Last Updated on August 23, 2023 by Practical Cooks
Skittles have existed since the late 1970s, but nobody knows who actually invented them. This originally British candy is now a staple of American culture, so they usually get eaten long before any expiration date approaches.
Still, like the forgotten $10 bill in your pocket, sometimes an old bag of Skittles turns up where you least expect it. And you want to eat it. Skittles fans love to taste the rainbow, but the real question is how long that rainbow will last. Do Skittles eventually go bad?
Skittles don’t go bad and can be eaten long after they are purchased. They will go stale and reduce in quality over time, though. Here are some simple guidelines for getting the best Skittles experience every time.
What does Mars Wrigley say?
Mars produces Skittles, and they stamp their bags with expiration dates that are around one year from production. That’s already a pretty distant date for most folks, but even that isn’t a hard rule.
For most candy and other foods, expiration dates are guidelines for freshness. The best way to determine whether food is still safe to eat is to use your senses.
If the food smells off or looks weird, it’s probably time to throw it out.
How do they last so long?
Ever since 2009, Skittles have been made from non-animal ingredients, which makes them vegan-friendly. They’re also conveniently able to lock out moisture, due to their hard coating and simple list of ingredients.
The amount of sugar these little guys contain does a lot to keep them good.
All of this can help them avoid bacterial growth for years on end, making them safe for an insanely long amount of time.
Now that we’ve established your old Skittles are probably still fine to consume, let’s figure out how they’re likely going to taste.
What happens after the expiration date?
As it turns out, not much happens once the calendar moves beyond a Skittles bag’s expiration date. Unless something unusual has taken place to damage the Skittles, people have reported that the candy pieces tend to look and feel the same for years.
They don’t always taste so great, though.
This is the first sign of Skittles starting to show their age. They become stale and begin to lose their vibrant, rainbow taste. That kind of defeats the purpose of eating them.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid them if they’re more than two or three years beyond their expiration date, or if they smell or look funny.
What about opened bags of Skittles?
These don’t last as long as Skittles that have remained in their bag. Once they have been opened, they can be exposed to heat and moisture, as well as a variety of other things that might introduce harmful bacteria.
However, because of the candy coating, Skittles are much more resilient than things like traditional chocolate bars. Skittles are still likely to be good up to their expiration date and even a while longer.
Basically, if you have a bunch of expired candy lying around, the bag of Skittles is probably your best bet for safe, yummy eating.
How should opened Skittles be stored?
We hear you. Storing tons of individual grab bags of Skittles can get annoying. Many families prefer to keep them in bulk containers, especially since these candies are going to last for years. But what’s the best container for the job? And where should the container be kept?
There are a few things to take into consideration when you’re planning to hoard Skittles.
If you live where it is hot and humid, your food is going to go bad faster than it would in other climates. That’s because of the moisture in the air and the chance of the heat melting the candy. Keep your Skittles in a cool, dry location. Air-tight containers will help keep them tasting fresh for a long time.
If your kitchen has windows that let in a lot of natural light, this is beautiful for your house, but it’s aging your Skittles faster. Put your Skittles container somewhere that’s safe from the sun, like the pantry.
What about the fridge or freezer?
Don’t do it.
Generally, keeping food cool or frozen will extend the life of the food. With Skittles, though, this usually isn’t a good choice. The candy will get too hard, and it may lose some of its taste. You also run the risk of introducing moisture as they thaw out, which will make them deteriorate faster.
Skittles are best kept in a dry, cool, sunless location at room temperature.
What happens if you eat expired Skittles?
Nothing bad is likely to happen, unless you notice something wrong with the candy. Skittles are magical this way.
What if you eat Skittles that look bad?
If there is ever mold or something that looks “wrong” on your food, throw it away. The same rule applies to Skittles. You don’t want to taste the rainbow that badly.
But let’s say that ship has sailed, and you’ve already eaten gone-off Skittles. What’s going to happen? Pay close attention to how you’re feeling for the next several hours. Depending on how much you ate, you’ll probably feel sick to your stomach.
If you begin throwing up or feeling worse, it’s time to get to a doctor. Maybe you’re lucky, and nothing will happen. In that case, congratulations. Go celebrate by buying yourself a fresher bag of candy for next time.