Do Spices Go Bad? – How Long Do Spices Last? – Check Spices Shelf Life, Storage Tips & More

Do Spices Go Bad?: Have you ever heard of a food item that doesn’t require spices? Probably Not! After all, spices are the masters of any kitchen. They add the perfect aroma and flavor to the food while enriching it with antioxidants. These condiments and herbs are found in every kitchen all around the world.

However, if you are looking to up your cooking game and impress your friends with your culinary skills, then you need to secure fresh and organic spices. No food has ever been made delicious by stale pepper or turmeric. That’s why, in this article, we will be telling you about the shelf life, expiration dates, and storage techniques for your cherished spices.

Do Spices Expire

Do Spices Go Bad?

Yes, Spices do go bad in rare cases. Unlike perishable food items such as dairy products, baked items, etc, spices rarely show any definitive signs of deterioration. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t go bad. Although they can be easily used even after they expire, they will lose most of their flavor profile. Therefore, it is recommended that only fresh and organic spices shall be used in all recipes. Given their health benefits and visual appeal, there is nothing to lose if you use fresh spices.

How Long Do Spices Last?

The exact shelf life of spices depends on a multitude of factors. For instance, the duration for which they were kept in the supermarket from where you bought them, the fertilizers used for production, room temperature inside your home, and storage conditions. The homemade spices i. e. condiments which were ground at home tend to last less than the raw and unground ones.

Type of Spices Room Temperature Cool Place
Unopened packet of spices Up to 6 months Up to a year
Opened packet of spices 4-5 months 7-8 months

How To Store The Spices?

Now that we are on the same page about fresh spices, it’s inevitable that we talk about the storage of these spices. After all, there is no point spending a large number of bucks on products that will not be stored properly. Thankfully! Storing spices is as easy as chomping on your favorite snack.

If you haven’t opened the packet of spices, you can easily use them for up to a year if you place them in cool and humid-free places. For instance, kitchen pantries and underground garages are the perfect places to stack spices. However, herbs and freshly plucked raw spices are better off in the refrigerator than at room temperature.

On the other hand, opened packets of spices cannot be left on the kitchen counter. At least keep them in airtight containers inside the pantry or refrigerator if they are near their expiration dates. Moreover, raw or complete condiments last longer than ground or paste ones.

How To Tell If Spices Have Gone Bad?

Cleaning the kitchen pantry and came across many packets of spices. You should figure out whether they are spoiled or not before using them. Unfortunately, there is no sure-shot way of telling apart the good and bad spices. Furthermore, you will need to look for more than one sign of deterioration before concluding the spoilage in spices.

No worries! We got you covered. Let’s see some signs that you should be looking for when you wish to throw out the “spoiled” condiments.

  • If they smell bad, then you can safely discard these spices. Infectious bacteria and fungi lead to these foul odors.
  • Any type of visible mold on the surface of spice, especially the raw ones, clearly indicates that those condiments are unfit for consumption. However, it happens only in the worst-case scenario.
  • The discoloration of spices, especially in the case of chilly and turmeric, is the first sign of spoilage of spices. When they are exposed to humidity for a long time, they tend to lose their color over time.
  • Lastly, if you notice any weird clumps or sandy texture, even in the packed condiments, then it is better to get rid of them.

Is It Ok To Leave The Spices Outside?

Yes, absolutely! It is okay to leave your packed or unpacked condiments on the kitchen counter. Likewise, you can keep them in cool places such as kitchen pantries too. The ground ones can be kept in airtight containers for future usage.

Not only can you leave them outside, but you may also use your spices after they have expired. Most of the “use by” dates on packed items simply represent the time up to which they stay fresh. When they are past their expiration dates, they can still be used comfortably though they might have lost their flavor profiles by now.

Read More:

Fun Facts About Spices

Wanna check out some cool and interesting facts about those spices in your kitchen? Let’s dive in and discover.

  • Black Pepper was more valuable than precious metals like gold in the 4th century BC.
  • Vasco De Gama discovered India only after he came across a few pirates who were smuggling spices out of the country.
  • Red peppers, which are crushed to form red chili powder, are extremely rich in Vitamin C.
  • Consuming turmeric every day can effectively subdue the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

FAQs on Do Spices Expire

1. Is it safe to use expired spices?

Yes! Although expired, spices can be easily incorporated into all the dishes as they still possess lingering traces of the chemical compounds which gave them their distinct flavor and color. However, if you are one of those picky eaters, then you may not like the foods prepared using expired spices. Also, you will be losing out on all the good benefits that they provide, though they are not bad for your health.

2. Can you use spices after 10 years?

No, it is strongly advised that you immediately get rid of condiments older than 3 years. The raw spices last up to 2 years if stored properly and the dried herbs are okay to use for at least 2 years. But a decade is an extremely long time wherein the spices might have lost all of their colors, flavors, and healthy chemicals.

3. Do spices go bad in heat?

Yes, absolutely. Placing spices at a high temperature can easily exacerbate the aging process in them, thereby making them stale and inedible earlier than they would have. Therefore, it is recommended that you keep them only in cool and humid-free places such as the refrigerator, kitchen pantry, etc.


If you are looking to make that perfect dish for your upcoming party, then fresh and a variety of spices must be in your arsenal. It may lead to many questions about the shelf life, expiry dates, storage techniques, and overall flavor profiles of spices. Hopefully, this article resolved all your queries and helped you gain confidence for your next spice rendezvous. Stay tuned for more such articles on spices like Can Cinnamon Go Bad and about your favorite food items and beverages.

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