Does Maple Syrup Go Bad? How Long Does It Really Last?

You have a bottle of maple syrup sitting in storage for quite some time already, and you not sure if you can use it. Does maple syrup go bad?

Or maybe you’ve just opened one and are wondering how long maple syrup is good for after opening.

If that sounds like you, this article is what you’re looking for. In it, we’re going to cover:

  • the shelf life of maple syrup: is it basically indefinite, or does the syrup expire?
  • storing maple syrup and if refrigeration is required after opening
  • signs of spoiled maple syrup

Sounds interesting? Read on.

Maple syrup in hand
Maple syrup in hand
Note

Please note that all the information in this article is about 100% pure maple syrup, not any other product that the syrup is only a part of. For such products, read the label carefully.

Does Maple Syrup Go Bad? How to Tell If It’s Bad?

Maple syrup doesn’t really go bad if you store it properly. That means keeping it at room temperature as long as it’s unopened, and transferring it into the fridge after opening. The low temperature and high sugar amount keep maple syrup safe for a long time.

That doesn’t mean maple syrup can’t grow mold or degrade in quality, though.

If you leave your opened maple syrup on the counter for a few days, mold might form on the top ). There are two ways to go about that.

Maple syrup: mold on top
Maple syrup: mold on top

The first is to scoop the mold from the top of the jug, then boil the maple syrup (to make it safe for consumption) and pour it into a clean container ([HS]. This way, you can use the remaining maple syrup.

The second is to simply discard the product whatsoever ([CW]). If you don’t feel comfortable with removing the mold and using the rest of the syrup, that’s the way to go for you.

Pancakes + maple syrup
Pancakes + maple syrup

Another sign that something bad is going on is that your maple syrup smells off.

The smell can be sour (fermentation), yeasty, or simply “funny.” If the smell is off, just throw it away.

Maple syrup bottle
A bottle of maple syrup

Now an important piece of information: sediment (or crystals) at the bottom of the bottle is not a sign of spoilage and is not harmful ([HS]).

Those crystals may form on their own if maple syrup sits in the fridge for a long time. They also form if you boil this popular pancake syrup. Sometimes you might even spot some in an unopened bottle.

Tip

Maple syrup with sediment is perfectly safe, and you can filter it out if it bothers you.

Also, maple syrup can darken a bit if you have it storage for a prolonged period. It’s normal, and it will taste just fine ([HS]).

If maple syrup looks and smells okay, it’s almost certainly safe to eat.

If the taste doesn’t quite hit the spot, you probably should discard the pancake sauce and buy yourself a new bottle. Your taste buds will thank you for that.

Maple syrup closeup
Maple syrup closeup

How To Store Maple Syrup

Store maple syrup in a cool and dry area as the bottle is unopened. The pantry or a cupboard in the kitchen work great for that. Once you open the bottle, keep it sealed tightly and in the fridge.

What most people aren’t aware of is that you’re supposed to refrigerate maple syrup after you first open the bottle. That’s because, despite high sugar content, it’s not high enough to preserve the syrup at room temperature ([CW]).

Truth be told, you can get away with keeping opened maple syrup at room temperature.

I, for one, have a bottle of grade A maple syrup that’s opened for at least a few months now that sits in a kitchen cabinet and the syrup is perfectly fine. Do it at your own risk, though.

Pancakes and maple syrup
Pancakes and maple syrup

If you’ve opened the bottle and need to store the syrup for a super-long period, like a few years, freezing is an option.

Choose a freezer-safe glass or plastic container and leave some headspace at the top as the liquid expands when frozen. Thaw in the refrigerator.

Alternatively, you can freeze maple syrup in ice cube trays so you can thaw only as much as you need at a time.

Either way, while freezing maple syrup is definitely an option, in most cases it’s not necessary. The product has a really long shelf life, and you’ll most likely use the contents of the whole bottle before its quality degrades noticeably.

Pouring maple syrup over pancakes
Pouring maple syrup over pancakes

How Long Does Maple Syrup Last

Unopened maple syrup lasts indefinitely, similar to honey. Once you open the bottle, the syrup should retain great quality for at least a year if you refrigerate it, possibly much longer.

Many bottles come with a best-by (or best before) date, and that’s because it’s required by the government. That doesn’t mean the syrup will go bad or lose quality after that date. Unopened, it will stay fine for years longer ([HS]).

That is, of course, if the jug or bottle the syrup comes in stays intact, without any visible damage.

Small bowl of maple syrup
Small bowl of maple syrup

Once you open the bottle, maple syrup stays fine for at least a year if stored properly.

It will most likely stay fine for much longer, but over time, you might notice a drop in quality. The flavor will change slightly, and it won’t taste as good as it used to.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell you when exactly will that happen. You have to live it for yourself.

Either way, even if it tastes pretty bland, it’s still safe to consume, so no worries you’ll get sick from eating “out of date” maple syrup.

 PantryFridge
Maple syrup (Unopened)Indefinitely 
Maple syrup (Opened) 1+ year
Please note that the time periods above are approximate and for best quality only.
Maple syrup in its bottle
Maple syrup in its bottle

Sources