Common Baking Ingredients’ Shelf Life

Part of my Baking Fundamentals series: A comprehensive list of regularly used baking ingredients in the pantry, fridge, and freezer, as well as their shelf life, so you know when to replace them for the best baking results.

We’ve all heard of expiry dates, but some individuals take them more seriously than others (remind me to tell you about my husbands history with expiration dates some time).

Fresher is always better when it comes to baking ingredients, particularly leaveners, which may make or break the outcome of your recipe. It’s difficult to keep track of the shelf life of everything in your cupboard, fridge, and freezer, so I made charts for all of my most often used products as a reference.

A few tips for shelf life hygiene

  • Keep in mind that all of this is based on the components being correctly preserved.
  • If there is no date on the box, it is time to replace it. If you are unsure of how long you have held something, and
  • If you can’t see the expiry date on a package because it’s faded, it’s time to replace it.
  • I’ve made it a habit to replenish my baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch before the holidays to ensure that all the Christmas treats get the best of me.

How do I know if my baking powder is expired?

I include baking powder since it is the most prevalent source of problems. Fortunately, there is a simple technique to check whether your baking powder is still active!

  • 2 cup hot (but not boiling) water over 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon in a small bowl

If the mixture instantly begins to bubble and dissipates all of the baking powder, it is still active.

If there is no bubbling, the baking powder has lost its magical properties and must be replaced.

See what I mean in the short movie below!

Dry pantry staples

Ingredient Shelf Life
Baking powder 1 year
Baking soda 2 years
Candy melts 18 months
Chocolate baking bars 1 year
Chocolate chips 1 year
Cocoa powder 1 year
Cornstarch 1 year
Cream of tartar 2 years
Espresso powder 3 months
Flours 6 months
Marshmallows 6 months
Marshmallow Fluff 6 months
Salt, no additives Forever!
Salt, sea or fleur de sel Forever, but best to use by date on the package
Sprinkles 3 years
Sugar, coconut 2 years
Sugar, granulated 2 years
Sugar, light or dark brown 2 years (but technically, never goes bad and can be re-softened)
Sugar, powdered 2 years
Yeast Date on package

Liquid pantry staples

Ingredient Shelf Life
Broths (chicken, beef, vegetable) Unopened: 1 year
Opened: 5 days
Coconut milk 2 years
Extracts (almond, mint, imitation vanilla, etc.) 2 years
Honey Forever!
Maple syrup, real 1 year, unopened
Milk, shelf stable Date on package
Milk, sweetened condensed 1 year
Molasses 2 years
Oil, coconut 2 years
Oil, vegetable or canola 1 year
Oil, extra virgin olive 6 months
Oil, non-stick spray 1 year (or date on the package)
Vanilla, pure extract Forever!

Canned goods

Product Shelf Life
Applesauce 1 year
Broths (beef, chicken, vegetable) 2 years (or as noted on the package)
Fruit (peaches, pineapple, cherries, etc.) 1 year
Pumpkin, puree 1 year
Seafood (salmon, tuna, etc.) 2 years (or as noted on the package)
Tomatoes (crushed, diced, stewed, sauce) 12 months


Product Shelf Life
Dressings 1 year (or as noted on the package)
Hot sauce 5 years
Jams 2 years
Jellies 2 years
Mayonnaise 3 months
Mustard, yellow or ground 2 years
Peanut butter 9 months (unopened), 3 months (once opened)
Sesame oil 1 year
Soy sauce 3 years
Vinegar, any kind Forever! (but best if used within 2 years)
Worcestershire sauce 1 year

Dried goods

Product Shelf Life
Breadcrumbs 6 months
Chia seeds 3 years
Fruit (cranberries, figs, raisins, etc.) 12 months
Nuts 6 months
Oats 12 months
Pasta, dried and boxed 2 years
Rice, brown 6 months
Rice, jasmine 2 years
Rice, white 2 years
Rice, wild 6 months

Commonly Used Spices

These are the spices I use the most and have used in recipes on my blog. Outside of this list (in general):

  • Whole spices will keep for four years.
  • Ground spices will keep for three years.
  • Dried herbs have a two-year shelf life.
Spice Shelf Life
Allspice 2 years
Bay leaves 1 year
Chili powder 2 years
Cinnamon, ground 2 years
Cinnamon, sticks 3 years
Cumin 2 years
Garlic powder 2 years
Ginger, ground 2 years
Mustard, ground yellow 3 years
Nutmeg 2 years
Onion powder 2 years
Oregano, dried 2 years
Parsley, dried 2 years
Pepper, black 2 years
Pepper, white 2 years
Poppy seeds 3 years
Thyme 1 year
Vanilla, whole beans 1 year


Product Shelf Life
Bacon 2 weeks
Butter 3 months
Buttermilk 2 weeks
Cheese, hard 6 months (unopened)
Cheese, soft 1 week
Cream cheese 2 months, or by the date on the package
Eggs 1 month
Heavy cream 2 weeks
Mascarpone cheese 2 months, or by the date on the package
Milk, dairy 1 week
Milk, non-dairy (refrigerated) 10 days
Milk, non-dairy (not refrigerated) 1 month
Sour cream 3 weeks


Product Shelf Life
Bacon 6 months
Cool Whip 4 months
Corn 1 year
Cranberries 1 year
Ice cream Date on package
Peas 1 year
Phyllo dough 3 months
Pie crust 1 year

I hope this was helpful! Is there anything more I should have spoken regarding this topic? Please let me know in the comments section below.

More Baking Basics

How to Measure Ingredients Correctly

The Importance of Room Temperature Butter

5 Baking Steps You Should Never Skip

Common Baking Ingredients’ Shelf Life


What baking ingredients go bad?

Baking soda and powder are both essential components in baking, and fresher is usually preferable. Baking soda may be stored unopened at room temperature for up to three years. Baking powder and baking soda lose their effectiveness over time.

How do you store common baking ingredients?

How to Store Common Baking Ingredients. The general guideline for keeping baking ingredients that do not need refrigeration or freezing is to keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dark, and dry location. The ideal temperature range is 50° to 70° F, with a relative humidity level of 60 percent or less.

Do dry ingredients go bad?

Indeed, dry foods such as flour, beans, pasta, and others may expire and become dangerous to ingest. Various dry commodities have varied expiration dates based on a variety of circumstances, including how they are kept.

How long do bakery products last?

Bakery or handmade cookies may be kept at room temperature for two to three weeks or in the refrigerator for two months. Cookies keep their quality in the freezer for eight to twelve months. Moist bars, such as cheesecake and lemon bars, may be stored in the refrigerator for up to seven days.

Can you use flour 2 years out of date?

Most packaged flours have expiry dates, also known as best-by dates, written on the bag to indicate how long they will remain fresh. Unfortunately, these markings are not required and do not indicate safety. As a result, even beyond the best-by date, your flour may still be safe to consume (9).

Can I use flour that expired 2 years ago?

Can you use flour that has passed its best before date? Probably. If it hasn’t deteriorated and has been kept in a cool, dry area, it should be acceptable for a few months beyond the printed date. Using outdated flour will not usually make you sick.

How do you make baked goods have a longer shelf life?

7 Tips for Bakers on Extending Shelf Life
Keep it frozen…. Keep it tightly sealed….
Include honey into the recipe…. Incorporate cinnamon into the recipe.
Add Some Pectin…. Include an Enzyme…. Why It’s Important to Increase Shelf Life.
Apr 17, 2020

Can I store baking soda in a Mason jar?

As a result, I suggest keeping the baking soda in its own sealed container. Since my pantry is dark, I just use a glass jar.

How do you store sugar and flour long term?

The trick is to keep them cold, dark, and well sealed. How Should I Keep Flour, Sugar, and Other Baking Ingredients? The trick is to keep them cold, dark, and well sealed.

Can cinnamon expire?

The good thing about spices is that they last nearly indefinitely. A spice going “bad” is very unusual, if not impossible. The most serious danger posed by time is that it causes spices to lose their strength and taste. Three-year-old ground cinnamon will not have the same taste as cinnamon that is just three months old.

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