Can sprinkles go bad? (+3 Ways to tell)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can sprinkles go bad?”, and how to tell If sprinkles are bad?

Can sprinkles go bad?

Yes, sprinkles can go bad. Sprinkles have a pretty long shelf-life unless tempered with. Sprinkles won’t go bad as in developing mold unless exposed to moisture. What mostly happens is that they lose their flavor and texture over time. 

This happens If the sprinkles have been stored for too long. If stored correctly, sprinkles last 3 years past the printed date. Read on If you want to know If sprinkles can be refrigerated or not. This article also includes a recipe card to make sprinkles at home.

How to tell If sprinkles are bad?

  • Due to the presence of oil, sprinkle develop a rancid smell when they go bad. The fats oxidize and give off a rancid smell.
  • If the sprinkles look pale and/or develop spots, they have gone bad.
  • Pay attention to the texture. If the sprinkles develop a soft and soggy texture instead of firm and crunchy, It is time to get rid of them. Moreover, bad sprinkles will have a dried-out and dull flavor.

How long do sprinkles last?

(Unopened/Opened)In the pantry 
Past Printed Date 
Candy sprinkles 3-5 years 
Jimmies 3-5 years
Colored Sugar Crystals 3-5 years

Can you refrigerate sprinkles?

Yes, you can refrigerate sprinkles. Sprinkles have a pretty good shelf-life in the pantry so It is not recommended to refrigerate them unless the pantry is not a viable option for you. Store the sprinkles in a zip-lock bag or an air-tight container in the fridge. 

For refrigerating your baked goods or desserts that have sprinkles on them, wrap them with a plastic sheet. This will prevent the sprinkles from picking up bad odors while also preventing them from melting when they are out of the fridge.

Can you freeze sprinkles?

You can freeze sprinkles but It is not recommended. It is because freezing temperature damages the texture of the sprinkles after thawing. 

If you are determined to freeze your sprinkles, make sure you put them in an air-tight container or a high-quality zip-lock bag. For thawing, put the container or bag of frozen sprinkles into the fridge.

Do sprinkles expire?

Like any other food commodity, sprinkles will expire too. Because the sprinkles are shelf-stable, they can last about 3 years past their expiration date If stored correctly. This shelf stability owes to the high percentage of sugar in the sprinkles. 

Therefore, sprinkles won’t easily expire or go bad unless you help it. Once the sprinkles are past their expiry, the quality won’t be the same. High-quality sprinkles have a delayed expiry than poor-quality sprinkles. Exposure to moisture can trigger the spoilage of sprinkles.

What makes sprinkles vulnerable to expiry?

Temperature fluctuations and exposure to moisture make the sprinkle highly susceptible to spoilage. When storing the sprinkles in the pantry, make sure to keep them away from heat sources like direct sunlight and the stovetop.

How to make sprinkles at home?


  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar divided
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 ½ Tbsp water, not hot water
  • 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract (or any flavor of your choice)
  • Gel food coloring


  • In a bowl, add 1 cup of powdered sugar, cornstarch, water, corn syrup, and vanilla extract. Stir well until homogenous.
  • Now add the rest of the powdered sugar. Stir well to combine. 
  • Add the food color and mix. Add more food color until the desired color is achieved.  Food color has its own flavor so make sure you do not go overboard with it.
  • Fill a piping bag fitted with a #4 Wilton tip with the colored dough.
  • Draw elongated, sprinkle-width horizontal lines on two cookie sheets lined with wax or parchment paper. You can also small dots or whatever shapes you like for versatility.
  • Let the dough dry for at least 12 hours. 
  • Once dried, peel the drawn sprinkle shapes from the paper and cut them into sprinkle size using a sharp knife.
  • Use these sprinkles in baking or to decorate cakes. Transfer to an air-tight container for storage.

Nutrition facts 

The following nutrition facts are applicable to a single serving of the sprinkles prepared using the above-mentioned recipe.

Calories 40 cal
Carbohydrates 10g
Proteins 1g
Fats 1g
Sodium 1mg
Potassium 1mg
Fiber 1mg
Sugar 1mg
Calcium 1mg
Iron 1mg


In this article, we answered the question “Can sprinkles go bad?”, and how to tell If sprinkles are bad?


Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.