Does Vanilla Extract Go Bad? How Long Does Vanilla Extract Last?

Vanilla extract is a flavorful flavoring derived from vanilla beans. It usually contains alcohol, water, and sugar, with the sweetness varying depending on the type of extract. Though there are many types of extracts available, typically vanilla extract is made by infusing water or alcohol with vanilla beans and then fermenting the mixture in a similar way to beer or wine.

Vanilla extracts are perishable: they tend to be used in small quantities such as half-tablespoons or teaspoons rather than measuring cups full of it (though they can be stored in an airtight container up to one year). That makes them susceptible to bacteria growth and other spoilage that could ruin their taste and potentially make them unsafe for consumption.

The shelf life of vanilla extract depends on how it is stored and your own particular situation. Vanilla extract should be stored in a cool, dry place that has adequate air circulation and away from direct sunlight, which otherwise can cause the extract to become discolored.

Vanilla extracts are typically sold in glass bottles, which are best kept out of light and in a darker pantry or cabinet. Check the label for special storage instructions if you have a thick-walled glass jar or bottle. Bottles with thin-walled plastic jars are safer for light exposure because they are less likely to shatter than glass containers (though they may not look as nice).

So how long does vanilla extract last if you keep it away from moisture and light? In general, extracts last for a year, but there are some types that have a shorter shelf life. If you purchase pure vanilla extract and store it away from exposure to heat or moisture, it can last for up to three years.

You should check the bottle of your vanilla extract for safety regulations before using it. For example, “pure” vanilla extract must have at least 60 percent of the flavoring ingredients be alcohol (usually vodka), but some extracts (usually high-quality extracts) may contain only 10 percent alcohol or less. Extracts labeled with “vanilla essence” may contain only 10 percent flavoring ingredients.

Does vanilla extract go bad? If you are into baking, then you would have asked this question at some point in time.

Vanilla extract is one of the essential ingredients when it comes to baking or flavoring several dishes. It is an extract made from vanilla beans.

There are two basic kinds of vanilla extract, namely, pure and imitation extract. The reason for creating the imitation vanilla extract is due to high-priced pure vanilla extract.

Vanilla extract also comes with a best-by date, after which the quality can start to decrease. It can also be unsafe for consumption.

If you want to know all about vanilla extract such as shelf life or how to tell if it has gone bad, then this guide is entirely for you.  The shelf life marks the distinction between imitation and pure vanilla extract. There are some essential things that you should know when talking about these two types of vanilla extracts.

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Pure vanilla extract has an alcohol base, and it is more expensive. Imitation vanilla extract is cheap and consists of fewer flavors than the pure vanilla extract. For pure vanilla extract, the shelf life is indefinite and can easily last for many years. The reason is that pure vanilla extract has high alcohol content.

No doubt, some of these products have the label best-by date, but it is chiefly due to legal proceedings. The bottom line is pure vanilla extract will be suitable for use and consumption even after way past the use-by date.

The imitation vanilla extract comes with the label of use-by date, and its shelf life can range between six to twelve months. If you stored it properly, then you can still use it for some months after passing the use-by date.

However, the quality will significantly degrade over time. As such, there is no point in storing imitation vanilla extract for a more extended period. You should note that vanilla extract, when improperly stored, can lead to spoilage, thereby making it unfit for use or consumption. But how to tell if vanilla extract has spoilt?

One of the ways to tell if vanilla extract has spoilt is by looking for unwanted growth inside the cap.

You can also use your sense of smell to check for any bad odor before using it, especially if you have not used it for a very long time.

Nevertheless, you should note that the smell and taste of pure vanilla extract are quite different from imitation vanilla extract.

As such, you should be careful, especially when switching to pure vanilla extract after continuously using imitation vanilla extract, and vice versa.

Another way is to check the quality of the vanilla extract. Imitation vanilla extract usually degrades its quality when stored for a longer time.

It means that there will be no flavor after a specific period. If it happens, then you should consider purchasing a new bottle of vanilla extract.

The following signs indicate that the vanilla extract is unusable:

One of the most common signs that indicate unusable vanilla extract is an unpleasant smell.

Another sign relates to the consistency of the liquid. If you notice any changes with the consistency of the liquid, then you should discard it.

Flavor of the liquid is another sign that can indicate unusable vanilla extract. But, you should be careful as the flavors of pure vanilla extract are different from imitation vanilla extract.

In conclusion, vanilla extract will not go bad as long as you store it properly in a dark and cool place. However, imitation vanilla extract tends to lose its quality and flavor when stored for a longer period. Hence, you should use it within 6-12 months after the use-by date.

When it comes to pure vanilla extract, it can last for many years as it has an alcohol base. However, you should never keep the bottle unsealed as it can reduce usability.

What is the best way to store vanilla extract?

Vanilla extract is best stored at a cool to moderate room temperature (60-80°F) and in a dark environment. Kitchen cupboards are usually a great place to keep your vanilla extract, as long as you do not store it over a stove or near a heat source. Also, do not store vanilla extract in the refrigerator or freezer as low temperatures will cause vanilla extract to become cloudy.

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What is the best way to store my gourmet vanilla beans?

Vanilla beans are best when stored in a cool, dry and dark place. Keep vanilla beans away from heat and do not put into the refrigerator or freezer. After you have opened your beans, store them in a closed, airtight container such as a zip lock bag to keep them moist. Also store the opened vanilla beans in cool, dry and dark space.

It’s a fact. All vanillas are not equal. Rodelle Vanilla Extract is a superior vanilla ingredient that delivers a superior end result.

Rodelle’s vanilla extracts are certified kosher, gluten-free and contain no added sugars. Look for Rodelle vanilla products in your favorite grocery store and online!

What is the shelf life of my vanilla extract?

When stored properly, vanilla extract will keep indefinitely, but using it within five years will allow for best flavor and aroma. Do not refrigerate or freeze, even after opening.

What is the nutritional information of Rodelle Vanilla Extract?

Vanilla extract has insignificant amounts of any nutrience when used at normal levels in cooking and baking; therefore it does not need to have a nutritional fact panel on the packaging. Since one teaspoon or tablespoon of vanilla extract is typically added to a recipe producing many servings, very little vanilla exists in each serving and the quantity of any nutrient added to the recipe is so small it cannot be calculated.

Does Rodelle Vanilla Extract contain any allergens?

Rodelle Vanilla Extract does not contain any form of milk, wheat (including all sources of gluten), soy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, shellfish, or fish. All Rodelle Vanilla Extract is run on an isolated line to prevent cross contamination.

What is vanillin?

Vanillin is one of over 250 flavor compounds in vanilla. Several tests can isolate and measure the natural vanillin content of pure vanilla extract, making vanillin a useful quality indicator. The best vanillas have high levels of vanillin. Imitation vanilla extracts are made using artificial vanillin, which can be produced from by-products of paper and petrochemical manufacturing.

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What is imitation vanilla extract made up of?

Imitation vanilla extracts are made using artificial vanillin, which can be produced from by-products of paper and petrochemical manufacturing.

Why does vanilla extract contain alcohol?

Vanilla extract is required by the government to contain 35% alcohol. Alcohol is the most effective way to extract flavor from vanilla beans, and the alcohol will evaporate when heated in cooking or baking. Liquid vanilla products made without alcohol are called vanilla flavoring.

What type of alcohol is used to make Rodelle Vanilla Extract?

Rodelle Vanilla Extract is made from ethyl alcohol derived from corn. The ethyl alcohol does not contain any corn protein and is also gluten free.


Why do some vanilla extracts contain sweeteners?

Sweeteners in vanilla extract serve multiple functions. Primarily, they are added to interact with the flavor compounds in vanilla which enhance the vanilla flavor and aroma in each bottle.

Do Rodelle vanilla extracts contain sweeteners?

Rodelle’s Alcohol Free Vanilla Flavor contains a small amount of cane sugar. This sweetener helps keep the flavor mixed. Rodelle Vanilla Extracts are made without added sugar and sweeteners so that our consumers can add in (or leave out) as much as they desire to finished products.

Is Rodelle Vanilla Extract kosher?

Rodelle Vanilla Extract is kosher certified by Scroll K, a nationally recognized certifying agency that ensures its products are in full compliance with the highest kosher standards. For more information regarding Scroll K: phone number is 303-595-9349Call: 303-595-9349 and website is www.scrollk.org.

Does Bourbon mean it has whiskey in it?

No, Bourbon vanilla refers to the original islands where the French colonized and began growing vanilla for cultivation. Today any vanilla grown in the Madagascar region is referred to as “Bourbon” vanilla.

Can I make my own vanilla extract using vanilla beans?

It is a common misconception that you can make your own extract by soaking vanilla beans in vodka or another alcohol. It is not that simple because there are many heating and pressurized elements that vanilla beans go through to make vanilla extract. However, you will end up making a great tasting vanilla vodka recipe!

Why does vanilla extract cost so much more than imitation?

Vanilla is one of the most labor intensive crops in the world. It takes three years for a vine to produce vanilla beans and even when it is ready to flower, the pollination process must be done by hand. Then it takes another year for the bean to grow, be picked by hand, cured and shipped to its destination. Imitation vanillas are made from chemicals and other ingredients that imitate the taste of vanilla but do not go through the same process therefore do not have vanilla’s true flavors.

Never would I have imagined that one day vanilla would take my life in a completely different direction. Beginning with a single vanilla bean, I now own a thriving multimillion dollar business called Rodelle, Inc. and make my passion of baking and cooking into my work! When I decided to be an entrepreneur by starting Rodelle, Inc., I had no idea of the path it was going to lead me on. Today the company has grown tremendously so that we now ship around the world to people who have never even tasted vanilla before. We manufacture hundreds of products that are sold in countries all over North America, South America and Europe.

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