Shelf Life of

How Long Does Margarine Last?

How Long Does Magarine Last?

Shelf Life of Margarine

How long does Margarine last? The shelf life of margarine depends on a variety of factors, such as the production method, it’s sell by date and how it is stored. Margarine, also known as oleomargarine or oleo, is often used as an alternative or substitute for butter. It is usually made from vegetable oil and skim milk and thus is white in color. In the margarine vs butter debate, it really comes down to what type of fat you prefer – butter is made from animal fats while margarine is made from plant fats.

Although margarine does not contain cholesterol, most types contain trans fats which not only raise LDL (bad cholesterol) levels but also lower the HDL (good cholesterol) levels. Margarine contains varying degrees of trans fat, with the types formed into sticks being higher in trans fats than the softer tub types. For more on detail on this debate, check what the Cleveland Clinic has to say on the subject by expanding the choosing healthy fats section or read this article from the National Post.

So, how long does margarine last? When properly stored at or below 40° F, packages of margarine last for the time periods indicated in the table below:

(Unopened) Refrigerator Freezer
Past Printed Date  Past Printed Date
Margarine lasts for 4-5 Months 6-8 Months
(Opened) Refrigerator Freezer
Margarine lasts for 1-2 Months 6-8 Months

Of course, foods may be purchased, stored and prepared in many different ways, each of which can result in a different expiration date. All food and drink lasts for a shorter period of time if it is not stored properly. Like most dairy products, margarine usually has a sell by date which is simply the last date a store is supposed to sell the product, not consume it. Because of this distinction, you may safely use it to compliment your favorite meals even after its sell by date has lapsed according to the above table.

How to tell if margarine is bad, rotten or spoiled?

Practicing proper hygiene and food safety techniques will help prevent food borne illness. Although not a perfect test, your senses are usually the most reliable instruments to tell if your margarine has gone bad. Spoiled margarine will begin to appear paler, may grow mold and will be either too soft (the tub) or too hard (the stick) and difficult to spread. In addition, spoiled margarine can smell stale, cheesy or decomposed.

There are, of course, certain health risks associated with spoiled margarine, so always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your margarine prior to its expiration.

How to store margarine to extend its shelf life?

Proper food storage is the key to extending the expiration date of food.
You can help margarine keep fresh longer by storing it in your refrigerator immediately after purchase and use. Proper refrigeration –at 40° F or below– is vital.  Store margarine on an interior refrigerator shelf rather than in the door, where the temperature fluctuates with frequent opening.

For a long-term option, you can freeze your margarine for about 6 months while preserving its taste if you replace the wax rapper with foil or another freezer friendly product. Although salted margarine may last longer, we recommend you follow the same storage methods discussed above.

Some benefits of proper food storage include eating healthier, cutting food costs and helping the environment by avoiding waste.

Margarine vs Butter – some interesting Facts:

  • Both margarine and butter have the same number of calories!.
  • Studies show that margarine decreases the quality of breast milk, decreases the immune system, and decreases insulin response!
  • Margarine can substitute for butter.

How long is margarine good for when prepared in a dish?

How long does margarine last? That depends. How long does bread last? In general, foods last only as long as the quickest expiring ingredient that they are mixed with. To find out how long those other ingredients are good for, please visit the DairyDrinksFruitsGrainsProteinsVegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or search below.

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 What are our shelf life resources?

Our how long does margarine last content incorporates research from multiple resources, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. In addition, we scour the web for informative articles and reports related to food safety, food storage and shelf life.

 *An important note about expiration dates …

Although the margarine shelf life information provided by Eat By Date is generally reliable, it not intended to substitute for the advice of your health care provider.  Please eat responsibly!