Do Pickles Go Bad? 

All you ever wanted to know and all about strange smell

Do Pickles Go Bad

Pickles can be served as a great appetizer or a snack for the savory and hot dishes. In some countries, pickled food has been popular for decades whereas in others it has become so widespread only recently.

Naturally, people started wondering: how long are pickles good for? Do pickles go bad?

If it is a point of concern for you, too, keep on reading because this article will give you answers to all the questions.

Off we go!

Why Consuming Pickles Is Good For Us

At first sight, pickles can seem to be simply a tasty appetizer to add to some more nutritious dishes. However, this sort of food has its undeniable benefits.

First of all, they include a very small amount of calories. Also, if the pickles are fermented, they can be very helpful when dealing with many diseases from insulin resistance to different inflammations.

But even though the pickles you eat regularly are not fermented, they still have lots of useful qualities, for example, they contribute a lot to the weight loss and the pickle juice is good for muscle cramps and diabetes.

Consuming pickles regularly will let the body to intake more antioxidants and manage the electrolyte balance as well.

Since pickles and pickled food is so healthy and useful, people began to wonder how they can extend the lifespan of the pickled vegetables at home.

Well, let’s take a closer look at this issue.

Shelf Life of Pickles. Nuances and Specifics

how long are pickles good for
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To begin with, let’s clarify the duration of pickles’ shelf life.

How long do pickles last?

Normally, if they have been properly and tightly sealed when being prepared, pickles can remain eatable for two years at most past their expiry date, no matter whether you keep them refrigerated or in the pantry.

Can pickles expire?

They can, especially if they are being stored improperly under the wrong conditions or the jars were sealed not tightly enough and some air got inside causing the growth of harmful bacteria.

But these are not the only important facts one needs to know about the pickles. To learn more, check out the following questions. Perhaps, you will find the answers you needed.

Storing this appetizer may appear to be quite simple: why not just toss them onto the pantry shelf and forget about it?!

However, they requires far more careful treatment and maintenance.

How long are pickles good for?

It hangs upon whether they are homemade or purchased in a store.

preserve cucumbers in jar
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How long are homemade pickles good for?

Homemade pickles are not that durable, in fact, since they are able to last for nearly sixty days. If they are kept longer, they will lose the crispness pretty fast. 

On the contrary, their counterpart from the shop is far more durable since it’s able to remain fresh for two years!

Many of us prefer keeping this appetizer exposed to cold and thus the most frequent question asked is “how long do refrigerated pickles last?”

The matter is about the method the appetizer was produced with since homemade one will stay consumable for two months only whereas those from a store will be still good even after 12 months of storage.

Let’s now check out some other issues which are useful to know when dealing with pickled veggies.

do pickles go bad

How long can pickles last unrefrigerated?

Closed jar, in case it’s closed tightly, will keep its content ready to eat for two years for sure. Once opened, this appetizer reduces its lifespan to 12 months or a bit less.

How long do opened pickles last?

Always keep an open jar with pickled veggies exposed to cold, otherwise, they’ll spoil very fast! When stored refrigerated, an opened appetizer is OK to enjoy for 12 months after unsealing them.

How long do opened pickles last
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Do leftover pickles need refrigeration?

Definitely! If we leave them outside exposed to air, warmth, and light, they’ll rot very soon.

How long do dill pickles last?

If the jar is closed, the appetizer will stay fresh and ready to consume for 24 months for sure.

Do pickles need to be refrigerated?

Another troublesome moment that bothers every pickle fan is the constant question: “do you have to refrigerate pickles?”

Indeed, many of us store them in our pantries and everything seems to be OK! So, to refrigerate or not refrigerate?

Do pickles have to be refrigerated after opening?

You’d better do it since pickles tend to rot really fast when exposed to air, sun, or warmth. Since molded pickle is not the best thing to taste, let them chill in the fridge for good.

Do pickles have to be refrigerated after opening
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Do store-purchased pickles have to be refrigerated?

If the jar is still sealed, decide yourself. They’re OK to stay in the pantry anyway.

How long can pickles last frozen?

Six months is the longest term. After that time, they’ll start spoiling and losing the crispness.

What’s the homemade pickles refrigerator shelf life?

The best term of storage for these is four weeks at most.

How long do pickles last in the fridge?

If you are asking about the opened jar of pickles, then don’t stress. Once being opened, pickles will remain edible for one year or a year and a half at most keeping all of their qualities such as taste and flavor without changes.

cucumbers preserve
Photo by Reka Biro-Horvath on Unsplash
  • How long do canned pickles last?

Canned pickles last less than their counterparts in jars. To enjoy their crispness, you’d better consume canned pickles within half a year after they were bought. Also, ensure they are being stored in a cool and dry place to prevent them from premature rotting.

  • How long are pickles good for after opening?

Everything depends on what kind of pickled vegetables we are talking about and the place that they are being stored in.

For example, pickled peppers, corn or cabbage will remain edible for two years at most when being kept refrigerated. This is the strictly required condition for opened pickles storing!

  • How long do pickles last out of the fridge?

Only unopened pickles can stay out of the fridge! So, if it so happened that you decided to keep the jars in the pantry, be sure that they will stay consumable for approximately two years if it is cool and dry there.

Do Pickles Go Bad

How long do homemade pickles last unopened?

Homemade pickles will be possible to consume within two years after they were made and sealed but only if the jars are sealed properly and the storage conditions are correct.

However, even when storing them correctly, they sometimes can turn bad and spoil. In most of the cases, it happens because some mistakes were taken during the process of pickling (for example, some air could remain in the jar or got inside later because of the improperly sealed lid).

Like with any other off food, your stomach will not thank you for eating bad pickles!

That is why everyone needs to know how to define the bad pickles from the good ones to prevent any foodborne diseases.

How to Tell If Pickles Are Bad

Shelf Life of Pickles
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Many people start to panic when they notice some whites on the bottom of the jar. Calm down! It is an absolutely natural effect! But how do you know if pickles have gone bad?

Good pickles have a pleasant acidic smell with the brine being light-amber in color.

On the contrary, bad pickles have an off sour odor and the brine changes its color, too. And of course, if you notice any traces of mold, it is the obvious sign of the pickles rotting.


Discard them instantly without even trying to save.

Now that we know so much about the storage tricks, it would be useful to learn the basic signs of spoilage to protect ourselves from any unpleasant aftermath of consuming a rotten pickle.

Bad pickles are quite simple to identify since they look and smell differently. An unpleasant sour stink and the signs of mold will be the direct symptoms of the appetizer turning bad.

pickle on the table

How long does it take pickles to spoil?

There’s no specific term, in fact. They can rot after a month or two of storage or last longer. Everything hangs upon the conditions and the way they were sealed.

Does pickle juice go bad, one may ask? Of course, it does, together with the pickles. There’s no chance that the juice stays drinkable when pickles are already off. 

How long does it take pickles to spoil
Photo by Reka Biro-Horvath on Unsplash

By the way, do dill pickles go bad? Unfortunately, they do, and it happens the same fast as with the other sorts of this appetizer.

Ways to Consume Pickles. Not Only Eating!

Can pickles expire
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Of course, the most obvious way to consume it is simply pulling them out of the jar and eating. Some creative persons may even decorate the savory and hot dishes with the sliced pickles!

Nevertheless, this tasty snack can be used in many other ways!

For example, they can be used for making sandwiches or as an ingredient for a salad, it will give the raw vegetables more piquant taste. And who said it is prohibited to use it for cold salads?!

Some people even use the pickle brine – for drinking, making lollypops (that’s true, don’t laugh!), and marinating meat. Some say that the brine is good for preparing martini, too. And finally, why not to use the pickles brine for a salad dressing? Both for fresh and cold salads.

How long do pickles last in the fridge
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As you can see, storing and taking care of pickles is not a big deal if doing it reasonably and being attentive and cautious.

Check the pickles now and then to see if they are doing well and, if noticing any suspicious signs of spoiling, double-check the jar and cast it away in case of spoilage.

Take care!

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