Marshmallows are a sweet confection that many people enjoy eating on their own or using in desserts, hot chocolate, and more. A common question that comes up is whether you can store opened packages of marshmallows in the refrigerator or if they must be kept in the pantry.
Here are some quick answers to common questions about storing marshmallows in the fridge:
- Yes, you can keep opened marshmallows in the fridge to extend their shelf life.
- Storing unopened marshmallows in the fridge can cause them to dry out or get stale.
- Marshmallows can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two months.
- The cold temperature of the fridge helps prevent mold growth on marshmallows.
- Refrigerated marshmallows may become a bit harder in texture but will soften at room temperature.
Does Refrigeration Extend the Shelf Life of Marshmallows?
Refrigerating opened packages of marshmallows can extend their shelf life by keeping them fresh and preventing early spoilage. This is because the cool temperatures inside the refrigerator slow down chemical reactions and microbe growth that cause food spoilage.
At room temperature, opened marshmallows may start to get stale within a couple of weeks. However, by storing them in the fridge, they can stay fresh and enjoyable to eat for up to 2 months.
Some sources even state refrigerated marshmallows can last up to a year before going bad. However, for best quality, it’s still best to eat them within 2 months.
Should Unopened Packages Be Refrigerated?
While refrigerating opened marshmallow packages helps prolong freshness, putting unopened packages in the refrigerator can actually have the opposite effect.
Sealed, unopened packs of marshmallows have a shelf life of up to 8 months when properly stored in a cool, dry pantry. The packaging helps protect the marshmallows and keep moisture out.
When placed in the fridge, the cold, humid environment can cause excessive moisture buildup inside the packaging. This accelerates staling and may lead to mold growth.
So for maximum shelf life, unopened marshmallows are best left in the pantry until you’re ready to open and start enjoying them.
Does Refrigeration Prevent Mold Growth?
One of the main benefits of refrigerating opened marshmallows is it helps prevent mold growth.
Marshmallows have a high sugar content. This makes them prone to developing mold if left sitting out at room temperature for too long. Refrigeration helps deter mold growth by slowing the reproduction and spread of mold spores.
The chilly temperatures inside the fridge are unfavorable for mold. While not impossible, it’s much less likely mold colonies will populate and ruin refrigerated marshmallows compared to those left in the pantry.
How Should I Store Marshmallows in the Fridge?
To get the most out of refrigerated storage, it’s important to properly store marshmallows in the fridge:
- Place marshmallows in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag with as much air pressed out as possible.
- Make sure the container is clean and dry before adding marshmallows.
- Store marshmallows in a consistent refrigerator temperature between 34-40°F.
- Don’t overfill the storage container as this can damage marshmallow freshness.
- Keep refrigerated marshmallows separate from foods with strong odors.
- Consume refrigerated marshmallows within 2 months for best quality.
An airtight container is ideal as it protects the marshmallows from absorbing fridge odors and prevents moisture loss. If using a plastic bag, press out excess air before sealing to reduce chances of freezer burn.
Will Refrigeration Change Marshmallow Texture?
Marshmallows are largely composed of air, sugars, and gels that give them their soft, spongy, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
When placed in the cold fridge environment, refrigerated marshmallows will become a bit firmer and dense in texture. The chilly temperatures cause the air pockets to compress down slightly.
However, this change in texture is reversible. Allowing refrigerated marshmallows to come to room temperature will allow the air cells to expand again, returning to their normal texture.
Their sweet taste remains unchanged during refrigerated storage. The only difference is a temporary minor variation in softness while cold.
Tips for Softening Refrigerated Marshmallows
If your refrigerated marshmallows come out of the fridge a bit too firm for your liking, here are some tips to quickly restore their pillowy softness:
- Let them sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to warm up.
- Place a sealed bag of marshmallows in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for 1-2 minutes.
- Microwave marshmallows for 5-10 seconds to puff them up (watch closely to avoid melting).
- Use marshmallows in a baked good or hot chocolate to activate softness.
How Do You Know If Refrigerated Marshmallows Have Gone Bad?
Even when refrigerated, marshmallows won’t last forever. Here are some signs that refrigerated marshmallows have spoiled and should be discarded:
- Mold growth – Fuzzy spots or cloudiness indicates mold.
- Shriveling – Severe shriveling or hard, crunchy texture.
- Drying out – Marshmallows look deflated or dried into hard chunks.
- Off odors – Smells sour, rancid, or unpleasant.
- Discoloration – Unnatural colors like black, green, or blue.
As a rule of thumb, marshmallows stored in the fridge for more than 2 months should be inspected closely before eating. Always discard any marshmallows that look or smell off to you.
Can You Freeze Marshmallows?
For even longer storage, many people wonder if you can freeze marshmallows. The answer is yes!
While refrigerating gives marshmallows a shelf life of 2 months, proper freezing can extend the shelf life to 6 months or longer. The extremely cold temperatures of the freezer pause chemical reactions that lead to staling.
To freeze marshmallows:
- Place marshmallows into a freezer-safe airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag.
- Press out as much air as possible prior to sealing.
- Lay bag flat in freezer to prevent marshmallows from getting crushed.
- Store marshmallows at a constant 0°F or below.
- Use frozen marshmallows within 6 months for best quality.
Let frozen marshmallows thaw at room temperature for a couple hours before using. Be aware freezing can cause a slight change in marshmallow texture, making them more dense or dry after thawing.
Can You Toast Refrigerated Marshmallows?
Absolutely! Refrigerated marshmallows toast up just as nicely as non-refrigerated ones.
The chilly fridge temperatures temporarily make marshmallows a bit denser. However, once exposed to heat they will puff back up and become soft again.
Refrigerated marshmallows can be toasted over a campfire, blow torched, or browned under the broiler just like normal. They react wonderfully to heat and will turn into that perfect gooey, golden-brown exterior we all know and love.
So don’t let refrigeration stop you from enjoying toasted marshmallows! Simply spear them onto sticks and hold over flame as usual.
Tips for Toasting Refrigerated Marshmallows
Here are some tips for delicious toasted refrigerated marshmallows:
- Let refrigerated marshmallows sit out for 5-10 minutes to warm up before toasting.
- Use a lower heat setting to allow interior to soften before the outside browns.
- Turn marshmallows frequently for even toasting on all sides.
- Watch closely as refrigerated marshmallows may toast faster than room temp ones.
- Pair toasted refrigerated marshmallows with graham crackers and chocolate for s’mores!
Can You Use Refrigerated Marshmallows in Recipes?
Marshmallows stored in the refrigerator work great in dessert recipes and other dishes calling for marshmallows.
A key point is that refrigerated marshmallows should be allowed to come to room temperature before using in recipes. This allows the texture to revert back to soft and pillowy.
Once brought to room temp, refrigerated marshmallows can be used in:
- Rice Krispie treats
- Marshmallow cream
- Cakes and brownies
- Rocky road cookies
- Hot chocolate
- Sweet potato casserole
- And many more delicious treats!
Refrigerated marshmallows melt, blend, and baked up just as well as marshmallows stored at room temperature. So don’t hesitate to use them in all your favorite recipes.
Are There Any Risks of Eating Refrigerated Marshmallows?
There are no major health risks associated specifically with eating refrigerated marshmallows.
However, as with any food that is perishable and prone to mold, there are some general food safety precautions to keep in mind:
- Discard any marshmallows that are past their prime and show signs of spoilage like mold.
- Avoid letting condensation drip onto marshmallows in the fridge.
- Use clean utensils and containers to handle refrigerated marshmallows.
- Don’t eat refrigerated marshmallows if you have a compromised immune system.
- Stick to the recommended storage times – 2 months refrigerated or 6 months frozen.
Provided they are stored properly and consumed by the expiration date, refrigerated marshmallows pose no significant health risks and are perfectly safe for most people to enjoy.
Marshmallows are a beloved pantry staple for their sweet flavor and pillowy soft texture. While they’re certainly tasty at room temperature, storing opened packages in the refrigerator can prolong their shelf life by up to 2 months.
The chilly temperatures help inhibit mold growth and slow staling. Just be sure to let refrigerated marshmallows come to room temp before enjoying to restore their softness.
With proper storage in an airtight container, refrigerated marshmallows can be used in all your favorite recipes, toasted over a fire, or eaten straight from the bag. So go ahead and make room in your fridge to keep those leftover marshmallows fresh.