Does Margarine Go Bad? – Full Analysis

Does Margarine Go Bad? – Full Analysis

Margarine is a convenient and more healthy way to replicate the taste of butter. The ability to use a container of margarine helps avoid messes in the kitchen. The container is also an easy way to safely store the margarine after it is used. 

Does margarine go bad? Yes, margarine does go bad. If margarine sits in a fridge unopened, it will last 4-5 months. That is a much longer time than butter. Once the seal is taken off, margarine will only last 2 to 3 months in the refrigerator. 

Never try to store margarine in the pantry; it needs to stay in the fridge. Surprisingly, margarine will do just fine if it is frozen. Frozen margarine will last for nine months.

How Long Does Margarine Last?

Margarine, just like any other type of dairy, will go bad whether it is contaminated or it stays in your fridge past its expiration date.

Most people know that butter does not have a very long shelf life, but margarine lasts much longer than butter. This is true. Margarine can last 4-5 months in the fridge as long as the seal is not removed. Once the seal is removed, margarine will only last 2 to 3 months. 

How Long Does Margarine Last? Shelf Life [Chart]

Item Shelf life
Fridge, unopened 4-5 months
Fridge, opened 2-3 months
Freezer, sticks 6-8 months

How to Tell if Margarine is Bad?

Like any other food, margarine goes rancid and is unsafe to eat after a certain amount of time. There are a few signs to watch for in case you start to suspect your margarine is getting old.

Like butter, margarine will grow mold if it is in the refrigerator for too long and goes past its expiration date. The mold will grow on top of the margarine in whatever shape it is in. If there is mold in your margarine, throw it away. There is a very common belief repeated by people who say that if you cut off or remove the moldy part, the rest of the food is safe and edible. But if a food is already developing mold, then it is too late. There may be mold spores growing throughout the entire food.

Another way to tell if margarine has gone bad is if small spots that are colored a darker yellow begin to form. The small yellow spots will be mushier than the margarine around it. 

If a tub of margarine has been in the back of your fridge for a very long time and it is far past its expiration date, it will begin to separate. Margarine should never separate. When the margarine separates, it will look like small beads of liquid floating on top of the margarine. It will look like sour cream, which does separate, and a small puddle of liquid floats to the top. But sour cream is supposed to do that. Margarine is not, so if you see that occurring, throw it away. 

Also, if you buy a tub of fresh tub of margarine and open it up to see that it is separating, throw it away as well. Something happened at the factory, and this margarine was not made correctly.

How to Store Margarine

Margarine is not a food that is designed to last a long time. So, it is not a good idea to store margarine and add it to your long-term emergency pantry list. It would be better to store olive oil or coconut oil instead if you are creating a long-term food storage kit. Plus, margarine cannot last if it is kept at room temperature. It always needs to be in the refrigerator.

There’s not much to do to store margarine properly. Just make sure the tub is not on one of the fridge doors. It is best to place the margarine at the back of the fridge. You don’t want to leave it on the door because every time you open the refrigerator, it will be affected by a sudden shift in temperature. Even though the tub of margarine has a seal and a lid, it is still not a good idea to leave it on the door.

Can You Freeze Margarine?

As long as margarine is in the form of sticks, you can freeze it. Surprisingly, the texture and taste of the margarine is not ruined by the freezing cold.

Another thing you should know about freezing margarine is that it extends its shelf life. Margarine only lasts 3-4 months in the refrigerator, but it will last 6-8 months when it is in the freezer.


  • An open tub of margarine lasts 3 to 4 months in the refrigerator.
  • Margarine is just like any other type of dairy because it does go bad.
  • One way to tell if margarine has gone bad is if it develops green circles of mold.
  • Also, when margarine goes bad, small spots in the margarine will turn into a darker yellow and become mushy and slimy.
  • If margarine has been in your fridge for a long time, it will begin to separate past its expiration date.
  • It is possible to freeze margarine as long as it is in stick form.
  • To freeze margarine, place the margarine sticks into a heavy-duty Ziploc bag and allow them to freeze overnight.
  • Unopened sticks of margarine will last 6-8 months in the freezer.
  • If margarine is stored in the pantry, it won’t even last the night. It will quickly turn rancid.