What is the Shelf Life of Candy?


Assorted candy in square bins with a hand grabbing a candy

Just picture it: your sweet tooth is calling with a candy craving, and you pull some candy out of your pantry that has been in there for a while. It’s not uncommon to eat a bag of candy in one sitting (you only live once, so you might as well enjoy the sweeter things in life when you can, right?) but some of us prefer to enjoy candy little by little.

If you’re in that situation right now, you might find yourself asking: does candy expire?

Eventually, yes, candy will go bad. But you might have more time than you think! It varies depending on the candy, but here is a breakdown of the shelf life of candy by type:

  • Gummy Candy: six months to one year
  • Hard Candy: up to one year
  • Dark Chocolate: up to two years
  • White Chocolate and Milk Chocolate: six months to a year
  • Sour Candy: up to one year

Gummy Candy

What’s better than a fruity piece of gummy candy? If you find yourself looking at the gummy candies you pulled out from the back of the pantry and are asking yourself, “does candy expire?” the short answer is your gummy candy should be good for six months to a year, depending on how it was stored.

Gummy candies should be stored in a cool, dry area. If you live in a particularly hot and humid climate, you can refrigerate the candy to help keep it from melting. If that’s the case, your gummy candy should last six to eight months. Do you have more gummy candy than you know what to do with? Store the candy in an airtight heavy-duty freezer bag, and you can keep the candy for up to a year!

Hard Candies

Do you ever wonder how long the lollipops in your doctor’s office waiting room last? What about the butterscotches your grandma keeps around the house? The good news is hard candies last up to a year if they are stored in a dry, room temperature container. As long as grandma is refreshing her hard candy bowl every year or so, you should be good to go!

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, has less sugar than most candies, and it’s good for your heart. It is a candy that begs to be kept around the house for your sweet tooth cravings! So if you find yourself looking at a bar of dark chocolate and wondering “does candy expire?” there’s good news. If the dark chocolate was kept at room temperature and tightly wrapped (like in its original packaging, for example), it will last at least two years.

Refrigerating or freezing dark chocolate doesn’t generally extend its shelf life, but it could keep it from melting if you live in particularly hot or humid climates. If you are going to store your dark chocolate in the fridge or freezer, just be sure to keep it in an airtight container to keep the flavors of the other foods from creeping into your delicious chocolate.

Milk and White Chocolate

Assorted chocolate bars stacked

Milk chocolate and white chocolate last a little bit less than dark chocolate because of the milk used to make it. They will last six to eight months if they are kept in an airtight container in room temperature conditions. If it has never been opened and kept in similar conditions, the chocolate will last up to a year.

Sour Candy

If they are kept in cool and dry conditions, sour candies will last up to a year. Refrigerating or freezing sour candies doesn’t generally make a difference in how long they last unless you live in a particularly hot or humid climate. If you want to freeze your candies to save them for a later date, be sure to keep them in a heavy-duty freezer bag to keep the moisture out.

If you are unsure exactly when you bought the candy and can’t find an expiration date, a good rule of thumb is to check if the smell of the candy is off or if you see any signs of mold. If it still smells fresh, it’s probably maintained its tastiness, too. What happens when you have a candy craving and you only have old, expired candy, or even worse, no candy at all?! Check out what the Candy Club has to offer!