Though the instability of polyphenols in cell culture experiment has been investigated previously, the underlying mechanism is not completely clear yet. Therefore, in this study, the stability of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in cell culture medium DMEM was investigated at 4 °C and 37 °C via UPLC-MS-MS analysis followed by determination of the antioxidant capacity of EGCG. EGCG was instable in DMEM and formed various degradation products derived from its dimer with increasing incubation time with many isomers being formed at both temperatures. The dimer products were more stable at 4 °C than at 37 °C. The structure and formation mechanism of five products were analyzed with four unidentified. Ascorbic acid significantly improved the stability of EGCG by protecting EGCG from auto-oxidation in DMEM, particularly at 4 °C. The antioxidative activity of EGCG in DMEM was determined by DPPH, ABTS and FRAP assay. The antioxidative properties of EGCG continuously decreased over 8 h in DMEM, which was consistent with its course of degradation.