Does brown sugar ever go bad?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “does brown sugar ever go bad” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not the brown sugar expires. Moreover, we are going to discuss the tips to properly store brown sugar.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Does brown sugar ever go bad?

So the brown sugar does not really expire but it can go bad if not stored and handled properly.

How long does ground brown sugar last?

It won’t be wrong to say that the brown sugar lasts for ages when it is kept in a cool, dry, and dark place in an air-tight container. But it is recommended to use it within 2 years to enjoy its peak quality. 

You can easily store your brown sugar in an air-tight bottle or container in a cool and dry corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and humidity. 

The package of brown sugar would have the best by date but that does not mean that your brown sugar would expire afterward. So you can use your properly stored brown sugar for ages.

What is the meaning of different dates written on food packages?

  1. “Sell by” date indicates the particular date before which food item should be sold to the customer, it is the recommended date before which food item should be sold.
  2. “Best before” or “Best by” date tells the time during which the food item has its best or peak quality. It is an indicator of quality rather than safety.
  3. “Expires on” date refers to the date after which the flavor and overall quality of the food item begin to deteriorate gradually.

You can read more about the dates on food labels here.

How to properly store brown sugar?

  1. Brown sugar should be kept in air-tight containers or air-tight jars to reduce its exposure to air.
  2. You should never use wet spoons to take the brown sugar out of its container or jar.
  3. It is best practice to store brown sugar at room temperature as the fluctuations in temperature can affect the quality of brown sugar negatively. Moreover do not store them near a stove or air conditioner. 
  4. It is not advised to store the brown sugar in the refrigerator as the moisture content of the refrigerator is quite high and it can reduce the quality of the brown sugar. If you still want to store it in the refrigerator then it is recommended to keep it in vacuum-sealed containers.
  5. Brown sugar should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place. A cool and dry corner of your pantry can serve this purpose nicely.
  6. Do not unnecessarily open the lid of the brown sugar jar or bottle and seal it again as soon as possible after scooping out the brown sugar that you need.

Other FAQs about Sugar which you may be interested in.

Does Sugar Go Bad?

Does powdered sugar go bad?

Does brown sugar go bad?

Does the presence of lumps mean that brown sugar has expired?

No, the presence of lumps does not necessarily mean that your brown sugar has gone bad.

Moreover, brown sugar, like all other sugar types sugar attracts insects because of its sugary flavor so if you see some insects in your sugar container, it is better to get rid of them owing to the sanitation and cleanliness concerns.

Does the texture of brown sugar change with time?

Yes, the texture of brown sugar can change with time. Brown sugar tends to make hard lumps if it has been sitting for a while in your pantry or kitchen cabinet. The formation of lumps takes place when the brown sugar is exposed to air and it loses its moisture content. Thus to restore the texture of brown sugar, we have to provide some moisture to it. You can add a whole citrus fruit or an apple slice in your jar of brown sugar to restore its moisture content and its texture.  

Why does sugar not expire?

So sugar is hygroscopic in nature which means that it has the ability to soak in water (it attracts the water molecules). And this is the very property of the sugar that makes it last for ages.

Osmosis is the process in which water moves from a region of low solute concentration to a region of high solute concentration. The solute in this case is sugar. So the water content of sugar itself is almost nil, so what happens is that when bacteria land on the surface of the sugar the process of osmosis sets in. Thus, the water starts to move from the body of the bacteria to the sugar, thereby dehydrating the bacteria and killing them. 


In this brief guide, we answered the question “does brown sugar expire” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not the brown sugar expires. Moreover, we discussed the tips to properly store brown sugar.


Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.