baileys irish cream

Baileys Irish Cream Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad?

The weather is getting colder and you want to warm yourself with a glass of hot coffee with Baileys. Sadly you can’t find your Baileys in the fridge. Oops, your half-full Baileys was left out in the pantry since two days ago. You’re not sure if it’s still good because you know Baileys contains dairy.

At this point you start to question: is it okay to leave Baileys outside the fridge? Does Baileys go bad? How to tell if Baileys has gone bad?

Do you sometimes have these questions popped-up in your mind? If you are curious to find out more interesting facts and useful information about Baileys Irish Cream; how to store Baileys, how long it lasts, and most importantly how to tell if it’s bad, let’s quickly go through this article!

What is Baileys Irish Cream?

Baileys or short from Baileys Irish Cream is a type of Irish cream liqueur, a mix of Irish whiskey and dairy cream flavored with cocoa and vanilla. It contains 17% alcohol by volume.

Baileys was the first Irish cream introduced in 1974. Over the years it’s gained worldwide popularity and is considered as the world’s best-selling liqueur.

The perfect marriage between the whiskey, dairy cream, and a hint of chocolate flavor creates a smooth creamy sensation that is hard to resist. Baileys is great on its own. Many enjoy it by simply pouring it over ice.

Baileys is also easily mixed with a great number of beverages and dessert, from coffee, hot chocolate, even your favorite cheesecake. Ubiquitous recipes can be found on how to enjoy this Irish specialty.

How to Store Baileys Irish Cream

It can be confusing on how to ideally store your Baileys supply. It is sure an alcoholic beverage, but it also contains dairy. Does Baileys need to be refrigerated? But didn’t you pick it up at the liquor shelf at the store?

Unopened bottles of Baileys can be kept either in the fridge or outside. But note that exposure to heat is unfavorable for Baileys. At this point, make sure the storage temperature is not warmer than 25 °C.

If you want to keep your Baileys outside, a cool, dark place, away from the sunlight and heat is an ideal place to keep your supply. Your kitchen pantry might be a good option. Don’t leave it too long in your car especially during hot summer days.

After opening, always close the bottle tightly and put it back into the fridge. This storage practice is important to prevent it from deteriorating faster before the expiration date.

How Long Does Baileys Irish Cream Last?

While your supply of Baileys might not last so long after you brought them home from the store, the manufacturer guarantees that Baileys will stay good for the next 24 months after its manufacturing date.

Every bottle of Baileys carries an expiration date on the label. Give it a quick look!

The 2-year lifespan applies for either unopened and opened bottles. It is worthy to note that storage is the key here. So, always practice proper storage as mentioned above to assure that your Baileys supply goes along the way until its expiration date!

How to Tell if Baileys has Gone Bad or Spoiled?

Always stick to the rule of checking the standard spoilage signs: the look, smell, and taste. Check if there is any discoloration or clumpy texture. When Baileys start to spoil, it may become darker, thicker, or clumpier.

When sour or unpleasant smells come out of the bottle, this is also a clear indication that your favorite liqueur has also gone bad. If you don’t find anything off with the smell and look, but you’re not quite sure yet, give it a little tiny taste.

If everything seems normal, then it should be fine to drink. If it tastes awful, don’t take a second thought, it’s time to discard it and open a new bottle!


Can you freeze Baileys?

In terms of storage, refrigerating an opened bottle of Baileys is sufficient to maintain its quality. Freezing Baileys is not recommended at all.

The cream will freeze and make it difficult to pour. Moreover, the freezing process forms crystals in the drink that will waste its exquisite texture. Except you want to enjoy it in cubes for your iced coffee, which some people often do.

Is it bad to drink curdled Baileys?

Baileys contains dairy cream that will tend to coagulate when exposed to acidic stuff, such as lemon, tonic water, or wine. This reaction forms curdles in the mixture. While it is not desirable, it is considered safe to drink curdled Baileys.

But if you have no idea why it’s curdled, it won’t hurt to do a quick safety check.

Can you drink expired Baileys?

Each bottle of Baileys carries an expiration date printed on the label. Try to stick to this date before you consume it.

The good news is, just like many other processed food, Baileys may last longer than its expiration date, with proper storage. The extra lifespan might be for several months. However, quality is not guaranteed anymore.

If you just can’t waste a good bottle of expired Baileys, try to do a quick check on the look, smell, and taste. If undesirable changes are observed, it is likely safe for consumption. But, if any signs of spoilage are there, don’t risk your health and quickly get rid of it.


Baileys Irish Cream is a mix of an alcoholic beverage and dairy. Unlike other liqueurs that can last for ages, the dairy content in Baileys will make it go bad after a certain period of time.

Baileys can last for 24 months after its manufacturing date when properly stored. Always check the expiry date on the label. An unopened bottle can sit either in the fridge or outside. Pick a cool and dark place, away from sunlight and heat.

Don’t forget to put your Baileys into the fridge after experimenting with new beverage recipes!

Check these articles on our food blog for more shelf life tips:

baileys shelf life
*Photo by monticello/depositphotos

*Photo by monticello/depositphotos

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