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How Long Does Food Coloring Last? Does it Go Bad?

Have you ever wondered how long food coloring can last, or if it can even go bad?

As an avid baker of rainbow-colored treats, I know that questions like these have crossed my mind countless times.

What most people don’t realize is that the answer isn’t a single clear-cut one — there are actually quite a few factors to consider when attempting to determine the shelf life and expiration date of food coloring.

In this blog post, I’m aiming to provide answers and elaborate on all commonly asked questions regarding this topic in order alleviate any confusion or worries for bakers out there!

What’s Food Coloring?

Have you ever wondered what food coloring is? Food coloring is a type of dye that is used to color food and beverages.

It is made from synthetic chemicals that are derived from petroleum.

Food coloring is safe to consume, but it can cause some people to experience allergic reactions.

Food coloring is added to food and beverages for a variety of reasons.

It is often used to make products more visually appealing.

For example, green food coloring is often added to lime-flavored beverages to give them a brighter color.

Food coloring can also be used to add color to otherwise bland-looking foods, such as white rice or pasta.

In some cases, food manufacturers may use food coloring to correct the color of a food product that has been affected by changes in temperature or light exposure during processing.

While most people can safely consume food coloring, some may experience allergic reactions.

Signs of an allergic reaction include hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, and dizziness.

If you experience any of these symptoms after consuming food or drink that contains food coloring, seek medical attention immediately.

How to Store Food Coloring?

Storing food coloring correctly helps to preserve its color, texture, and overall quality.

For short-term storage, an airtight container with a lid should be used so that no air can enter the bottle or tube of food coloring.

If long-term storage is necessary, a cool dry place away from direct sunlight should be chosen as room temperature and humidity levels can affect the food coloring.

Make sure to label the containers clearly with the type of food coloring, but also add the expiration date if known.

To be extra cautious, it’s best to check that your food coloring hasn’t started clumping or crinkling before using it in baking or other recipes.

With proper care and attention your food coloring should stay fresh and vibrant for years.

How Long Does Food Coloring Last?

Food coloring is a product that can last many years, depending on the type and conditions under which it’s stored.

Regular food colorings such as liquid, powdered, or gel dyes typically retain their vibrancy for up to 3 years if the bottle remains unopened.

Though the colors may dull over time, they still remain safe for use after some time has passed.

Once opened, liquid food colorings should be used within 6 months for best results, otherwise their shelf life will diminish quickly.

Those made from natural sources such as fruits and vegetables usually only last a few months before starting to break down or spoil.

Storing any food coloring away from heat and light can greatly extend its lifespan.

With proper care, food coloring can provide enjoyable culinary experiences for years to come.

Can You Freeze Food Coloring?

You can freeze food coloring, but it’s not necessarily the best way to store it.

Freezing can cause the coloring to separate and become less vibrant.

If you do freeze food coloring, be sure to thaw it completely before using it.

It’s also a good idea to mix the coloring thoroughly before use.

How To Tell If Food Coloring Is Bad?

The best way to tell if food coloring is bad is to smell it.

If the food coloring has a sour or rancid smell, it has gone bad and should be discarded.

Another way to tell if food coloring has gone bad is to look at the color.

If the color has changed or faded, it is also an indication that the food coloring is no longer good.


Food coloring may not have an expiration date, but it can go bad.

The biggest factor in food coloring’s longevity is storage.

If food coloring is stored in a cool, dark place, it can last for several years.

However, if it is stored in a warm or sunny place, it will only last for a few months.

If you’re not sure how long your food coloring has been stored, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it away.

How Long Does Food Coloring Last? Does it Go Bad?

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Shelf Life
Servings 1 Serving


  • Food coloring
  • Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags
  • Labels and markers


  • Store your product in an labelled container in a cool, dark place like the pantry or fridge.
  • If your food is frozen, allow it to thaw in the fridge before cooking.
  • Make sure to look for signs that your food has gone bad before eating it.
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