Does Garlic Powder Go Bad? – Full Analysis

Does Garlic Powder Go Bad? – Full Analysis

Garlic powder is a helpful spice that is added to food in order to enhance flavoring as well as providing a convenient way of including a garlic taste. 

Does garlic powder go bad? No, garlic powder does not go bad. The only reason to throw away garlic powder is if it loses its flavor or is contaminated by moisture or bugs. The expiration dates on garlic powder usually indicate that it will expire in 3-4 years. However, with proper storage, garlic powder lasts indefinitely. 

The best type of container to store garlic powder is in a glass or plastic container that shields it from the changing temperatures. You can store the spice with the other spices in the spice rack.

How Long Does Garlic Powder Last?

At the minimum, garlic powder lasts 3 years. You may be perplexed to hear this, but garlic powder does not expire. This may be interesting to know since garlic cloves do expire. But when all the moisture is taken out of a garlic bulb and then it is turned into a dry powder, its powdered form will be protected from rotting or staleness. Protection from rotting occurs because of garlic’s strong antibacterial properties. It is one of the reasons that garlic directly touching a cut burns so bad.

So if you buy a container of garlic powder, the expiration date is only on the bottle because of FDA regulations. The FDA tells all food manufacturers that food must have expiration dates matter, no matter if it expires by then or not. So if you are planning to store long term, dried garlic powder is a food that will maintain freshness as long as it is stored in an airtight container.

How Long Does Garlic Powder Last? Shelf Life [Chart]

Item Length of time
Garlic powder, grocery At least three years, but lasts indefinitely
Garlic powder, homemade One year

How to Know if Garlic Powder Goes Bad

If the garlic powder is stored in an airtight container, then it really doesn’t go bad. The only way garlic goes bad is if it is exposed to air for a long time, if moisture gets in the container, or is contaminated by bugs. 

Here are a few ways you can tell when your garlic powder has been contaminated.

Sign #1: Garlic Powder is Clumpy

If your garlic powder is extremely hard and it’s forming into clumps, then moisture made its way inside the package, and it probably spoiled the powder. But do not confuse hardened clumps with stiff garlic powder. Stiff garlic powder is just powder that has been in the same position for a very long time. A few smacks against a table or counter, and the hard garlic powder will loosen right up.

Sign #2: Larva is in the Container

You already know this, but I just think I should reiterate that you should never eat food that has bugs and larvae crawling all over it. Even if it is the last bit in the jar and you don’t want to drive to the grocery store for one ingredient. Just throw it away. But when you throw it away, take the plastic or glass container and put it in the recycling bin.

Sign #3: Garlic Powder has No Flavor

Garlic powder and garlic cloves are known for their extremely pungent smell. So, if there is no smell, then it is now staled and should be thrown away. No flavor or taste is also a sign of low-quality garlic powder. So, you may not want to buy that same brand again if it loses flavor.

Can You Still Use Garlic Powder if Expired?

Yes, expired garlic powder is perfectly safe to consume as long as there aren’t any signs of rot or mold. As mentioned before, garlic powder can last indefinitely, just like other staple foods like rice, honey, and beans. They just need to be kept away in an airtight container where bugs and moisture cannot contaminate them.

There’s just one factor you must look out for when you use garlic powder that is past its expiration date: flavor and taste. Sometimes, manufactured garlic powder will lose its flavor and smell because it was old when the food manufacturer produced it.

So when you use garlic powder beyond its prime years, make sure you can smell its scent from the bottle. You also may have to rub the garlic powder in your hands and warm it up before you finally get a smell.

How to Store Garlic Powder

Garlic powder is one of the easiest powders to store. Most people just leave them in their plastic or glass containers. A thick glass container is better than a thin plastic one because it will prevent the garlic powder from being affected by any temperature changes in the kitchen, cupboard, or pantry. 

But many people consume their garlic powder so fast that it doesn’t matter. This factor should only be considered if you are storing garlic powder for the long term. 

If you have a small bag of garlic powder like the ones they sell in the grocery store hanging from the wall, it is best to quickly use it. A small plastic bag with a hole at the top is not a good way to Protect your spices from air, bugs, and moisture. 

Garlic powder that is stored in a plastic bag should not be included in long-term food storage plans. There is no need for you to put it in the refrigerator, but you can put it in a cold space, and it will be perfectly fine.


  • Garlic powder is one of the most important spices in the world and is used in every culture and cuisine.
  • If you purchase garlic powder contained in a small bag, it must be placed in a Ziploc bag or any container.
  • You can put garlic powder in the fridge or the freezer if you need to, but you do not have to.
  • After garlic powder is past its expiration date, monitor its smell and flavor.
  • If garlic powder is forming into hard clumps, then moisture may have been inside and ruined it. 
  • Never eat garlic where it may have been contaminated by bugs.
  • Always firmly seal the lid of the garlic container when you are finished using it.