Unless you are a prolific baker, your baking soda no doubt sits in your pantry for many months, or even years. But even someone who seldom bakes should know – does baking soda go bad, and how long is it good for?
The good news is that baking soda does not spoil or go moldy. Baking soda is an extremely stable product which is sold with a very long lead time on the use-by date. It will, however, lose its potency, failing to have the desired effect in your baking.
Unopened, you can expect your baking soda to remain effective for up to two years. Once opened, it can last between 6-12 months if stored correctly.
Baking Soda Shelf Life
Baking soda is a chemical base that will leaven flour-made goods when mixed with an acid such as lemon juice. It can be frozen for extended periods of time, but exposure to moisture may cause it to react (at least partially) in the box, rendering it less effective.
Exposure to heat will lessen its potency as well. Your baking soda will come with a printed best by date but can last far longer than this guideline. One study even tested twenty-nine-year-old baking soda and found it still reacted with an acid!
When stored correctly, baking soda has an indefinite shelf life. It won’t ever turn bad, but will at some point lose its efficacy.
As a rule, baking soda will last up to two years before opening, and around 6-12 months once opened, if stored properly.
Can You Use Baking Soda After Expiration Date?
The expiration date on baking soda is only a rough guideline. It will not be harmful if used beyond this date, but may not perform well. To check if your baking soda can still be used for baking, perform the simple test outlined in the next section.
Expired baking soda can also be used as a cleaning agent. There are multiple uses for baking soda, including stain removal, clearing up unwanted odors, removing charred food remains from lasagna pans, and cleaning tough surfaces such as your oven.
Baking soda can be mixed with water and the resulting stable paste can be rubbed over baked-on grease. The subsequent reaction will bubble away grease stains.
How To Tell If Baking Soda Is Good Or Bad
To the naked eye, it will be difficult to tell if your baking soda is still okay to use in baking. Unless there is some drastic contamination or water leakage within your pantry that renders it unusable, it will appear normal.
Never fear, there is a simple method you can use to tell if your baking soda will still do the job and create light and fluffy baked goods.
Baking Soda Test
- Pour two tablespoons of white vinegar into a glass or bowl.
- Sprinkle half a teaspoon of your baking soda into the vinegar.
If the mixture immediately hisses, fizzes and generates a bunch of bubbles, it’s still good to go. If there is only a weak reaction or none at all, your baking soda is no longer good for baking.
Either use it as a household cleaner or place the opened box into your fridge to absorb unpleasant odors.
How To Store Baking Soda
The biggest risk to baking soda is moisture. Because baking soda often comes in a box, you should transfer it to an airtight container or releasable plastic bag for ongoing storage once opened.
Ideally, baking soda should be stored in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark area – your pantry or kitchen cupboard is ideal.
Baking soda is also extremely odor absorbent. If you store it incorrectly, be aware that the older the baking soda, the odder the mix of flavors you may be facing when you’re ready to serve your fresh-baked treats.
It’s not recommended to store your baking soda in the fridge or freezer – unless, of course, you are using it specifically to absorb odors – the increased moisture content will make it ineffective more quickly.