How Long Do Dried Herbs and Spices Last?

Herbs and spices sit on the shelf for a long time, but their flavor and texture can change. This page is about how long do dried herbs and spices last?

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How long can spices be kept?

Carol from AZ

AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

I don't think any dried spices "go bad"; they just lose their flavor. Or, of course, get infested. If it's clean, and still smells like it should, go ahead and use it.

Herbs, now, are a little different story. Dried vegetable flakes get tough and leathery; dried leaves (dill, parsley, etc) lose their color and flavor. Again, though, I'm not aware of any health issues.

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I have store bought dried herbs and spices (in prepackaged jars) that no longer are fragrant (to my nose) AND since using them for that one 'specific' recipe - so very long ago - I'm not sure when or if I'll use them ever again. So, how long to those store bought dried herbs and spices maintain freshness?

Jean Herbs

AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

I found this at Look under "Tips".

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Can anyone tell me how long dried herbs & spices stay good for? Each of them are in a glass container with a tight fitted lid and kept in a dark closet. Thanks.


How Long Are Dried Spices and Herbs Good For?

You know, I had always thought that spices should be changed out every year at the least - but when I read your query I did some sleuthing and found this informative website.


They say the following:

"Stored in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place, spices retain their potency longer than you'd think as long as 4 years for whole spices, 2 to 3 years for ground spices, and 1 to 3 years for leafy herbs, depending on the herb."

By gladysb

How Long Are Dried Spices and Herbs Good For? (04/18/2007)

By LMcCay420

How Long Are Dried Spices and Herbs Good For?

Spices are to be kept in the dark like you have, in a cool place. But the rule of thumb is to replace them after one year. If you look at them by then they are pretty dried out and have lost a lot of there color, as well as there flavor. (04/18/2007)

By Dar

How Long Are Dried Spices and Herbs Good For?

As per the McCormick website:

To make sure all your dishes delight friends and family, use this chart to check the freshness of your spices and herbs.

Self Life -

ground spices - 2-3 years

whole spices - 3-4 years

seasoning blends - 1-2 years

herbs - 1-3 years

extracts -
4 years, except pure vanilla, which lasts indefinitely


By Debbie52

How Long Are Dried Spices and Herbs Good For?

The Flavor Experts at McCormick Recommend the Following Tips:

Check to see that the color of your spices and herbs is vibrant. If the color has faded, chances are so has the flavor.

Rub or crush the spice or herb in your hand. If the aroma is weak and flavor is not apparent, it's time to replace it.

Store herbs and spices in a tightly capped container, and keep away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight. Replace bottle lids tightly immediately after use.

To minimize moisture and caking, use a dry measuring spoon and avoid sprinkling directly into a steaming pot.

Check the freshness date on the bottom or right side of the bottle to help keep track of when it's time to T.O.S.S.


By Debbie52

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Food and Recipes Food Tips Herbs and SpicesMarch 4, 2012
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