Two big bottles of Gold Standard Whey Protein Powder

How Long Is Whey Protein Good For?

I know how you sometimes forget to keep tabs on expiration dates. Given the negative effects that expired products can have on the body, this may be cause for alarm. However, you can use certain products, such as whey protein, without consequences. 

Having used expired whey for extended periods with no adverse effects, I researched how long whey protein is good for. 

This article aims to share my findings so that you know whether to keep your expired product or toss it. I also want you to learn what you must know about using expired whey.

How Long Is Whey Protein Good for?

Ideally, whey protein is good for as long as is written on the tub as an expiry date. However, depending on storage, whey can be consumed weeks or months after its expiry date. One study has shown that whey can last between 12 and 19 months when stored under normal conditions -70 degrees Fahrenheit and 35% humidity.    

Many protein powders come with a best used by or best before date on their package. However, these dates only indicate how long the product is certified to be fresh and effective and not when it will get spoiled and non-consumable. Depending on certain factors that will be discussed further, whey protein powder can last for years. 

Factors That Determine How Long Whey Protein Lasts

Over time as a fitness enthusiast, you begin to find more ways to save costs on your protein supplements purchase. One major way of doing this is by purchasing your powders in bulk at a discounted price. However, this could pose a concern regarding product expiry. 

Whey, like any other protein supplement, is bound to go bad at some point. However, certain factors determine just how long your whey powder will last. Let’s take a look at them:

Expiration Date

Protein powders are considered shelf-stable products by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Therefore, their manufacturers are not legally mandated to include expiration dates on their products. However, even though they do not signify that a powder has gone bad, expiry dates can measure its shelf life. 

Therefore, it is important to check these dates when using the protein to ensure it is within its intended shelf life. It might not be safe to consume a protein powder many months or years past its expiry date, even if it still looks or tastes good. 

Storage Conditions

The way the protein is stored significantly affects its longevity and quality. If you want your protein to last for even longer than its expiration date, here are some key things to keep in mind when storing it:

Woman checking the contents of her glass storage containers
  • Temperature: The protein should be kept in a cool environment, preferably in a kitchen cabinet. Avoid exposure to extreme heat, as it can degrade the protein and lessen its effectiveness. You may actually freeze whey protein powders, however expect that the texture will be different.
  • Humidity: Moisture can cause whey powder to clump and spoil faster. Store it in a dry area and avoid any contact with water or excessive humidity.
  • Light Exposure: Exposure to direct sunlight or strong artificial light can reduce the protein’s quality and nutritional value. Store it in a dark or opaque container or in a pantry away from direct light sources.
  • Air Exposure: Exposure to air can lead to oxidation in protein powder. Make sure to seal the container tightly after each use and avoid leaving it open for extended periods.

Protein Type and Additives

Different types of whey protein, such as whey concentrate and whey isolate, have varying shelf lives. Whey isolates, being more processed and purified, generally have a longer shelf life than concentrates. 

Additionally, the presence of additives or flavorings in the protein can affect its longevity. Some additives may decrease the shelf life, while some may increase it, such as preservatives.

Handling and Hygiene Practices

To prevent contamination of whey protein, it is important to handle the product properly and hygienically. Making use of unclean utensils or hands can introduce bacteria or other harmful microorganisms into the powder, reducing its quality and making it go bad faster. 

How to Tell if Your Protein Powder Has Gone Bad

While whey can remain safe for consumption beyond its expiration date if stored properly, it is essential to determine its freshness before use. The following are indications that it has gone bad and should be discarded

  • Changes in color and texture. If the powder has yellowed or has clumped up, these are signs that it has been exposed to air and water 
  • Changes in odor. If the powder gives off an unpleasant or foul-smelling odor, chances are it has gone bad
  • Changes in taste. If the color, texture, and smell of the powder seem normal, you can proceed to put a bit of the powder on the tip of your tongue to determine its taste. If it tastes bitter or stale like cardboard chances are it has gone bad 

Can I Use a Two-Year Old Protein Powder?

You might be able to use a two year old protein powder, depending on a number of factors. First, check its expiry date. If the date was more than three months ago, it might not be safe to consume. Next, check the storage conditions to ensure they are optimal and safe. Lastly, check its color and texture before consuming it. 

Can Expired Whey Protein Make Me Sick?

Consuming expired whey protein may make you sick, provided the product has gone bad. You might experience symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. To determine if a powder is still safe to consume, look out for changes in its color, smell, texture and taste. Note that expired -not spoilt- protein will lose some of its effectiveness. 

How Can I Use Up My Protein Powder Before It Goes Bad? 

There are many ways you can utilize your protein powder apart from mixing it up in water, milk or smoothies. You can add it to oatmeal, pancakes, cakes, cookies, waffles, cereals, fried eggs, and many more. This helps you to finish your powder before it goes bad while increasing the nutritional profile of your meals at the same time.  


Whey protein, like other protein supplements out there, has a shelf life. However, more often than not, this shelf life is not dependent on the expiry date of the product, but instead on how well it is stored. To keep your whey safe for consumption and effective for a long time, follow the safe storage guidelines highlighted above. 

Jack Kelle

Jack is an entrepreneur, outdoorist, and animal lover with a background in philosophy, psychology, and business. He enjoys music, friends, and family. At RAVE, Jack works as the manager of marketing and content development.