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Do Starbursts Expire?

Do Starbursts Expire?

Starbursts have been around since the ‘80s. Practically everyone has eaten Starbursts at least once in their life.

We’ve all kept a handful of Starbursts in our purse or our backpacks as a treat for later. But when do Starbursts finally expire?

If they are stored in a cool dry area, Starbursts will last for 1 or 2 years. If you store Starbursts in the fridge, they may even last up to 3 years. It’s not recommended, however, to store Starburst in the freezer.

If Starbursts are exposed to heat or moisture, they will rot like any other candy. If you keep your Starbursts in your purse, work bag, or backpack, then you may want to throw them away after 3 months.

If there is a Starburst flavor available only for a limited time, you can store the starburst package in the refrigerator and they will last for 2 years. You can also store Starbursts in the cupboard, they just won’t last quite as long.

Do Starbursts Expire?

Have you ever found a couple of random Starbursts while cleaning out your purse or searching for the packet of tissues in your car? Perhaps you were even tempted to eat these surprise Starbursts when you found them.

But you have no idea how long these little square candies have been sitting on the bottom of your purse or underneath your car seat.

Yes, Starbursts expire, but it will take them quite a long time to do so. You have plenty of time to eat any random Starbursts that you find around your fridge or in your purse.

According to the law set forth by the FDA, all consumable items must have an expiration date. But that does not mean the products are actually rotted or old when they pass the expiration date. The FDA wants all foods to have an expiration date regardless of product degradation.

When you look at a package of Starbursts and search for its expiration date, the date is usually within a year of its creation. But that does not mean Starbursts will absolutely go bad after a year.

As long as the temperature is relatively stable and doesn’t get too hot, you can eat a piece of Starburst that is three or four years old. The flavor will not be as intense as a freshly made packet of Starbursts.

Also, if you see white cracks in the Starburst, then the candy dried out. You should not eat any candy that is dried out or is changing colors.

opened starburst pack

What is a Starburst?

This question may be odd to read, but many people do not know that Starbursts are actually small pieces of cut up taffy. Taffy has been around since the 1850s, and it is still popular today.

The only difference between taffy and Starburst is that Starbursts are cut into small pieces and wrapped individually.

When you buy a piece of taffy, it is usually in one large piece as big as your hand. If you want to tear off a small piece, you have to pull it off with your hands.

Ripping pieces of taffy off is not an easy feat, so many people just chew on the piece of taffy until the piece that they want comes on.

But since Starbursts are cut individually, there’s no ripping or tearing involved. So the next time you feel like eating a starburst but you can’t find a candy vendor, see if there is a taffy vendor nearby.

You can also ask the taffy vendor to cut the sticky candy for you so you can just pop them in your mouth without struggling.

Ingredients of Starbursts

On the back of every Starburst wrapper, there’s a list of ingredients.

When you look at the back of the wrapper, you can see that Starbursts are made from 10 individual ingredients. Depending on the type of flavors available in the package, the ingredients can vary.

Here is the list of ingredients for original starbursts candy:

  • Corn syrup
  • Hydrogenated palm kernel oil
  • Apple juice from concentrate
  • Tapioca dextrin
  • Gelatin
  • Acerbic acid, also known as Vitamin C
  • Modified cornstarch
  • Citric acid
  • Sugar
  • And the colors Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6
scattered starburst

Signs Starbursts Have Gone Bad

When exposed to moisture, excessive heat, or bugs, Starburst can degrade and go bad. Here are a few signs to watch for to see if your starters have gone bad:

  • Changing colors: If you see the starburst is changing colors in some areas, then the candy is going bad. When a candy goes bad, the entire candy goes bad. Cutting off the pieces that don’t look right will not keep you safe from food poisoning.
  • White Cracks: If you see white veins and cracks spreading throughout the candy, then the candy is drying out. Dried candy is gross and could be a home to thousands of bacteria. It is not safe to eat.
  • Holes in the Wrapper: Before unwrapping the candy, inspect the wrapper and make sure there are no holes. Tiny holes in a candy wrapper usually means that roaches, ants, and other types of bugs have been chewing through the wrapper to get to the candy.

You definitely don’t want to eat a piece of candy that a roach has been dining on!

How to Prolong the Life of a Starburst

Let’s say you just came back from the grocery store and you just scored a massive 500 packet of Starbursts for only $20! You have loved this candy all your life, so there’s no way that you could pass up on this deal.

As long as you eat a Starburst every other day, you won’t have to purchase another packet of Starbursts for almost 3 years! But will Starburst last for 3 years?

Here’s what you need to do to prolong the life of a starburst:

  1. Store the Starbursts in an airtight container.
  2. Do not store the starbursts only in its plastic wrapper. A plastic bag is not good at protecting its contents from heat or bugs.
  3. Grab a large jar and place the entire package of Starburst in the jar. Seal the jar tightly with the lid.
  4. Place the starburst jar in a cool dark area. The jar must be in an area that doesn’t change temperature too often. The pantry or down in the basement are good places to store food, as the temperature doesn’t change much.

Conclusion to If Starbursts Expire

Finding a random Starburst somewhere in your house can be a treat. But you should not eat the Starburst if you unwrap the candy and find that it is changing colors, has white lines, or there are holes in the wrapper.

When storing starburst, store them in an airtight container and keep them in an area of the house that is relatively cool. You can store starbursts in the fridge, but they’ll be fine in the pantry or cupboard.

Starbursts are made with a lot of sugar and bugs love sugar, so do not eat any Starbursts that have holes in the wrapper.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.