Does Margarine Go Bad?

Does margarine go bad or not? We all love some margarine, but can it go bad? Here is a short guide with all the answers.

Maybe you’ve always used butter, but you decided to try margarine. Turns out you never used much of it, and now you’re concerned that it has expired. You’re probably asking yourself:

Has my margarine gone bad? How long does it last?

Or perhaps you’ve bought a multi-pack of margarine tubs in bulk on offer at the grocery store. Now you’re wondering:

How am I meant to store all this margarine?

Don’t worry, we’ve got the answers to your margarine questions.

Here’s the lowdown. Whether margarine is unopened or opened, it will last for about one month past its sell-by date.

Related:Does Butter Go Bad?

How To Tell If Margarine Is Bad

margarine spread on bread

Starting with the color, if you notice the surface is darker than the rest of the spread, this is a reaction from the fat to the presence of oxygen. Now, you may cut the top off if it’s only a thin layer. But if the darkened layer is thicker, you should throw it out.

Next on the list is the presence of mold. If you see any of that on your margarine, discard it. If it smells off or rancid, you should get rid of it. What about changes in texture? If it’s a big change in the overall texture, it’s better to be safe and toss it in the bin.

If it looks and smells okay, you can give it a taste to see if you’re happy with it. If not, you can simply toss it out for quality purposes.   

How To Store Margarine

Like butter, keep your margarine in the fridge when not in use. It should always be sealed tightly either in the package it came in or with some extra wrapping from foil or a freezer bag. In the case of the freezer bag, be sure to squeeze out excess air.

Can You Freeze Margarine?

cube margarine

For a long-term storage option, you can decide to freeze your margarine. Freezing it is super easy.

If it’s a wrapped stick, transfer it to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container and place it in the fridge. If it comes in a plastic package, you can freeze it as it is in that container.

Lastly, when you need to thaw your margarine, just put it in the fridge the night before you intend to use it.

How Long Does Margarine Last?

Like most dairy products, margarine comes with a sell-by date. This date informs the store how long they can keep selling the product.

Generally, margarine will last one month past its sell-by date. However, that is dependent on the quality, fat content, and if it has preservatives. So be sure to check for signs of spoilage if you’d like to keep it longer.    

Uses For Margarine


For baking cookies and biscuits, it is recommended to utilize margarine. To achieve optimal outcomes, the rigid form of margarine is effective. Melted margarine can also be employed as a suitable substitute for butter when making pancakes.

If you’re making tomato sauce for pasta, add margarine to your pan before your onions. Season the fish before baking with some margarine.         

The Verdict

Ever wondered what the difference is between margarine and butter? Simply, margarine is a highly processed food product made from vegetable oils, while butter is concentrated dairy fat made by churning cream.

Margarine won’t last very long, but if you’d like to store it for longer, a good option is to freeze it. Always be on the lookout for any signs of spoilage, as different brands and types of margarine have different shelf lives.

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Alisa Shimoyama

Alisa eats her way around the world on her travels and likes to have good food ready and waiting for her when she gets back.