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How Long Does Yeast Last? Does It Go Bad?

Have you ever looked at a packet of yeast in your kitchen cupboard and wondered, “Does this go bad?” You’re not alone!

From experienced amateur bakers to home cooks using instant yeast for the first time, many people have the same question.

Whether you’re an avid baker looking to get the best results from your bread dough or a beginner cooking enthusiast wanting to understand how long their supplies last- this blog post will answer all of your questions on how long does yeast last and when it goes bad.

Keep reading as we explore different types of yeasts, shelf lives when stored properly and signs that it may be past its prime.

What’s Yeast?

Yeast is a microscopic fungi that is used in baking and brewing.

It is a single-celled organism that reproduces by budding.

When yeast ferments, it produces carbon dioxide and alcohol.

Yeast is found on the skin and in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and other animals.

It is also found in soil, on plants, and in water.

How to Store Yeast?

Yeast is a living organism, and as such, it needs to be stored properly in order to stay alive and remain active.

There are a few different ways that you can store yeast, but the most important thing is to make sure that the yeast is kept in a cool, dark place.

One way to store yeast is to keep it in the fridge.

This is probably the best way to store yeast, as long as you make sure that the yeast is well-sealed in an airtight container.

The downside of storing yeast in the fridge is that it can become dormant, so you’ll need to test it before using it to make sure that it’s still active.

Another way to store yeast is to keep it in the freezer.

This is a good option if you’re not going to use the yeast for a long time, as it will stay dormant for longer periods of time.

However, you will need to thaw the yeast before using it, and there’s always a chance that it could become damaged during the freezing process.

Ultimately, the best way to store yeast is in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

This could be a pantry or cupboard, or even the fridge or freezer if you’re planning on storing the yeast for a long period of time.

Just make sure that the container is tightly sealed so that no air can get in and damage the yeast cells.

How to Tell If Yeast Is Bad?

There are a few ways to tell if yeast is bad.

The first way is to look at the expiration date on the package.

If it has expired, then the yeast is most likely bad and you should not use it.

Another way to tell if yeast is bad is by the color.

If the yeast is brown or black, then it is bad and you should not use it.

The last way to tell if yeast is bad is by the smell.

If the yeast smells sour or off, then it is bad and you should not use it.

How Long Does Yeast Last?

Yeast is a living microorganism, so it doesn’t last forever.

However, if stored properly, yeast can have a shelf life of several years.

The key to storing yeast is to keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Once opened, yeast should be used within four to six weeks for the best results.

After that time, the yeast will start to deteriorate and won’t be as effective.

If you don’t plan on using your yeast within that time frame, you can store it in the freezer for longer-term storage.

Just be sure to thaw it out before using it.

So how can you tell if your yeast has gone bad? One way is to look at it: fresh yeast should be moist with a creamy consistency, while older yeast will be dry and crumbly.

You can also try proofing your yeast: add some sugar to warm water and then sprinkle in your yeast.

If the mixture bubbles and froths, your yeast is still good; if not, it’s time to buy some new yeast.

Can You Freeze Yeast?

While you can technically freeze yeast, it’s not recommended.

Yeast is a living organism and freezing it will cause it to go dormant.

When you’re ready to use the yeast, you’ll need to proof it, or reactivate it, by adding it to warm water and sugar.

This process can be tricky and there’s always a chance that the yeast won’t proof properly.

It’s much easier (and less risky) to just purchase fresh yeast when you need it.

What are Some Uses for Expired Yeast?

There are actually quite a few uses for expired yeast.

While it may not be as effective as fresh yeast, it can still be used in a pinch.

Here are some ideas:

  • Baking: Expired yeast can still be used for baking, although it may not be as effective as fresh yeast. To use, simply add the desired amount of yeast to your recipe and proceed as usual.
  • Composting: Yeast is a great addition to compost. Simply add it to your compost pile and let it do its thing.
  • Fishing: Fish love eating yeast, so if you’re looking for a way to attract them, expired yeast is a good option. Simply sprinkle some on your bait and wait for the fish to bite.


Yeast is a key ingredient in baking, so it’s important to know how long it lasts and how to store it properly.

Yeast can last for years if it’s stored in the right conditions, but it can also go bad quickly if it’s not stored properly.

Keep your yeast in a cool, dry place and it should last for a long time.

If you’re not sure if your yeast is still good, try using it in a small test batch of dough to see if it still works.

How Long Does Yeast 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


  • Yeast
  • 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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