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
- How do I know if my baking powder is expired?
- Dry pantry staples
- Liquid pantry staples
- Canned goods
- Dried goods
- Commonly Used Spices
- More Baking Basics
- What baking ingredients go bad?
- How do you store common baking ingredients?
- Do dry ingredients go bad?
- How long do bakery products last?
- Can you use flour 2 years out of date?
- Can I use flour that expired 2 years ago?
- How do you make baked goods have a longer shelf life?
- Can I store baking soda in a Mason jar?
- How do you store sugar and flour long term?
- Can cinnamon expire?
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
|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|
|Cream of tartar||2 years|
|Espresso powder||3 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|
|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
|Broths (chicken, beef, vegetable)||Unopened: 1 year
Opened: 5 days
|Coconut milk||2 years|
|Extracts (almond, mint, imitation vanilla, etc.)||2 years|
|Maple syrup, real||1 year, unopened|
|Milk, shelf stable||Date on package|
|Milk, sweetened condensed||1 year|
|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!|
|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|
|Dressings||1 year (or as noted on the package)|
|Hot sauce||5 years|
|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|
|Chia seeds||3 years|
|Fruit (cranberries, figs, raisins, etc.)||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.
|Bay leaves||1 year|
|Chili powder||2 years|
|Cinnamon, ground||2 years|
|Cinnamon, sticks||3 years|
|Garlic powder||2 years|
|Ginger, ground||2 years|
|Mustard, ground yellow||3 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|
|Vanilla, whole beans||1 year|
|Cheese, hard||6 months (unopened)|
|Cheese, soft||1 week|
|Cream cheese||2 months, or by the date on the package|
|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|
|Cool Whip||4 months|
|Ice cream||Date on package|
|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