Food preservation

Does sugar go bad? 7 easy ways to keep sugar for longer 

Sugar is one of those ingredients that is a necessity in the kitchen. Even when you are on a diet, you can not completely avoid sugar.

We all need a little bit of sweetness in our lives. Most of the time I use sugar in baking and making sauces as well as curries. A little bit of sugar can completely transform your dish.

I don’t use a lot of sugar, so whenever I buy some it lasts for a really long time.  Unless you bake daily, there is a high chance that your bag of sugar will last for a long time. I am the type of mom that bakes cookies once a month.


So yes, I don’t use a lot of sugar and my little ones always have something to look forward to. My sugar lasts for a really long time. In fact, I only buy sugar once or twice a year.

Does sugar go bad? Not really. As long as you store your sugar properly, it can last for up to a decade.

This is because sugar does not have any water content, this makes it unable to sustain the life of any bacteria. If bacteria get into sugar, it dies. However, it is recommended that you throw out granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and brown two years after opening it.

The sugar might still be safe to consume but its quality will not be as good.

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Some sugars come with sell by dates. You should keep in mind the fact that the sugar is still safe to consume even after the expiration date has passed.

The expiration date does not determine how long your sugar will last. The dates are mostly for the store owners, to show them they need to sell the sugar before a certain date.

The best place to store your sugar is in the pantry, away from anything that has a strong smell.

The pantry provides a cool dry environment that is perfect for sugar storage. Unlike your refrigerator, the pantry does not have any moisture that can be absorbed by the sugar.

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Sugar quality


Naturally, sugar has a smooth texture. Sugar that is of good quality does not have any lumps in it.

As we noted, sugar does not spoil. However, when it stays for a long period, its quality does not remain the same. The sugar will start forming lumps. The change in texture makes it undesirable. No one likes using lumpy sugar, especially in baking. It gives you so much work that can otherwise be avoided.

If not stored properly, the sugar will also absorb the odors of food items that are stored near it in the pantry. The odors may tamper with the flavor of the sugar.

Additionally, if you, in any way, expose the sugar to moisture, it will harden.  However, you can easily restore sugar to its original form if it hardens.

 Also, Learn about Active Dry Yeast vs Instant Yeast. Here

How sugar quality changes


Different types of sugar react differently when exposed to moisture or when it stays for too long. For instance, brown sugar will form one hard lump. White and powdered sugar becomes lumpy, and raw sugar forms a hard rock.

Whether your sugar becomes lumpy or forms a solid block, you can still find a way to take it back to its original state.

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How to restore sugar

There is nothing as upsetting as hard, lumpy sugar. It is undesirable and gives you a lot of work. The good news is that if your sugar hardens or forms lumps, you can easily restore it to its original form.


Here is how you can restore your sugar.

  1. Throw it in the oven

This is the best way to restore your sugar if it hardened because it was exposed to moisture. Simply pre-heat your oven 150 degrees Fahrenheit and then place the sugar in the tray and place it in your oven.

Leave the sugar in the oven for 15 minutes and then remove it. Once you do, use a spoon to break up the sugar and you’re good to go.

  1. Make use of the microwave

This is definitely the fastest way to restore your sugar. Place the sugar in a microwave-safe dish and then cover it with a damp paper towel.

Place it in the microwave and turn it on for 20 seconds. When done, use a spoon to break it up. The sugar will go back to its original state.

  1. Use a food processor or blender

Simply use your food processor to restore lumpy or hard sugar. Place the sugar in the food processor and start blending.

If you are using a blender, start at a low speed. If you start at a high speed, the sugar will damage your blender. Start slow and increase the speed as the sugar softens.

  1. Use a coffee grinder

See the way you use your coffee grinder to grind those coffee beans? Use the same method to restore your sugar.

  1. A slice of bread will do the magic.

If you don’t want to use any energy while restoring your sugar then this is the method you should use.

Simply place the sugar in an airtight container and then place a slice of bread on top.

Cover the container with its lid and let it remain closed for 24 hours. The slice of bread will absorb all the moisture in the sugar.  Remove the slice of bread after 24 hours and enjoy your restored sugar.

  1. An apple slice will do the trick

This method is quite similar to when you are using a slice of bread. Place an apple slice or two in the airtight container that has the sugar and close the lid.

Wait for 24 hours then remove the apple slices. Your sugar will be restored and it will also have an amazing fruity taste.

Also, see; 10 Canning mistakes you may be making and don’t even know.

7 Easy ways to keep sugar for longer

  1. Store it in an airtight container.

Once you open your bag of sugar, the best thing to do is transfer it into an airtight container. The airtight container will protect the sugar from bags and it will also make sure that the sugar does not absorb other odors.

  1. Store the sugar far away from moisture

Moisture and sugar do not go together. Make sure that you store your sugar far away from moisture. If the sugar absorbs any moisture, it will harden and become lumpy.

  1. Store sugar in a cool, dry place away from heat.

If you store sugar close to heat, the heat will alter the flavor and color of the sugar. Your sugar will appear darker.

  1. Don’t store sugar close to anything that has a strong odor.

Unfortunately, sugar easily absorbs strong odors. For this reason, you need to make sure that whatever you store close to your sugar does not have a strong odor. Otherwise, your sugar will have that same strong smell.

  1. Don’t store sugar in the fridge

Just like heat, very cold temperatures are not sugar’s best friend. If you store your sugar in the fridge, it will definitely absorb the odors of everything else stored in the fridge. It will also absorb water and as a result, it will harden or become lumpy.

  1. Place a slice of apple in your sugar container to maintain its texture

Yes, a slice of apple can work wonders. All you have to do is place a slice in your sugar container. The apple will absorb any moisture present and consequently prevent any lumps from forming. All you need to do is replace it every few days so that molds don’t form on it.

  1. Keep the bugs away from your sugar

If you want your sugar to last for a long time, keep the bugs away. The best way to do this is by transferring your sugar into an airtight container as soon as you open it. The airtight container will make sure that no bugs get in.

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When to discard sugar


Although sugar does not go bad, there are certain instances that may actually force you to discard your sugar. Here are the few times when you should definitely throw out sugar.

  1. When your sugar has a strong smell

This is usually an indication that you stored your sugar close to something that has a strong odor. No one likes sugar that smells like something else. It always alters the smell of whatever you use it in. I recommend throwing it out since it is as good as spoilt.

  1. When there is molding inside the container that has your sugar.

Molds forming inside the container means that water got into the container. Do not try to salvage your sugar by transferring it to a different container. It is no longer safe to consume it.

  1. When you find bugs inside your sugar

Whether the bugs you find are alive or dead, you definitely shouldn’t consume the sugar. If bugs find their way into the sugar, you need to throw it out.

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