Got an “expired” pack of gummy candy, and not sure if you should discard them or not? Do gummy bears expire?
Or you found an open bag that sat in the back of the shelf for who-knows-how-long, and you need to know if the candy is safe to eat. How long do gummies last?
If you’re looking for any info on storage, shelf life, or expiration of gummy bears, you’re in the right place.
Let’s jump right in.
Do Gummy Bears Go Bad? When To Toss Them?
Gummy bears don’t go bad in the traditional meaning of the word, but they don’t retain quality forever.
Old gummies might be somewhat grainy or dry, especially if the package was opened more than a couple of months ago and wasn’t sealed. And it’s up to you if you eat them or toss them for quality reasons.
In other words, it’s not as much about food safety, but rather about the quality of those old, and perhaps “expired”, gummy bears.
If your gummies are hard, try submerging them in warm water for 20 to 30 minutes. That might help them rehydrate and become soft again. Place them back in storage after they dry.
Of course, if yours are moldy, smell off, or are discolored, you should discard them. Neither of these happens often, but it doesn’t mean that’s not possible.
If there are some crystals on the surface of gummies, it’s probably sugar. The taste of such gummy candy might be less than ideal, but they are safe to eat. The easiest way to tell if it’s sugar is to scrap some of the crystals with your fingers and taste them.
If your gummies have lost their shapes, it’s most likely because they started to melt at some point. Probably because of too high temperature. They’re okay to eat, but might not be as tasty as you’re used to.
All in all, gummies don’t expire, but they gradually lose quality. And when that quality isn’t good enough for you to eat, it’s time to get rid of them.
How Long Do Gummy Bears Last?
Gummy bears usually come with a shelf life of 12 to 18 months and should easily keep for an extra 3 to 6 months past that date. Once you open the package, eat them within 3 to maybe 6 months to get the best taste.
Those periods assume that you’re going to do a decent job at storing your gummies. We’re going to cover that in a moment.
Speaking of dates, it’s worth noting that gummies pretty much always come with a “best-by” or “best-before” date. That’s not an expiration date.
It only informs you how long, according to the manufacturer, the gelatin-based candy should retain peak quality. And it’s a pretty safe estimate.
Does that mean that you can eat expired gummy bears? Yes. As long as they aren’t spoiled and their quality is good enough for you, feel free to eat them.
If you’re not sure how to tell if yours are done for, revisit the previous section.
How To Store Gummy Bears
Store gummy bears in room temperature, that is between 55°F (13°C) and 77°F (25°C). If it gets higher for a longer period, the gummies may start to melt.
Because of that, consider placing your gummies in the fridge if where they usually sit gets (and stays) warm. Especially, if you expect to store the candy for more than a couple of weeks.
Once you open the bag, keep the leftover candy sealed and away from moisture.
If you’re going to finish them within a week or two, just wrapping the top or using a bag clip (like I did) should be good enough.
But if you’re one of those who eat one gummy bear a day (or a week), it’s probably worth it to transfer the candy into a freezer bag. This way, you’ll limit air exposure, and the gummies won’t dry out as quickly.
Again, the bag is necessary only if you expect to store gummy candy long term. Otherwise, it’s not worth it.
- Gummy candy easily keeps for a couple of months past the date on the label. Once you open the bag, eat the candy within 3 to 6 months for the best quality.
- Gummy bears don’t like warm temperatures. If it’s a hot summer and you’re not blasting your AC all day long, consider refrigerating them.
- Gummies don’t expire, but they lose quality over time. If they look and smell okay, and taste decent, they’re probably good enough to eat.