You might be wondering, “can vanilla extract go bad?” In the end, all you really need to know is that it’s not recommended to open a bottle that has been sitting on your shelf for six years. But if you want more specific answers to your can-vanilla-extract-go-bad questions then read on!
Can Vanilla Extract Go Bad?
We’re often asked how long Vanilla extract remains good. Provided that it is stored in a cool, dark place, sealed tightly, and away from direct sources of heat or light, it will last indefinitely. The question has sparked some debate in households across the country. Whether or not vanilla extract goes bad when stored properly is still up for discussion. Many folks swear by the fact that storing it in the refrigerator will keep it fresh forever, while others think it is bad for some reason.
However, there is no truth to these claims. In fact, the only circumstance in which vanilla extract might actually lose its potency could be if you have a leaky seal or an otherwise breached container (even if you’ve kept it well-sealed). If this happens, well, your vanilla extract has already gone bad.
The issue with under-standing how long vanilla extract goes bad boils down to two things: 1. what counts as ‘good’ and 2. what counts as ‘bad.’ There is probably no one true answer to this, but the following is the most common:
How Long Does Vanilla Extract Last?
Can vanilla extract go bad? The answer is a resounding ‘no.’ If you keep it stored in a cool, dry place and do not open it before four years, then you will not lose any of the potency. This is something that most people can agree upon. Your vanilla extract will last forever if you store it in this way. But what happens if you open that bottle sometime after four years? You could have some trouble…
Can Vanilla Extract Go Bad After Opening?
This is where the answer gets a little more fuzzy. If you open a vanilla extract bottle after four years, the chances are good that it will still be very potent. However, this is always contingent upon how well you have secured your bottle. For example, if you have stored your vanilla extract in a place such as the refrigerator between uses and thus opened it every so often, then chances are that there will be no harm done. But if you’ve literally never opened your bottle (and this is easy to do), then it could indeed go bad over time.
How to Store Vanilla Extract?
Essentially, you have three options: 1. store in an unopened bottle, 2. store in an opened bottle, or 3. use it up (this is what we recommend). These are the only ways of storing vanilla extract effectively and safely, but even then you need to be careful. When kept properly, your vanilla extract should last for years and years. However, many things can go wrong if you don’t know how to handle it effectively and safely! You can check out our article on how to store vanilla extract here .
Should Vanilla Extract Be Refrigerated?
No, you should never refrigerate your vanilla extract . Even if you’ve opened it, leaving it in the fridge is a terrible idea. Vanilla extract needs to be able to flow freely. If placed in the refrigerator with other liquid items such as milk and orange juice, then your vanilla extract will harden after a few uses. This is because cold liquids tend to contract and harden while hot liquids flow freely.
So, to answer the question ‘Can vanilla extract go bad?’ the answer is yes. However, this is almost always a user error and not a product issue. Provided that you store it properly then your vanilla extract should last forever. As long as you keep it out of direct sunlight, hot areas, and sealed tightly, then your vanilla extract will remain safe to use for at least six years. After that time has passed, it’s simply a matter of how well you’ve stored your vanilla extract and how much money you want to throw away.