Does Margarine Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on July 8th, 2022

Do you have an excess of margarine? Are you debating whether to eat that old tub sitting in the fridge for months?

In a nutshell, you want to know if margarine spoils. That’s a terrific question, and we’ve got the solutions in this post. Continue reading to find out more.


Does Margarine Go Bad?

Margarine can go bad if not properly preserved. Soft margarine includes monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can oxidize and grow rancid if kept at room temperature.

Inadequately kept margarine can potentially infect dangerous microorganisms, rendering it unhealthy to ingest.

In a moment, we’ll discuss how to best store margarine, but first, let’s look at the shelf life of margarine and how to determine if your spread has gone bad.

Why is it vital to keep margarine refrigerated?

Both butter and margarine should be kept in the refrigerator at 40°F (4°C) or below. By storing butter and margarine in this location, you prevent them from being exposed to light and high temperatures, which can cause them to decay and get rancid.

Is Eating Margarine Every Day Healthy?

Margarine is an excellent choice for bread and veggies. Because margarine is one of the most often used spreads, you may be asking if you can consume it daily. According to the nutritional composition of this product, eating margarine every day is safe, but only during one meal. Excessive use of margarine regularly might be harmful to your health. Large quantities of margarine hurt the immune system and promote fat.

When shopping for spreads, aim for ones with the fewest trans fats. Margarine, sometimes called oleomargarine, is often manufactured from vegetable oil. This component is also a healthy fat since it significantly reduces bad cholesterol. As long as they are taken in moderation, some of the most recent kinds of margarine low in saturated fats are the best option among spreads.

Plant-based oils are among the key constituents of margarine (palm fruit oil and canola oil). Because this material involves a variety of substances, different sorts are created based on personal desire and taste. Stick margarine and light margarine are the two most common varieties of margarine.

Check the nutrition label on the product to ensure that the margarine contains no trans fats. Margarine, in moderation, is beneficial to your health and poses no risk of excessive weight gain.

Margarine Nutritional facts

Stick margarineLight margarine
102 calories50 calories
11.5g of fat5.42g of fat
2.16g of saturated fat0.67g of saturated fat
0g of cholesterol0g of cholesterol
0g of carbohydrates0g of carbohydrates
0g of sugar0g of sugar

How Long Can Margarine Be Stored?

Several variables determine the shelf life of margarine. For example, the shelf life of margarine is affected by how it is stored, the ratio of polyunsaturated to monounsaturated fats, and the number of antioxidants and emulsifiers added.

Unopened margarine will keep in the refrigerator for about 4-5 months after its sell-by date and in the freezer for 6-12 months.

When you open the spread, its shelf life is reduced to 1-2 months after the sell-by date in the fridge at 40oF and 6-8 months frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stick margarine has more saturated fats and trans fats than tub margarine, which not only hardens it but also protects its texture and flavor and gives it longer shelf life.

Margarine in a tub includes polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that oxidize rapidly, converting the spread into liquid and eventually rotten if kept at room temperature for even a few hours.

In addition, some manufacturers include a high concentration of antioxidants and emulsifiers in their spreads. As a result, this margarine will have a much longer shelf life than ones with fewer preservatives.

Finally, margarine with a greater polyunsaturated fat to monounsaturated fat ratio has a lower shelf life. This is because polyunsaturated fats spoil faster.

Here’s a short rundown of margarine’s shelf life:

Shelf Life of Margarine

Unopened margarine4-5 months6-12months
Opened margarine1-2 months6-8 months

Is it possible to preserve margarine at room temperature?

At room temperature, butter and margarine are safe. However, margarine, particularly soft tub margarine, can separate into oil, water, and solids if not refrigerated, although it is still safe.

What happens if margarine isn’t kept cold?

Margarine can go bad if not properly preserved. Soft margarine includes monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can oxidize and grow rancid if kept at room temperature. In addition, inadequately kept margarine can potentially infect dangerous microorganisms, rendering it unhealthy to ingest.

Is it necessary to keep margarine refrigerated?

While margarine is safe at room temperature, its quality declines faster and may begin to separate within a few days. As a result, refrigeration is the way to go, and most manufacturers advocate it.

I’d be dubious if the producer mentioned leaving the spread on the counter. That’s because it might indicate that the product contains preservatives and emulsifiers to ensure the fat’s quality while on the shelf.

(Margarine is not the same as lard, which stores well without refrigeration.)

Of course, the pace at which margarine degrades if not refrigerated is determined by the brand and ingredients used. The more natural the product, the faster its quality deteriorates.

Can You leave out Margarine?

If you don’t want to jeopardize the quality of the margarine, keep it out for no more than a couple of hours, preferably overnight.

Some companies make particular suggestions. Smart Balance, for example, claims that you may leave their spreads on the counter for up to 5 hours. But you generally don’t need exact figures to determine what to do next.

In summary, you can’t keep margarine or buttery spreads out on the counter for too long without getting into trouble.

How Long Will Margarine Keep Outside?

Margarine is normally made so that it may be left out on the counter for up to 2-3 days. After this time, you should put it in the refrigerator. This will assist in preserving it from spoiling.

Because of margarine’s molecular structure and components, it may be kept out at room temperature for a few days without threatening bacterial proliferation.

If you leave the margarine out for a few days, cover it with something. This will assist in keeping dust and other particles from dropping onto the margarine.

How Long Does Margarine Keep in the Refrigerator?

Some margarine, such as soft margarine in tubs, will go rancid faster than margarine sticks. Therefore, many manufacturers recommend keeping it in the refrigerator straight away to keep soft margarine from getting rancid.

Margarine can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 months if unopened. Once opened, it will keep in the refrigerator for around 1-2 months.

If you opt to keep your margarine in the refrigerator, keep it in its original package. To keep the air out, wrap the margarine bars tightly with plastic wrap. If you have any questions, make sure to check the sell-by date.

How Long Can Margarine Be Stored in the Freezer?

The great thing about margarine is that it can be kept in the freezer for lengthy periods. Whether the margarine is unsealed or unopened, it may normally be stored in the freezer for 6-8 months.

The texture and flavor may alter if margarine is kept in the freezer for an extended time. Keep this in mind while developing new recipes or foods.

If you decide to put margarine in the freezer, keep it in its original tub or packaging. This will aid in the preservation of the margarine’s original form. It may also help to reduce freezer burn, at least for a few months.

Now that we’ve covered the various margarine storage options let’s look at some additional elements of margarine management.

Can you freeze Margarine?

If your refrigerator is brimming with more margarine than you can shake a stick at, you may be considering freezing it. The good news is that margarine stores nicely in the freezer. Some heavy goods do not reconstitute when thawed, while margarine remains well mixed when frozen and defrosted.

Why Would You Freeze Margarine?

Margarine’s shelf life can be extended by freezing it. You may like to shop in bulk and discover that you have 5 tubs on hand, or you may have discovered a wonderful deal on margarine at your local supermarket.

You should not store more than one or two tubs of margarine in the fridge at a time, as this increases the danger of the margarine going bad before you can use it.

As a result, freezing margarine is a viable solution. If you keep one or more tubs of margarine frozen, you’ll always have some on hand when you need them, without running to the shop.

You’d have to put the margarine out to thaw before using it, so you’d have to plan.

Is it possible to freeze becel margarine?

Becel margarine may only be stored in the refrigerator for one day. Manufacturers recommend freezing margarine immediately after use. This is because it loses its color, texture, and flavor when kept at room temperature for an extended period. As a result, you may freeze margarine in a plastic sealed bag for a day. It can be thawed before use. However, it is not recommended that becel margarine be refrigerated in a tub since it might break when margarine freezes, reducing its quality.

Is it possible to freeze Flora margarine?

Absolutely! Flora margarine may be frozen. Other types should be refrigerated rather than frozen.

Is it possible to freeze Smart Balance margarine?

Yes, you may freeze smart balance margarine until it expires. However, other types should not be frozen because of their low-fat content.

Is it possible to freeze clover margarine?

Yes, clover margarine may be frozen before it expires. However, once opened, you may only consume it for the following two weeks.

Is it possible to freeze vegan margarine?

Yes, it is true! Vegan margarine can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. However, if frozen, it can last for 6 months.

Is it possible to freeze whipped margarine?

Unfortunately, freezing whipped margarine destroys its characteristics. The emulsion may rupture, causing the product to be harmed.

How to freeze margarine

There are various simple methods for freezing your favorite spread. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • If you have an unopened tub, place it in a sealable freezer bag and place it in the freezer. Make sure to get rid of any air bubbles in the bag.
  • Cut it up: By slicing your block of margarine, you may use only what you need at a time. To begin, freeze the margarine for a couple of hours to allow it to be firm. Then, using a sharp knife, cut the block into smaller bits for one-time use so you don’t have to defrost the entire block the next time you need margarine.
  • Use aluminum foil: Aluminum foil is useful for protecting food from moisture and air, which, as we’ve seen, create the ideal habitat for mold development. With margarine sticks, this approach works quite well. Wrap with aluminum foil and store in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Finally, you might grate your margarine block and store it in little parts. We like this approach since shredded margarine doesn’t take long to thaw, and you need to take out the quantities you need at a time from the freezer.

How to thaw Margarine

When it’s time to use the margarine you’ve saved in the freezer, be sure it’s completely thawed. One method for thawing frozen margarine is to place it in a dish and let it at room temperature.

The margarine will take around 4 hours to thaw. If you can wait a bit longer, you may thaw the margarine in the fridge for around 8 hours.

This is the safest method since it does not expose the margarine to a higher temperature, which might damage it and change its texture.

If you need margarine immediately and don’t want to wait hours for it to defrost, you may defrost it in the microwave.

Set the microwave on the lowest setting and let the margarine in there for 5 minutes. Be cautious not to melt the margarine this way since it will destroy it, and you won’t be able to use it for long.

What Can You Do With Frozen Margarine?

Frozen margarine may be thawed at room temperature or in the refrigerator and used as usual, as a sandwich spread, or in cooking and baking. Some recipes even call for the use of frozen margarine.

An excellent technique is to grate the frozen margarine into small pieces and combine it with the remaining ingredients.

Alternatively, pour the margarine into a bowl and thaw it gently in the microwave for a standard recipe.

how to Tell If Your Margarine Is Bad

As tough as it appears, margarine is highly delicate and will quickly spoil if exposed to moisture, air, or heat.

It’s not difficult to tell whether your favorite spread has gone bad. In this case, rely on your senses to detect symptoms of deterioration. But, of course, keep an eye out for the sell-by date as well.

Here are some simple ways to test the freshness of your margarine:

  1. fungus

If the spread is further exposed to water, the vegetable fat in margarine oxidizes quickly and can produce an ideal breeding habitat for mold.

Even in the fridge, margarine can mold if it hasn’t been handled or kept correctly or passed its recommended sell-by date.

If you notice any signs of mold, it’s time to throw out that container or stick of margarine. Do not try to scoop off the moldy portion and use the remainder; some mold spores are invisible and may be hidden inside your margarine.

  1. Surface Texture

Still usable, Margarine will have a lovely, smooth, and spreadable texture. If the spread goes bad, this will turn into a liquid mess. Any traces of moisture on your spread should alert you to the possibility of mold growing on it shortly.

Another tell-tale indicator of freshness deterioration is when the margarine’s surface darkens and thickens more than the remainder of the spread. This is due to oxidation, and it is also a hint that mold may begin to develop on it.

If the texture of your margarine changes significantly, you should cut your losses and dump it.

  1. Smell And Taste

Fresh margarine should have buttery undertones. Usually, just glancing at your spread is enough to determine whether it has gone bad, but if you’re not sure, try eating a little bite to find out.

Margarine that has been sitting for too long or has lost its freshness may have a soapy, paint-like flavor. It will also have a rotten odor, which indicates bacterial activities.

Can we eat the margarine after it has passed its expiration date?

It is better to use margarine before it expires. However, if the texture or color of your margarine hasn’t changed, you should be able to use it even after the expiration date. Also, if margarine has been stored in a freezer, it is safe to use after the expiration date since the freezing process may keep it fresh for much longer.

However, if it has been a few weeks or months since the expiry date, it is advisable to buy new fresh margarine.

how to store Margarine

Check out these storage suggestions to get the most out of your margarine now that you know how to identify if it’s still fresh.

  1. Refrigerate right away.

Stick margarine and tub margarine do not keep well in the pantry, kitchen cabinet, or countertop. Many manufacturers advise consumers not to consume margarine that has been left out at room temperature for a long time.

Supermarket your spread in the fridge as soon as you buy it from the store to extend its shelf life. Once opened, keep your margarine at 40oF or lower, preferably in the butter section.

  1. Guard Against Other Flavors

Margarine often absorbs scents from other foods. While this is unlikely to deteriorate, you don’t want your favorite spread to taste like onions or bananas.

It is preferable to keep your spread in the fridge in the proper butter container. Alternatively, keep it away from pungent meals that may interfere with the buttery flavor of margarine.

You should also ensure that the tub’s lid fits snugly to avoid exposure to odors from other foods.

A smart method for stick margarine is to store it in an airtight butter dish to slow drying and keep aromas from other foods in the fridge at bay.

  1. Purchase Only What You Need

When purchasing margarine, resist the urge to overbuy just because your favorite spread is on sale. Instead, purchase a quantity of margarine you can realistically consume in a month. To avoid oxidation and to enjoy the spread at its freshest, use at least half an inch per week.

The Dangers of Consuming Old Margarine

You can safely consume margarine after it has passed its sell-by date if it has been properly kept and shows no symptoms of deterioration.

We urge that you avoid consuming margarine that has beyond its expiration date. Not only will it have lost its optimum flavor and scent, but it is also likely that it is only a day away from spoiling.

To summarize, if you have a margarine tub sitting in the fridge for more than four months, it is advisable to throw it out, even if it appears in good condition.

Invisible mold and bacteria can gradually grow on consumables stored for an extended period, putting you at risk of food poisoning or minor but bothersome symptoms.


Margarine is a tough food yet extremely sensitive to moisture, air, and heat. The good news is that with appropriate storage, your favorite spread may keep fresh for several months, which is more than enough time for most homes to consume the item. Just be cautious and reject outdated margarine or shows indications of deterioration.


Editorial Staff

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