HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


I left a carton of half-and-half on the counter overnight.

I left a small carton of half-and-half on the kitchen counter last night. Does it have to be thrown out? It does not smell bad. I was thinking I may be able to use it for baking or maybe for macaroni and cheese. I would like someone else's opinion though.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You didnt say if it was opened or still sealed, and I suppose that this might make a difference at a chemistry level.

    But for my feelings, it was a small carton. Why take the chance?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Fydeaux

      Hi Fydeaux. Thanks. It had not been opened. I was preoccupied last night when I came in from the grocery I guess. You are right though and I will most likely just toss it.

    2. You probably should just toss it, but if you wanted to you could use it in your coffee and if it curdles then, YUCK. If not, probably ok.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Shann

        This what I will do. Thank you.

      2. If your home is in the 70-75 degree range the half and half should be fine. It sits out by the coffee in most convenience stores all day. Most Half and Half pcs don't need any refrigeration.

        Open it, smell and taste, it probably will smell and taste fine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bagelman01

          Thanks. It smells okay and my kitchen stays quite cool. I will give it a try in the morning.

        2. Put it in the refrigerator and when you open it, smell it, or put a few drops in a cup of hot coffee- if it curdles, it's bad, if not, use it.

          You will be able to tell immediately if it is bad.

          I opened a quart on August 9, the expiration date. I have used some in my coffee ever day since then. Just had some now. I am not dead nor ill.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cathy

            Well then, Cathy, I should be fine too! I will see what happens in the morning. Thank you.

          2. I would just toss it. It's probably ok, but half-and-half is cheap, and not worth getting sick over.

            1. if it smells good no worries.

              also - remember curdled milk does not necessarily make you sick. if it did you could't eat cheese

              1. Good God, people. Grow up.

                Escape the effeteness of over-refrigeration that is rampant in America.

                Don't waste food. Drink up.

                1. Thanks to everyone for the replies! The half-and-half was just fine in my coffee this morning even though it sat out on the counter for probably 12 hours.
                  Foodfuser, thanks especially for the new vocabulary word. I like it! We Americans are so effete about our food!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Sensuous

                    A good new word be a good new thing.

                    Happy that you survived the showdown with the half n half.