The Shelf Life of Marshmallows: Do They Go Bad?

Do marshmallows go bad?

Marshmallows are a favorite treat enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether roasted over a campfire, melted in hot chocolate, or incorporated into a variety of desserts, marshmallows have become a staple in many households. However, if you find yourself with an overabundance of marshmallows or come across a discounted package at the store, you may be wondering, do marshmallows go bad? In this article, we will explore the shelf life of marshmallows, how to store them properly, and signs of spoilage.

Shelf life of marshmallows

While marshmallows have a limited shelf life, they can last a considerable amount of time if stored properly. The actual shelf life of marshmallows may vary by brand and type. In general, unopened packages of marshmallows can last anywhere from 1 to 6 months past their expiration date.
It’s important to note that the expiration date on the package is not an expiration date, but rather an indication of when the marshmallows are at their peak quality. After this date, the marshmallows may begin to lose their light and fluffy texture, become hardened, and experience a decline in flavor. However, they are still safe to eat as long as they show no signs of spoilage.
Once you open a bag of marshmallows, the shelf life decreases. It is recommended that opened marshmallows be consumed within one week. While they may still be safe to eat after this time, they may begin to harden and lose their optimal flavor. If you know you won’t consume the marshmallows within a week, proper storage methods or freezing can help extend their shelf life.

Proper storage methods

To ensure that your marshmallows stay fresh and maintain their quality, it is important to store them properly. Here are some guidelines for storing marshmallows:
Unopened bags:

  • Place the unopened bag of marshmallows in a cool, dark environment such as a pantry cabinet.
  • Inspect the packaging for any tears or openings that may affect the freshness of the marshmallows.
  • For extra protection, place the unopened package of marshmallows in a plastic bag.

Opened bags:

  • After opening a bag of marshmallows, it’s important to keep them sealed to prevent them from going stale.
  • Use a bag sealer or transfer the marshmallows to a large freezer bag or airtight plastic container.
  • Squeeze any air out of the bag or container to minimize the exposure of the marshmallows to moisture and air, which can cause them to harden.
  • Marshmallows can easily absorb odors, so choose a strong, odor-resistant bag or container.

It’s worth noting that marshmallows do not need to be refrigerated, except in warm climates where temperatures are high and there is a risk of melting. In such cases, keeping marshmallows in the refrigerator can prevent them from becoming a sticky mess.

Freezing Marshmallows

Although freezing marshmallows is not a common practice, it can be an effective way to extend their shelf life, especially if you have a surplus. Here’s how to freeze marshmallows:

  • Place unopened packages of marshmallows directly in the freezer.
  • You can wrap the package in plastic wrap or put it in a plastic freezer bag for extra protection.


  • Transfer opened marshmallows to an appropriate freezer container.
  • Use a plastic freezer bag and remove excess air before sealing tightly. Label the bag with the contents and date of freezing.
  • Alternatively, place the marshmallows in a plastic freezer container for added protection.
  • To prevent the marshmallows from sticking together, you can freeze them on a tray before transferring them to the container.

When defrosting frozen marshmallows, it is best to thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or for a few hours. This gradual thawing process helps them maintain their quality. If the marshmallows become slightly sticky after thawing, you can sprinkle some powdered sugar or cornstarch on them to prevent them from sticking.

Signs of spoilage

It’s important to know the signs of marshmallow spoilage to ensure your safety and enjoyment. Here are some signs that your marshmallows may have gone bad:

  • Loss of sweet aroma and sugary taste: When you open a bag of fresh marshmallows, you should be greeted with a sweet, powdery aroma. If the marshmallows lack this characteristic smell and taste, it could be a sign of spoilage.
  • Damp or humid environment: Marshmallows stored in a damp or humid environment can lose their flavor and odor. If your marshmallows have been exposed to these conditions, they may be spoiled.
  • Mold growth: Visible mold growth on marshmallows is a clear sign of spoilage. If you notice any blurred or discolored areas on the marshmallows, discard them immediately.
  • Texture changes: Fresh marshmallows are soft and fluffy. If the marshmallows have become hard, chewy or rubbery, they may be unsafe to eat.

If you notice any of these signs, it is best to err on the side of caution and discard the marshmallows to avoid any potential health risks.

Bottom line

In conclusion, while marshmallows do go bad over time, their shelf life can be extended with proper storage. Unopened marshmallows can last 1 to 6 months past their expiration date, while opened marshmallows should be consumed within a week for optimal flavor and texture. Keeping marshmallows in a cool, dark environment and sealed in an airtight package or container will help preserve their freshness. Freezing marshmallows is also an option to extend their shelf life. However, it’s important to be aware of signs of spoilage, such as changes in aroma, flavor, texture, mold growth, or exposure to unfavorable conditions. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy marshmallows at their best and minimize the risk of consuming spoiled product.


Can marshmallows go bad?

Yes, marshmallows can go bad over time, but their shelf life can be extended with proper storage.

How long do marshmallows keep?

The shelf life of marshmallows can vary, but unopened packages can last anywhere from 1 to 6 months past their expiration date.

What happens to marshmallows after their expiration date?

After their expiration date, marshmallows may lose their light and fluffy texture, become hard, and experience a decrease in flavor. However, they are still safe to eat as long as they show no signs of spoilage.

How should I store marshmallows to keep them fresh?

To keep marshmallows fresh, store unopened bags in a cool, dark place. Once opened, transfer them to a sealed bag or airtight container to prevent spoilage.

Can I freeze marshmallows?

Yes, you can freeze marshmallows to extend their shelf life. Place unopened packages directly in the freezer, and for opened marshmallows, transfer them to an appropriate freezer container and remove excess air before sealing.

What are the signs that marshmallows have gone bad?

Signs that marshmallows may be spoiled include loss of sweet aroma and flavor, exposure to a damp or humid environment, visible mold growth, and changes in texture (such as becoming hard, chewy, or rubbery). If you notice any of these signs, it is best to discard the marshmallows.