Do spices expire

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “do spices expire?” We will also discuss what is the shelf life of spices and how you need to store them.

Do spices expire?

Yes, spices do expire. However, they do not do it the way we know, which means they would not exhibit a pungent odor, or their texture would not change. What happens when spices go bad is that they lose the intensity of their flavor.

So, if you have some cinnamon hanging around in your pantry for years, consuming it will not kill you!  

Keep reading to find out some other FAQs about spices and their shelf lives.

How long do spices last?

Spices are a staple in everyone’s kitchen as they add flavor and life to our dishes. However, we tend to forget about them and we leave them sitting in the pantry for a long time, but they do not have an infinite shelf life.

The thing with species is that, according to seasoning experts, they would not exhibit the typical signs of spoilage, but they will lose their freshness, and flavor, also, they will probably mess up with the nutritional elements that compose them.

But, how long do spices last? Well, it depends on the kind of species we are talking about, but it has been established that 

Spices shelf life
TypeShelf life
Whole spices4 years
Ground spices2 to 3 years
Dried herbs1 to 3 years

Note that these times are only estimates, they can be affected by several factors, to reduce the chances of a decreased shelf life it is recommended to guarantee proper spoilage.  

What is the best way to store spices?

Proper storage is key to enlarging the shelf life of any kind of food, spices are not the exception to this rule. Certain tips can help you keep your spices for a longer period, such as

  • Store your spices in a space that is not near any heat or humidity sources. When exposed to moisture, they can develop mold.
  • Keep them in a cool and dark space.
  • Avoid the exposure of spices to sunlight.
  • Close them tightly after using them.

It is recommended to use glass or ceramic containers to place your spices. These types of materials are easy to clean and help you protect them from humidity. 

This does not mean you can not use plastic containers, but they might absorb odors and colors from the spices.

With red-colored spices, like paprika and cayenne pepper, refrigeration might be helpful to keep their color for a longer time.  

What would happen if you consume expired spices?

Expired spices will not exhibit the typical signs of spoilage, like mold growth or pungent smell. What expired spices cause is a flavorless seasoning that will not cause any harm to you!

So, the only thing that expired spices will do to you is add zero flavors to your meal. When you guarantee proper storage for your species, they will not develop any mold as spices are dried, so there is no moisture to cause spoilage. 

How can you tell when spices have expired?

Expired spices are characterized by a flavorless taste, so the only way to determine whether spices have expired is to taste them. 

If you still perceive the characteristic freshness of these ingredients, you can use them without a problem!

Another way to spot that your species have expired is when they no longer exhibit their normal vibrant color, instead, you will notice a dusty coloration.  

Can you keep spices forever?

Unfortunately, spices do not last for an indefinite time and we commonly choose to ignore their expiration date. Indeed, there might not be any serious health effects, but their characteristic features can get lost.

Some species exhibit a longer shelf life than some others, however, you always need to check for any damage to the following features, such as

  • Flavor.
  • Color.
  • Freshness.
  • Smell. 

What spices have a longer shelf life?

There is a wide variety of species, and they can be found in different forms, like

  • Whole.
  • Ground.
  • Fresh.
  • Dried.

The type that exhibits the longest shelf life are whole species as their shelf lives can last for up to 1 to 3 years, some examples are

  • Black cardamom.
  • Black pepper.
  • Cinnamon.
  • Cloves. 
  • Cumin.

What spices last less time?

On the other hand, according to the discussion in the last section, the types of species with a shorter shelf life are fresh and dried species, as their shelf life is not longer than 6 months.

So, before using your stored species, you need to check for any of the expiration signs that we have described.

If you want to read more about species and their health benefits, please click here.

Other FAQs about Spices that you may be interested in.

What spice is similar to coriander?

Is garam masala the same as five-spice?

Does garam masala have turmeric?

What is a substitute for cardamom?s


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “do spices expire?” We have also discussed other queries related to the subject at hand. 

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.