Shelf Life of Pantry Foods

Spice Rack

 David Preston / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Learn how long foods stay fresh in the pantry, and you'll know just how much to stock up on, and when it's time to replace key ingredients like baking powder and spices.

The following chart lists the shelf life of common pantry staples. Print a copy for your records, and keep it in the kitchen for quick reference:

Ingredient Shelf Life Resources
Baking Supplies
Baking powder 18 months How to Make Baking Powder
Baking soda 2 years How to Tell If Baking Soda is Still Good
Chocolate, baking 6-12 months
Chocolate chips, semi-sweet 2 years
Chocolate chips, milk chocolate 16 months
Cocoa 1 year
Cornmeal 6-12 months
Cornstarch 18 months
Cream of tartar 2-3 years
Flour, all-purpose 6-8 months
Flour, self-rising 6-8 months How to Make Self-Rising Flour
Flour, wheat 6-8 months
Honey Indefinitely
Milk, evaporated 1 year Evaporated Milk Substitute
Milk, powdered 1 year
Milk, sweetened condensed 1 year
Molasses 2 years
Nuts, shelled 4 months
Nuts, unshelled 6 months
Oil, canola 2 years unopened, 1 year opened
Oil, olive 6 months
Oil, vegetable spray two years
Salt Indefinitely
Sugar, brown Indefinitely How to Soften Hard Brown Sugar
Sugar, granulated Indefinitely
Sugar, powdered Indefinitely How to Make Powdered Sugar
Vanilla extract (imitation) 3 years
Vanilla extract (real) Indefinitely How to Make Vanilla Extract
Yeast follow expiration date on the package How to Proof Yeast
Herbs & Spices (dried and ground)
Allspice 2-3 years
Basil 1-3 years
Bay leaves 1-3 years
Black pepper 2-3 years
Chili powder 2-3 years
Cinnamon sticks 3-4 years
Cinnamon, ground 2-3 years
Cloves, ground 2-3 years
Coriander seed 3-4 years
Coriander, ground 2-3 years
Cumin 2-3 years
Dill 1-3 years
Dry mustard 2-3 years
Garlic (minced) 2 years, unopened
Garlic (whole) 3-4 months
Garlic powder 2-3 years
Ginger, ground 2-3 years
Marjoram 1-3 years
Nutmeg 2-3 years
Onion powder 2-3 years
Oregano 1-3 years
Parsley 1-3 years
Rosemary 1-3 years
Sage 1-3 years
Savory 1-3 years
Thyme 1-3 years
Dried Goods
Beans, dried 1 year Dried Bean Cooking Times
Cereal 6-12 months unopened, 2-3 months opened
Dried fruit (raisins, apricots, etc.) 6-12 months
Jerky, commercial packaged 12 months
Jerky, homemade 1-2 months
Lentils 1 year
Oatmeal 1 year
Canned & Jarred Goods
Applesauce 12-18 months
Beans, canned 2-5 years
Broth, beef 2-5 years
Broth, chicken 2-5 years
Broth, vegetable 2-5 years
Canned fruit 12-18 months
Canned meats (tuna, salmon, chicken, etc.) 2-5 years
Home-canned foods 12 months
Pumpkin puree 12-18 months
Soup (except tomato) 2-5 years
Soup, tomato 12-18 months
Tomato paste 12-18 months
Tomato sauce 12-18 months
Tomatoes, crushed 12-18 months
Tomatoes, stewed 12-18 months
Tomatoes, sun-dried (oil-packed) 12-18 months
Tomatoes, whole 12-18 months
Pasta & Grains
Cookies, packaged 2 months
Crackers 8 months
Pasta 2 years
Popcorn 2 years
Pretzels/Chips 2 months
Rice, basmati 2 years
Rice, brown 6 months
Rice, jasmine 2 years
Rice, white 2 years
Rice, wild 6 months
Barbeque sauce 1 year
Hot sauce 5 years unopened
Jam 2 years
Jelly 2 years
Ketchup 1 year
Maple syrup, artificial 1 year
Maple syrup, real 1 year unopened
Mayonnaise 3-4 months after package date
Mustard 2 years
Peanut butter 6-9 months unopened, 3 months opened
Pickles 1 year
Salad dressing 12-18 months
Salsa 12-18 months
Soy sauce 3 years unopened
Vinegar, apple cider Best used in 2 years, safe indefinitely
Vinegar, balsamic Best used in 3 years, safe indefinitely
Vinegar, malt Best used in 2 years, safe indefinitely
Vinegar, red wine Best used in 2 years, safe indefinitely
Vinegar, rice Best used in 2 years, safe indefinitely
Vinegar, white Indefinitely
Vinegar, white wine Best used in 2 years, safe indefinitely
Worcestershire sauce 1 year
Coffee, ground and vacuum-packed 1 year unopened, 1-2 weeks opened
Coffee beans (roasted). Not vacuum-packed 1-3 weeks
Coffee, freshly ground 1-2 weeks
Coffee, instant 1 year unopened, 2-3 months opened
Iced tea mix 3 years unopened, 6-12 months opened
Juice boxes 4-6 months
Juice, bottled or canned 12 months
Soda 3 months after the expiration date
Tea, in bags 18 months unopened, 1 year opened
Tea, loose 2 years unopened, 6-12 months opened
Water, bottled 1-2 years

Sources: USDA, FDA, Virginia Cooperative Extension, UK Cooperative Extension Service