Do Skittles Expire or Go Bad?

Of all the candy you can choose from, Skittles is among the best-selling and ranks high on the list.


They usually come in a bag of hard, sugary rounds with the letter ‘s’ print on the shell.

Their catchy “Taste the rainbow” motto and ads are commonly seen on TV.  

Sometimes, you might find an old bag of candy lying around the house or from last Halloween.

So you ask yourself the question: 

Do Skittles expire or go bad? Unlike other foods in your home, Skittles might keep their rainbow taste, but they lose their texture and go a bit stale. They could also become too hard to bite.  

Do you have a bag of expired Skittles? This article answers some questions about Skittles and its expiration date.

By the end, you’ll understand how long it can last, why it lasts so long, and determine whether or not to eat your Skittles.

How Long Can Unopened Skittles Last?

After manufacturing, Skittles usually have an expiration date of 12 months. You can look at the expiration date if you feel unsure.

The expiration date codes on a Skittles package are pretty straightforward because the producer, Wrigley, uses the DDMMYY format. 

Skittles could last many years past their expiration date despite the date code, especially if left in their original packaging. It could last over 20 years if kept in the right conditions. 

How Long Does Skittles Last After Opening It?

After opening, Skittle can still last a long time, possibly more than five years, if stored properly. However, if exposed to sun or heat, it could melt and go bad faster. 

It’s important to note that if there’s any moisture and water, it can cause bacteria to grow. Any moisture or water means mold might start to grow on it, making it dangerous to eat. 

Make sure to store your Skittles accordingly if you don’t plan to eat them all. 

How to Properly Store Skittles

Storing Skittles isn’t tricky. Keep the bag in a dry, room-temperature pantry if it is unopened. Proper conditions prevent them from melting, getting too moist, and becoming difficult to eat. 

If you have opened a bag, transfer the Skittles into an airtight container and keep them somewhere dry, calm, and away from the sun. This will ensure the longevity of the candy. 

Never refrigerate or freeze your Skittles! Cold temperatures will harden the candy and even cause it to become moist. 

Do Skittles Go Bad?

The answer is yes. But not in the same sense as other foods; the sugar inside the Skittles might crystalize or dry out.

This affects the texture of the candy, making it stale or brittle. However, Skittles won’t rot or decay like fruits, vegetables, or meats. 

Skittles that aren’t stored properly or exposed to heat or the sun will become sticky and grainy. 

The main reason for sugar-based treats to expire is a loss of moisture. Skittles are the same. After many years, the sugar might even dry out and crumble.

Expired Skittles might also get discolored or misshapen over time.  

Can You Eat Expired Skittles?

It might cause a lot of worries when you find out that your Skittles bag has expired. But yes. Skittles eaten past its expiration date won’t make you sick or have any adverse side effects. 

On the other hand, a hardened piece of Skittle might cause you to chip or break a tooth.  

Generally, Skittles don’t rot or mold because they don’t have microorganisms thriving on them. Instead, they just become brittle or hard to eat.

Moreover, they will also become disfigured, stale, and tasteless.

Although losing their taste can be pretty rare. 

Why Do They Last So Long?

Skittles have their main ingredients in sugar, corn syrup, and palm kernel oil. They also contain citric acid, fruit juice, flavorings, dyes, and preservatives.

The two main sugary components have an indefinite shelf life and last for years. Because of these ingredients, Skittles can stay for well over a year or two.

This is because high sugar inhibits bacterial growth, causing the bacterium to lose water through osmosis.

Bacteria can’t fight the osmosis gradient, so they can’t grow or divide without enough water.

Skittles have lots of sugar. They also have ascorbic acid, which is like Vitamin C.

Newly-made Skittles have sodium citrate instead. These ingredients act as a preservative, keeping the Skittles from going rancid.

When Should You Not Eat Them? 

When deciding whether or not you want to eat these candies, smell them and check for mold. If it smells off or weird, it’d be safer to toss it. And if there’s mold on the candy, immediately throw it. 

Like all foods, mold isn’t a good sign and can harm your health if you eat it. 

Lastly, if you eat an expired Skittle that is quite hard to bite, it would be best to throw it out. Although safe, it’s not worth risking a chipped tooth and visiting the dentist. 

Final Thoughts

So, can you eat the expired bag of Skittles in your pantry? It has been kept in the right conditions and left unopened.

Then, yes.

It’s safe to eat the candy within 2 or 3 years.

You might not even notice the difference from a freshly bought bag. 

However, always check the smell and hardness.

Especially if you’ve opened the bag or have had the candy for over ten years, it’s all the more important to check.

Most importantly, look for mold! If nothing is amiss, then you can still eat it. But it won’t be as enjoyable as it is when you eat it fresh.

Always be cautious, but you can be at ease with Skittles. You won’t experience any harmful side effects if there’s no mold.

However, if you’re still worried, you can always buy a new one from the store.