Skittles are renowned for their iconic rainbow-like appearance and their tasty fruity flavors. But have you ever wondered how long they last once opened?
Do skittles expire? Skittles do not go bad in the traditional sense but will rather lessen in quality and flavor over time. While they probably can’t make you ill or cause major health problems, it’s best to always opt for fresh Skittles rather than old and less tasty candy!
Read below to learn more about storing skittles, how long they last, signs of spoilage, and a little information on their expiration date!
Taste the Rainbow
Skittles are chewy fruit-flavored candy that is available in a range of colors! Skittles has been one of the best-selling candy brands in America and is well-known across the globe.
What makes Skittles so great is their chewy candy center and their hard-colored coating.
Skittles are available in many different fruit flavors and can be enjoyed in many ways. They are usually eaten on their own and many people enjoy all the flavors offered by the company.
There are several varieties of Skittles and each has a slightly different storage duration, however, almost all of them are stored the same way.
The Secret Behind the Longevity of Skittles
Skittles contain very little moisture, which gives them their iconic chewy and hard texture. This also makes them shelf-stable and allows them to keep bacteria away.
But how do sugar candies not grow mold? Science, that’s how!
Processed and dry sugar can not grow mold or go bad even if it spends several months over the counter. The reason for this is osmosis.
This process sucks out the moisture from microbes, killing them instantly. It also removes humidity from the air which further strengthens the shelf life of sugar-centric food.
This ability is also passed down to candy products – including Skittles, which are primarily made of high concentrations of sugar and a few preservatives too. But in this rare case, preservatives aren’t the primary reason for the longevity of the product.
See, when kept in a cool and dry place, skittles will remain safe to eat even after their expiration date. But then why do these rainbow-colored candies come with an expiration date, to begin with?
Expiration and Best Before Dates
All food products, even the ones that supposedly last a lifetime are required by the law to be appropriately labeled.
Typically, you will find a “best before” label on food that is required to be frozen at 0F – but it is also common to find this terminology for food that is inherently shelf stable too.
Another reason why manufacturers put a date on their products is to let customers know the time before the product starts to taste different.
Keep in mind that tasting different and going bad are two separate things. While Skittles may not go bad, they will surely become less tasty and even undergo textural changes too.
These changes are normal and are part of a natural cycle. Oxygen oxidizes food at a faster rate and Skittles are just as vulnerable!
While you may not notice an immediate change, the candy will eventually start to show signs of deterioration within a few weeks or months.
Please be advised that we are not advocating eating old Skittles. There is nothing to gain from eating old candy other than a chipped tooth or a mild tummy ache caused either by the anxiety of eating old Skittles or due to the candy itself!
Skittles need to be stored just like any other food. Sure, they might not go bad, but if you want the most out of their texture and flavor then there are a few steps that you can take to increase their shelf life.
The first thing to note is that packed Skittles will maintain their original characteristic for way longer than an opened pack due to the nitrogen-filled packs that keep the candies fresh by keeping air out.
The reason why an opened pack of Skittles is likely to deteriorate is because of environmental factors – and mostly just air.
As hot air circulates, it will slowly changes the outside texture of the candy until they start to look like a gooey mess.
This will take a long time but you may still be able to notice visible changes in the texture of new and old skittle packs. An opened pack of skittle is also likely to become brittle and break apart with the slightest bit of pressure.
Keep in mind that not opening the pack will maintain their freshness for up to a year.
Here is how long Skittles will maintain their original texture and flavor in different situations:
|Unopened Pack||Up to a year or until the expiration date|
|Opened Pack - Room Temperature||6-9 months|
|Unopened Pack – Refrigerated||Up to 12 months|
|Unopened Pack – Freezer||Up to 18 months|
Once you open the pack of Skittles, you may store them in an airtight bag to avoid drying them.
Refrigeration is a good option, but avoid storing the Skittles outside of an airtight container. The excess moisture in the refrigerator may harm the Skittles rather than help them extend their shelf life!
The same can also be said about freezing the Skittles too! If the Skittles develop freezer burn or freeze over – and continuously thaw and refreeze then you will soon end up with bad Skittles.
These bad Skittles may not be strong enough to cause any harm but they may become unpleasant to eat.
Skittles with freezer burn or with moisture damage will lose almost all their flavor and will also take on an odd texture. We recommend throwing out these Skittles and getting a new pack instead!
Another big factor that can cause Skittles to go “bad” is ambient temperature. If you live in a hotter climate then you should probably try to store the candy in a relatively cool place.
You may leave out the candy in colder climates but make sure that you store them using our recommendations above.
Skittles Tips and Tricks
Here are a few tips and tricks to get the most out of Skittles!
- Always buy packs that have at least 9-12 months left before their expiration date. While you could also go with older batches, storing them for longer will eventually become challenging.
- When storing leftover Skittles, try to keep them flat and separated. This way the skittles will remain fresh and will also maintain their shape and texture – even in hotter climates.
- If needed, refrigerate leftover Skittles by storing them at the back of the fridge. Never store Skittles near the door because that is where they may experience a lot of temperature variances.
- While old Skittles are edible, do not attempt to eat 2–3-year-old open packs as they might become contaminated with different substances during their storage. Even if you store them the right way, the best practice should always be to get a fresh batch.
- Skittles may not kill you but they may cause stomach problems in some sensitive people. Please always reach out to a local health provider at the first sign of symptoms.
Skittles can be compared to the myth of Twinkies that are thought to last a lifetime. But in the case of these rainbow-colored treats, they can truly outlast a lot of foods thanks to their sugary ingredients and preservatives.
Now that you know all about the storage and shelf life of Skittles, here are some related questions:
Do Frozen Skittles Need to Be Thawed Before Eating Them?
No. Frozen or refrigerated skittles can be eaten directly from the freezer or fridge. If stored properly, they will feel a bit harder and may not have their distinct chew but will taste the same. Many people enjoy cold or frozen skittles!
Please try to consume all of the leftover candy once it is out of the freezer and avoid refreezing it because this will significantly impact its flavor and texture.
Can Skittles Be Stored in the Same Pack When Opened?
Putting a rubber band around the opened side of a skittles pack is generally a good idea when storing them. It will keep pests away and will protect the candy from environmental factors. Leave the pack in the fridge or over the counter and try to consume it within a few weeks for the best flavor.
Why Are Stored Skittles Faded?
Stored Skittles will seldom lose their original color but if they are exposed to heat or water, then there is a good chance of the superficial layer of the candy coming off. Skittles are made with multiple layers of color which gives them their iconic hard shell.
But if you notice a faded color then it’s better just to discard the candy rather than eat it. Don’t risk your health – or teeth!