5 Typical Sweet Treats and Their Shelf Life

5 sweet treats and their shelf life

For any cold dessert enthusiast, here is a list of 5 typical sweet treats and their shelf life.


This term is used to refer to any culinary emulsification of egg yolks, milk/cream and sugar. Other variations include gelatin or cornstarch for thickening.

The star ingredients – eggs, are what gives the custard its signature thick consistency. This is achieved by continuously heating the mixture on low heat, while stirring to avoid curdling.

Simple recipes you can try with custard include: caramel custard, custard pie, trifles and custard cookie cups.

How Long Does Custard Last? (In the Fridge)

Well refrigerated custard keeps well for 1 week. Custard is highly perishable due to eggs and milk.

Refrigerate custard at 40° or below to prevent bacteria growth.

Shelf Life of Custard (At Room Temperature)

Never leave custard at room temperature. If you have a freshly homemade one, use on the same day.

How Long Does Frozen Custard Last?

Freezing is also not ideal as it can cause separation. If you have to freeze homemade custard, freeze as soon as it has cooled. Use airtight containers and pack to the brim. Use within 2 weeks.

Shelf Life of Custard Powder/Mix (Unopened)

It keeps well for 1 month. Custard powder has a fairly long shelf life. The lack of moisture preserves it.

Store unopened custard powder or mix in the pantry, away from direct heat and moisture.

How Long Does Opened Custard Powder/Mix Last?

For store-bought custard, use within 1 week. Once opened, always refrigerate and seal the lid tightly.

Ice Cream

This commonplace dessert is a staple in most, if not all households and dessert menus. Ice cream has been at the forefront in providing us with a cool relief.

A basic ice cream is a mixture of either milk or cream plus a sweetener.

Ice cream is pleasantly delicious on its own. You can also scoop it on cookies, pies or cakes.

How Long Does Ice Cream Last? (In the Fridge)

Ice cream melts considerably fast at high temperatures. However, you can leave it to thaw in the fridge. This is best done overnight, so that you consume it the next day. For long term storage, avoid refrigerating to maintain the hard consistency.

Shelf Life of Frozen Ice Cream (Homemade and Store-bought)

Unlike other foods, ice cream keeps well in below zero temperatures – even as low as -25°C.  For instance, ice cream stored in such a temperature keeps well for up to 9 months.

Freezing is the most ideal storage condition for ice cream. Moreover, the temperature level goes a long way.

Store-bought ice cream has added preservatives for a longer shelf life.

How Long Does Ice Cream Last? (At Room Temperature)

Leaving ice cream at room temperature means – you are planning to use it on the same day. Other than that, avoid it all costs.

Frozen Yogurt

As its name suggests, this is yogurt that is simply spread on a baking sheet and frozen. You can use any type of yogurt.

For extra oomph, you can sprinkle chopped fruits, nuts, seeds or colorful sprinkles. Apart from spreading it on a sheet, you can also put in popsicle molds.

This frozen delight became popularized in the late 1970s.

Shelf Life of Homemade and Commercially Frozen Yogurt (In the Freezer)

Like its name, frozen yogurt is ideal for freezing. Commercially frozen yogurt lasts up to 4 months, whereas homemade keeps well for 2-3 months. Unopened tins keep longer, up to 8 months.

Out of the 5 typical sweet treats and their shelf life, frozen yogurt is not ideal for other storage conditions.


These sweet treats conjure memories of childhood – toasting marshmallows on bonfires or campfires with friends or family.

Roasting marshmallows on fire transforms them into another popular treat, s’mores. The name ‘marshmallows’ can send your mind spinning.

What we consume nowadays is a far cry from the initial ones.

Ancient Egyptians are attributed to making marshmallows. They used extractions from the mallow plant, which wildly grew in marshes – hence the name marshmallows.

Later on, industrial manufacturing of marshmallows still used the mallow root sap, but mixed it with sugar and eggs.

Nowadays, you can make simple variations by mixing sugar, water and gelatin. Marshmallows are a wonderful treat when topped on hot beverages like hot chocolate.

Other creative ways you can use them include roasting them and sandwiching between cookies. You can also make puffs as well as fold them into baked products.

How Long Do Store-bought Marshmallows Last? (In the Pantry)

Unopened ones keep well for up to 8 months. This is possible if you store them away from direct heat, light, air and moisture. Air causes hardness.

You can also keep opened bags in the pantry for 4 months. However, always seal well after each use. This prevents exposure to contaminants. It also buffers the marshmallows against strong odors.

As for homemade marshmallows, store them in airtight containers. They have a shorter shelf life in the pantry – 3 weeks at best.

Shelf Life of Frozen Marshmallows

Freezing is ideal for marshmallows. Unopened bags keep well for 4 months. As for homemade, freeze in small batches and consume within 3 months.


This frozen treat boasts of being one of the oldest. It was a popular snack for ancients Asians, Persians and Romans.

Sorbet is a simple connotation of fruit and sweeteners. Other variations make use of flavorings. You can either make it using fruit puree or juice.

The mixture is frozen until it sets. Enjoy it as it is or incorporate in dessert sandwich bars or fillings.

In most eateries, sorbet is used as a palette cleanser – served in between meals.

How Long Does Homemade Sorbet Last? (In the Freezer)

Sorbet keeps well in a frozen state. When freezing homemade sorbet, use airtight, heavy duty storage. Freeze small batches and consume within 1 month.

Shelf Life of Store-bought Sorbet

Opened tins of commercial sorbet keep well for 4 months.

Unopened ones last longer, up to 8 months.

Spoilage Indicators

All the 5 sweet treats are perishable. How can you identify spoilage? Here are a few indicators:

  • Separation of contents is a sign of overstayed custard.
  • Mold growth screams spoilage – discard right away!
  • Discoloration also indicates spoilage.
  • Extremely runny consistency in frozen items.

The above 5 typical sweet treats and their shelf life is not an exhaustive list. What’s your favorite treat?

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