How Long Does Vanilla Extract Last?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “how long does vanilla extract last”. We will also discuss in detail, the shelf life and storage methods of vanilla extract.

How Long Does Vanilla Extract Last?

Both pure and artificial vanilla extracts last a long time. Pure vanilla extract has a very long shelf life and does not go bad. Although the extract includes alcohol, which will evaporate over time, please be aware that there will be a loss of product when you first open the container. Thus, the extract will have a somewhat stronger flavor after a few years.

Now for the vanilla extract that is artificial. Aside from having less flavor than the real one, it also does not keep as well. It should not go bad if stored properly, but the quality will deteriorate over time. Check the label for the best-by date, which indicates how long the quality should last.

You can easily extend that period by a few months or a year, but keep in mind that the longer you keep it, the worse the taste will become.

The estimated period of vanilla extract is given below.

Pure vanilla extract (unopened or opened)Stays fine indefinitely
Imitation vanilla extract (unopened or opened)Best-by + 6 – 12 months

How Can You Tell If It Is Expired?

Both types of vanilla extracts do not provide a favorable environment for bacteria to flourish. As a result, neither is likely to spoil in the same way that meat or dairy does.

If the smell is off or the consistency of the liquid has changed noticeably after opening the bottle or vial, discard it. In other words, get rid of the solution if your senses tell you something is wrong with it.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the pure extract and the imitation have slightly different flavors and smells. So, if you have always used the less expensive option and now you have switched to the more expensive one, do not be fooled into thinking it is bad because the smell is stronger and the taste is richer.

It is safe to use the extract if it appears to be in good condition. However, this does not guarantee that the flavor will be satisfactory. This is where the difference between a pure extract and a synthetic extract becomes apparent.

When it comes to imitations, their quality will deteriorate after a few years of storage. That means the flavor will not be quite right at some point. When this occurs, it is time to discard the extract and purchase or open a new bottle.

Check out the best rum for vanilla extract.

How To Store Vanilla Extract?

It is not difficult to keep this vanilla bean extract product in good condition.

Room temperature or slightly below is ideal for temperature, so either the pantry or the kitchen will suffice. Do not refrigerate or freeze the extract because it will lose its flavor. Also, make sure it is not near any heat sources.

The extract is not fond of light, so a dark cabinet or a spice drawer is probably the best choice. Prolonged exposure to light, like heat, can cause the taste to deteriorate.

• Vanilla extract imitation will keep its quality (or the majority of it) for a few months, if not years, after its expiration date.

Pure vanilla extract lasts for years, and according to many sources, it can last indefinitely.

• Store the extract in a cool, dark location.

Other FAQs about Vanilla Extract which you may be interested in.

What happens when adding vanilla extract to the beer?

What is the difference between real vanilla extract and imitation vanilla extract?

The method of production is the most significant distinction between pure vanilla extract and imitation vanilla extract. Vanilla beans are used to make pure vanilla extract. It has a brown color, which is due to the presence of essential oils.

The primary flavor compound in the extract is vanillin, but the pure extract also contains hundreds of other flavor compounds that give it its distinctive flavor.

Only the most important flavor compound, vanillin, is present in the imitation vanilla extract. And that vanillin is not the same as the one found naturally in the bean; it is a lab-created substance. The flavor does not come close to the flavor of the “real deal” because it only contains one of the compounds.

Of course, there are several reasons for the creation of the imitation, the most important of which is the price. Pure vanilla extract, like vanilla beans, is very expensive. Synthetic vanilla is much less expensive and has a decent flavor. As a result, most people opt for the less expensive option because it still works well in cakes, cookies, and frostings.


In this brief article, we answered the question, “how long does vanilla extract last”. We also discussed in detail, the shelf life and storage methods of vanilla extract.


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.