Does Caramel go Bad or Expire? How Long Does it Lasts

Does caramel go bad

A bottle of caramel will not last long if everybody in your family has a sweet tooth. Since this syrup goes with everything- be it pancakes, ice cream, waffles, or brownies, you must be stocking it up with every grocery trip.

But have you ever wondered about the shelf life of caramel in case you do not feel like having it for a few weeks? Will it go bad? How would you know? How can you elongate its shelf life?

If those questions linger in your mind, you have landed on the right page. Even though caramel will go bad after a few weeks, you can leverage the best storage techniques to elongate its shelf life. Here we have a complete guide on how long the caramel lasts and how to know if it has gone bad. 


How long is caramel good for?

How long does caramel last

Caramel comes in different types. It can be a sauce, it can be a caramel candy, or it can be hard caramel. Whichever form you decide to enjoy caramel in, ensure that it is stored properly for longer shelf life.

How long does an opened bottle of Caramel last? 

It can last anywhere from 6 to 9 months, depending on how you store it. Storing them in a cool and dry place is an ideal storage condition. It is also necessary to store it in an airtight container or a sturdy Ziploc bag. 


How long does Caramel last unopened?

The shelf life of caramel remains the same- whether the bottle is opened or unopened. However, you must place the unopened bottle in the refrigerator to retain its quality and taste.

However, if frozen, its shelf life can be improved. More about it later in the storage methods section.

The caramel should be stored in a cool and dry place. Following this, you can make your caramel last longer. 

It can go bad easily if you have exposed your caramel to any heat. Exposure to heat can falter its to-be state and can go bad pretty soon. 


How long does caramel last in the fridge? 

Refrigerating caramel might harden the liquid. But it is considered to be an ideal option for preserving it for 1-2 weeks.

How do you know when caramel goes bad?

How to tell if caramel has gone bad

Anything that goes bad has something off about it. And so does caramel. The easiest way to tell if caramel has gone bad is by smelling it or looking at it. 

If the caramel starts smelling or looking off, then you have your answer, and the caramel has definitely gone bad. 

Caramel can also develop mold on it. So, whenever you see even a little mold on your caramel, know that it is not suitable to consume. It would be best if you threw it away immediately. 

Bitterness is the most apparent sign of degraded caramel. Caramel doesn’t look off at times, but it starts tasting off initially. That is another indicator to figure out if your caramel has gone bad. 

Caramel is primarily made using sugar, which is the reason behind its sweetness. When caramel loses its sweetness, the chances are that it is not good for consumption. At times, it can even start tasting burnt and acrid (harsh or unpleasant). 

Another way of distinguishing good caramel from bad is by smelling it. Smells can easily make you identify if whatever you are consuming is still good or not. When your caramel starts to have a slightly vinegarish aroma, it is then time to replace it. 

Author’s note: If you are unable to distinguish good caramel from bad one, go with your gut feeling and discard it.


What happens if you eat expired caramel?

What happens if you eat expired caramel

Anything past its expiration date is not safe to consume. Similar is the case with caramel. Caramel lasts for about 6-9 months when it is unopened. Consuming caramel that is past its expiration date can harm your health just like any other expired food item. 

Can expired Caramel make you sick?

When you consume expired caramel, it can create an imbalance in your body. Since expired food products usually turn acidic after they are gone bad, they can cause some serious damage to your body. 

Another significant side effect is food poisoning. Sometimes that food poisoning can be minor, but sometimes it can get severe. 

After consuming expired caramel, you might witness nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Even when you don’t have food poisoning, the chances are that you might witness at least one of these symptoms.


Can you freeze caramel?

Can you freeze caramel

Of course, you can freeze caramel. After all, caramel is a liquid. Freezing caramel can increase its shelf life, and you will be able to enjoy it for a more extended period of time. 

It can increase the shelf life of caramel to up to three months. The store-bought caramel can last even a little longer than its expiration date.

When you are storing caramel in a freezer, make sure that your caramel is stored in a glass jar. If you are worried about the glass shattering inside the freezer, store it in an airtight container. By doing this, you will easily make your caramel last longer.

How to Thaw Caramel?

Thawing frozen caramel is not rocket science. Simply remove it from the freezer and place it on your counter. It might take a few hours, but you’ll get soft caramel ready to be used and devoured.

If time is not by your side, you can also microwave frozen caramel for 10-20 seconds.

How to Store Caramel? 

What is the best way to store caramel

There is not just one way of storing caramel. There are a lot. The major ones are-

Room temperature: 

Storing your caramel at normal room temperature is a good idea. When there is no exposure to harsh conditions, homemade caramel can be kept good for a reasonable amount of time.

Storing store-bought caramel at normal room temperature will help retain its quality. 


Storing your store-bought caramel or homemade caramel in the fridge can also be a good idea. The temperature of caramel will remain cooler than the room temperature making it less likely to go bad.

This, however, can change the consistency of the caramel.


Types of Caramel Room temperature Fridge 
Homemade Caramel 2-4 weeks 2-3 months
Store-bought Caramel Best-by date + 1-3 months after Best-by date + 3-6 months after



Ensure that you have the proper airtight or glass containers to store caramel. Any exposure to air can harden it. Hard caramel would be no fun to eat, especially if it were supposed to be a sauce.

Nonetheless, storing caramel in an environment that is less prone to air passing by can keep it fresh for long.

What are the Alternatives to Caramel if it has gone bad? 

If caramel is not accessible, your desserts can use the following alternatives:

  • Toffee
  • Butterscotch
  • Dulce De Leche
  • Boiled Condensed milk
  • Boiled Regular milk

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)-


Why does caramel melt in the fridge?

The fridge has a slightly moist environment. When this moisture reaches the sugary caramel, it tends to turn soft. When the caramel is stored for a prolonged period inside a fridge, it can even become a complete liquid.

How do you keep caramel hard?

Keeping caramel hard is not a biggie. Storing your caramel in a plastic bag or an airtight container will keep the moisture away from the caramel. When moisture is away, the caramel will not turn soft.

How long do caramels last at room temperature?

If you store it correctly in your pantry, away from direct sunlight and heat, caramel can last for 6 to 9 months at room temperature.

How long does Peter’s caramel last?

Peter’s caramel will last for 12 months with proper storage techniques. The best method is to refrigerate it after opening the bottle to prevent any foreign odors or changes in taste.

How long does homemade Caramel last? 

You should not expect your homemade caramel to last for months as it lacks the preservatives found in store-bought products. You can refrigerate it and use it within 2-4 weeks before it starts losing its consistency and taste.

The bottom line

You wouldn’t want to lose such an essential and delicious topper because you didn’t know the basics of storing it and its shelf life, right?

It does not matter which way you prefer to store your caramel as long as it is not exposed to heat. Heat can rapidly diminish the quality of caramel by deteriorating its shelf life. Caramel, a delicious topper to anything you’re having, should be stored properly. 

We think that now you will not have any issues figuring out good caramel from one that has gone bad and how to keep it safe for a long time.

Don’t forget to ask us any questions you still have in the comment section below.

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