How Long Do Sprinkles Last? Do Sprinkles Go Bad?

Sprinkles may not taste the best, but they sure made desserts look colorful and fun, and that matters!

If you’re a baker (whether professional or someone who bakes as a hobby), you’re likely to have them in your line-up of dessert add-ons. 

As a responsible baker, one of the first questions to look into is ‘how long do sprinkles last?’ These condiments typically last longer than most other dessert add-ons.

Nonetheless, they spoil too, and you want to be aware of what signs to look out for to know when you should discard a batch of sprinkles.

The most important thing with any food is to understand what its ingredients as they determine the shelf life. In the case of sprinkles, they are basically pieces of confectionery made of sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and emulsifier.

They get their color with the help of food coloring agents. These ingredients, coupled with a sugar glaze coating, is what gives sprinkles their long shelf life.

How Long Do Sprinkles Last? Do Sprinkles Go Bad?

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As with all packaged food items, sprinkles to come with an expiry date that extends to months or a year or two. If stored properly, you can use this crunchy confectionery up to the time the manufacturer says they are good to use.

Nonetheless, even if the date passes, there’s still a chance that your batch of ‘old’ sprinkles is edible. It all boils down to storing them correctly - in an airtight container.

Experts say that sprinkles continue to be usable for up to three years after their expiry date if you properly seal and store them.

There are food reviewers who claim that sprinkles (like all other hardened sweet items) do not go bad at all. This is true to an extent.

If the sprinkles are made of bad-quality sugar or other cheap ingredients, chances are they will spoil sooner than later.

However, if they are of premium-quality ingredients, it’s likely that they remain usable for years as long as you store them correctly.

Addressing the notion that sprinkles don’t go bad at all is our counter-argument. They may be okay to eat indefinitely (again, this is if you store them under ideal conditions).

However, they will begin to lose their flavor over time, whether or not they actually go bad. Sprinkles also tend to lose their original texture if kept for too long.

Since we’ve harped on about how important it is to store this confectionery correctly, here’s the thing - sprinkles do not do well in an environment that has moisture, is warm, or if you expose them to room temperature after refrigerating them.

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Most food items last longer if refrigerated or frozen. You can do the same with sprinkles, but it does not extend their longevity.

On the contrary, refrigerating them makes them melt faster when you take them out and put them on desserts left at room temperature. Freezing sprinkles may be more ideal.

However, the ideal environment to store sprinkles, so they don’t go bad is at room temperature (preferably a cool and dry place).

How to Tell if Sprinkles are Bad?

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It’s vital to spot signs of spoiling or bad sprinkles because otherwise, you risk health concerns. Some signs to keep a lookout for are:

  • Sprinkles contain some amount of oil, and this makes them develop a funny smell when they go bad.
  • The simplest way to tell if sprinkles are not at their peak quality is if you notice changes in their color. Over time, they tend to get lighter. Some wrinkles even show signs of spotting.
  • Another unmissable way to spot bad sprinkles is to feel their texture. Good sprinkles look firm and are crunchy when you bite into them. When they go bad, they take on a soft and soggy feel.
  • Spoilt sprinkles that are kept on their own for too long have a dried-out appearance. If you bite into them, you’ll also notice that their flavor is lost.

All the signs mentioned above indicate spoiling sprinkles. However, as ‘rotten’ as a batch of this confectionery are, they may not be bad enough to cause any serious health issues.

Nonetheless, it’s still recommended that you not use sprinkles that are not at their peak health.

Conclusion

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There’s so much to discover with sprinkles, starting with their type. Some of the most popular types of these add-ons are nonpareils (available in the shape of tiny balls), dragees (usually bigger than regular sprinklers), jimmies (best described as sugar strands), and quins (in many shapes, colors, and sizes).

Sprinkles are all about offering bakers a chance to have fun with their creations. So, go on and toss in a whole handful of sprinkles on the cupcakes you’re baking if you like!

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