Can Vanilla Extract Go Bad

does vanilla extract go bad

Vanilla Extract is an extremely popular ingredient that is used in all types of baking recipes. From cakes, to muffins, to cookies, if its’ a baked good, chances are very good that vanilla extract has been used to help make it a reality. It can also be used in other types of food recipes, which shows just how versatile this product is. The thing to keep in mind when you’re thinking about buying vanilla extract is how long can it be stored for. Would it be worth it to go to your local supermarket to buy a couple packages of this product in bulk? If you see a big sale on vanilla extract at the local supermarket, what should you do? The ultimate question remains; does vanilla extract go bad?

Does Vanilla Extract Go Bad Or Expire?

Vanilla extract doesn’t generally go bad when stored properly. It does have an expiration date but you will be able to use it past the expiration date if stored correctly. Pure vanilla extract should stay indefinite with proper storage conditions.

It’s not common knowledge to consumers about how vanilla extract should be stored or when it will go bad. In this article, you’ll be able to find out how just how vanilla extract should be stored for the long-term so it will remain good five to ten years from purchase. You’ll also find out what are the signs that you should look for when trying to find out whether or not the vanilla extract has gone bad.

Storing The Vanilla Extract

The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to vanilla extract is that it must be kept in a cool, dark, and dry area during the entire storage process. You’ll want to keep the product away from any moisture, sunlight, heat, or any other outside elements that could affect the makeup of the vanilla extract. It’s important to find places that would be conducive to long-term storage for vanilla extract. Examples of good spots include a kitchen cabinet, pantry, or cupboard where it will be both cold and dark. You can also take the vanilla extract out of the original package and place it in a container that can be sealed tight.

You’ll want to remove all excess air from the package before you seal it tightly. Exposure to outside elements is something that you’ll want to avoid when it comes to your vanilla extract. You can place the container into the refrigerator if you want to store it for an even longer period of time (months or even years) because colder temperatures would still be acceptable for the vanilla extract. If you open up the package or bottle of vanilla extract, make sure to keep it tightly sealed and closed when its’ not being used.

Shelf Life of Vanilla Extract

Because of the ingredients that make up vanilla extract, it is almost impossible for the product to go bad. Pure vanilla extract which has some alcohol as apart of its’ makeup helps to make sure that there is no clear expiration date for this product. However, it’s important to be aware of the fact that the alcohol liquid will start to evaporate over time which will increase the chances of vanilla extract going bad. When the vanilla extract is left open, the alcohol in the vanilla extract is much more likely to evaporate as well. In order to increase the shelf life after opening, it’s very important to keep the bottle closed or move it into a tightly sealed container in order to benefit in the long run.

When the alcohol starts to fade away, the vanilla extract will become more intense in taste, which could be a negative as it ends up being less pleasant. An unopened bottle of imitation vanilla extract should last about two to four years with proper storage. Make sure that when you’re at the supermarket that you end up buying ‘pure’ vanilla extract because that bottle will have more alcohol content within the product which will allow it to last longer than an imitation kind of vanilla extract. Its’ very hard for vanilla extract to go bad naturally so it’s up to you as the consumer to take the steps necessary to ensure that the shelf life for the product will be as long as possible, and that the flavor, texture, and taste will stay the same.

Signs of Bad Vanilla Extract

Once again, it’s very difficult for vanilla extract to go bad unless its’ opened and not carefully preserved. If you’re really wondering how to tell if your product has gone bad or not, it’s important to take the following steps. You should check to see if there have been any bacteria, mold, or insects, which may have made their way into the vanilla extract over the years. The texture of the product should be smooth and fine so if its’ clumpy or mushy, then there’s a serious problem.

You should also check to see if there has been any changes to the smell whether it is an off or pungent odor coming from the vanilla extract. If you’re still not convinced and want to be absolutely sure, another good option would be to do a small taste test. Tasting a sampling of the vanilla extract even if it has gone bad won’t make you sick and is a surefire way to tell whether or not the product is sour or not. Between the appearance, smell, and taste tests, there won’t be much doubt as to whether the vanilla extract should be added to your chocolate cake recipe or not.


Vanilla extract is one of those few products today that can have an almost indefinite shelf life. If it’s pure and unopened, it can last for many decades. You can get the most bang for your buck with pure vanilla extract but it’s important for any consumer to use common sense. Store the product properly, take the necessary precautions, and you’ll be able to use the vanilla extract for your next batch of cookies or future birthday cake. Vanilla extract is an extremely useful product whose importance should not be overlooked. You should try your best to prevent it from going bad because it’s pretty simple when compared to other popular cooking products. It actually gets better with taste and develops flavor as it ages just as a fine wine or liquor would.



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