Does Apple Cider Vinegar Go Bad? How Long Does Apple Cider Vinegar Last?

Apple cider vinegar can be a great ingredient in recipes and is always good to keep around the house.  If you’re a lover of apple cider vinegar, or if you simply like to buy in bulk, you may be wondering if it can go bad.

Quick Answer

Apple cider vinegar has a self-preserving quality, which means that it will almost never spoil.

  • If it is contaminated, there is a risk of spoilage, but most contaminants will not survive in apple cider vinegar.
  • Apple cider vinegar will change its taste over time, and this change may be undesirable, but it is still perfectly safe.
  • To check whether your apple cider vinegar is okay to use, simply taste a little bit.


While apple cider vinegar will, under most circumstances, be safe to use indefinitely, it will undergo some changes which you should be aware of.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Go Bad? How Long Does Apple Cider Vinegar Last?

Apple cider vinegar will usually preserve itself indefinitely, but its flavor may become undesirable after some time.  The way it is stored will have an effect on how long it stays fresh.

How Long Does Apple Cider Vinegar Last Outside

Since we know that apple cider vinegar will not spoil in proper storage, we’ll look instead at how long it will stay fresh and retain its fresh taste.

Apple cider vinegar can be kept at room temperature (for example, in the pantry) with no issues.  Typically, it will remain at its peak quality for two years, as long as it is kept in a tightly sealed bottle or container.

Don’t worry if your apple cider vinegar becomes cloudy or otherwise changes its appearance.  This is normal and safe.  If you see it separating into layers, give the bottle a good shake.

How Long Does Apple Cider Vinegar Last in the Fridge

It is not necessary to refrigerate apple cider vinegar.  Due to its self-preserving nature, refrigerating it will not affect its shelf life or its freshness;  it will last indefinitely regardless.  However, there are reasons you may or may not want to refrigerate it.

It is recommended to store apple cider vinegar in a cool place, away from direct sunlight.  Therefore, a refrigerator may be a good place to keep it in order to best keep these suggestions.

Some people do not believe that apple cider vinegar should be kept in the fridge.  For one thing, if your apple cider vinegar is raw or homemade, refrigeration could cause it to separate.  Another issue is that the strong odor could be absorbed by other foods.

How Long Does Apple Cider Vinegar Last in the Freezer

Generally, it is not recommended to freeze apple cider vinegar.  Although it will still last indefinitely, freezing  it will cause it to lose its flavor and degrade in quality quickly.

If you do choose to freeze apple cider vinegar, it should be thawed out within a year.  However, it is best to thaw it out sooner, as the longer it is frozen, the less potent it will become.

Because apple cider vinegar actually retains its quality better at room temperature or in the fridge, there is little point to freezing it.  While it can be frozen if you have a personal preference, frozen apple cider vinegar is considered to be undesirable.

No matter how you decide to store your apple cider vinegar, you can take comfort in the fact that as long as you keep the bottle sealed, it will remain safe to use indefinitely.

How To Tell If Apple Cider Vinegar Has Gone Bad / How To Know Apple Cider Vinegar is Fresh

Although contaminants will usually not survive in apple cider vinegar long enough to spoil it, there are rare circumstances where it may become spoiled.  Even without spoiling, it may become undesirable.  Here’s some things you may observe, and what they mean.

Test the flavor.  By far the best way to figure out if your apple cider vinegar is still good is to taste it.  It should pretty much always be safe to consume, so you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.  Checking the flavor will help you to determine whether you still want to use it.

Check the smell.  If you’re still a bit uncertain about consuming old apple cider vinegar, you can smell it instead.  If it develops an usual or undesirable odor, feel free to toss and replace it.

Make sure the bottle is sealed.  Your bottle should always be tightly sealed.  Although it almost no contaminants will survive in it, it is generally not a good idea to consume apple cider vinegar that has been stored open.

Mold is not a concern.  It is very uncommon for mold to survive in apple cider vinegar.  In fact, apple cider vinegar is often used to kill mold.  If you see mold growing on the surface, it can be skimmed off, and most likely still be safe for use (although no one will blame you if you’re not comfortable with that).

Don’t worry about sediment or separation.  It is normal for apple cider vinegar to separate over time, as well as for sediment to form at the bottom.  This is called the “mother”, and is what is used to make apple cider vinegar in the first place.  A good shake should sold the issue and mix it back up.

How to Store Apple Cider Vinegar?

Because it so rarely spoils, apple cider vinegar is very easy and straightforward to store.

Keep it in a cool, dark place.  Vinegar is sensitive to heat.  The heat can cause it to undergo chemical changes, causing it to become undesirable.

Keep it out of the sunlight.  Like heat, sunlight can cause apple cider vinegar to undergo damaging chemical changes.  Be sure to store it away from the window.

The fridge or the pantry is fine.  Apple cider vinegar has an indefinite shelf life, so either the fridge or the pantry will be suitable for storage.

Keep the bottle sealed.  The best way to ensure an indefinite shelf life is to keep your bottle tightly sealed.  It should always be kept in an airtight container.

Can You Freeze Apple Cider Vinegar? How?

While it is not recommended that you freeze apple cider vinegar, you can if you really want to.  If you decide you want to, here’s how you can do it.

Fill an ice cube tray.  The best way to freeze apple cider vinegar is to freeze it in an ice cube tray, where it will be pre-portioned.  Fill the tray with the vinegar, leaving a bit of space at the top.

Cover the tray.  Protect the freezing vinegar by covering the tray, preferably with plastic wrap.  Alternatively, you can place the tray in a freezer bag, but you may find this difficult.

Put it in the freezer.  Next up, just freeze the vinegar!  Put your full and covered ice cube tray in the freezer and allow your vinegar to freeze into cubes.

(Recommended) Relocate the vinegar cubes.  This step is optional but recommended.  Once your cubes are frozen, relocate them into another airtight container for long-term storage.

How to Thaw Apple Cider Vinegar?

If you make the decision to freeze your apple cider vinegar, you will have to thaw it at some point; sooner is better.

The best way to do this is to keep your frozen vinegar in the fridge overnight and let it melt slowly.  If you’re in a hurry, you can also place a container of frozen vinegar in warm water until it melts.

Frequently Asked Questions About Apple Cider Vinegar’s Shelf Life

Even though apple cider vinegar is easy to store, there are still a few things you may be wondering.

What if I leave my apple cider vinegar open?  Leaving your apple cider vinegar open is not recommended.  Although most contaminants will not survive in it, it is still a risk, and therefore a potential danger.  Aside from that, leaving the bottle open will cause your vinegar to lose its flavor.  Always keep your vinegar sealed.

Will freezing apple cider vinegar kill the “mother”?  If you have raw, fresh, or homemade apple cider vinegar, it is likely in your best interest to keep the “mother” alive.  The “mother” does best at a cool temperature but should be kept liquid.  While freezing will not definitely kill it, it is a possibility.  It may be possible to revive it, but there are no guarantees.

Wrap Up

It’s easy to keep your apple cider vinegar good indefinitely.  Keep the bottle shut tightly, store it in a cool, dark place, and avoid freezing it to preserve the quality.  Apple cider vinegar has self-preserving qualities, meaning that you don’t have to worry about it spoiling if you store it correctly.

Leave a Reply