Does Honey Expire? Here's What You Need To Know

Honey seems to be one of those condiments that, like mustard or hot sauce, tends to multiply. One jar never is never enough: rather, the pantry of any honey-lover usually will contain a few varieties of light and dark honey, whether they're the clover, tupelo, or acacia type (via Dabur Honey). And no matter how often these honeys get stirred into tea or mixed into cake batter, they never seem to get used up, lasting and lasting in the cupboard and — though occasionally hardening or crystalizing — remaining edible and spreadable, even if a quick dunk in hot water (per the Food Network's suggested fix for crystallized honey) is required first.

Some of us might even have years-old jars of honey kicking around the kitchen, leading many of us to think that this staple sweetener never goes bad. But does honey actually expire, or not? Read on to get the scoop.

Honey will never expire in an airtight jar

Stored correctly, honey will never go bad, according to Allrecipes. As beekeeper Whendi Grad told the website, honey is low in moisture and high in acidity, making it an inhospitable environment for any bacteria that would spoil the product. So while it might change in appearance or texture, properly stored honey will never be dangerous to consume. "Honey will darken and/or crystallize, but it is still safe to eat," Grad explained.

Honey is so impervious to contamination that it can last up to thousands of years. In 1922, archaeologists discovered a container of the syrup in King Tut's tomb — making the sweet stuff more than 3,200 years old. The intrepid scientists decided to taste the honey, commenting that it was fine.

But even antimicrobial honey can be prone to spoilage if it's not stored correctly. If a honey jar has been opened or has an imperfect seal, Smithsonian explains, humidity can enter the jar, creating an environment that's safer for bacterial growth. As Amina Harris, executive director of the Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute at UC Davis, told the outlet, "As long as the lid stays on it and no water is added to it, honey will not go bad ... If you open the lid, it may get more water in it and it may go bad." So to keep enjoying your favorite honey, keep it sealed up tight.