Does Hershey syrup have to be refrigerated?

Hershey’s chocolate syrup is a popular ice cream topping and ingredient in desserts like milkshakes. A common question that comes up is whether it needs to be stored in the refrigerator or not. The short answer is no, Hershey’s chocolate syrup does not have to be refrigerated for safety or quality purposes. However, refrigeration can help extend its shelf life.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about proper storage, shelf life, and safety of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. We’ll also provide tips on how to tell if your syrup has gone bad and what to do if it needs to be tossed.

Does Unopened Hershey Syrup Need to Be Refrigerated?

An unopened bottle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup does not need to be stored in the fridge. The syrup contains preservatives that allow it to be safely stored at room temperature before opening. Here are some key points on storing unopened Hershey’s syrup:

  • Can be stored in the pantry or cupboard shelf
  • Does not require refrigeration for food safety
  • Room temperature storage preserves quality and flavor
  • Make sure bottle is capped tightly to prevent spills
  • Avoid heat, direct sunlight, and humidity for optimal shelf life

The back of the Hershey’s syrup label states that refrigeration is not required prior to opening. As long as the seal remains intact, the shelf-stable formula allows the syrup to be stored at normal room temperatures up to 77°F (25°C).

How Long Does Unopened Syrup Last on the Shelf?

An unopened bottle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup has an impressively long shelf life of 3 years from the production date. Within this time frame, the syrup retains its quality when properly stored.

Here are some tips for maximizing the shelf life of unopened Hershey’s syrup:

  • Check the ‘Best By’ date on the label
  • Store in a cool, dry place away from heat and sunlight
  • Keep the bottle cap sealed tightly
  • Store bottles upright to prevent leaking
  • Purchase syrup about 6 months prior to the ‘Best By’ date

With proper storage, the unopened syrup should retain optimal flavor, texture, and color for the entirety of the 3-year shelf life. The quality may start to slowly degrade after the ‘Best By’ date, but the syrup would still be safe to consume within the overall shelf life.

Does Opened Hershey Syrup Need Refrigeration?

Once opened, Hershey’s chocolate syrup has a shorter shelf life and refrigeration is recommended. However, refrigeration is not strictly required from a food safety standpoint. Here is an overview of proper storage of opened Hershey’s syrup:

  • Can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature
  • Refrigeration extends shelf life and quality
  • Keep tightly sealed when stored at room temperature
  • Use within 4-6 months for best quality
  • Discard if mold develops around bottle cap

The main reason to refrigerate opened Hershey’s syrup is to help it last longer before spoiling or losing flavor. The cool temperature better preserves the syrup and prevents fast deterioration.

How Long Does Opened Syrup Last?

Once opened, the shelf life of Hershey’s syrup is significantly reduced compared to unopened bottles. Here is how long the opened syrup will last in different storage conditions:

  • Refrigerator: 4-6 months past printed ‘Best By’ date
  • Pantry: 2-3 months past ‘Best By’ date

Properly sealed and stored in the refrigerator, opened Hershey’s syrup can retain good quality for up to 6 months past the ‘Best By’ date on the packaging. At room temperature, it’s best to use it within 2-3 months.

Keep in mind that dates are conservative estimates of peak quality. The syrup may still be safe to use in baking/cooking even if some flavor degradation has occurred after these time frames.

Is Refrigeration Required for Food Safety?

From a food safety perspective, refrigeration of Hershey’s chocolate syrup is not required either before or after opening the bottle. Here’s an overview of syrup safety with and without refrigeration:

  • Does not support microbial growth due to high sugar content
  • Preservatives inhibit mold/bacteria growth
  • Acidic pH level prevents pathogen growth
  • Bottle seal protects against contamination
  • Room temperature storage within shelf life is safe

Hershey’s syrup has an extremely low water content due to all the sugar. This creates an environment unsuitable for the growth of microbes. Pathogens like bacteria and mold cannot grow and thrive in the high-sugar, acidic syrup.

Additionally, Hershey’s chocolate syrup contains potassium sorbate, a mild preservative that helps prevent mold from developing. Finally, the tight bottle seal prevents contamination by foreign microbes while closed.

So even without refrigeration, Hershey’s syrup stored properly within the shelf life should be perfectly safe to consume.

Can Hershey’s Syrup Go Bad at Room Temperature?

Although refrigeration is not required for safety, Hershey’s chocolate syrup can eventually go bad if left at room temperature too long after opening. Here are some signs of syrup going bad when stored outside the refrigerator:

  • Change in color – becomes darker
  • Thick, sludgy texture
  • Mold growth around bottle opening
  • Off odors or sour smell
  • Unnatural separation of oil

While highly unlikely, it is possible for mold to grow in chocolate syrup stored at warm room temperatures. This is most likely to happen if the bottle is left open or not properly sealed.

Aside from mold, the most likely signs your syrup has spoiled are changes in appearance, texture, and smell. It may also lose its rich chocolate taste.

How to Store Hershey’s Syrup

To get the most out of your Hershey’s chocolate syrup, follow these storage recommendations:

Unopened Bottles

  • Store in a cool, dry pantry or cabinet
  • Avoid direct sunlight, heat sources, and high humidity
  • Keep bottle upright and tightly sealed
  • Wipe away any syrup around bottle opening
  • Use within 3 years for best quality

Opened Bottles

  • Refrigerate after opening for maximum shelf life
  • Store in door shelves, not in the coldest part
  • Seal the bottle tightly after each use
  • Wipe away syrup on rim to prevent sticky buildup
  • Use within 4-6 months for best quality

Be sure to inspect syrup bottles occasionally for any signs of spoilage like mold, even if refrigerated. Some separation of oils may also be visible in refrigerated syrup over time.

How to Tell If Hershey’s Syrup Has Gone Bad

It can be difficult to tell if your Hershey’s chocolate syrup has expired, especially if it has been refrigerated. Here are some tips for identifying bad syrup:

  • Check for mold around bottle rim or cap
  • Syrup is darker and more brown than dark brown
  • Noticeably thicker, gummier texture
  • Separation of unnatural oils
  • Strong sour or rancid smell
  • Off tastes that are sharp, bitter, or soapy

Separation of oils alone does not necessarily mean the syrup has spoiled, as some separation can occur with refrigeration. But if the oils look or smell rancid, the syrup should be discarded.

If mold develops around the bottle cap, you should toss the syrup. Any color changes, clumping, or foul odors are also signs to get rid of the syrup.

When in Doubt, Throw it Out

If your syrup displays and odd textures, colors, or smells, it is best to be safe and discard it. With an unopened shelf life of 3 years, trying to salvage a questionable bottle of Hershey’s syrup is not worth the risk.

For marginal cases, you can perform a small taste test of the syrup. But discard the entire bottle if any off flavors come through.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Hershey’s syrup be stored without refrigeration?

Yes, Hershey’s chocolate syrup can safely be stored without refrigeration. Unopened bottles have a shelf life of 3 years when stored properly at room temperature. Once opened, the syrup can be kept in the pantry for 2-3 months.

Why does Hershey’s syrup not require refrigeration?

Hershey’s syrup does not require refrigeration because its high sugar content prevents microbial growth. The thick, sugary formula is not hospitable to mold or bacteria. Preservatives in the syrup also help prevent spoilage at room temperature.

Does refrigeration extend the shelf life of opened Hershey’s syrup?

Yes, refrigerating opened Hershey’s syrup can extend its shelf life. Properly stored in the refrigerator, opened syrup will stay good for 4-6 months past the ‘Best By’ date. Without refrigeration, opened bottles only stay fresh for 2-3 months.

What happens if Hershey’s syrup is left unrefrigerated after opening?

An opened bottle of Hershey’s syrup left unrefrigerated will have a shorter shelf life of around 2-3 months. Without refrigeration, the quality and flavor will degrade more rapidly. The syrup also runs a very small risk of mold growth over time if left at warm room temperature.

Can Hershey’s syrup go bad if refrigerated?

Yes, even refrigerated Hershey’s syrup can eventually go bad. Refrigeration helps slow the rate of quality degradation. But after 6+ months, refrigerated syrup may start to show signs of spoilage like color changes, odor, and texture issues. Always inspect syrup before use.

What temperature should Hershey’s syrup be stored at?

Unopened Hershey’s syrup will last longest stored between 50-70°F, away from heat sources and sunlight. Once opened, refrigerate around 40°F for maximum shelf life. The refrigerator door is a good spot as syrup may harden if stored in coldest sections.


In summary, Hershey’s chocolate syrup is quite shelf-stable and does not require refrigeration for safety, though it can help extend shelf life. Unopened bottles can be stored for 3 years at room temperature. Once opened, refrigeration can prolong the shelf life up to 6 months.

There are some signs to look out for like mold, color changes, and textural issues that signal spoiled syrup. But overall, Hershey’s syrup holds up well when stored properly in or out of the fridge. Be sure to reseal bottles tightly and refrigerate opened bottles for the longest lasting syrup.

Storage Type Shelf Life
Unopened (room temp.) 3 years
Opened (refrigerated) 4-6 months
Opened (room temp.) 2-3 months

Leave a Comment