How Long Does Vanilla Last?

How long does vanilla extract last? Does vanilla expire? The shelf life of extract depends on a variety of factors, such as the best before date, preparation method and how it was stored. Because vanilla is a very delicate plant to grow, pure extract can be expensive. That's why many of the extracts on the grocery shelves are fakes or "Imitation Vanilla Extract".

We are a site all about saving money, but in the case of vanilla extract the splurge for the real thing is usually worth the extra cost. Vanilla is the most widely used of all the extracts with the majority of baked good recipes calling for at least a little of it.

So, how long does vanilla extract last past the best before date? When properly stored, the shelf life of extract past its best before date is approximately ...

How Long Does Vanilla Last?

Vanilla Expiration Date

(Unopened/Opened) Pantry
Past Printed Date
Pure Vanilla Extract lasts for Indefinitely
Imitation Vanilla Extract lasts for 2-4 years

Proper storage is key to extended shelf life and in this case it is regardless of whether or not it has been opened, as long as it has been properly re-sealed immediately after use. But remember that vanilla extract, like a lot of other spices, may have a best before date but will not have a use by date or expiration date. Because of this distinction, you may safely use it to compliment your favorite foods for as long as you like.

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

Practicing proper hygiene and food safety techniques will help prevent foodborne illness.

Although not a perfect test, your nose is usually the most reliable instrument to tell if your vanilla extract has gone bad. If vanilla extract has gone bad, the pleasant aroma will be gone and with it much of the vanilla flavor. You may also see some sediment in the bottom of the bottle and the vanilla extract may appear cloudy. You can still use it, but the vanilla extract will not have as much flavor.

If you have vanilla extract under the label "Schilling", it is at least 7 years old.

If your extract has gone bad, check out our substitutions page.

There are, of course, certain health risks associated with spoiled foods so always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your foods before their shelf life has expired!

How to store Vanilla to extend its shelf life?

The bottle should be kept in a cool dark place (the pantry) away from heat, moisture and sunlight. Avoid cupboards near the stove, dishwasher, or fridge and shelves near windows when storing your extract.

Freezing is not recommended for extracts.

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

Interesting facts about Vanilla:

  • We found the story of a spice buyers trip to Matagascar an enjoyable read that provided much insight into the vanilla extract bottle.
  • How long is Vanilla good for when prepared in a dish?

    How long does vanilla extract last? That depends. How long does cream last? In general, vanilla will be the longest lasting ingredient in your recipe but will expire along with the shortest expiring ingredient in your recipe.

    What are our shelf life resources?

    In determining how long Vanilla lasts, our content incorporates research from multiple resources, including the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Food & Drug Administration. In addition, we scoured the web for informative articles and reports related to food safety, food storage and the shelf life of Vanilla.

    *An important note about expiration dates...

    Although the Vanilla shelf life information on Eat By Date is generally reliable, please remember that individual cases will vary and that our advice should only be taken as an opinion and not a replacement for your health care professional. Please eat responsibly!