Shelf life of baking ingredients

The ultimate guide to the shelf life of baking ingredients



Ingredients Description Storing Tips Shelf life

Granulated Sugar
Dark Brown Sugar
Golden Yellow Sugar
Demerara Style Sugar
Icing Sugar
Turbinado Sugar

All Redpath products are made with 100% sugar cane.

Store sugar in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place. Make sure the container is wide enough to fit a measuring cup so you can scoop the sugar easily.

Adding a piece of apple or a slice of bread to containers of Golden Yellow and Dark Brown Sugar helps prevent them from drying out and clumping.

(if stored properly)

All-purpose flour
Bread flour
Cake flour
Pastry flour
Whole wheat flour

Each type of flour has its own purpose. The main difference between types is the amount of protein, which varies depending on the kind of wheat used.

Store flour in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place. Make sure the container is wide enough to fit a measuring cup so you can scoop the flour easily.

(if stored properly)

Baking powder
Baking soda

Leavening agents provide lift to a wide range of baked goods by creating carbon dioxide.

Buy baking powder and baking soda in small quantities, as they lose their potency over time.

6 months

Dried fruits
Candied orange and lemon peel
Crystallized ginger

A fruit that has had most of its moisture removed through drying or dehydration.

Store in airtight containers in a cool, dry, dark place. For longer storage, refrigerate or freeze dried fruit

2 months at room temperature

6 months in the fridge

1 year in the freezer

Vanilla extract
Vanilla beans

Gives baked goods a warm and flavourful taste.

Buy the best-quality vanilla extract you can find, and check that the label features the word extract and not flavouring. If tightly capped and stored in a cool, dry, dark place, it will last for a long time.

Store vanilla beans in a cool, dry, dark place, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out.

Vanilla Extract: can last indefinitely if stored properly, but best used within 3 years

Vanilla Beans: 1 year


Give depth of flavour to baked goods.

Store all ground spices in airtight containers in a dark cupboard. For the best flavour, use whole spices instead of ground.

Discard when scent fades.

Ground: 6 months

Whole: 2-3 years

Cocoa powder

Best for baking and making drinks.

Store cocoa powder in an airtight container at room temperature.

2 years

Dark chocolate
Bittersweet chocolate
Semi-sweet chocolate
Milk chocolate
White chocolate

Depending on the type of chocolate used, it's perfect for baking, melting, molding and eating.

Store chocolate and chocolate chips in a cool, dry, dark place.

3 months

Coarse sea salt
Fine sea salt
Fleur de sel
Sea salt flakes

Helps elevate and enhance the taste of baked goods.

Keep salt in a cool, dry place.

Adding a few uncooked grains of white rice to the salt will help prevent clumping.



Prevent baked goods from sticking when used to grease baking pans. In baking, oil can help give cakes a moist texture.

Oils can turn rancid if stored for too long. Different oils have different shelf lives.

Canola oil: 1 year

Olive oil: 3 years

Seed, nut and coconut oils: 3 months

Powdered gelatin

Used as a thickening or gelling agent in some desserts.

Store gelatin in a cool, dry, dark place

4 months


Can be mild, fruity, herbal or woodsy depending on the nectar source. In general, the darker the colour, the stronger the flavour.

One of the few foods that doesn't spoil. After long storage, honey might crystallize, but you can return it to its liquid state by warming it gently: set the opened jar in a saucepan of hot water over low heat until the honey melts.


Sprinkles and candies

Easy way to personalize and decorate your home-baked cakes, cookies and cupcakes.

Most will last indefinitely if stored in a cool, dry place, but always check the use-by-date on the package.



Ingredients Baking Tips Shelf life


Unsalted butter is used in baking, unless recipe states otherwise.

1 to 4 months in the fridge.

6 to 12 months in the freezer (if stored properly).


Use whole milk where stated in a recipe; otherwise, any milk - 2% or skim dairy milk, or almond or soy milk - can be used.

Dairy milk can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

Almond milk and soy milk can be refrigerated up to 1 week after opening.

For all types of milk, always check the best-before date on the carton.


We use buttermilk in recipes for biscuits and shortcakes as it makes them extra fluffy and light.

Up to 2 weeks.


All recipes on this website use large eggs. For best results, eggs for baking should be at room temperature.

Eggs in the shell can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

Raw shelled whole eggs and egg yolks can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Raw egg whites for up to 4 days.

Cream cheese

Unflavoured, brick-style cream cheese is best for baking.

Unopened packages of cream cheese can be refrigerated for up to 1 month after it's best before date; opened packages for up to 10 days.


The percentage numbers on cartons of cream and milk denote the milk fat content; the higher the percentage, the richer the product.

Sour cream will keep up to 2 weeks once opened.

Other cream should be used up to 10 days after opening.

Yoghurt will keep up for up to 1 week after opening.


Nuts can turn rancid quickly when kept at room temperature.

Almonds should not be frozen as they tend to soften.

Freeze walnuts, pecans and pistachios for up to 1 year or refrigerate them for up to 6 months.

Sweetened flaked coconut
Unsweetened shredded coconut

Can go rancid quickly if stored at room temperature.

Freeze coconut for up to 1 year, or refrigerate it for up to 6 months.


Because of their high oil content, seeds can go rancid quickly.

Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 months. And in the freezer for up to a year or more, depending on the seed.

Active dry yeast
Instant yeast

Unopened jars or packages of yeast should be stored in a cool, dry place. It is very perishable when exposed to air, moisture and/or heat.

4 months if refrigerated, 6 months if frozen.