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Does Jello Go Bad? How Long Does It Last? A Complete Guide

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From wobbly desserts to refreshing snacks, Jello has been a staple in kitchens for decades. But as time passes, you might find yourself wondering, does Jello go bad?

Jello is such a fun treat eat for children, and it is nostalgic for adults. While it may not be a type of food that is typically associated with prepping and survival, it is one that you should certainly take into consideration.

Not only is it long-lasting, but it also contains a good amount of flavor, which is important. It is a great idea for a dessert, and the ready-to-eat jello can be consumed in an emergency situation with no preparation needed.

While you may be familiar with this food, you may not know the shelf life and expiration date for jello. In this article, we will be covering everything you need to know, from its shelf life to the best ways of storing it.

What Is Jello?

does jello go bad

Jell-O is a type of American gelatin dessert. It was created by Kraft Heinz in 1897 and remains a popular choice. It can be purchased both in ready-to-eat chunks or pots and in powder form, depending on its preference.

While Jell-O is a specific brand, the phrase Jello is commonly used to describe all brands and types of Jello.

There are many different flavors of Jello, such as strawberry, raspberry, orange, lemon, and lime. When it comes to its ingredients, they are fairly simplistic. The main ingredient is gelatin, and then artificial colors and flavorings are added.

Jello can be purchased with sugar or with a sugar-free recipe.

Does Jello Go Bad?

Red jello on a white ceramic container

When thinking about the ingredients of Jello, it will come as no surprise that Jello takes a long time to go bad. Like every type of food, it does have a shelf life, but it is in no way a perishable food.

If you have studied the packaging of Jello, then you will notice that it does have a “best by” date. This date will vary depending on when the Jello was purchased, but it is typically fairly long.

Even so, it is worth noting that the “best by” date will vary depending on the type of Jello you have purchased. If the Jello is pre-made, it will last for a significantly shorter time in comparison to powdered Jello.

As it does have a “best by” date, this ultimately means that the Jello will eventually go bad. This is something that cannot be completely avoided.

However, even though there is a “best by” date, in the vast majority of cases, the Jello can be kept and eaten far past this date, which is great in an emergency situation.

How Long Is Jello’s Shelf Life?

jello shelf life

The shelf life of the Jello will ultimately depend on the type of Jello you have purchased and whether or not it has been stored correctly and the packaging is still intact.

Pre-packed Jello will typically last for around 18 months if it is kept in the refrigerator. If it is kept in a pantry, the time is a lot less, averaging around 4 months.

When looking at powdered and Jello packs, these have a very long shelf life, making them the perfect option for preppers.

These types of Jello typically have a shelf life of a few years. Even after the shelf life has run out, if the Jello has been kept correctly, it can last far longer than the date stated on the packaging.

Does Dry Jello Last Longer Than Ready To Eat Jello?

Out of all the different types of jello that can be purchased, powdered or dry, Jello will last for the longest amount of time when it is kept in the correct conditions.

If you ensure to store the dry Jello in a cool and dry place, this will significantly help to prolong its shelf life, and it will be more than safe to eat past the “best by” date.

Is It Safe To Eat Expired Jello?

Blueberry jello on a plate with a spoon

Yes, in general, it is safe to eat expired Jello. Jello has a “best by” date, rather than a “use by” date. This means that while you should aim to eat it before this date, it can be consumed afterwards with little to no issues.

As we have already discussed, packaged and powdered Jello is typically good to eat for around a year or two after this date.

The only thing you need to be aware of is that the quality and taste of the Jello can increase the longer you leave it to be consumed after the expiration date.

While the Jello may still be fine to eat, the taste may put you off slightly. Typically, there is not a lot of difference in taste, even when it has “expired”.

Even though Jello is typically safe to eat past its “best by” date, care still needs to be taken to ensure that it is suitable. For example, if the packaging has been damaged or the taste or smell is off, then it is best to avoid eating the Jello.

The Best Way To Store Jello

storing jello

The best way to store Jello is in a cool, dry place. Places such as a dark pantry or cupboard are perfect.

It is important that you keep the Jello away from damp or moist areas, especially if it is in powdered form, as this will affect the packaging and consequently the Jello.

You want to avoid keeping the Jello in a warm place, or in direct sunlight, as this will affect its quality and decrease the amount of time it can be kept. It will be more likely to become rancid and unsuitable to eat in these conditions.

If you are purchasing Jello to stockpile and keep for prepping purposes, it is useful to keep the Jello in its original packaging. You can then place the packaging in an airtight container.

This will help prevent the packaging from becoming wet or damaged over time, which should be avoided.

When Jello Should Be Thrown Away

If the packaging of the Jello is damaged, we would recommend that you throw it away, especially if you are unsure of when the packaging of the Jello becomes damaged. The food could be potentially contaminated, and this is something you will want to avoid.

In addition to this, if the Jello looks, tastes, or smells off, then the likelihood is that it is unsafe to consume. If you are ever unsure of whether or not it is safe to consume, it is better not to risk it and to throw it away instead.

Often, the color of the Jello will change if it is rancid, and the powder can clump together if it is off or has been subjected to water or dampness.


We hope you have found this article useful. As you can see, Jello is a fantastic option to consider if you are prepping. It is long-lasting, easy to store, and inexpensive to purchase.

While it may not be the most nutritious food to consume, it makes for a great desert, and it is a good option to consider in an emergency situation. When prepping, you always need to be aware of the shelf life of foods.

Choosing foods with the longest “best by” dates will put you in the best position.