Do Gummy Bears Go Bad? How Long Do They Last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on July 1st, 2022

Gummy bears are an iconic snack that almost everyone has eaten. They’re a favorite for growing kids, adults on the go, or anyone who needs a pick-me-up. But how long do gummy bears last? And what are the best ways to store them?

Have you ever found an old packet of gummies and wondered if you could still eat them safely? Do gummy bears expire or go bad?

yellow green and red plastic beads

Or perhaps you’ve purchased many gummies and want to know how long gummy candy lasts.

Do Gummy Bears Go Bad or Expire?

Gummy bears do not expire, although their quality deteriorates with time. However, if you keep them open for over a few months, they may become dry and gritty. That’s when you get rid of them.

Gummies can go bad (for example, mold can form on them), but only if water gets into the candy. And I don’t mean just a drop or two. That is extremely improbable if they are properly stored.

Can you eat gummy bears that have gone bad? Sure, as long as they don’t exhibit any indications of spoiling (and are safe to consume) and are of sufficient quality. It’s pretty much the same as with any old candy.

Gummy Bears: How Long Do They Last?

Unopened gummy bears should keep for at least a few months after the expiration date on the package. When you open the packaging or buy gummies in bulk, they should keep their quality up to six months.

Unless you buy gummy candy in bulk at the store, the package will have a date. However, that date is only an estimate of how long the candy will keep its quality and is not an expiration date.

In other words, if you store them properly, your gummies should be fine for at least a couple of months after the expiration date (much like Oreos).

How long beyond the expiration date can you consume gummy bears? It’s difficult to say. It depends on how you keep them, the materials used to manufacture the gummy candy (which vary slightly from brand to brand), and your taste preferences.

Gummy bears (unopened)Best-by + 3 – 6 monthsBest-by + 3 – 6 months
Gummy bears (opened or bought in bulk)3 – 6 months3 – 6 months

What is it about gummy bears that make them last so long?

Gummy bears are a one-of-a-kind candy. They may be tasty and colorful, just like any other gummy candy. However, gummy bears purchased in a store have a somewhat different makeup due to differences in technology and processing procedures in a factory.

Gummy bears are mostly made from gelatin. Gelatin, sugar, glucose syrup, start, food coloring, different flavorings, and citric acid are all likely ingredients.

It may not appear to be much, but most of them are preservatives. When gummy bears are properly preserved, this contributes to a longer lifespan.

Gummy Bears Can They Mold?

They certainly can. Your gummy bears will mold if they are not maintained correctly or if they come into touch with moisture. Gummy bears don’t spoil easily, but keeping them unsanitary circumstances can make them inedible.

Is it okay to eat gummy bears after the “expiration” date on the package?

Yes, if properly stored, the package is undamaged. There are no signs of spoilage (see below) – the commercially packaged gummy bear will typically carry a “Best By,” “Best if Used By,” “Best Before,” or “Best When Used By” date, but this is not a safety date; rather, it is the manufacturer’s estimate of how long the gummy bear will remain at peak quality.

Why Are Gummy Bears So Hard?

Gummy bears, as you may know, are mostly composed of water, gelatin, sugar, food coloring, and certain additives.

The gel strength of gelatin is proportional to its concentration. As a result, the hardness of gummy bears is determined by the gelatin content.

The candy becomes firmer as the gelatin content increases.

Gummy candies that are left lying around lose water content owing to evaporation. As a result, the gelatin becomes more concentrated and firmer.

Gummy bears shrink as a result of moisture loss.

What Should I Do If My Gummy Bears Are hard?

If your gummy bears are hard, it is most likely because they have been exposed to air. To soften them, throw them in a dish of warm or hot water to rehydrate them. This takes around 20 minutes. If the products are carefully preserved after drying, they will survive for a long time.

Gummy Bear Softening Method

If your gummy bears are firm, you can easily soften them. Here are three fast and easy methods to soften those hard-gummy bears.

Warm water in a bowl

Rehydrating gummy bears is necessary for softening them. In a dish of warm water, place the gummy bears. Because gelatin is soluble in warm water, do not use cold water.

They will attain the desired consistency in around 20 minutes. The longer you leave them in water, the more water they will absorb. They will also get larger and softer as you keep them for a longer period.

the Microwave

Take a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a paper towel. Arrange gummy bears in a row on a dish.

Warm water should be sprinkled over the gummy bears. Microwave them for 10 seconds on low power. Examine the gummy sweets for suppleness.

If they do not soften to the appropriate degree after 5 seconds, heat them for another 5 seconds.

Allow for a 10-minute cooling period. Then, put it in a zippered plastic bag.

Gummies should be kept with bread.

Take a bag and a slice of bread with you. Place the bread and gummy bear candies in the bag.

Clip the bag and double-check that it is securely fastened.

Place it in a warm location. It will soften in a day, exactly like fresh.

This method can also be used to soften stiff biscuits.

Warm water should be sprayed with warm water.

Warm water can also be used to soften hard gummy bears. Simply spritz the gummy bears with warm water.

Arrange the gummy bears on a serving platter. Warm water should be sprayed on them twice. Only two or three sprays are required. However, spray them until the proper consistency is achieved.

Keep it in a bag or pocket

You may also soften the gummy bears using a simple approach. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket or bag. After around 5 minutes, they will become warm and mushy. Time may vary depending on the hardness and desired softness.

Gummy Bears: How to Store Them

Gummy candy should be kept in a cold, dry place. If you live in a warm and humid environment, or if it’s a hot summer, try putting gummies in the refrigerator. Once you’ve opened the pack, keep it well wrapped.

Most gelatin-based chewable sweets may be stored in a pantry or kitchen cupboard (at room temperature). However, if it’s hot (and you don’t have air conditioning), putting your gummies in the fridge will help them keep their quality for longer (the same goes for caramels).

Of course, it only makes sense if you plan the pack to stay in storage for a few months or if you got it at a discount because it was nearing its expiration date.

The only thing you need to worry about once you’ve opened your gummies is keeping them sealed. You may cover the plastic wrapper, but you can also place the gummy bears in an airtight container or a freezer bag to keep moisture at bay.

If you know you’ll consume your gummies within a couple of days of opening them (usually the case for most of us), keep them firmly wrapped in their bag. There’s no use in going the additional mile if their quality isn’t going to alter that much in such a short time.

Is it possible to freeze a gummy bear?

Gummy bears can be frozen in sealed containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.

How long will a gummy bear keep in the freezer?

Gummy bears will keep their optimum quality for roughly 12 months if properly preserved, but they will be safe for much longer.

The freezer period indicated is solely for optimal quality – gummy bears that have been maintained continually frozen at 0°F will stay safe eternally.

Gummy Bears: How to Freeze Them

Gummy bears may be frozen without the use of any additional equipment. Special preservatives would be added to store-bought gummy bears to extend their shelf life. Gummy bears, once opened, aren’t something you keep in the pantry for very long.

There are no preservatives in homemade gummy bears. This makes them somewhat healthier than store-bought versions, but it comes at the expense of extremely short shelf life. Here’s how you freeze gummy bears in simple steps.

1. Pre-freezing

Gummy bears are sticky, and freezing them may increase this and cause them to cluster together. The pre-freezing technique also aids in fully freezing each gummy bear.

To begin, line a cookie sheet or baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper. Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the gummy bears. They should be spaced such that they do not contact. Place in the freezer for 4 to 6 hours to freeze.

Bring the gummy bears out for additional freezing and storing once they have been frozen for a time.

2. Stockpiling and Freezing

Airtight freezer bags are ideal for storing nearly anything in the freezer. The key to freezing effectively, however, is to minimize contact between air, moisture, and other food products.

Fill the bags halfway with half-frozen gummy bears, press them flat, and evacuate as much air as possible before sealing them. Then, with a sharpie, mark the bags with the freeze date and contents. This will assist you in keeping track of what you’ve frozen.

If you keep a food diary, Mark the date of the freeze in your calendar so you may have the gummy bears when they are still at their peak. You may also use sticky notes to denote the date the gummy bears in your freezer must be consumed.

How to Defrost Frozen Gummy Bears

Frozen gummy bears are juicier than room-temperature gummy bears and will give you a rush of flavor and taste that you won’t get from regular ones. Of course, you can eat your gummy bears without freezing them; they will be chewier, but that only means you will spend more time satisfying your sweet desire.

If you wish to defrost your gummy bears, take them out of the freezer and place them in the refrigerator to thaw at a controlled temperature overnight. You may also defrost your gummy bears on the counter, although they are more enjoyable when cooled.

Gummy bears cannot be thawed incorrectly unless you go too far and melt them. So even if you defrost it under running water, you may still enjoy this delicious sweet.

Is it possible to become sick from eating outdated gummy bears?

When it comes to gummy bears, eating expired gummy bears does not necessarily make you sick as long as they are stored properly.

Gummy bears have a high sugar content and may contain preservatives. Thus they do not create a good environment for germs to develop.

Sugar is hygroscopic, implying that it may absorb water (attracting the water molecules). Osmosis is the mechanism by which water travels from a low solute concentration area to a high solute concentration region. In this situation, the solute is sugar.

Because the water content of sugar is essentially non-existent, the osmosis process begins when bacteria arrive on the surface of the sugar. As a result, water migrates from the bacteria’s body to the sugar, dehydrating and killing the bacteria. This is why you do not become sick after eating expired gummy bears.

So, yes, gummy bears may still be eaten beyond the expiration date, but you will notice a change in texture and flavor, so as long as you are alright with it, you can eat the expired gummy bears; they will not make you sick.

When should you think your gummies are finished and throw them away?

  • The candy is either dry or gritty.
  • They are sticky gummies that smell bad if something is wrong with their appearances, such as mold, a change in color, or sugar crystallization on the surface.

Gummies containing sugar crystals are not technically ruined, but they will taste mediocre at best. Therefore, it is preferable to get rid of those.

Finally, even if your gummy bears pass all of the above tests with flying colors, if they are stale, difficult to chew, or taste strange, you should eliminate them.


Editorial Staff

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