Understanding Skittles: Shelf Life and Proper Storage

Do Skittles expire? – How to store Skittles

Skittles are a popular candy known for their bright colors and fruity flavors. If you’ve ever wondered about the shelf life of Skittles, how to store them properly, and whether they expire, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will explore the longevity of Skittles, their storage requirements, and provide some tips to help you get the most out of your favorite candy.

Taste the Rainbow

Skittles are chewy, fruit-flavored candies that have gained immense popularity in America and around the world. These candies have a chewy center and a hard, colored coating and come in a variety of fruit flavors. People often enjoy Skittles on their own or enjoy the variety of flavors offered by the company.

The secret to Skittles’ longevity

Skittles have a long shelf life due to their low moisture content. This characteristic gives them their iconic chewy, hard texture. The lack of moisture also makes Skittles shelf stable and inhibits the growth of bacteria.
The reason for Skittles’ extended shelf life lies in the science of osmosis. The low moisture content in processed and dry sugar prevents mold growth and candy spoilage. Osmosis occurs when moisture is extracted from microbes, effectively killing them. In addition, this process removes moisture from the air, further extending the shelf life of sugar-based foods.
Skittles, which consist primarily of high concentrations of sugar and a few preservatives, benefit from this unique property. It is important to note that preservatives are not the primary reason for Skittles’ longevity. When stored in a cool, dry place, Skittles are safe to eat even after their expiration date.

Expiration and best before dates

Despite the ability of Skittles to maintain their safety and quality for an extended period of time, all food products, including Skittles, are required by law to be labeled accordingly. Typically, you will find a “Best Before” date on foods that are required to be frozen at 0°F. However, it is also common to find this terminology on shelf-stable foods.
Manufacturers place expiration or “best before” dates on their products to inform consumers of the time before the product may begin to taste different. It is important to understand that tasting different and going bad are two different things. While Skittles may not go bad, they will gradually become less palatable and may experience textural changes over time.
The oxidizing effect of oxygen on food, combined with the susceptibility of Skittles to this process, leads to changes in taste and texture over weeks or months. It is generally not recommended to eat old Skittles, as there is nothing to be gained other than a possible chipped tooth or mild stomach pain.

Storing Skittles

Proper storage is essential to maintaining the texture and flavor of Skittles. Although Skittles will not spoil, following a few steps can help extend their shelf life and ensure the best eating experience.
When Skittles are packaged and unopened, they will retain their original characteristics for a longer period of time thanks to the nitrogen-filled packages that keep the candies fresh by preventing air exposure. Once opened, Skittles are susceptible to environmental factors, especially air circulation, which can gradually change the texture and appearance of the candy.
To maximize the shelf life of Skittles, it is recommended that they be stored in an airtight bag to prevent drying out. Refrigeration is a viable option, but it is important to avoid storing Skittles outside of an airtight container in the refrigerator as excess moisture may damage the candy and reduce its shelf life. Freezing Skittles is also not recommended, as freezer burn or constant thawing and refreezing can negatively affect their flavor and texture.
Here is a breakdown of how long Skittles can maintain their original texture and flavor in different storage situations:

  • Unopened package: Up to one year or until expiration date.
  • Opened package at room temperature: 6-9 months.
  • Unopened package Refrigerated: Up to 12 months.
  • Unopened pack Frozen: Up to 18 months.

Skittles Tips and Tricks

To get the most out of your Skittles, here are a few tips and tricks:

  1. Always buy packs that have at least 9-12 months left before their expiration date. While older lots can still be consumed, storing them for longer periods can be challenging.
  2. When storing leftover Skittles, keep them flat and separate to maintain their freshness, shape and texture, especially in hotter climates.
  3. If refrigeration is necessary, store leftover Skittles in the back of the refrigerator to minimize exposure to temperature fluctuations. Avoid storing Skittles near strong-smelling foods, as Skittles can absorb odors.
  4. Consider using airtight containers or resealable bags to store opened packs of Skittles. This will help prevent air exposure and keep them fresh for longer.
  5. If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as a change in color, texture or a strange odor, it is best to discard the Skittles.

Remember, while Skittles can be stored for a long time, they are best enjoyed when fresh. By following proper storage practices and consuming within a reasonable time frame, you can ensure that your Skittles retain their taste and quality.


Skittles do not have a traditional expiration date, but they may experience changes in taste and texture over time. Due to their low moisture content and sugar concentration, Skittles are shelf stable and can be consumed safely for an extended period of time. However, it is recommended that Skittles be consumed within the optimal freshness period for the best taste experience.
Proper storage is key to maintaining the quality of Skittles. Keeping them in a cool, dry place in an airtight container or bag will extend their shelf life and preserve their taste and texture. Refrigeration is an option, but should be done with caution to avoid excessive moisture.
When it comes to enjoying Skittles, it is always best to choose fresh packages and consume them within a reasonable time frame. By following these guidelines, you can continue to taste the rainbow and enjoy the fruity goodness of Skittles for maximum enjoyment.


Do Skittles have an expiration date?

Skittles do not have a traditional expiration date, but their taste and texture may deteriorate over time.

How long will unopened Skittles last?

Unopened Skittles can last up to one year or until the expiration date printed on the package.

Can I eat Skittles after the expiration date?

While Skittles are safe to eat after their expiration date, they may not taste as fresh and flavorful. It is best to consume them within their optimal freshness period.

How should I store Skittles once opened?

Opened Skittles should be stored in an airtight container or resealable bag to prevent air exposure and maintain freshness. Avoid excessive moisture by not storing in the refrigerator without proper protection.

Can I refrigerate Skittles?

Refrigeration is an option for storing Skittles, but it is important to keep them in an airtight container to prevent moisture absorption. Avoid storing Skittles near strong-smelling foods to prevent flavor contamination.

Can I freeze Skittles?

Freezing Skittles is not recommended as it can affect texture and flavor. Continuous thawing and refreezing can cause undesirable changes in the candy. Instead, it is best to store Skittles in a cool, dry place.