Do Candy Canes Go Bad? – Full Analysis

Do Candy Canes Go Bad? – Full Analysis

Candy canes are a popular candy during the holidays. Not only are they known for their taste but they also come in different designs and colors. 

Do candy canes go bad? Yes, candy canes go bad. A candy cane lasts nearly 5 years before it hits its expiration date. Candy canes last such a long time because they have a high sugar solution and do not retain a lot of moisture. 

Try to never let a box of candy canes sit in a hot room or the sunlight for a long time. In addition, you can freeze candy canes but since they last so long, it is really not needed.

How Long Do Candy Canes Last?

As long as the candy cane is perfectly preserved and its wrapper is never punctured or torn, a candy cane has a shelf life of five years. 

No need to throw away excess candy canes at the end of the holiday season. In all likelihood, the candy canes were all perfectly edible.

How Long Do Candy Canes Last? Shelf Life [Chart]

Item Shelf Life
Candy canes 5 years

Why Do Candy Canes Last So Long?

Almost no other candy even comes close to a candy cane’s shelf life. But why do candy canes last so long? 

The reason is its ingredients. The ingredients of a candy cane are sugar, corn syrup, flavoring, food, and water.

The sugar, corn syrup, and water combine to make an extremely strong sugar solution. The concentration of a candy cane’s sugar solution is high; bacteria cannot live in such a sugary mixture. Plus, there is no dairy, flour, or fruit in a candy cane, and those ingredients cause desserts and sweets to expire faster.

4 Signs That Your Candy Canes May Have Expired

Candy canes can last five years, but some candies might not make it to the 5-year mark with storage issues and degradation. Here are some signs to watch so you can detect when your candy cane is bad.

#1 – Flavorless: Candy canes are known for their mild or medium peppermint taste, so it is a great disappointment when you rip off the wrapper and place the candy in your mouth just to find it has no flavor. 

If you’re eating a flavorless candy cane, the candy canes are likely reaching the five-year shelf life expiration date. Eating this candy cane with no flavor won’t give you food poisoning, but it won’t be a fun experience.

#2 – Sticks to wrapper: The wrapper of a candy cane should slide off easily. So if you’re having a difficult time peeling the wrapper off of the candy cane, that is a sign you should not eat it. 

The reason for a sticky wrapper that won’t separate from the candy cane is most likely heat. If the candy cane warmed up while stored in its box or bag, then the candy inside the plastic wrapper released some of its moisture and became sticky. 

#3 – Exposed to moisture: Never eat a sticky candy cane. Candy canes should be dry and crunchy. A wet candy cane means the moisture and heat mixed, which could affect the sugar content. 

#4 – Plastic is ripped or punctured: Unless you accidentally ripped the candy cane while pulling it out of the box or placing it on the table, do not eat one that has a ripped wrapper. The candy cane with a damaged wrapper has been exposed to air, bacteria, and possibly bugs. 

Can You Eat an Old Candy Cane that You Just Found?

No, please don’t eat a candy cane that you found behind the couch. It is not worth it. You never know which bugs chew through the plastic and dined on this extremely sweet and addictive treat. Plus, there may be a tiny hole punctured somewhere on the wrapper, which allowed bacteria into the wrapper within the last two weeks. Even if it looks perfectly fine, throw it away.

Can You Freeze Candy Canes?

Yes, you can freeze candy canes. But since they last so long, there is only one reason why you should do this. The only reason to store candy canes in your freezer instead of the pantry or cupboard is if those places have major shifts in temperature. 

Like most products that live on the shelf of grocery stores, storing candy in a cool, dry place will allow them to reach their five-year shelf life. But if your home is not well insulated, then the constant warming and cooling can jeopardize the candy cane’s integrity. 

How to Store Candy Canes

Because candy canes come in their wrappings, it is very easy to store them. When you bring them home, just keep them in their box or bag and store them in the back of the cover or your fridge. If you store them in the cupboard, make sure their container is closed, so the insects can’t eat their way through the plastic wrapping and ruin this delicious snack.

Most of the ingredients in a candy cane are sugar, so this candy is very attractive to ants, roaches, mice, rats, and silverfish. If your house has a bug problem, it is safer to store the candy canes in the refrigerator. 

If there is no shelf space in your refrigerator, then place the bag of candy canes in a heavy-duty freezer grade ziplock bag. The thickness of the freezer-grade ziplock bag will prevent the bugs from smelling this sugar and from chewing their way through the plastic.


  • Candy canes have a remarkable shelf life: 5 years!
  • Candy canes have a high shelf life because of their high sugar concentration and lack of ingredients that rot quickly.
  • As long as their wrapping isn’t punctured and they’re not exposed to heat or light, the candy cane will last five years in its wrapping.
  • Candy canes can be frozen, but there is no need to do this since they last so long.
  • If a candy canes wrapper is sticking to it, the candy cane is no longer edible.
  • A flavorless candy cane means the candy is nearing its five-year shelf life expiration date.
  • The rapper of a candy cane is thin enough for bugs to chew through it, so keep the candy canes in a box or heavy-duty Ziploc bags.
  • No matter where you find candy canes in your home, never eat them.