Does Agave Nectar Go Bad

If there’s an opened bottle of agave nectar that’s sitting in a cabinet for quite a long time already, you start thinking if this sweetener can spoil. The question “does agave nectar go bad?” comes up sooner or later.

You know that it’s high in sugar and that it’s supposed to last a long time, but you’re not quite sure how long is that. And maybe a few days ago you’ve heard an offhand comment that your coworker is storing their agave syrup in the fridge after opening.

Now you need to find out if your bottle is still safe to use and if keeping the nectar refrigerated is actually necessary. If those are the questions you’re looking for answers to, read on.

Bottles of agave nectar
Image used under Creative Commons from Heather Kennedy

How to Store Agave Nectar?

Agave nectar is often advertised as a honey substitute. It looks similar, tastes alike and has a similar texture. Also, you store it the same way you store honey.

Yup should keep it in a dry place, away from sunlight and any sources of heat. The pantry is the best place, but a kitchen cabinet will do just fine too.

Once you open the bottle, make sure always to keep it sealed when not in use.

In case you were wondering, you don’t need to refrigerate agave syrup after opening. Of course, you can store the syrup in the fridge if for some reason you need it chilled, but that’s totally optional.


Low temperature makes the agave nectar harder to pour, so storing it in the fridge for an extended period probably isn’t a good idea.

Last but not least, let’s talk about freezing agave nectar. While it’s definitely possible to freeze this sweetener, it’s difficult for me to find any use cases where freezing it would be helpful.

The syrup has a very long shelf life, so freezing to extend it doesn’t really make sense. And since when using agave nectar we usually just pour a few drops here and there, having it as a block of ice doesn’t seem to be that great either.

Either way, if for some reason you need to freeze agave nectar, use an ice cube tray so you can quickly thaw as much syrup as you need to.

Agave nectar in a bottle
Image used under Creative Commons from Michelle Schrank

How Long Does Agave Nectar Last

Agave nectar, like pretty much any sweetener, comes with a best-by date. That date informs you for how long, at the very least, the quality of the product will remain best.

Obviously, the honey substitute won’t go bad a few days or weeks after that date. In fact, agave syrup is similar to honey in yet another matter: shelf life. An unopened bottle of the nectar keeps pretty much indefinitely. Once you open the bottle, the same thing applies.

Please note that by “keeps pretty much indefinitely” I mean it remains safe to consume. Quality is another thing. Agave syrup with time might slightly deteriorate in terms of taste. So don’t be surprised that the syrup doesn’t taste today as good as it tasted a few years ago.

Agave nectar (unopened and opened)Stays safe indefinitely

Please note that agave nectar loses quality with time, so after a few years of storage it might not taste as good as it used to.

Tequila, distilled from blue agave plant
(credit: Jason Roberts)

How to Tell if Agave Nectar Is Bad?

Okay, you already know that the shelf life of agave nectar is pretty much indefinite. Just like the shelf life of tequila, that is made from the agave plant.

However, if the agave nectar sits in the cabinet for years on end, some caution is advised. Before you use such a syrup, give it a quick exam.

Check the inside of bottle for any signs of mold or contaminants, look at the color of the liquid, and give it a good sniff. If everything seems to be okay, taste a small amount. If it tastes okay, feel free to use it. Otherwise, throw it out.

Even though agave nectar is extremely high in sugar, which is a natural preservative, bacteria sometimes find their way. So, while that’s unlikely to happen, if there’s anything noticeably wrong with your agave syrup, throw it out. Humans have pretty good instincts when it comes to spotting unsafe food, so if your spider senses are tingling, trust them.

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