How Long Do Spices Last?

New Years resolutions and deep cleaning seem to happen at the same time. While you are decluttering and cleaning out the rest of your house do not forget about your kitchen.

How long spices last is determined by many factors. A quick tip on what to do if you do not want to replace your spices is also included.

How long do spices last?

This is a common question question to ask. I do not advocate replacing all your spices every year because spices and herbs are expensive. Here are some great facts to better take care of your spices and herbs.

Why replace spices and herbs?

Overtime spices loose their potency, they do not go bad. Therefore your food sill not be flavored properly if you use the same measurements with a freshly opened spice bottle and one that is many years old.

How can I maximize the shelf life of my spices and herbs?

  • Store in containers with tight fitting lids.
  • Store in a cool, dark cupboard. Keep away from direct heat or sunlight.

How do I tell if my spices or herbs are still good?

Simple test – rub or crush a small amount in your hand. Smell and taste it. If there is not a strong smell or taste, replace it.

Is there a shelf life for spices and herbs?

Yes, however it is only a guideline. How you store your herbs and spices will determine the shelf life. Use the above simple test for the most accurate answer. In general terms:

  • Ground spices: 2-3 years
  • Whole spices: 4 years
  • Herbs 1-3 years
  • Extracts: 4 years (except for vanilla that will last forever)

Where can I get a good deal on spices and herbs?

Buying in bulk is always cheaper, but then you need to buy a good jar with a tight fitting lid. Consider how much you use of that spice or herb and where you are going to store it. Often times I buy the spice in the jar and then buy in bulk when I run out so that I have a jar for it. I only buy how much will fit in the jar.

Another place to look is down the mexican aisle. My store has certain spices and herbs for a fraction of the cost down the spice aisle. However again, these do not come in jars.

How do long spices last? It is determined by many factors. If your spices and herbs have lost their potency and you do not wish to replace them a quick fix is to add more then the recipe calls for.

How long spices last is determined by many factors. A quick tip on what to do if you do not want to replace your spices is also included.


I am a mom to Five Little Chefs who love to cook and create anything with their hands. Watching over 10 additional hands keeps me busy but is so much fun! We laugh and cry everyday, but then want to do it again the next day. That is how we know we are enjoying life!

2 Replies to "How Long Do Spices Last?"

  • comment-avatar
    Susan January 2, 2016 (4:33 pm)

    Thanks for sharing these guidelines. And, for adding some common sense. I’ve seen articles advising to replace spices every 6 – 12 months. That would be way too costly!

  • comment-avatar
    Kim January 14, 2016 (12:14 pm)

    Thanks for these great guidelines, Iam afraid of how old some of my spices are. Glad they don’t expire as soon as I thought. Stopping by to let you know you are being featured on Friday’s P3 Party post! Have a great week! Thanks for pinning!

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