Powdered Sugars Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

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Once upon a kitchen cleaning day, you found a bag of powdered sugar sitting at the farthest part of your pantry. Seeing it made you realize that it has been a year already since you bought it. However, you are not sure if it is still okay to use it for your next occasion in a few months or maybe it is best to replace it with a new one.

Now, it gets you wondering: Does powdered sugar go bad?

Powdered sugar, also called confectionary sugar, has a long shelf life. If you store it properly, it will surely last for years. Over time, small lumps may form in the sugar, but you can sift it through a mesh to fix it back to its fine powdered form.

In this article, you will find out the answers to these important questions related to this sugar:

There is a lot more to come.

So, keep on reading to know more!

What is Powdered Sugar or Confectioners’ Sugar? 

Powdered sugar (also known as confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar) is a grounded form of regular granulated sugar. It can be bought in the grocery stores, and it can also be prepared at home.

If you purchase it from the market, it may be labeled as 10X sugar. It means that this type of sugar is refined 10 times to produce a fine powder.

There are different variations on how powdered sugar is used.

You can use powdered sugar for making cakes, brownies, cookies, butter, frosting, and glaze.

It is also used to sprinkle on donuts, biscuits, and cakes. Plus, it can be made into a tasty sugar glaze by mixing powdered sugar with cream or milk.

Can Powdered Sugar Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

Powdered sugar can last for 2 to 3 years. However, it can stay on an infinite period if you store it correctly.

You can also check the manufacturer’s printed to date to know how long you can keep it. Most Confectioners’ Sugar indicates a best-by-date allowance of one to two years after production.

How To Tell If Powdered Sugar Is Bad?

If you do not bake that often, you may have some stored powdered sugar in your pantry.

You’re unsure if your leftover powdered sugar is still of good use, here are some tips from us to tell if it has gone bad.

1. It has clumps.

An old bag of sugar may develop clumps over time. However, you don’t have to feel upset about these little chunks. They have don’t necessarily ruin the quality of the powdered sugar.

A quick fix to a clumped powdered sugar is to use your hands to break the solidified sugar or sift it thoroughly back to its powder form.

Small clumps will form if your sugar is exposed to damp air. If the clumps are little, you can remove them. But if they are large and hard to break, you must throw them away. The hard lumps indicate that the sugar has gone bad. (*)

2. It smells odorous.

It is easy to identify the potent smell of a good pack of powdered sugar. Note that fresh powdered sugar has a sweet vanilla-like scent. If you notice that your powdered sugar smells funny, blame the oxidized cornstarch in it.

Notably, it may give off moldy, fermented starch or strong odors. Thus, this means that your powdered sugar is no longer suitable for use.

Furthermore, your sugar will go bad if exposed to strong smells in the environment or storage. For instance, if you store an opened pack of powdered sugar near your laundry soap for an extended period, it will eventually smell like laundry soap!

3. Change in color.

The color is pretty white. If you observe discoloration in your sugar, we advise you not to use it anymore.

4. Presence of molds.

Moisture is one factor that encourages mold growth on your powdered sugar. If you notice these molds on the surface of your sugar, discard them immediately.

How to Store Powdered Sugar Properly?

Storing your powdered sugar in the proper condition can significantly extend its shelf life by multiple folds. Make sure to keep it in a cool and dry place like your pantry. (*)

Always keep the package in an airtight container and make sure to have it sealed tightly to prevent moisture and pantry pest infestation.

You may use a freezer bag to store powdered sugar. Make sure to squeeze out all the air from the bag before sealing.

To keep it safe for a longer time, make sure to store it away from direct sunlight as it can also reduce the shelf life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is powdered sugar gluten-free?

If you are on a gluten diet, you must be concerned if powdered sugar is gluten-free. Well, it varies.

Apparently, sugar and corn starch both are free from gluten. However, most manufacturers may include starches that contain gluten.

If you have gluten sensitivity and want to use powdered sugar, make sure to read the ingredients on the packaging before purchasing it.

How to freeze powdered sugar?

Yes, powdered sugar can be frozen. However, we recommend that you don’t need to. But if you feel that you really want to freeze it, you need to place it in an airtight container or some freezer bags to prevent your powdered sugar from absorbing the moisture and smell of other food in the freezer.

Let us warn you ahead, though. Once you thaw your frozen sugar, expect that the quality will not be the same as it used to be.

What will happen if I eat expired powdered sugar?

Apparently, you can use the expired powdered sugar as long as it looks outstanding. The expiration date only tells you the date on how long your powdered sugar is in its prime.

So, it is entirely safe to use an expired pack of sugar, especially when you have secured it in a safe storage area. You can use it in all your food items, and it will taste the same – sweet and delicious! (*)

How to make powdered sugar at home?

You can follow this simple recipe to make powdered sugar at home with just a cup of regular sugar and a tablespoon of cornstarch as your anti-caking agent. Then, you will need a coffee grinder and a spoon to do the process.

Follow these elaborated steps to prepare powdered sugar:

  1. Put sugar and cornstarch in the coffee grinder.
  2. Grind the sugar multiple times until you achieve a powdery consistency. Carry out the process in intervals and mix it with a spoon to prevent the lumps from jamming in the machine.
  3. Take the newly powdered sugar away and use it to your heart’s content. If this is for future use, just store it in an airtight container and put it in your pantry.

What is the difference between granulated sugar and powdered sugar? 

To put it simply, granulated sugar is raw and grainy, while powdered sugar is refined. Powdered sugar dissolves easily at room temperature compared to granulated sugar.

You can use powdered sugar as a direct substitute for regular sugar in baking to give a smoother texture to your baked goods.


Powdered sugar or 10X sugar has two to three years of shelf life. However, it may last in your kitchen for a lifetime as long as it is stored properly.

Storing powdered sugar is easy! Make sure to close the container tightly and keep it in a cool and dry place.

To know if your powdered sugar is still usable, all you need to do is look for spoilage signs. Check the appearance, smell, and taste of your powdered sugar. If it possesses any of the abovementioned spoilage characteristics, that’s a sign that you should throw it away and better get a new one.

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