Skip to Content

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

Food coloring is an artificial color that you add to your food and drinks to achieve a particular look.

Food color is common nowadays; it is used in almost every dish and drink.

It helps make your food more appealing and appetizing and helps improve the food’s natural color.

For example, food coloring is used in oranges to make the orange color much brighter and uniform.

Surprisingly, it is even added in marshmallows to make its white color whiter.

Some other common uses of food coloring include- in decorating cupcakes or cakes, and various other multi-color food and drink items we see everyday.

You can find food coloring in various forms, such as liquid, paste, gel, powder, etc.

Since every product now comes with an expiration date, more people are concerned about the quality of the product if it is past its label date.

But many products continue to work fine even after the mentioned dates. Is this the same case with food coloring?

If you want to know how long does food coloring last? Read further.

How to Tell if Food Coloring is Bad? Food Coloring Shelf Life!


Just like every other food product, it is vital to heed on how you store it.

If the food coloring bottle is not sealed tightly, even if it is meant to last forever, it will still go bad because of dust, etc.

If you see changes in the color and the consistency of whichever form of food coloring you have, then it is best to stop using it.

For example: For a gel type of food coloring, the gel will start to dry up and grow harder, which is a sign that it has gone bad.

However, for a liquid food coloring, if the consistency of the liquid gets thicker or is drying up.

Then you can easily retrieve its normal state by merely adding a few drops of overly hot water and shaking the bottle thoroughly.

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


You may be surprised, but the shelf life of food coloring is almost indefinite.

Food coloring does not have raw ingredients in them that can go bad.

So, if you were planning on throwing out your expired food coloring bottles, then stop right there.

Experts also mentions that the expiry dates are labeled because manufacturers are required to do so, but you can use the product even if it has long passed its “use best before” dates.

In support of this, The National Resource Defence Council also says that the expiry date or best before date is not a reliable way to tell if a food is still safe for consumption.

Whereas, for an all-natural homemade food coloring, its shelf life is much shorter.

If you use natural products such as fruits, spices, and vegetables to create natural food coloring, and for this reason, they will eventually go bad. Upon refrigeration, homemade food coloring will last up to 6 weeks.

That being said, the store-bought food coloring does not go bad per se. They can last for several years since it contains no ingredients that can spoil.

But when it comes to natural food coloring, like every other food item, they will go bad. But with proper storage, it will last for a more extended period.


Thus, unlike most other food items that go bad ultimately, food coloring is here to last you a very long time but under a condition.

That is, you have to make sure that food coloring is sealed correctly.

However, to the question: does food coloring go bad?

The answer is yes if we are talking about homemade food coloring.

Yield: 1 Serving

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

Does Food Coloring Go Bad? How Long Does Food Coloring Last?
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


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


  1. Read the guide thoroughly to learn how long it lasts.
  2. Check the "Best-by-date" to know when it expires.Make sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (pantry or fridge).

Sharing is caring!

Skip to Recipe