Do Spices Ever Go Bad?
Question: I have some opened bottles of spices in my cupboard that I purchased about five years ago. Are they still okay to use?
Answer: From a safety perspective they should be fine, but when it comes to flavoring your food, you may not be very happy with the results.
As seasoning makers like McCormick point out , spices do not actually spoil. But when it comes to quality, the story is different. Over time, spices will lose their potency and not flavor your food as intended.
As a general rule, whole spices will stay fresh for about 4 years, ground spices for about 3 to 4 years and dried leafy herbs for 1 to 3 years.
To find out storage times for specific herbs and spices, you can consult our Keep It or Toss It database .