Do Raisins Go Bad? Your Questions Answered

We’ve all got that slightly ominous bag or box of raisins sat in that dark corner of our store cupboard that has been there since you tried to make fruit cake last Christmas...or was it the Christmas before that? 

Take a Look ↓↓↓

It has come to our attention that there is some confusion out there over whether raisins can indeed go bad. We thought we would use this article to clear that up, explaining the ins and outs of raisins, including how long of a shelf life they have, whether they can go bad, and how you can tell if they are good or bad. 

How long do raisins last? Do raisins expire?

Raisins typically have a long shelf life. As you will know (or you may not, that’s fine) raisins are the result of a grape that has been dehydrated.

As such, all the moisture has been taken out of them, and so the shelf life of a grape has been majorly extended since a dehydrated grape (raisin) can last much longer). 

However, like all food items, raisins can’t last forever, and so legal reasons, a shelf life must be applied. As such, you can typically expect a pack of raisins bought at the store to have a shelf life of around 6 to 12 months. 

If they are opened, this may be less. However, if the package remains sealed, the raisins inside it may last much longer than the stamped expiry date, sometimes by up to a year. 

It is also thought that placing your raisins in the fridge, either when opened or unopened can extend the shelf life even more, with some sources stating that refrigerated dried fruit like raisins can last for around 2 years when unopened in the fridge, and up to a year when opened. Unopened raisins in an airtight container last longer.

Frozen raisins last even longer. Bringing them to room temperature can be a challenge. Regular raisins (dried raisins) are much easier to work with though will led to more spoilage if not stored in a sealed container. Organic raisins have a better flavor in my opinion though they don't last as long. They're great in baked goods.

I had a great aunt who loved alcohol soaked raisins. She made them from a seedless grape variety. Her gin soaked raisins were always a hit.

Of course, this is not the standard and may differ based on the brand of raisins, how long they have been open, and the conditions within your refrigerator. For this reason, it is good to be aware of signs that your raisins may be turning bad. We will explore these signs in more detail in the next section. 

How to tell if raisins are bad? 

The best way to tell if raisins are bad is to look out for some physical tell-tale signs. As with any perishable items, the first things to look out for are any signs of visible mold, fungus, or any kind of growth on the food or inside the box or bag. 

This will be a sign that something is off inside and they should be trashed. This may also be more likely in opened raisins that have been exposed to air and heat, so be especially careful if you realize the raisins have been incorrectly stored (a cool, dry place is best if they are unopened, or a refrigerator if they have been opened). 

Other, less obvious ways of testing whether raisins are off are to check for any changes in color or scent. These may not be as easy to spot as any mold growth, especially since raisins can differ in appearance, anyway. Just ensure to look carefully for any obvious changes such as some turning completely green or white. You should also take note of any changes in scent. Raisins smell sweet and tart. Anything that smells different or bad may be an indicator that they have turned bad. 

Lastly, if you are still unsure but can see no physical differences and they smell fine, you could taste one or two to check how they are. If they taste off, then you can toss them. If they taste fine, then you should be safe to go ahead and use them. 

Can raisins go bad? 

Yes, raisins can indeed go bad. Whilst it is rare to come across a moldy package of raisins, since the shelf life is generally pretty long, it can happen, especially when the raisins have been open for some time, and kept in a hot area. 

Just keep an eye out for signs that they are bad and use your best judgment. If you are ever in any doubt just err on the side of caution and trash them. 

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community.
She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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