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Can Molasses Go Bad?

Molasses is a thick syrup derived from pure sugar cane juice. This syrup has a light to deep brown color and a distinct flavor. Molasses is used in cooking, baking, and grilling. It can be added to sauces and marinades too. While molasses is quite sweet, it is high in magnesium and potassium. Can molasses go bad?

Molasses is quite sensitive to heat and humidity. If the storage conditions are hot and humid, there is an increased risk of mold growth. This is why it is important to store the product the right way to stretch its shelf life!

If you’d like to know more about the shelf life and storage infos of molasses, continue reading below.

Sugar beet molasses on a spoon
Sugar beet molasses on a spoon

Can Molasses Go Bad?

Yes, molasses can go bad. Molasses is similar to honey in taste but the former has a shelf life. That said, as long as the storage conditions are ideal, there is no reason why molasses won’t keep for a long, long time.

It is also worth noting that molasses is highly hygroscopic. It attracts and retains moisture so bacterial growth is likely if stored improperly.

Since molasses is sensitive to heat and humidity, it is best to store the product in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. This goes for all types of store-bought molasses: light, dark, and blackstrap. Sulphured and unsulphered varieties of molasses should be stored this way too.

Sealed, unopened bottles of molasses will keep for 10 years in the pantry and maybe more if kept in the refrigerator. Opened bottles of molasses should keep for 1 to 5 years if stored properly and kept sealed after every use.

Black Cane Sugar Molasses in a Bowl
Black Cane Sugar Molasses in a Bowl

Signs that Molasses Has Gone Bad

It is hard to determine if molasses has gone bad simply because the texture, taste, and flavor of the product will remain the same for years.

There are no exact signs that would clue people in that the molasses has spoiled. You just have to pay close attention to slight changes in the color and flavor of the product to know for sure.

The only time you’ll know for sure that the product is no longer usable is if you see the presence of mold growth. If for some reason the product has turned off-color or there was a change in its aroma, discard the product.

Pouring molasses from a bottle
Image used under Creative Commons from Marshall

How to Store Molasses?

The best way to store molasses is to keep it at room temperature or store it in the refrigerator. If you want to store the product in the pantry, just use the original packaging.

Place the product in the darkest, coolest (not freezing) spot in the pantry. Keep the product away from sources of heat and humidity. The shelf life of molasses could be extended if the temperature is stable.

You can also refrigerate molasses but the viscosity of the product will thicken. This is due to the chilly temperature. There is no additional prep needed to store the molasses in the fridge, use its original packaging.

Cold molasses is hard to pour (hence the expression “slow as molasses in January”) so you need to warm the bottle up before use. Just immerse the container in warm water for a few minutes and the molasses will become more fluid.

Black Molasses in a Bowl and a Spoon
Black Molasses in a Bowl and a Spoon

Can You Freeze Molasses?

You can freeze molasses because any food can be frozen. However, this is not a recommended storage method at all. For one thing, freezing temperature could affect the viscosity of the product. Thawing frozen molasses increases the risk of mold growth.

Also, since molasses keeps practically for a decade in the pantry, there is no need to freeze the product to extend its shelf life.

If say, you still want to freeze the product, you have to transfer the molasses in a freezer-safe container with an airtight lid. Pour the product into the container but do not fill it to the brim. Cover with the airtight lid and write the storage date before sticking in the freezer.

Molasses in a dish
Molasses in a dish


Can molasses go bad? Although it will keep for ages, molasses does have limited shelf life. It won’t keep forever but try the storage tips we’ve outlined above to extend the storage life of molasses!