Sprinkles can make cake decoration easier, and the art of using it is right there in the name- sprinkling. Topping your cookies or freshly-baked cakes with colorful sprinkles can work for birthdays, Christmas, weddings, etc. This is why people who bake regularly store a bottle of sprinkles in their pantries.
But how long will a bottle of sprinkles last? While it does go bad, how much time will you have till you are forced to discard it?
If these questions are bothering you, you are in the right place. Below we will discuss the shelf life, storage methods, and the impacts of eating expired sprinkles.
How Long Sprinkles Lasts (Cookie & Candy)
Sprinkles of any type come with a shelf life of six to eight months. The quality of these sprinkles is easy to sustain for an additional two to three months if stored as prescribed. The quality and shelf life of the sprinkles depends on how it is stored and the ingredients.
How long do sprinkles last once opened?
Sprinkles come in airtight packages, and once the seal is broken, they start deteriorating due to their exposure to air. But, it doesn’t mean that you have to use the opened package within a month. It is okay to use the sprinkles of last year, even after opening.
Sprinkles are mostly sugary, and it tends to last for years to come. Some sprinkles come with fat, thickeners, flavoring agents, food dye, and more. These ingredients hamper the quality over time. The majority of the sprinkles sustain their quality even after the use-by date. You can see what Sprinkle Pop said about the sprinkles and their shelf life.
- Sprinkles, in-room temperature, last for three to twelve months after the use-by date.
How long do unopened sugar sprinkles last?
As far as unopened sugar sprinkles are sealed shut and stored in a cool and dark place, they will last for 3-4 years.
How do you know when sprinkles go bad?
Discarding the sprinkles is the only option, especially when your sprinkles are not good or edible enough anymore. Traditionally, sprinkles never go bad. It tends to lose its quality over time. Here are a few signs to identify the spoilage of sprinkles.
Check Sprinkles Visually
You have to see if the color of the sprinkle has changed over time, if there are any spots, mold growth, or if they have clumped due to moisture. If your answer is affirmative to all these questions, discard your sprinkle.
The color of the sprinkles tends to change due to sunlight exposure, as confirmed by Sprinkles Pop. It doesn’t mean that the sprinkles have gone bad, but there will be a change in the taste.
Smell of Sprinkles
If the smell gets rancid and sour, it is time to dispose of the sprinkles. As the sprinkles go bad, it releases a play-dough or plastic smell, according to Sweetapolita. Consuming such sprinkles won’t make you sick, but it lacks the original taste.
Taste of Sprinkles
If you taste a sugary flavor without any bad or sour taste, it is still good to use the sprinkles, even after the best-by date. But, if the taste of sprinkles is not good by your standard, replace it without a second thought.
Sprinkles are prepared with varied oils, and they can go rancid over time due to exposure to sunlight or heat sources. So, store it in places away from heat sources and avoid stocking it longer to prevent rancid-tasting and rancid-smelling sprinkles.
What happens if you eat expired sprinkles? Can old Sprinkles make you sick?
Despite the claims, many people are worried about using expired sprinkles. They have the question of what happens if expired sprinkles are consumed.
Nothing is likely to happen if you consume the sprinkles after expiry. You will only experience an unpleasant taste after consuming it. It is highly improbable to fall sick or have any other adverse effects from the expired sprinkles, especially when consumed in small quantities with baked products.
With that being said, if the taste gets rancid or sour and the flavors are not as expected, it is best to discard the sprinkles and replace them with a new one. Fortunately, sprinkles are cost-effective toppings, and buying a new pack to replace the expired ones won’t make a hole in the pocket.
- Like all other foods, you must avoid consuming the sprinkles with mold growth. It will make you sick with stomach infections.
Can You Freeze Sprinkles? Refrigerated Vs. Shelf Stable
Sprinkles must not be frozen until prescribed by the manufacturer. Refrigeration is sufficient to keep the quality of the sprinkles.
How long can Sprinkles last in the freezer?
However, sprinkles last longer and take a long time to expire when stored in a freezer. But, you have to ensure that you are using a container or plastic bag to store the sprinkles in a freezer. It will help sustain its quality longer, and it won’t get spoiled.
But, you have to be careful when thawing the sprinkles. Here are a few steps to do so.
- Transfer the frozen sprinkles into a fridge and leave them overnight
- Bring the frozen sprinkles to room temperature and thaw gradually
- Under room temperature, it melts easily without losing its quality, color, and taste
How long do Sprinkles last in the fridge?
Sprinkles are considered a shelf-stable item, and hence it is not recommended to refrigerate them unless needed.
If the situation demands, you can refrigerate the sprinkles in a fridge, especially when you want to cool up the sprinkles above room temperature. Ensure to use an airtight container or zip-lock bag to store it in a fridge. It will help ensure its freshness longer.
Avoid refrigerating any cake when it has sprinkles on it because the sprinkles melt quickly when it gets out of the refrigerator.
How long do Sprinkles last at room temperature?
Sprinkles are shelf-stable and can stay good and fresh when stored in your kitchen pantry at room temperature. However, the storage temperature of your kitchen cabinet or pantry matters a lot when it comes to maintaining its freshness, taste, and smell.
Sprinkles last longer at room temperature. But, ensure that the sprinkles are away from heat sources and sunlight exposure. The extreme temperature and heat sources make the sprinkles go bad quickly.
Because of the high temperature, the sprinkles’ color, smell, and quality get ruined. Hence, it must be stored in the refrigerator if you reside in high temperature and humid areas.
How to Store Sprinkles?
As exhilarating as it sounds to have the delectable sprinkles readily available at your home, they are as good as the way you store them. The easiest way is to leave the sprinkles in the original package to protect them from spoilage. Here are a few tips on storing your sprinkles to make them last longer.
Keep it Bacteria Free
The main culprit to make your sprinkles go off quickly is the bacteria. You have to ensure that the sprinkles are bacteria-free to make them last longer than expected.
Keep It Away from Extreme Temperature
The glass or plastic airtight container is always best to store your leftover sprinkles. If the original bottle is not damaged, you must store it in the original package. But, ensure to keep the leftover sprinkles in dark, dry, and cool places.
You can store it in the fridge to ensure its freshness. But, the issue here is that sprinkles tend to get damp when refrigerated longer. It can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. As a result, the color and texture suffer, and the original taste reduces. So, store it at room temperature away from extreme heat and sunlight exposure.
Store Sprinkles in Sealed Container
Apart from keeping the sprinkles away from heat sources, you also need to ensure that you use an airtight or sealed container to store them. After opening the package of sprinkles, ensure to seal the package tightly after you are done.
If the sprinkles come in a non-reusable package, put all leftovers into a sealed or airtight container or freezer bag and ensure they are stored in dry conditions.
Pro Tips for Storage!
- You have to ensure that sprinkles are limited to heat, sunlight, and moisture exposure. It will help extend the shelf life, storage time, and quality of sprinkles.
- Sprinkles are vulnerable to spoilage when you place them directly at room temperature after freezing. The moisture makes it go soggy and lose the original quality and texture. So, ensure to refrigerate it overnight after freezing and thaw after that.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use Sprinkles After Expiry?
Ans – If you pay close attention, then you probably know the answer. You can relax and use the crunchy sprinkles for at least a couple of years, even after expiry. Many sprinkles don’t have any expiry date. So, in such a case, a wise baker will always look for the signs of spoilage before using it. Until the sprinkles appear good and retain the original taste, it is safe to consume.
What Makes Sprinkles Vulnerable to Go Off Quickly?
Ans – Sprinkles are highly vulnerable to spoilage when you directly bring them under room temperature after freezing them for weeks. After freezing, there is a higher possibility of containing moisture, and it ruins the original texture and makes the sprinkles go squelchy. It indicates that the sprinkles have gone off, and it is time to replace it.
Where is the expiration date on sprinkles?
Ans – Yes, sprinkles expire, but they last longer even after expiration if stored aptly. The popular brand, Wilton Dylan’s Sprinkles, tends to last for an extra three years after expiry. But you must know the tricks to extend its shelf life. Keeping it well sealed is recommended.
Why do Sprinkles need to be refrigerated?
Sprinkles require refrigeration because the oils in the sprinkles can deteriorate due to the presence of sunlight. This is why it is necessary to refrigerate sprinkles.
Can old Sprinkles make you sick?
No, old and expired sprinkles cannot make you sick. However, you might experience changes in color and taste.
How long do sugar decorations last?
Generally, sugar decorations last for 6 weeks. But it might vary on the basis of the ingredients and brands.
The Bottom Line
By now, you have probably turned into an expert on the basics of sprinkles. Hopefully, most of your queries regarding usages after best-by date, shelf life, and storage methods are clear.
Following the right storage methods and using senses to identify its spoilage will help prevent you from spending money on it for years to come after your first purchase.
So, store them as recommended and use your common sense to check their spoilage before using them, and enjoy it on mouthwatering desserts without worrying.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Michael A. Antoine is a Sr. Chef at one of the leading chains of restaurants in the USA. He might raise hell in his kitchen, but his deep and practical knowledge about food and recipes helps us give you the best and tastiest recipes.