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How Long Does Margarine Last? Does Margarine Go Bad?

Margarine is a spread used in flavoring, cooking, and baking. People mostly use margarine as an easy substitute for butter.

According to Wikipedia, margarine was named oleomargarine.

It comes from the Latin word ‘oleum’ (olive oil) and Greek word ‘margarite’ (pearl indicating luster). It was later named margarine.

Margarine is a food product made from one or more vegetable or animal fats or oils.

Margarine was long subjected to severe restrictive legislation in the US because of the dairy industry’s opposition.

People eventually accepted margarine in the market because manufacturers learned to make margarine from domestic oils rather than imported oils.

Moreover, margarine is also a good source of calories.

Today, there are lots of comparisons between margarine and butter, mainly because of the saturated fat content found in both products.

So, how long does margarine last? Read below for more details.

How Long Does Margarine Last? Does Margarine Go Bad?

Margarine, being similar to other dairy products, comes with dates on the label.

That information tells us how long we can keep the products on the shelves.

That doesn’t mean it’ll expire on that specified date because it’ll probably be okay to consume for a few more days.

There is no concrete estimation as to how long margarine will retain its freshness.

It depends on the quality of the margarine and how much preservatives it has.

You can safely assume that it should stay fresh for about a month past the date printed on the labels.

In some cases, the freshness could even go longer.

According to experts, margarine lasts roughly two to three months.

Opening the margarine container does not significantly decrease its shelf life. But it would be best if you stored it by wrapping it properly after you’ve used it.

To answer if margarine goes bad, yes, they can go bad.

The quality of unopened margarine will remain intact for three to four months past the expiration date printed on the label.

In contrast, opened margarine will stay fresh for only a month before the quality deteriorates.

So unless you’re trying to consume a whole lot of margarine, you should consider buying it in fewer amounts.

For longevity and shelf life, freezing margarine is an excellent way to retain its quality.

Margarine can stay fresh for up to a year in a freezer. But just make sure you seal it tightly.

Upon thawing, margarine will show no noticeable changes, but this may vary depending on the brand.

This shouldn’t have too much effect on the texture or flavor. Leave it in the fridge overnight if you want to thaw the margarine.

But you should not thaw at room temperature.

How To Tell If Margarine Is Bad?

The best indicators to tell if margarine is spoiled are:

  • Sight
  • Smell

Fresh margarine will appear soft and smooth in texture. It’ll also have a pleasant, buttery smell.

Spoiled margarine will have a hard texture, show signs of dark spots, and will appear waxy. It’ll smell somewhat like soap.

Another way to determine the quality of margarine is by checking liquid formations on the surface of the spread.

Good-quality margarine should be thoroughly mixed and not separate.

Once they start to separate and drops of liquid start to form, you should not consume it if that is the case.

An exception is a frozen margarine. Frozen margarine may separate when thawed due to the moisture content of the margarine. So that is not a sign of spoilage.

Due to high amounts of saturated fat, the growth of mold in margarine is highly unlikely.

Any signs of mold may be from external contaminants. Mold growth may indicate signs of spoilage; you should dispose of the margarine.

If you leave a margarine tub in the open overnight, it may start to separate and go bad.

Margarine tubs are less stable and more sensitive to temperature since they are more spreadable.

So, if you leave it out in the open, make sure you check for signs of separation, smell, and discoloration to avoid ruining it.


If you don’t notice any signs that your tub of margarine is getting bad, you can automatically assume it is safe for consumption.

If you have just thawed it, you can keep it in the fridge for a few days before it turns rancid.

Margarine is best if you keep it unopen for at least two weeks before it is in the refrigerator.

Keep in mind that margarine is an unsuitable substitute for butter because it its highly processed and include inflammatory tans fats.

Another interesting fact is that margarine helps lower cholesterol in kids.

While margarine from different companies tastes different, they try to mimic the flavor of butter. If it tastes, smells, and looks okay, feel free to use it.

But if it doesn’t, make sure you discard it for health reasons.

Yield: 1 Serving

How Long Does Margarine Last? Does Margarine Go Bad?

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


  • Margarine
  • 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.
  3. Make sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (pantry or fridge).
  4. Always check for signs of spoilage before using.

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