How Long Do M & M's Last?

How Long Do M&M's Last? M&M's last for 6-12 months beyond their "best by" date depending on what they are filled with and how they are stored. The shelf life of M&M's depends on a variety of factors, such as the best before date and how the chocolates are stored. Because of their unique style and flavor, especially the "melt in your mouth, not in your hand" quality, they are in a class all their own.

M&M's come in all sorts of colors and now have multitudes of flavors including M&M Almond, M&M Peanut, M&M Peanut Butter, M&M Mint, M&M Pretzel, M&M Coconut and Dark Chocolate M&M. They are tiny pieces of chocolate covered in a candy shell that can even be personalized with your own message for any occasion.

So, just how long do M&M's last? When properly stored, the shelf life of M&M's past their best by date is approximately...

How Long Does M & M's Last?

M & M's Expiration Date

(Unopened) Pantry Freezer
Past Printed Date Past Printed Date
M&M's last for 12 Months 12-16 Months
M&M Peanut lasts for 6 Months 12-16 Months
M&M Peanut Butter lasts for 6 Months 12-16 Months
M&M Almond lasts for 6 Months 12-16 Months
M&M Mint lasts for 12 Months 12-16 Months
Jordan Almonds last for 2-4 Months 12 Months

Of course, the shelf life of M&M's is shorter if they are not stored properly. But remember that M&M's, like a lot of other sweets, usually have a best before date and not an expiration date. Because of this distinction, you may safely use them even after their best before date has lapsed. Plain M&M's are the best for keeping an extended amount of time and for storing in the freezer.

How to tell if M & M's are bad, rotten or spoiled?

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

Since M&M's are mostly chocolate, it really is best (most enjoyable) within about a week or two of the best by date. After that, the taste does begins to change slightly. Your sense of sight is best to judge whether the inside chocolate has gone bad. If you see little white dots forming on the edges of the chocolate then it is drying out and getting old. It can still be used to cook with, but eating it plain will not be quite as enjoyable. After that, they may start to taste stale.

The Mars company recommends consuming M&Ms within 13 months of the manufacture date. This manufacture date can be found on the packaging in the form of 234ETCLV19. Where the first digit is the year and the second 2 digits are the week of the year. This code was manufactured in September of 2012 and thus would be best by October of 2013.

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 M & M's to extend their shelf life?

You can help keep them fresh longer by storing them in a cool, dry place. Because M&M's have a low melting point, they should never be stored in a warm place, the ideal temperature for storage of M&M's is between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Although a refrigerator may seem like a good storage place, it is NOT recommended - by the manufacturer or by eat by date. Always remember to store them in their original packaging or in a tightly closed container or sealed in plastic wrap to keep out moisture and other contaminants.

For a long-term option, you can freeze your M&M's (for best results, only the plain, mint and dark chocolate varieties) while preserving their taste if you use an air-tight freezer safe container. Although freezing is an indefinite storage spot, the quality of some foods decline after longer time periods in the freezer.

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

Interesting facts about M & M's:

  • Interesting reading about M&M's is found in the history of M&M's.
  • How to use extra before your M & M's go bad?

  • If you actually have leftover M&M's - try adding them to the tops of cupcakes or yogurt for decoration and flavor.
  • How long are M & M's good for when prepared in a dish?

    How long do M&M's last? That depends. How long does milk last? In general, they last only as long as the quickest expiring ingredient in the recipe.

    What are our shelf life resources?

    In determining how long M & M's 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 M & M's.

    *An important note about expiration dates...

    Although the M & M's 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!

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