Can pickles go bad?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “can pickles go bad?. “We will also talk about the shelf life of pickles as well as the best ways of storing them.

Can pickles go bad?

Pickles do not go bad quickly because pickles contain both brine and vinegar which are natural preservatives. Pickles are now available in both pasteurized and unpasteurized varieties at shops.

The distinction is that in an unpasteurized product, fermentation is still going on. On the other hand, pickles may deteriorate if stored incorrectly or if germs from other foods infect them.

When it comes to pickles, how long do they last?

Industrial pickles have an expiry date written on the jar label, which gives you a fair idea of how long they’ll last. However, if you store the jars in a dark, cool location, you may utilize the pickles beyond this date.

Pasteurized pickles may be stored in your pantry for an extra three to six months. Once you’ve opened a jar, store it in the fridge with unpasteurized pickles. They may be kept in the refrigerator for approximately three months after being opened if maintained correctly.

How Long Do Pickles Last (Chart)
Unopened pasteurized3 to 6 months3 months
Unopened unpasteurizedUnsafe3 months
Opened pasteurizedUnsafe3 months
Opened unpasteurizedUnsafe3 months
HomemadeUp to 1 yearUp to 1 year
Opened homemadeUnsafe2 to 3 months

The handmade pickles are an exception. You don’t have an expiry date when you pasteurize cucumbers; you just have the day you made them. As a result, unopened jars may be kept in the pantry for up to a year, while unsealed jars can be properly stored for up to 3 months.

Signs of stale pickle

There are six signs that your pickles have gone bad, and you should be aware of them before eating them.

Lid that has been inflated

When pickles go spoiled, the acidity in the liquid adds to the pressure, causing the jar top to expand and become dome-shaped. This metric eliminates any concerns regarding the food’s quality. Because these pickles aren’t any more edible, you must dump the jar right away.


Pickles have a distinct aroma that is easy to recognize. Even though they seem to be in good shape visually, if you notice a strong, unpleasant rotten odor, they have gone bad. Remember that any unpleasant odor indicates that something has gone wrong.


Continue to eat pickles if they have almost the similar texture and flavor as previously. On the other hand, slimy, spongy, and mushy ones are inedible and should be avoided. Throwing away a jar is a smart choice.


Its brine in a container should have a distinct light yellow hue and be completely transparent. If you notice any changes, such as the liquid becoming murky or slimy, throw the pickles away right away. This implies that the fluid has undergone a chemical shift, and the meal is no safer to eat.


A container of pickles should not include anything brownish or black if you disregard the peppercorns that certain recipes use. A fungal infestation is indicated by dark patches on the pickle’s skin or brown floating particulates. 

Mold Growth

Mold may grow in a jar if the pickles are kept in a warm environment. Although white silt at the base of the jar is typical, mold on the top shows that the pickles have gone bad. If you detect fine threads in the brine, discard them immediately.

Other FAQs about Pickles which you may be interested in.

Can pickles go bad if left out?

Do pickles expire?

Do pickles have to be refrigerated after opening?

Can you freeze store-bought pickles?

How to Keep Pickles Fresh?

Unopened jars of pickles may be kept at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to two years beyond the expiry date. Pickles will last for about the same amount of time once opened as they would if kept in a securely sealed container in the refrigerator. 

Note: It’s best to remove the pickles from the container using a clean tool instead of your fingers for optimum freshness, as this will reduce the number of harmful germs.

The Dangers of Eating Expired Pickles

Pickles may be used after the expiry date has passed. If you consume spoiled pickles, you’ll undoubtedly notice something is off right away, whether it’s the flavor or the texture. In extreme instances, botulism may be caused by home-canned pickles. Clostridium botulinum generates a toxin that you can’t smell or taste, which makes it dangerous. Botulism symptoms include:

• You can have double vision.

• Breathing difficulties

• Incomprehensible speech

• Muscle twitching

• Drooping eyelids

• Paralysis


In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “can pickles go bad?. “We also talked about the shelf life of pickles as well as the best ways of storing them.