How Long Do Cake Decorating Sprinkles Last? | CoachSweetTooth

While you are holding a jar of expired sprinkles, you must wonder if there is a possibility of saving it rather than throwing it out - again.

Let’s be honest, if you are not an avid baker, the cake decorating sprinkles must be sitting around in your cabinets after that one time that you decorated. To throw them, or not to throw them? That is the question. We have been subjected to this dilemma every time we buy a new jar of sprinkles. Throwing an entire jar of sprinkles after using them only once is a common occurrence in every other home.

In most cases, the sprinkles have a shelf life of half a year to around nine months.  You can easily store them for an extra few months, even years. The sprinkle's life depends on the storage and the ingredients used to make them.

While the sprinkles add spectacular beauty to the cake and the pop of colors gives the cake a new life, we only use them once for a long, long time. These crunchy and colorful confectionaries can last you 2-3 years past the expiration if stored in an airtight container. If the sprinkles are primarily made from good-quality sugar, they will probably last longer than a cheap version of sugar.

With expertise in cake decorating products, we can guide you about the ingredients in your sprinkles and the ideal ways to tell if your sprinkles have gone bad! Also, discover how to store sprinkles and if you can freeze them.

Table of contents


What Ingredients Are Used In Cake Decorating Sprinkles?

While the exact ingredients depend on the brand you are purchasing from; we are discussing the general ingredients used to prepare cake decorating sprinkles.

The first ingredient that you will find in almost all sprinkles is corn syrup. Also, you will be able to find sugar, wax, cornstarch, food coloring, and of course, some artificial flavors.

If you want your sprinkles to last for a longer time, ensure that the sprinkles don’t have any oils. The fats in the oil make the sprinkles more prone to spoiling, so it is best to avoid it altogether.

If you are a vegan, you need to look out for shellac in the sprinkles. Shellac is used for glazing the sprinkles, and since it is made from insects, it might be a problem. Other than that, there may be the presence of gelatin too. So be careful while reading up the labels.

How to Tell if You Should Throw Out Your Sprinkles?

While you can play around with the expiry date, you still need ways to know that the sprinkles are perfectly fine and can be used. The colorful edibles need to be scrutinized under three factors to decide whether you should throw them or use them. 

1. Visual Examination

The first step to assure the edibility of the cake decorating sprinkles is by conducting a vigilant visual assessment:

  • Notice if the color is bright or not? If the color is faded, you can throw them out.
  • See if they have any spottings? If not, that is great.
  • While mold growth is relatively uncommon in sprinkles, look for signs of mold growth; if you see even a tiny speck of mold formation, instantly throw them out.
  • Look out for sprinkles that are stuck together in clumps. It indicates moisture and signs the cake decorating sprinkles are going bad. So you can toss them out without taking any risk.

2. Smell Test

After the visual examination, put your olfactory senses to some use and determine if the cake decorating sprinkles are up to the mark or not.

If the sprinkles smell sour - throw them out without a doubt.

If the sprinkles smell rancid - you know what to do, toss them out - fast!

3. Taste Test

Before you layer the sprinkles on that heavenly cake of yours, run a little taste test first. Grab a few sprinkles and munch on them. If the sprinkles are sugary with a nice touch to them, they have passed all the tests and can be popped on the cake. Yay!

If they have a weird or sour taste, instantly dispose of them without a second thought.

How To Properly Store Your Sprinkles?

The sprinkles mainly go rancid due to the presence of bacteria. In order to ensure the long-lasting of your sprinkles, you need to prevent the accumulation of bacteria.

To do that, you can adequately store your sprinkles with just three little tips.

  1. The container where you place the cake decorating sprinkles should be airtight. You can even use the jar or bottle that they originally were in, under the condition that the bottle is in perfect condition and is not damaged.
  2. The best place to put the bottle of sprinkles is in a dark pantry that is devoid of humidity.
  3. Room temperature works perfectly for the sprinkles, so we don’t have to go above and beyond for the required temperature.

Should you Freeze Sprinkles?

When it comes to freezing sprinkles, we will say that it is not highly recommended. If you ask us if you can freeze sprinkles, well, yes, you can, if you really want to!

We do not usually recommend people freezing sprinkles because the extremely cold temperature wreaks havoc on the beautiful texture of the sprinkles after they thaw.

If you really want to freeze the sprinkles, make sure that you place them in an air-tight container. You can also put them in zip-lock bags if you want. When you need to use them, take the bag of sprinkles out from the freezer and place it in the fridge for some time; let it thaw there.


These cute, colorful, and little sprinkles can add charm to whatever delicacy they are placed on. Be it cookies, cakes, or cupcakes - the touch of sprinkles is loved on all of them.

If you were baking after a long time and worried about your sprinkles going bad, you know how to differentiate now! Sprinkle on the colors to your desserts.


Lori Gilmore

Lori Gilmore

Lori has been a Culinary Arts instructor for twenty years. She has taught in the public school setting, at the collegiate level and through adult continuing education as well as running several cooking and baking camps for children. She has participated in several cooking, cake & chocolate contests and has been well recognized. She has raised thousands of dollars for charities using the byline “Saving the World one Cupcake at a Time”. Additionally, she has had several articles regarding food published in various magazines.

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