How Long Does Sugar Last?

How long does sugar last? Does sugar go bad? Does brown sugar go bad? The shelf life of sugar depends on the best before date and how the sugar is stored. Refined (white) sugar is actually a drug that accounts for the most common addiction in society today. It's actually the only taste that we are born desiring. Sugar elevates the blood glucose level in the body and contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay... but at the same time it sure makes food hard to resist!

So, does sugar go bad? Not totally... when properly stored, the shelf life of sugar past its best before date is ...

Sugar Expiration Date

(Unopened/Opened) Pantry
Past Printed Date
Granulated White Sugar lasts for Indefinitely
White Sugar Cubes last for Indefinitely
Raw Sugar lasts for Indefinitely
Brown Sugar lasts for Indefinite, but Best within 2 Years
Powdered Sugar lasts for Indefinite, but Best within 2 Years
Sugar Substitutes last for Indefinite
Equal lasts for Indefinite, but best within 2 Years
Sweet n Low lasts for Indefinite, but best within 2 Years

Remember that sugar, like a lot of other baking products, may not have any printed expiration date or it may have a best before date, but not an expiration date. Because of this, you may safely use it for your baking needs after a best before date has lapsed.

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

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

Although sugars do not go completely bad, the texture will change over time while it remains generally still good. Does brown sugar go bad? Each type of sugar reacts differently to the aging process. When brown sugar has been around awhile it will turn from a squeezable form into a hard lump, white sugar will turn from a loose powder to a solid form, powdered sugar will become lumpy and raw sugar will stick together and form a rock. See below on how to re-shape each of these sugars if they have hardened.

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 Sugar to extend its shelf life?

The best way to store sugar is in its original container in the pantry. When the bag is opened, it can be poured into another air tight container. The air tight container is the key. While white Sugar lasts for a longer period of time if it is stored in a dry environment, Brown Sugar lasts longer if it is stored in a humid (moist) environment.

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

Interesting facts about Sugar:

  • Sugar goes by many names on nutrition labels, generally they end in "ose" like these: Glucose, Fructose, Galactose, Sucrose, Lactose, Maltose.
  • Since sugar is a preservative, it is most often used to preserve and extend the shelf life of fruits when making jams and jellies. It will even prolong the shelf life of fresh cut flowers when mixed into their water.
  • To find out how to measure sugars visit our how to measure brown sugar page.
  • How to use extra before your Sugar goes bad?

    How to Restore Sugar

    Just because the texture of sugar has changed and become hard, does not mean that it has gone bad. It can be restored.

    How to soften white sugar: White sugar will become hard if it absorbs moisture, so to soften it again you can place it in a 150°F oven for 15 minutes then break it up with a spoon. Turn the oven off and leave it in the oven for another hour or two.

    How to soften brown sugar: Brown sugar becomes hard with moisture loss, please see our brown sugar page for complete information on the shelf life of brown sugar, including the restoration process.

    How to soften powdered sugar: Powdered sugar will begin to form lumps when it has been around too long, this is because of the corn starch that is in the sugar and there is really nothing you can do except break up the lumps.

    How to soften raw sugar: Raw sugar will become hard if it absorbs moisture, so to soften it again you can place it in on a tray in a 150°F oven for 15- 30 minutes, then break it up with a spoon. Be careful not to overheat the sugar or it will burn.

    If your product is completely unusable, then check out our substitution pages - either brown sugar alternatives, powdered sugar alternatives or other sugar alternatives.

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

    How long does sugar last? That depends. How long do cookies last? In general, sugar will be one of the last expiring ingredients in any dish but still expires with the ingredients that it is mixed.

    What are our shelf life resources?

    In determining how long Sugar 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 Sugar.

    *An important note about expiration dates...

    Although the Sugar 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!