Does Sugar Go Bad?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Does sugar go bad?” as well as other related questions pertaining to the subject at hand.

Sugar is one of the components which is found in almost every house. And because of its importance, you might worry about how long it lasts. Along with that, you would want to know how to store it properly, how to determine whether it is bad or not, and even how to restore sugar as well. But, does sugar go bad? In this article, you will find answers to these questions.

Does Sugar Go Bad?

Sugar doesn’t usually go bad unless exposed to moisture or contaminated. Keeping sugar even for a number of years could be possible as the shelf life of sugar is indefinite and it could still be used after a period of a long time. 

Since sugar is a huge water absorber so it absorbs even a tiny bit of water and might begin to harden leading to clump formation. There are proper ways of storing it in order to avoid certain issues.

As it has been mentioned earlier that the shelf life of sugar is indefinite, so this means that sugar doesn’t expire. Most manufacturers of sugar place a 2-year “Use By” or “Best By” date on the package but this does not mean that the sugar will be bad or spoiled after the indicated date.

Once properly stored, sugar could be kept for a long period of time and is safe to use. But the worst probable situation that might happen is that when bugs reach the sugar. Once there is already a bug in the package, there is a need for you to get rid of this package immediately then just open another one.

So the simple answer to the question “does sugar go bad” is that the lifespan of sugar is indefinite, making it last for the longest period of time as well. But despite such great news, still, be guided by the fact that sugar could still spoil or go bad once isn’t stored properly and taken care of.

Spoiled, Rotten, or Bad Sugar: How to Tell?

Although sugar might not be bad, spoiled, or rotten for the longest period of time, you might

still be in doubt so you could look for certain signs. It would be best to check the appearance

of sugar if the texture has stayed the same or once it has gotten mushy or clumpy. 

Also, look closely if there is any change in the form or colour over a certain period of time. It might not change at all. You might also consider smelling the sugar if there is a hint of unwanted odour. And as a simple small test, use a small spoon to see whether the flavour is still there and if it doesn’t make you sick. 

The most important thing that you must be aware of is the presence of insects or bugs in the container or jar as this might be a great sign that the sugar isn’t safe to be used at all.

Other FAQs about Sugar which you may be interested in.

How much sugar and cream to put in coffee?

Can brown sugar go bad?

Can sugar go bad?

Proper Storage of Sugar for Shelf Life Extension

Whatever type of sugar you have, it should be stored in a dry and cool place such as a cupboard or a specialized container which is away from sources of extreme temperatures like microwave ovens and stoves.

As we already know that sugar is a great absorber of water. So in order to prevent it from hardening, always keep it away from moisture. Once the sugar has already hardened or once it is already in clumps, worry not as you could just break it up with a fork or with the use of an electric mixer.

If the sugar is unopened, it must be safe from any bugs in its original packaging. But once it is opened, it would be great that you transfer the sugar into an airtight container as you could be sure that there would be no bugs or insects that could crawl inside it. Storing sugar in the airtight container would also guarantee that it might not absorb any odours. Once the sugar has a strange odour, it might be due to poor storage, and it got the said smell from the other foods.


Sugar might not be spoiled, because of its indefinite shelf life, once properly stored for the longest period of time. Keep sugar in a cool and dry odour-free location. Use tightly sealed containers or jars, and you could still use it safely even after the indicated expiration date. Discard sugar if there’s mold or any bugs or pantry pests in the bag.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, “Does pasta go bad?” as well as other related questions pertaining to the subject at hand.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.