Can Powdered Sugar Go Bad?

If you are always spending your time in the kitchen baking up a storm then you’re probably familiar with powdered sugar. Powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar is a type of finely grounded sugar mixed with cornstarch. The cornstarch gives the sweetener its characteristic fine, powdery consistency. This product is often used as an ingredient to frostings, topping, or cake icing.

If you love baking then you’ll have no trouble using up your supply of powdered sugar. But how do you store this product? What can you do to extend its shelf life? More importantly, can powdered sugar go bad? In today’s post, let’s learn more about powdered sugar’s storage life and basic storage infos:

Image used under Creative Commons from Laurel L. Russwurm

Can Powdered Sugar Go Bad?

Just like common table sugar, powdered sugar has a long shelf life. But that doesn’t mean the product won’t go bad at some point. Powdered sugar will not keep forever but it has an extremely long shelf life. This goes especially if the storage conditions are ideal.

Powdered sugar is quite sensitive to moisture and humidity. If a tub of powdered sugar wasn’t sealed properly, the product will absorb moisture in the air. The excess moisture could cause the fine powdered product to turn clumpy and hard.

Signs that Powdered Sugar has Gone Bad

Powdered sugar will keep indefinitely. However, it will start degrading several months into storage. Improper storage could shorten the storage life of the product. Look for signs of discoloration when checking to see if powdered sugar has gone bad. If the consistency of the product turns clumpy or hard, it’s a sign that the powdered sugar has been exposed to moisture or humidity. But as long as there is no significant change in the powdered sugar’s texture and color, it is still safe to use even when stored for years.

How to Store Powdered Sugar?

The best way to store powdered sugar is to keep it in the pantry at room temperature. For unopened containers of powdered sugar, the product will keep indefinitely in the pantry. For opened containers of powdered sugar, the product will keep indefinitely. However, consume the sugar within 2 years for optimal quality.

Image used under Creative Commons from Stacy Spensley

You can use the powdered sugar’s original packaging or transfer the product in an airtight container. No additional prep is needed for transferring the product in an airtight container. However, make sure the container is completely dry to avoid clumps. Store the product in a cool, dry place away from sources of heat and moisture. Excessive heat could melt the sugars while moisture could cause clumps.

Can You Freeze Powdered Sugar?

You can freeze any type of food and powdered sugar is not an exception.  However, freezing is not necessary because the product will keep indefinitely at room temperature. In addition, freezing is not an ideal storage method; the sugar could turn lumpy once it’s defrosted. But if you must, you can stick the product in the freezer with no additional prep needed.


The great thing about storing powdered sugar is that you can use the original packaging of the product. Storing is so fuss-free! Can powdered sugar go bad? Powdered sugar won’t keep forever but it should be safe to use even when stored in the pantry for years.