Does Molasses go bad?

Introduction to “Does Molasses go bad?”

So, you are planning an excellent recipe and require the use of molasses. Alas, you haven’t touched that bottle for a few months, and you are unsure if it’s still good or not. Typical and widespread scenario because it’s an ingredient not used regularly or often. This article will give you all the information about their lifespan, recommended way of storing them, and how it gets spoiled. Let’s try and find out does molasses go bad.

does molasses go bad
Photo by Sonja Langford on Unsplash

What are Molasses?

Let’s first correctly understand what molasses is. It’s a sticky dark color syrup with a dense, thick consistency. It is the by-product of the sugar refining process. The juice inside sugarcane is first extracted by cold pressing them and then boiled. The slow boiling process changes the consistency and structure of the sugarcane juice. As the juice concentrates, crystallization sets in, and crystals form slowly, commonly known as Sugar. At the same time, there is a dark-colored syrup left, which is known as molasses.

Different colors

Molasses leftover from the first batch is called Light as its light in color. As it’s boiled several times, it gets darker and keeps losing more sugar content. Molasses are available in sulfured and non-sulfured forms. The naturally ripe sugarcane is non-sulfured, while the raw sugarcane can be treated with sulfur to ripen it artificially.

Common types of Molasses

Molasses are commonly classified as Light, Dark, and Blackstrap varieties. The light one is left over after the first time sugarcane is boiled. Dark molasses are the residue after the second time sugarcane is boiled, and it exhibits a dark color than the previous process. Light molasses is more popular than Dark one because of its higher sugar content. Light molasses finds use as a sugar substitute. So it finds use in recipes that use Sugar (in tea, coffee, cakes, etc.) or sugar syrups like maple syrup on pancakes or in cookies.

On the other hand, Dark Molasses has less Sugar but has a beautiful deep and rich earthy taste. When boiled the third time, it loses all sugar content and gets a bitter taste. This is known as the Blackstrap which is the most nutritious form. It loses all sugar content but retains the essential nutrients like Vitamin b6, potassium, iron, manganese, copper, and calcium.

What is the best way of storing?

Molasses typically consist of about 75% carbohydrates, and the rest 25% is mostly water and other components. The Carbohydrates consist of Sucrose, Glucose, and Fructose. Due to the long boiling process and the elements mentioned, molasses naturally do not go bad very soon. They usually outlast most food products.

When it comes to consistency and taste, molasses is very similar to Honey. But it has a definite shelf life. Honey can last even longer because of molasses’ hygroscopic property, meaning it absorbs and retains moisture. As long as any product is properly stored, used, and taken care of, there is every possibility that it will last its usual storage period.


Molasses do not have a use by or expiry date. They have a Best Before date. As a result, you can use it beyond its best before date if you have stored it well. It’s prone to damage and is sensitive to heat and humidity. If stored outside, it’s prone to getting spoiled fast. Mold can develop and make the syrup unusable. The best way to ensure it lasts longer is to keep it away from any heat and humidity.

Essentially, you have to follow the same instructions as for medicines, which is storing them in a cool and dry place. The best place will be on a shelf hidden away from sunlight, heat, and humidity. Pantry is the first choice but anywhere else in the kitchen will work as long as it is cool and dry. These storage indications are irrespective of the Molasses being Light, Dark, or blackstrap variety. The same holds for sulfured and non-sulfured types.

Expire date and storing

Molasses is a product whose age is pretty challenging to guess as it keeps smelling and tasting the same for years. If the right conditions are maintained, you can use it well beyond the best before date. Molasses can typically last a few years, and it’s tough to tell if it’s spoiled.

Sealed unopened molasses will last a long time and up to 10 years. However, opened bottled can last 1-5 years depending upon the care and the way it is stored. Stored in their original packing they will last a really long time in a refrigerator. This is because original containers are securely airtight, and the cold fridge will ensure no bacteria or mold can grow.

Molasses are not frozen, and I haven’t come across who does this because the product itself is not prone to damage under normal circumstances. But that does not mean that you cannot store them in the freezer. Just that it will take time to defrost before you can use it. Cold molasses are hard to flow or pour, let alone frozen contents. Ever wondered where the phrase “slow as molasses in January” came from?

How to tell if Molasses is bad? 

It’s tough to determine the age of molasses. Therefore, it’s also equally challenging to identify if it’s still fit for human consumption or not. This is also because they are already dark, and recognizing them as not consumable does not show. They will look and smell the same for years. It’s usually the flavor that shows the first signs of deterioration. Manufacturers will tell you the same. The taste, texture, and quality of flavor will not change in very old ones; that’s how difficult it is to spoil. And very difficult to identify as well. It’s best to discard the product if you see a change in taste, appearance or if a mold appears on its surface.

Finally, due to molasses’ extraordinary life, the last ingredient will go bad when used in any dish or recipe. We all know that meat is one of the first to get spoilt in any recipe, but in this case, it’s the molasses.

Can molasses go bad? Yes, they absolutely can and will if not adequately taken care of. But they will last you much longer than any other everyday food product with the least amount of maintenance. This is one food product that will last ages in the kitchen with minimal care.

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