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How Long Does Hard Candy Last? [Shelf Life Guide]

Do you have a jar of hard candy sitting in your cupboard? You might be wondering how long does hard candy lasts.

Hard candies are typically made with sugar and corn syrup, which can spoil if the sugar starts to break down.

There are many things you can do with hard candy beside eating it.

Here’s how to tell how old your hard candies are and how to prolong their shelf life.

What is Hard Candy?

what is hard candy

Hard Candy is a term for any candy that has been cooked to the point where it can be hard.

The sugar syrup is heated, sometimes over 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 Celsius), until all the water in the mixture evaporates and only sugar remains.

It’s called “hard” because when cooled down after cooking, this concentrated form of crystallized sugar becomes hard like rock candy or taffy.

Many candies are considered “candy,” but not necessarily “hard”.

Jelly beans, gumballs, and licorice would typically fall under this category.

Hard candies are made with two ingredients: sugar and cornstarch.

The sugar is heated, and the cornstarch is added to prevent clumping.

Then, flavorings are mixed in like vanilla extract or peppermint oil.

It’s important to note that hard candies can vary from super sweet (think jawbreakers) to sour-sweet flavors like Warheads candy.

It all depends on what type of flavoring you add.

How to Store Hard Candy?

how to store hard candy

When storing hard candy, keep in mind that it can be affected by extreme temperature and humidity.

To prevent the sugar from clumping together, store them at room temperature or below.

It is a good idea to place individual candies into an airtight container so that they will not all melt if one is accidentally melted.

Never store in the refrigerator or freezer because it will cause condensation to build up.

  • You can purchase a small, inexpensive container from any grocery store and fill it with individual candies.
  • If you have a collection of excess candy that is not in use, wrap each piece individually in aluminum foil before placing it into an airtight container, so they don’t stick together.
  • For loose hard candy such as gumdrops or jelly beans, place them on wax paper until ready for serving – then carefully transfer onto the desired surface.

How Long Does Hard Candy Last? Does Hard Candy Go Bad?

how long does hard candy last

Who doesn’t love a piece of hard candy? Those little fruity bits are so tasty and satisfying.

The problem is, we don’t always know how long these sweets last before they lose their flavor or get sticky to the touch.

Fortunately for us, there’s an easy way to check.

Look at the bottom edge of your candy wrapper, and you will find a date.

This is the date that your candy was made and, as long as you buy it before this date passes, then you’ll get to enjoy tasty hard candies for months to come.

As a general rule, most hard candies will keep for up to one year in the pantry.

It is important to store them at room temperature away from light and moisture.

We recommend storing your bulk supply of hard candy in airtight containers that do not let any light or moisture through.

If you are wondering about specific types of candies like Jolly Ranchers or Warheads, we have some information below:

  • Jolly Rancher Hard Candy – These candies can be stored between 10 months and 12 months after the date stamped on the package when kept sealed.
  • Warheads – These candies can be stored between 12 months and 18 months after the date stamped on the package when kept sealed.

Remember always to check the bottom edge of your candy for the best-by date.

How to Tell if Hard Candy is Bad?

how to tell if hard candy is bad

Hard candy is delicious, and it can also be a pain to tell if it’s bad.

If the hard candy has any of these symptoms, it’s time to toss them.

  • The inside turns glossy and smears when touched.
  • You see lumps underneath the surface that don’t melt away as they should in a fresh batch.
  • It cracks or breaks into pieces easily with just light pressure from your finger.
  • There are dark spots on some parts of the candy that doesn’t fade after being heated up fast (also known as scorching).
  • The color changes to dark brownish or black.
  • It smells sour, and you can taste it too.
  • If the candy’s texture has changed in any way, shape, or form (it shouldn’t be sticky when it used to be brittle), toss them out.

Even if none of these symptoms are present, but they don’t seem like something you want any more, get rid of them and grab some new ones from your bag or cabinet.

Now that you know how to tell hard candy is bad enjoy yourself while making sure what you’re eating stays fresh for as long as possible.


In conclusion, hard candy lasts for a long time, but it eventually dissolves in liquid and becomes sticky.

Hard candies can be kept indefinitely as long as they are stored away from heat, humidity, sunlight, or moisture to avoid sugar crystallizing.

The outside of hard candies may get dusty if not properly cared for.

Finally, some types of hard candy will melt faster than others, depending on how much fat is added to its recipe.

how long does hard candy last

How Long Does Hard Candy Last? Does Hard Candy Go Bad?

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


  • Hard candy
  • Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags
  • Labels and markers


  • Read the guide thoroughly to learn how long it lasts.
  • Label your container with the content and date and keep track of how much you’re using!
  • Make sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (pantry or fridge).
Did you make this recipe?Mention @EatDelights or tag #eatdelights!

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