Pastries are better when you top them with icing, especially cookies. Fortunately, cookie icing isn't hard to find; Betty Crocker makes cookie icing that many bakers and consumers love. Of course, we'd be naive to think it lasts forever. If you're wondering if it can expire, let's discuss the details!
Betty Crocker doesn't include an expiration date on their cookie icing, and that's because it doesn't need one. Flip the cookie icing pouch over, and you'll see the simple ingredients it uses; it uses sugar, corn syrup, water, and preservatives.
These ingredients don't spoil, but the quality becomes questionable over time.
At this point, you probably have more questions that need answers. For example, why don't the ingredients in the icing expire? In addition, how can you tell if it's going bad? These are fair concerns. If you'd like to learn more on this topic, keep reading.
Taking A Look At Betty Crocker Icing's Ingredient List
It's not often you find yourself looking at the ingredient list, but, in this case, it's the only thing we can do to find out why Betty Crocker's icing doesn't expire. Even then, it technically doesn't spoil.
There's still the texture and quality of the icing that you have to keep in mind. In any case, let's take a look at the ingredients.
Betty Crocker offers a wide variety of colored cookie icing. While their colors differ, the ingredient list is what remains consistent.
They all contain the following: sugar, water, corn syrup, propylene glycol alginate, xantham gum, potassium sorbate, natural and artificial flavoring, and citric acid.
Compared to other icing brands—like Wilton cookie icing—the ingredient list of Betty Crocker's cookie icing appears relatively small. Of course, there are a lot of ingredients here that might not be recognizable to you.
So, let's break each one down.
One of the more familiar ingredients in this list is sugar. It plays an essential role in this icing; it's the first ingredient listed on the pouch! Since it's first, we know sugar makes up a large part of the icing.
So, it raises the question—does it expire? It turns out that it technically doesn't. Sugar has an indefinite shelf life. However, most people will generally recommend throwing it out after two years.
Over time, the quality of the sugar can become questionable. It may start to harden and become lumpy. Regardless, that's one ingredient off our list. Let's move on to the next.
The second ingredient on the list is water. Water—like sugar—also has an indefinite shelf life. Unless the water has been contaminated, there should be no worry about the water spoiling.
Other types of water—bottled water in particular—do have an expiration date. However, that's due to leaching concerns. Over time, plastic can leach into the water, which results in contaminated water.
We can assume Betty Crocker uses water that follows government safety standards. Otherwise, they wouldn't be able to sell their products. For this reason, we don't have to worry about contaminated water in this case.
Corn syrup is another type of sugar; it's sugar that manufacturers extract from corn. So, what's it doing in cookie icing?
It acts as a smoothing agent. When you add it to sugar, it prevents the sugar from recrystallizing. Without it, you'd end up with grainy or gritty icing.
Yet again, corn syrup is another ingredient with an indefinite shelf life. The corn syrup you find in stores does have an expiration date. However, the words that precede the date are usually "Best if used by." If not, it usually uses similar food labeling.
Best-before/best-if-used-by dates are not safety dates. This labeling usually indicates when the product will be of the best flavor or quality. Over time, it can develop a yellowish hue.
In this case, it's still edible. The only way it can spoil is if it has been contaminated.
Propylene Glycol Alginate And Xanthan Gum
These two ingredients are relatively unknown to your average consumer. One sounds really technical, and the other is an ingredient bakers should know.
Both propylene glycol alginate and xanthan gum are food additives. Manufacturers use these additives to lock in moisture. This way, the product won't dry out as quickly.
They also serve as stabilizers and thickeners. So, you don't have to worry too much about consuming these two. These food additives have a shelf life of 2-3 years.
That's if you practice proper storage techniques. Products with these additives should be in a cool, dry place at room temperature. After 2-3 years, these ingredients won't be able to perform the same.
Again, it focuses more on quality rather than safety.
When Does Betty Crocker Cookie Icing Expire?
The last few ingredients in the icing are preservatives and flavoring. They're there to help the product last longer. In any case, you should be able to see something that remains consistent between all the ingredients.
More specifically, they don't expire. If they do have an expiration date, it usually addresses the quality of the ingredient. So, the sooner you use the product, the better the experience.
If you can't use it all within weeks of opening it, the clock starts ticking. It won't necessarily harm you if you eat it, but it probably won't perform the same as it did. Of course, that's assuming you store it in a good area without contaminating the icing.
It might become too dry or hard as time goes on. At this point, it's up to you to determine if it's still usable.
Is Betty Crocker Icing Good After the Expiration Date?
One of the common complaints about Betty Crocker's cookie icing is the lack of an expiration date. How else would you know when to throw it out? With the information above, we now know why that's the case.
If your Betty Crocker icing has an expiration date, it will help to know what label they use; Betty Crocker has a food labeling guide. The two we will be focusing on are the use-by and best-by dating.
If your icing has a use-by date, you shouldn't use it after the indicated date. Otherwise, you risk consuming icing that may contain bacterial growth. Use-by dates are a safety indicator. In other words, you should avoid using it past what the label recommends.
Icing that has a best-by date is relatively safer. Best-by dates refer to the quality of the product. While the icing will be safe to eat, the taste or texture might prevent you from doing so.
In this situation, Betty Crocker leaves it up to the consumer to determine if the icing is still worth using.
How Long Can Betty Crocker Frosting Last?
If Betty Crocker's cookie icing lasts as long as the consumer finds it consumable, does the same idea apply to their frosting? We could break down the ingredient list again, but that's not necessary.
This time, Betty Crocker provides clear instructions for their frosting. Turn the can over until you see the nutritional facts. However, we're not focusing on the ingredient list this time.
Focus your attention on the instructions. Betty Crocker states: "Cover and refrigerate leftover frosting for up to 30 days." After 30 days, you should probably throw it out and replace it with a fresh can of frosting.
Is Betty Crocker Frosting Good After Expiration Date?
Some people want to limit the amount of food they waste. So, they'd use the frosting regardless of the expiration date. Is this a safe practice?
We can take a look at the ingredient list to find our answer. Unfortunately, the ingredient list does not remain consistent across all Betty Crocker frosting. Some will contain perishable ingredients.
For example, the coconut pecan frosting above contains pecan pieces.
This cream cheese frosting contains sour cream. It may be less than 2% as the label indicates, but that doesn't mean you should risk eating it past the date on the can.
So, Betty Crocker's frostings generally won't be good after the expiration date. For this reason, it's best to follow the best-if-used-by date on the bottom of the can.
Does Betty Crocker Frosting And Cookie Icing Need To Be Refrigerated?
The refrigerator is an area people rely on to make food last longer. Does it make sense to put your frosting in there? Yes, it does.
Betty Crocker recommends refrigerating their frosting products for up to 30 days. However, they don't recommend the same with their cookie icing. They only advise securing the cap on the pouch before storing it at room temperature.
If you'd like, you can put it in a sealable bag to limit exposure. You may also label it with the date you opened it. This way, you can keep track of how old it is.
As it turns out, Betty Crocker's cookie icing doesn't expire. Though, that doesn't mean it will always be usable. How's your Betty Crocker cookie icing holding up? Hopefully, it's still good for a few more uses! We hope you found this informative.
Before you go, are you wondering if other items in your kitchen expire? We have more topics that might interest you: