While cinnamon may be one of the most popular spices in the world, most people still deem this only as a spice for baking and whipping up delicious drinks.
This is the reason why most of us probably have a jar of ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks that haven’t been used for years.
If you’re just recently discovered the versatility of cinnamon (you can use it for your curries, too!), you might be wondering “does cinnamon go bad?“, if it’s still safe to use that jar in your pantry.
We’ll answer all your questions in this article. Plus, we’ll share some tips on how to store this sought-after spice, so let’s get started!
Does Cinnamon Go Bad?
As per USDA, cinnamon doesn’t expire– same with other spices. This simple truth applies to cinnamon too. (*)
Spices are considered one of what they call shelf-stable products that are almost non-perishable.
This means that the spice will be safe for consumption even if they have been stored correctly for a very long time.
But while it is less likely to go bad, it does tend to lose its distinct flavor and potency over time.
This means that while the spice is still safe for consumption, it may no longer have the same taste, intensity, and flavor as it once has when it was at its best quality.
As a result, the dishes and recipes you’ll use old cinnamon for might lack the flavor you’re looking for.
With that said, the next question is—how long does cinnamon last? Until when is it able to retain flavor and potency? What is the cinnamon shelf life?
How Long Does Cinnamon Last?
To determine the cinnamon shelf life, your first step should be to check out the printed date on the label. Keep in mind that it isn’t the expiration date.
It’s best by date, which is a safety date that indicates when it will retain its best quality. There’s a chance that the spice will start to lose its flavor past this safety date.
The good news is the spice is still good enough to be used months to years after the best by date.
But, of course, the shelf life of cinnamon depends on its preparation method.
Keep in mind that cinnamon sticks are more fragrant and potent than ground spices, so their shelf life is a lot longer.
The shelf life of ground cinnamon can is around 6 months (the bare minimum) up to 3 years past the printed best by date.
On the other hand, cinnamon sticks last longer—around 3 to 4 years.
However, these rules apply only if the spice has been stored properly. If it isn’t stored according to proper food storage conditions, it’s highly likely to get spoiled and no longer be safe for consumption.
How to Tell if Cinnamon Is Bad?
If you fail to follow the proper food storage practices, your cinnamon will go bad to the point that it won’t just lose its taste and potency—it will even become unsafe for consumption.
To help you figure out if it has already gone bad, here are the things that you should watch out for:
1. Molds and Discoloration
If the color of your cinnamon has changed, it means it’s no longer fresh anymore and may no longer give you the flavor you’re looking for.
On the other hand, organic growth renders the spice no longer safe for consumption, so throw it away immediately.
2. Wet or Sticky Texture
Ground cinnamon with a wet and slimy texture must be discarded right away. Otherwise, you should also get rid of cinnamon sticks if it already feels too soft and crumbly.
3. Other Signs
In addition to these major spoilage signs, you should look out for non-food particles inside the jar, including dead or live pantry bugs.
How to Store Cinnamon Correctly
You should learn how to store it properly to prevent ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks from going bad. Lucky for you, storing ground cinnamon is not rocket science.
You can do that by following these food storage tips:
1. Store it away from heat.
Never store your opened or unopened ground cinnamon above or near heat sources like your stove, oven, or dishwasher. The best place to keep them is in a cool place like your pantry or cupboard.
2. Keep it dry.
When it is exposed to excess moisture, the spice will have wet spots and big clumps. Worse, it will be at risk of mold growth. This is why you should never refrigerate or freeze cinnamon powder. Instead, keeping it in the pantry is the best way to go.
3. Store it away from light.
When the spice is exposed to air, photodegradation and oxidation may occur, which will cause it to lose its potency and flavor. This is why you should keep it in the dark and cool place– like your pantry or kitchen cabinet and not in a spice rack in your countertop where it’s exposed to light.
4. Place cinnamon in an airtight container.
It may seem like plastic packaging will work well in safekeeping your spices, but most of these are not airtight enough, which puts the spices at risk of oxidation.
To avoid this, place whole spices in an airtight sealed container made of glass, metal, or ceramic. In addition to keeping fresh air out, these materials also won’t absorb other odors as plastic does.
What are the health benefits of cinnamon?
They offers plenty of health benefits which include anti-fungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. It can also improve gut health, lower blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure, and lower the risk of heart disease.
What are the different types of cinnamon?
Cinnamon comes in four types—Ceylon, Royal, Saigon, And Korintje.
Ceylon cinnamon gives off a more savory and herbal (not too sweet), while Korintje cinnamon has a milder flavor, making it the most versatile variant.
On the other hand, Royal Cinnamon is the sweetest and spicier variant, while Saigon cinnamon also has a sweet flavor but no spice.
Learn more: Do Spices Ever Go Bad?
Frequently Asked Questions
If properly stored, cinnamon won’t go bad. It will just lose its flavor, but that would happen only years after its best before date.
If not stored correctly, cinnamon will get spoiled and might become unsafe for consumption. To avoid this, you must learn how to keep cinnamon properly, and you can do that by following the food storage tips we’ve shared with you in this article.