Does Cream Of Tartar Go Bad?

Storage nuances and other handy tips

Written by Elisa Chan. Updated on Does Cream Of Tartar Go Bad

Housewives know that using the cream of tartar is a great help when it is needed to make sure that certain products gain proper state. 

However, not everyone knows how to keep this powder correctly, besides, many people often wonder: does cream of tartar expire?

Today you will learn about the shelf life of cream of tartar together with its storage nuances and other handy tips.

What Is Cream Of Tartar? 

What is Cream of Tartar?What is Cream of Tartar?

So what is this mysterious white powder that we have in our cupboards?

How do you usually use cream of tartar?
I add cream of tartar in sugar syrups
I add cream of tartar as a thickener
I use cream of tartar when I boiling vegetables
I use cream of tartar for baking

Well, in fact, the cream of tartar is a byproduct of winemaking! It is made of the tartaric acid that is formed on the walls of the wine barrels after the grapes ferment into wine.

Despite of its name, the product is not creamy, on the contrary, it looks like a white and dry fine powder. 

Just like lemon or vinegar, cream of tartar is an acid and it is badly soluble in water.

How Long Can You Keep the Cream Of Tartar?

Cream of tartar is quite durable! Unlike most of the kitchen goodies, this powder is able to retain its potency and qualities long after its expiry date passed. However, it does not mean it can last forever: even cream of tartar will be losing its quality slowly.

But in general, if we keep this stuff dry and properly sealed, we can expect it to last (and remain of the highest quality as well) for nearly six months above the best by date.

The same is true for the unopened can of powder. And if you want to know exactly for how long it is suitable to use cream of tartar, the term is at least four years after its production!

How Long Can You Keep the Cream Of Tartar
Credits: bhofack2, via

Does Cream Of Tartar Ever Go Bad?

Since cream of tartar is so long lasting, people usually wonder whether it is possible that this powder ever goes bad at all. Technically, this powder can last almost forever if we make sure it is kept properly.

It means that the powder must be protected from any moisture and be stored in a cool and dry place.

However, if moisture does find its way into the jar with cream of tartar, the powder may spoil. You will understand that it happened once you notice mold or any other organic growth on its surface.

Also, if cream of tartar gathers into the large clumps, if it smells odd, or its color darkens, it is a red sign and the product must be discarded.

Does Cream Of Tartar Ever Go Bad

How To Store Cream of Tartar

Storage rules are not complicated for cream of tartar. Simply keep it away from any sources of heat, as well as from the direct sunlight, and make sure no moisture finds its way into the jar with the powder.

This is why most housewives and home chefs prefer keeping cream of tartar either in a pantry or in one of the kitchen cupboards (which is slightly more practical).

Also, since cream of tartar tends to absorb moisture from the air like other powders do, ensure it is tightly sealed after the container you bought it in was opened.

How To Store Cream of Tartar
Credits: bhofack2, via

Where and How to Use Cream of Tartar at Home

does cream of tartar expire
Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

So how is this thing used and, actually, what for? That’s a good question!

How often do you use cream of tartar?
Almost every day
I do not use cream of tartar

In fact, the cream of tartar has a wide range of areas where it can be applied. The first and most popular sphere is cooking. 

  • It stabilizes egg whites increasing their volume
  • It has the same effect on whipped cream
  • The cream of tartar has an anti-baking effect
  • It is a good thickener
  • When added to sugar syrups, it protects them from crystallizing
  • Also, the cream of tartar is protection for veggies when one boils them since it saves them from losing color
the shelf life of cream of tartar
Photo by Trình Minh Thư on Unsplash

Sounds quite impressive, right? Some readers may be surprised but this powder that reminds baking soda is used not only in the kitchen!

What else does cream of tartar do?

  • In the household, it works perfectly as a cleaning agent for different metals like brass, aluminum, and copper when being mixed with white vinegar, rice vinegar, apple vinegar or lemon juice into a paste
  • When mixed with water, it will delete the stains from more gentle surfaces like porcelain, etc.
  • Together with hydrogen peroxide, the cream of tartar works as a rust remover
Is the cream of tartar safe to eat
Photo by Jennifer Latuperisa-Andresen on Unsplash

In addition, it can be applied in cosmetics for dyeing hair together with some henna.

Is the cream of tartar safe to eat?

In fact, no. This product used to be taken inside for a certain period of time as a purgative but then it was found out that its consumption can lead to hyperkalemia which is dangerous to human life. 

Who sells cream of tartar?

Anyone, in fact. This powder can be easily found in almost any store at the spices section.

Cream Of Tartar Shelf Life

Who sells cream of tartar
Photo by Kaboompics .com: Pexels

Naturally, those who want to use this powder may be wondering: how long does cream of tartar last?

One important thing everyone must know about this product is that it is usable only until the first contact with moisture just like any powdered products in our kitchens.

So, to make sure that your magic powder will remain usable, keep it tightly closed in a good tank, preferably water and humidity-proof.

Since this product can be unsafe when consumed in its pure state, ensure that it is taken away and hidden so that children will not find it and taste.

As for the cream of tartar expiration, note several handy tips.

  • This powdered product is quite durable and can be safely used within six months past its expiry date
  • Whether it is opened or not, the product remains usable for half a year after it expires
  • When noticing clumps inside the packet, break them. It doesn’t mean that it is off

How long can you keep the cream of tartar?

If it was not exposed to water or any other kind of moist, use it safely far past its expiry date.

How long can you keep the cream of tartar

How long does the cream of tartar keep its qualities?

Again, if it was not moistured, it will keep its potency until we use it all.

Of course, following the basic storage requirements is a must to make the product last to its longest.

How to Tell If Cream of Tartar Is Still Good

Cream Of Tartar Shelf Life
Photo by Dmitry Zvolskiy: Pexels

It may happen that one will suspect that the powder turned spoiled. Can cream of tartar go bad? Normally, it can’t unless we expose it to the moisture.

Anyway, there are several ways one can spot the expired cream of tartar.

  • Many wet solid lumps tell that the product is off
  • Any darkening or color changes mean that it was spoiled
  • A lack of smell is another symptom
  • Finally, if we see mold then it’s over

How to test the cream of tartar for potency? Take a half glass of warm water, add a half small spoon into it stirring properly, mix in a pinch of baking soda. If no foam will appear, then it is already useless. 

How to Tell If Cream of Tartar Is Still Good

Is the cream of tartar bad for you when used expired?

Many of us are afraid that, if they use the expired powder, they’ll get poisoned. Nonsense! Since the product is potent and usable being stored properly, it can be safely used for even years after its expiry date.

Cream of Tartar Side Effects

cream of tartar expiration
Photo by Lorena Martínez: Pexels

The cream of tartar is sometimes promoted as a strong means that can help you with almost anything regarding health. But beware! Consuming this powder too much has bad side effects.

  • The powder is a strong diuretic which can be an unbearable load to the kidneys
  • High level of it in the body can lead to serious heart problems and even cause a heart attack
  • Overdose of the cream of tartar leads to the muscles weakness, cramping, and nausea
  • Dehydration, paralysis, and low blood pressure are other signs of cream of tartar overdose

Be careful and better don’t take this powder pure.

And don’t worry, using it for cooking won’t make you any harm.

Take these tips and info into account and follow them to preserve the useful powder correctly. It’ll allow extending its lifespan and protecting yourself from any unpleasant side effects.

Simplest And Most Delicious Food Recipes That Use Cream Of Tartar

Tutorial: What is Cream of Tartar and what can you substitute for it?Tutorial: What is Cream of Tartar and what can you substitute for it?

Probably, you know that cream of tartar is not something that can be found in any kitchen or pantry. Nevertheless, this white powder is sometimes far more useful than the well-known means like baking powder or soda.

It is very helpful when working with the food that uses egg whites since the cream of tartar is super good at making those stable! In addition, it is way better than baking powder each time it is important to get the bakery fluffy and long-lasting.

So, if even a little bit of this miraculous thing can be found in your pantry, take it our as we are going to share several best recipes of food making where this powder is a must-have!

  • Best frosted choco buscuit recipe
Best frosted choco buscuit recipe
Photo by American Heritage Chocolate on Unsplash

Its ingredients are simple. 

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup baking powder
  • 100 ml rolling water
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 200 ml of brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 200 ml buttermilk
  • cocoa

To prepare the icing, we’ll need ¾ cup softened butter, vanilla powder, 6 cups confection sugar, and 3 tbsp whole milk.

For making this dessert, put egg whites in a vessel and put away. Meanwhile, blend cocoa with water, and chill. 

Now it’s time to work on the butter and sugars to make them fluffy.  

Add egg yolk, one after another.

In another vessel, combine flour, soda, cream of tartar, and inject to the creamy blend in turns with buttermilk.

Beat whites on medium speed until soft peaks appear and inject sugar until it’s dissolved. Finish when the peaks are stiff. Lay the substance to the pans and bake for 25 min.

Now beat the first four ingredients for the icing. Smear it between the layers of the cake.

The general preparing period for this recipe takes about an hour and you’ll get nearly sixteen servings as a result.

This is the example of one of the simplest dessert recipes that will provide you with a delicious treat for any occasion!

  • Bomb Pop Bars recipe
Bomb Pop Bars recipe
Photo by twinsfisch on Unsplash

This food will take only 30 min to get ready!

Take ½ cup of softened butter, confection, and white sugar. 

One big egg, ⅓ cup canola oil, 2-3 cups flour, half teaspoon of baking powder, cream of tartar, and cherry, raspberry, and lemon extracts. Take red and blue food coloring, too.

Now combine butter and sugars until fluffy, inject egg, and oil.

In another vessel, whisk all the powdered dry components. Slowly inject it to the creamy batter until the dough is ball-shaped.

Separate it into three parts. Add red coloring and cherry infusion to one, blue and raspberry to another, and lemon to the last part.

Create long blocks out of each portion, and lay these logs close to each other. Their sides must touch. Gently press them together, wrap, and chill for 30 min.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, take out the colored pastry, take off the cover, and cut crosswise into equal pieces.

Bake for 10-12 min.

This recipe will fit perfectly for any holiday or party! What is good about such recipes is that one can play with colorings making the bars look like a rainbow!

  • The old-fashioned simple cookie recipe
The old-fashioned simple cookie recipe
Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash

This recipe is literally the simplest and the fastest one among all! It will become your best choice whenever you’ll need something tasty for breakfast or to treat guests. It is said that this is one of the recipes which came from the Amish commune. Whether true or false, these yummies are delightful!

  • Take 1 cup soft butter, veggie oil, and sugar
  • 2 big eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla infusion
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon of soda and cream of tartar

Such recipes take only like 10 min so it’s cool to try with the kids, too.

Photo by SJ Baren on Unsplash

Beat butter, oil, and sugar inject eggs and blend meticulously. 

Combine all the dry components and slowly inject them into the liquid mixture.

Create the dough drops on the baking sheet, and bake at 375 degrees for 10 min.

These were the best recipes that require cream of tartar but naturally, there are plenty of other recipes, more and less complicated, that are good to try to delight your family with a tasty treat!


Cream of tartar is a very handy thing to have in your kitchen since this powder is widely used for baking purposes as a thickening and anti-caking agent. But unless you use it regularly, you might not be aware of how to store it properly or how long it will last at all.

So once you buy a jar of cream of tartar, make sure you keep it in a pantry or in a kitchen cabinet, and check that moisture and heat are kept away from this powder. Like this, it will remain potent years after its expiry date!

Written by
Elisa is a passionate cook who will advise you on healthy and delicious food topics! With her help, you will discover how to properly store and freeze food, as well as learn important nuances about preserving vitamins in your meals to make them stay nutritious.
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Baking powder conversion cream of tartar and baking sodaBaking powder conversion cream of tartar and baking soda