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How Long Does Vanilla Extract Last? Does it Go Bad?

We’ve all been there: you run out of vanilla extract in the middle of a recipe and frantically search your pantry for more.

But when you look, what do you find? Is it still good — or has it gone bad?

Does vanilla extract go bad? How long does it last?

These questions can be confusing and mysterious. Well, we have some answers!

In this blog post, we’ll explore how to store vanilla extract correctly and safely so that you get the most longevity and flavor out of your bottle.

Keep reading to unlock the mysteries behind this much-needed ingredient!

What is Vanilla Extract?

Vanilla extract is a solution that contains the flavor compound vanillin as well as other compounds found in vanilla beans.

It is used to flavor food and beverages.

Vanilla extract is made by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol and water.

The resulting liquid is then filtered to remove the beans.

The main component of vanilla extract is vanillin, which is responsible for the characteristic flavor of vanilla.

Vanillin is a phenolic aldehyde, which means it has a structure that includes a six-carbon ring with an attached aldehyde group.

Other compounds found in vanilla extract include ethyl vanillin, coumarin, and lignin.

Vanilla extract has a strong, characteristic flavor that can be used to enhance the flavor of many foods and beverages.

It is commonly used in baking, especially when making cookies, cakes, and other desserts.

Vanilla extract can also be used to flavor coffee, tea, and other beverages.

What are the Ingredients on Vanilla Extract?

The main ingredient in vanilla extract is, not surprisingly, vanilla beans.

To be more specific, vanilla extract contains vanillin, which is the compound that gives vanilla its characteristic flavor and aroma.

In addition to vanillin, vanilla extract also contains alcohol and water.

The alcohol used in vanilla extract is typically vodka or rum.

The type of alcohol doesn’t really matter, as long as it is at least 35% alcohol by volume.

The water content is there to dilute the alcohol and make it more palatable.

So, to sum up, the ingredients in vanilla extract are vanillin, alcohol and water.

How Long Does Vanilla Extract Last?

Vanilla extract is a popular ingredient in many desserts and baked goods, but how long does it actually last? The answer may surprise you.

Vanilla extract is made by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol.

The alcohol preserves the vanilla flavor and also acts as a solvent, extracting the flavor compounds from the bean.

Vanilla extract will last indefinitely if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

However, the flavor of the extract will gradually deteriorate over time.

If you want to keep your vanilla extract fresh for as long as possible, it’s best to store it in the freezer.

This will prevent any further degradation of the flavor and extend the shelf life of the extract.

When it comes to baking with vanilla extract, there’s no need to worry about using a “expired” bottle.

As long as the extract is still fragrant and flavorful, it will work just fine in your recipes.

So go ahead and bake up those vanilla-flavored goodies with confidence.

How to Tell If Vanilla Extract is Bad?

It’s easy to tell if vanilla extract has gone bad.

The first thing you’ll notice is the color.

Good vanilla extract should be a deep, dark brown.

If it’s lighter in color, that’s an indication that it’s not as potent as it once was.

You’ll also notice that the aroma of the extract will be weaker than usual.

Finally, the flavor will be less intense than it was when the extract was fresh.

If you notice any of these changes, it’s best to discard the extract and buy a new bottle.

How to Properly Store Vanilla Extract?

If you’ve ever wondered how to properly store vanilla extract, wonder no more.

The key to storing vanilla extract is to keep it in a cool, dark place.

sunlight and heat can cause the flavor of the vanilla extract to degrade over time.

The best way to store vanilla extract is in a dark glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid.

This will help to keep the light out and prevent any air from getting in and causing the extract to oxidize.

If you’re not going to use all of the vanilla extract right away, you can also store it in the freezer.

Just be sure to thaw it out completely before using it so that the flavor isn’t affected.

Now that you know how to store vanilla extract, go forth and bake up something delicious.


We hope this blog post has helped clear up any confusion on whether vanilla extract goes bad.

The answer is no, it does not go bad.

Vanilla extract is a safe and shelf-stable ingredient that you can use for years.

However, it can lose its flavor over time.

If this happens, you can purchase a new bottle or make your own vanilla extract.

How Long Does Vanilla Extract Last? Does it Go Bad?

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Shelf Life
Servings 1 Serving


  • Vanilla extract
  • 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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