How long can you leave jelly out of the fridge?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can you leave jelly out of the fridge?”, and how to tell if the jam or jelly is bad?

Read on if you want to know what happens if you eat bad jelly. This article also includes the bests storage practices to make the jelly or jams last longer. 

How long can you leave jelly out of the fridge?

Opened jelly or jam will stay up to 30 days out of the fridge. Refrigeration prolongs its shelf-life upto 6 months. Unopened jams or jellies do not require to be refrigerated as long as they are kept in a cool and dark place. 

Type Shelf-life in the fridge Table shelf-life 
Homemade jam or jelly6-12 months 1 month 
Low sugar jam or jelly 8-9 months Do not leave out 
Sugar-free jam or jelly6-9 months Do not leave out 
Apple butter 2-3 months 1 month 
Freeze jam1 month Do not leave out 

Homemade jelly has a short shelf-life due to the lack of preservatives. But the high amount of sugar somewhat gives you an edge that you can safely keep the homemade jelly unrefrigerated. 

How long does jam and jelly last once opened?

The shelf-life of jam and jellies depends upon the ingredients, the processing, and the storage method. 

Jam and jelly prepared by using sugar and boiling water bath coupled with cool and dark storage before opening, lasts upto 2 years, as long as it stays unopened. 

How to tell If the jam or jelly has gone bad?

The high sugar and heat exposure during processing makes jellies quite shelf-stable. Sugar-free or low-sugar jellies are more susceptible to spoilage because they lack the sugars necessary for their preservation. Look for the following spoilage signs when inspecting jellies.

Mold: Mold growing on the surface of jellies does not go unnoticed. You should never try to skim off the moldy surface to eat the rest of the jam or jelly. 

It is because the toxins produced by pathogenic microbes leech into the body of the jam or jelly. Not all fungus growing on the surface is pathogenic but it is better to err on the side of caution. 

Smell: If the jam or jelly gives off a yeasty or alcohol-like smell, throw it in the bin.

Color: If none of the other spoilage signs are present, slight discoloration may be tolerated. Jams or jellies tend to change color over time. A slight discoloration is natural. But it is your call to either throw it or use such jelly or jam. 

Consistency: A little separation of liquid on top is natural if the jam or jelly has been sitting for too long. However, excessive changes in consistency is bad news. 

How to make jam and jelly last longer?

Unopened jars of jams or jellies should always be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place away from sources of heat like direct sunlight and the stovetop. 

Once opened, stick the jars in the fridge. Make sure the seal is tight and secure in between uses. Keep the area around the rim clean to avoid contamination. Always use clean spoons to scoop out jams or jellies. 

What happens if you eat bad jelly?

You cannot naturally eat a sufficient amount of bad jelly to cause food poisoning because the organoleptic changes will be obvious. It should be noted that expired jelly is not necessarily bad or spoiled. 

The expiry date is merely an estimate of how long the jelly will keep in its peak quality. It does not indicate the safety of the jelly. 

However, you should always inspect the jelly for spoilage before eating if it has been sitting for too long in the fridge. 

What to do if you have too many opened jars of jam or jelly?

Bake cookies: Jam-filled cookies are an absolute delight. You can play around and use different flavors of jam. 

Bake a jelly cake: Jelly works great as a frosting. Bake a simple vanilla cake, cut it into layers and spread the jam in between layers, and top off with jelly. You can also make fruitcake with blackberry jam. 

Make sandwiches: Spread jams or jellies on plain biscuits for more exciting texture and flavor. Try making peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese and jelly sandwiches. 

Make sauces: Make classic sweet and sour meatballs by dipping them in a mixture of grape jelly and chili sauce. Use mayhaw jelly with pork loin to get the best taste and flavor. 


In this article, we answered the question “How long can you leave jelly out of the fridge?”, and how to tell if the jam or jelly is bad?


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