How long does margarine last? (+3 Ways to tell)

In this article, we will answer the question “How long does margarine last?”, and how to store margarine?

How long does margarine last?

The sell-by date printed on the label of margarine does not indicate its expiry. Margarine will not become unsafe or spoiled past this date. 

Sell-by is just an estimate of how long the store can keep the product on its shelves.The following table shows an estimate of the shelf-life of margarine under different storage conditions.

Unopened In the fridge In the freezer 
Past printed date Past printed date 
Margarine 4-5 months 6-8 months
Opened In the fridgeIn the freezer 
Margarine 1-2 months 6-8 months 

The shelf-life of butter or margarine depends on its fat percentage, overall quality and how mcuh preservatives it has.

How to store margarine?

  • Like butter, when not in use, keep margarine in the fridge. Refrigeration will make it hard. To soften it, cut as much margarine you need and place it in a covered butter dish to soften.
  • Margarine should be sealed at all times. Once opened, you can wrap it with a plastic sheet or aluminum foil for extra protection. Alternatively put it in the freezer bag. Squeeze air out of the bag.

Can you freeze margarine?

  • To extend the shelf-life of margarine, freezing is a good option. If it is wrapped and sealed tightly, just put it in the freezer bag or an air-tight container and place it in the freezer.
  • If the original packaging of your margarine included a plastic container or tube, place it in the freezer as-is.
  • The fat content in amrgarine varies. Those that have a greater fat percenatge will alst longer and freezer better than the ones with a lower fat content.
  • For thawing, remove the margairne from the freezer and let it sit in the fridge oevrnight to defrost completely.

How to tell If margarine is bad?

  1. If the margarine has been sitting for too long, its surface will start to turn darker. If the darkeend layer is thin, it can be cut and the margarine can be used. If it is too thick, you can discard the margarine. The darkness is an indication of fat oxidation.
  1. If the butter smells rancid, develops an undesrirable texture or there are clear signs of mold growth, discard the margarine immediately.
  1. If the margarine is one or two months past its printed date, your bet bet is to toss it in the bin even If It feels and smells fine.

What is margarine?

Margarine is a water-in-fat emulsion made from plant fats. Margarine can be used for cooking or baking. Margarine with 80% fat can be used as a butter substitute for butter in baking. Reduced or low-fat margarine is used as a spread for toasts, sandwiches, and crackers when cutting down on calories.

What is the difference between butter and margarine?

The difference lies in their composition. The source of fats for butter is animal-based. For margarine, the source of fat is vegan. Butter has a high percentage of cholesterol and saturated fats, therefore, it stays solid at room temperature. Margarine has more unsaturated fats that are healthy and stay liquid at room temperature. Higher water content and unsaturated fats are what make margarine prone to spoilage.

Other FAQs about Margarine which you may be interested in.

Can you replace butter with margarine in cookies?

How to substitute margarine with butter?

What are the different types of margarine?

Margarine can be categorized into the following three types.

Stick margarine

Stick margarine is solid at room temperature just like butter. It has high levels of trans fats due to the hydrogenation of vegetable fats. Stick margarine can be used for both cooking and baking. Use sparingly to avoid negative health effects.

Tub margarine

Tub margarine has a vegetable fat content of 61-79%. These have negligible trans fat content and are often fortified with calcium. These can be used for cooking. Due to a low-fat content, using them in baking makes a dry and tough crumb 

Low-fat margarine

Low-fat margarine has a vegetable fat content of 0-40%. These are suitable to be used as spreads. When used in baking, it results in a dense crumb structure of inferior quality.

Health benefits of using margarine

Margarine is rich in polyunsaturated fats and phytosterols. These are responsible for reducing the risk of heart diseases and LDL cholesterol, respectively.

Health risks of using margarine

Margarine is solidified to mimic the appearance and composition of butter. For this, vegetable oil is hydrogenated to convert the unsaturated fats into saturated fats. While doing so, high levels of trans fats are produced as a by-product.

Margarine is high in omega-6 fats. Omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory and must be taken with omega-3 fats in a balanced proportion. 


In this article, we answered the question “How long does margarine last?”, and how to store margarine?


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