Do Sprinkles expire? How long do the Sprinkles last?

Have you found an expired bottle of sprinkles and don’t know if you can use it or go buy a new one? Do the sprinkles expire?

Or maybe you only use the sprinkles once or twice a year to bake a party or birthday cake. Last year’s pack is still half full and you’re thinking of using it. How long do sprinkles really last?

If those questions have brought you here, you are in the right place. In this article we talk about the conservation, useful life and deterioration of all kinds of sprinkles and confetti.

There are all kinds of sprinkles: jimmies, nonpareils, quins, pearls (beware, some are inedible), and more. Although they differ in color, shape, and flavor, the rules for how to make them are pretty much the same.

Sprinkle jar

Do Sprinkles expire? How long do the Sprinkles last?

Sprinkles typically have an expiration date of 6-18 months and easily retain their quality for another couple of months, if not years. It all depends on the ingredients and how you store them.

Once you open the jar or bag, the spoilage process is sped up a bit due to exposure to fresh air. But it is not that you have to use the confetti before a month. Using the bag you opened last year is almost always fine.

The differences in recommended storage time between manufacturers are quite marked.

My opinion is that this is due to the way in which the different confettis are made, that is, the ingredients used. Some have more preservatives than others, which is why they are supposed to maintain quality much longer than their preservative-free counterparts.

Do the sprinkles expire? The expiration date helps only a little.

However, the vast majority of polvorones available maintain their quality well beyond the date on the label (which is not an “expiration date”). Some vendors even mention it on their web pages.

This is what Sprinkle Pop says about their sprinkles ((SP))

Sprinkle mixes are guaranteed for 18 months after purchase. However, there’s really no reason they shouldn’t last several years, as long as they’re stored in a cool, dry environment.

sprinkle pop

Room temperature
sprinkles + 3 – 12 months for better quality

All in all, it’s probably best to check the quality of your old sprinkles rather than just relying on the expiration or best before date. Even if you add a couple of months to it. Let’s talk about it.

Gingerbread cake and sprinkles

How to know if the sprinkles are bad? When do you have to throw them away?

Discard your sprinkles if their quality is not good enough to continue using them. Sprinkles don’t really go bad in the traditional sense of the word, but they do lose quality over time. Here is a step by step on how to check them.

Start by taking a close look at your sprinkles.

It’s unlikely you’ll find mold or the like, but you may notice the color fading. That is a typical cause of exposure to sunlight ((SP)). Those chips aren’t necessarily bad, but their flavor could be compromised.

Next is the change of smell.

If they smell like plastic or “play dough” ((SWE)), it’s time for them to go. If there’s a hint of a musty odor, that’s up to you. Eating them won’t make anyone sick, but the experience won’t be particularly good.

Last but not least, we have the taste test, which is your ultimate tool to check how your sprinkles are doing.

If they aren’t good enough by your standards (for example, they taste bad, stale, or the texture has changed), go open a new package. You don’t want to ruin your muffins or other baked goods with stale sprinkles. But if the taste is okay, feel free to use them, even if the package is two or three years past its best-before date.

The oils in sprinkles can go rancid if exposed to heat, sunlight, or stored for too long ((SWE)). This is how you end up with sprinkles that smell or taste stale.

To make sure your sprinkles keep as long as possible, you need to store them properly. Let’s briefly talk about it.

closeup of sprinkles

How to store sprinkles

Store your sprinkles in a cool, dark, and dry place. A kitchen cabinet or pantry work well.

Once you open the package, remember to close it tightly when you are done with it.

If your sprinkles come in a non-resealable bag, transfer leftovers to an airtight container or freezer bag. Any of them will keep them dry.

What you are trying to achieve here is to avoid or limit the exposure of your sprinkles to sunlight, heat and humidity. That’s all you need for good-quality, long-term storage.

cake covered in sprinkles


SWE – FAQ – Sweetapolita
SP – FAQ – Sprinkle Pop
FS – Frequently Asked Questions | Fancy Sprinkles

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