, goes bad after seven to ten days when kept refrigerated upon opening.

This kind lasts a very long time, typically between one to two years if unopened.

Does Orange Juice Need To Be Refrigerated At All Times?

Freshly-squeezed and chilled orange juice from the store should always be kept refrigerated.

On the other hand, pasteurized orange juice does not need to be refrigerated if unopened. It will need to be stored in the fridge only when unsealed to prevent spoilage.

Does Orange Juice From Concentrate Need To Be Refrigerated?

Orange juice concentrate has a long shelf life and will maintain top quality for a year when kept in the freezer.

However, once thawed and defrosted, orange juice concentrate should be refrigerated in air-sealed containers for five to seven days.

Does Unopened Tropicana Orange Juice Need To Be Refrigerated?

Orange juice should be kept at the same temperature it was stored before purchase.

If you got your Tropicana orange juice off of the dry shelves, there’s no need to refrigerate it. However, if you got it from the fridge section, you’ll have to keep it refrigerated even if it is yet unopened.

Does Minute Maid Orange Juice Need To Be Refrigerated?

No, Minute Maid orange juice does not need to be refrigerated. You should store it in the fridge only when opened and unsealed.

Minute Maid OJ is classified under the shelf-stable variant. This means that you bought it from the aisle and not from the chilled juice section.

Additionally, Minute Maid orange juice has been processed to last without chilling and has undergone pasteurization. Once opened, it can last for seven to ten days.

Can Orange Juice Be Refrigerated After Being Frozen?

Yes, orange juice can be refrigerated after being stored in the freezer. It is one way to thaw and defrost it for consumption.

You can store it in the refrigerator to thaw it and it will be defrosted overnight.

Is It Bad To Drink Unrefrigerated Orange Juice?

It depends on what kind of orange juice you plan to consume when unrefrigerated.

Shelf-stable OJ is pasteurized and treated so it’s safe to drink even when not refrigerated as long as it’s unsealed immediately prior to consumption.

On the other hand, unrefrigerated freshly-squeezed orange juice is unsafe unless it is consumed shortly after squeezing. This is because it will turn rancid when left for two hours or so.

If you want to learn more about orange juice, you can see our related posts on whether you can freeze orange juice, what orange juice concentrate is, and if orange juice has caffeine.


Keeping orange juice in cold storage is a good way to preserve its freshness and ensure that it is of top quality when consumed.

While some shelf-stable orange juice products are bought unchilled, they still require the refrigerator to keep them from going bad once opened.

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