Does Corn Syrup Go Bad?

So you’ve bought a bottle of corn syrup a few years ago, used it a few times, and the rest still sits in the pantry.

You want to make some pancakes, but you just run out of your favorite pancake syrup. Fortunately, you remember that this half-opened bottle of corn syrup still sits in the cabinet. The only question that remains is: does corn syrup go bad?

Corn syrup, unlike some other sweeteners, isn’t used that often by most people. Most often we buy it to make our own pancake syrup, or as a less expensive substitute for maple syrup. And more often than not, we use the syrup a few times, toss in into a cabinet somewhere in the pantry, and forget about it.

If you’re not someone who uses corn syrup on a regular basis, I think it’s worth learning a bit about its storage, shelf life, and going bad. This way, next time when you’re short on pancake syrup, you’ll know if that half-opened corn syrup is any good.

Pouring syrup over a pile of pancakes
(credit: Duncan Kidd)

How To Store Corn Syrup

You should store corn syrup similarly to other sweeteners, such as maple syrup.

That means it’s perfectly fine if you keep it at room temperature in the kitchen, or maybe slightly below in the pantry. As usual for storing pretty much any food, the area should be dry.

Once you open the bottle, make sure it’s tightly sealed when not in use. With the bottle sealed tightly, you make sure that any food particles or contaminants won’t reach the syrup.

In case you were wondering, there’s no need to refrigerate corn syrup after opening. It’s perfectly fine, like honey, without chilling it in the freezer.

Pancakes with syrup
(credit: Mae Mu)

How Long Does Corn Syrup Last

Like most food, corn syrup usually comes with a “best by” date on the label. That date informs you of how long, at the very least, the product will remain best in terms of quality.

When it comes to corn syrup, it stays safe to consume pretty much indefinitely. If you’re looking for any kind of confirmation of that, feel free to check out Karo Syrup’s FAQ. The producer says that:

Karo syrup is safe to eat for an indefinite period whether it has been opened or not opened.

Karo Syrup’s FAQ

That pretty much means that as long as any catastrophe didn’t happen to this sweetener, it will be safe for consumption. Of course, with time the quality might slightly degrade, but that’s about it.

 Pantry
Corn syrup (unopened or opened)Keeps fine indefinitely
Pouring syrup over pancakes
(credit: Kobby Mendez)

How To Tell If Corn Syrup Is Bad?

First, let’s start with an important fact: light corn syrup can turn yellowish with age, and that’s perfectly fine. It doesn’t make it bad or spoiled.

Since corn syrup has an indefinite shelf life, it doesn’t go bad. Unless, of course, you want it to spoil and you add water and some contaminants to the bottle.

If you store the syrup properly and the bottle is intact, it’s highly unlikely that the sweetener will spoil.

However, if you open the bottle, and notice that the smell is off, or there are any particles of unknown origin floating on the surface, discard the bottle. Same thing if you feel that something is wrong with the syrup.

As I mention in many of the articles, people are good at spotting unsafe food. So if your spider senses are tingling, trust them and discard the sweetener.

If everything seems fine, give the syrup a taste before using a large amount, to make sure it’s good enough when it comes to flavor. If it’s not, corn syrup past its prime and it’s time to trash it.

1 thought on “Does Corn Syrup Go Bad?”

  1. I use it b/c it’s cheaper and appears to be less sugary than maple syrup. I had some that turned a yellowish hue. I tasted fine, and I have had no ill effects.

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