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Can Marshmallows Go Bad? How Long Do Marshmallows Last?

There’s a rogue bag of marshmallows in the far corner of a cabinet, and it sits there for quite some time. Do marshmallows go bad?

Or you have an open bag, and you need to know how long will the candy stay fresh. How long do marshmallows last?

If either sounds familiar, or you’re looking for some info on the storage and shelf life of marshmallows, this article is for you. Read on if you:

  • want to know if it is safe to eat marshmallows after they expire and how long they keep quality after opening the bag
  • aren’t sure if you can (or should) refrigerate opened marshmallows
  • considered freezing marshmallows to keep them fresh
  • want to know if yours are still okay to eat or not
Marshmallows closeup
Mini marshmallows

Do Marshmallows Go Bad?

Marshmallows don’t go bad in a way most foods do, but they don’t last forever either. At some point, the quality won’t be good enough for eating, and that’s when you should discard them.

Do marshmallows expire? Yes and no. The date on the label is there to inform you how long the candy retains quality. And while marshmallows easily keep for a couple of extra weeks (or months, depending on the brand), sooner or later, you’ll have to toss them.

Marshmallows eventually do expire, but it’s not strictly tied to the best-by date.

Is it safe to eat marshmallows after they “expire”? If your marshmallows don’t show any signs of spoilage (listed below), they should be perfectly safe to eat. The worst-case scenario is that the taste might be slightly worse than what you’re accustomed to.

Bag of marshmallows
Bag of marshmallows

How To Tell If Marshmallows Have Gone Bad?

Before you eat a bunch of old marshmallows, you should give them a quick check. Throw out marshmallows that:

  • Have hardened. Marshmallows are supposed to be light and fluffy. If they aren’t, it’s time to toss them.
  • Smell stale or off. When you give a bunch of candy a good whiff, you should smell sugar). If the odor is stale and kind of off, they’re no good anymore.
  • Have melted. If your marshmallows sat in a warm environment, they might have melted into one big bunch or a couple of smaller ones. While that doesn’t mean they are unsafe to eat, the texture you’re looking for is pretty much gone.
  • Taste off or are difficult to chew. Like with any other sweets, if the taste is below your standards or the texture has changed significantly, it’s time to open a new pack.
  • Have bugs in the container. While you can usually find pantry pests in flour or sugar, they also might infest your bag of marshmallows, especially if it isn’t sealed well. If that happens, they are no good.

If you’re not sure if your marshmallows are okay to eat or not, assume they aren’t. Better safe than sorry.

Marshmallows melting in hot chocolate
Marshmallows melting in hot chocolate

How Long Do Marshmallows Last?

Marshmallows typically keep for a few weeks past their date, and between a month and two months of opening the bag for the first time. To get more time, you can refrigerate them after opening or even freeze them.

There are lots of marshmallows brands out there, and the recommended storage periods vary significantly.

Many of those you can buy in supermarkets retain quality for a year or even longer, while others you can order online or buy in a local sweet shop often have a much shorter shelf life. Sometimes they’re as short as six weeks ([TM]).

Marshmallows best by date
Marshmallows best by date

Because of that, start with the best-by date, and assume the marshmallows should keep for another couple of weeks. Of course, they might keep good quality for a few extra months or even more, but you never know.

If your marshmallows are half a year past their date, don’t toss them right away. Instead, open the bag and examine the candy using the rules I outlined earlier. They might still be good enough to eat.

When it comes to open marshmallows, they’re freshest if you eat them right away ([SQM]). Don’t use that as an excuse for eating the whole bag in one sitting, though, because they keep for at least a couple of weeks of opening.

Marshmallows (unopened)Best-by + 1 month for best quality
Marshmallows (open)1 – 2 months2 – 3 months
Please note that these periods are only estimates.
Glass of hot chocolate and marshmallows
Glass of hot chocolate and marshmallows

How To Store Marshmallows

Store unopened marshmallows in a cool and dark place, away from direct sunlight. The pantry or a cupboard in the kitchen are perfect choices.

Once you open the bag, keep the candy sealed tightly. If you need more than a few weeks of storage, refrigerate or freeze marshmallows instead of storing them at room temperature.

Avoiding direct sunlight and hot temperatures is the most important thing because it prevents marshmallows from melting (the same is true for storing gummy bears) and sticking together ([SRM]).

Marshmallows in a resealable bag
Marshmallows in a resealable bag

Store marshmallows with other sweets (such as chocolate) or pantry staples (like rice or dry pasta).

Do you need to refrigerate marshmallows after opening? No, but you can do that if you want to keep them fresh for longer ([SQM]). The only issue with refrigeration is that the marshmallows will become a bit firmer.

If a month of storage for some reason isn’t long enough for you, you can freeze marshmallows.

Marshmallows in hot chocolate
Marshmallows in hot chocolate


  • Store marshmallows at room temperature, away from moisture and direct sunlight. If possible, they should sit in a sealed bag.
  • Marshmallows keep quality for a month or two past their date, and about a month of opening. To extend that period, you can refrigerate them after opening.
  • If your marshmallows are firm, smell stale, or are hard to chew, discard them.