You may be wondering whether or not a jar of pickles may be stored for more than a few days, weeks, or months. It might be difficult to predict when they’ll go bad. It’s essential to know how to store pickles correctly and whether they’re sealed or open, as it will determine their longevity. It’s also a must to know what to do if you leave open cucumbers overnight. This article will cover all of these.

How long do pickles last?

For both unopened and opened pickles, the truth is that no one can agree on a single time range. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. As a result, presume that the expiry date on the package is for the greatest quality and that the longer the pickles are stored, the sourer they will become.

Pickles roughly a year past their expiration date will taste fine, but pickles 4 or 5 years old will be far too sour for your taste buds. Open the jar and bite to see if the flavor is to your liking.

For unopened


These keep their quality for around two years after being picked or a year after the label. Moreover, unopened pasteurized pickles are best for around 3 months when stored in the pantry. Meanwhile, unpasteurized ones have the same lifespan, given that these are stored in the fridge.

For opened jar

Pickles keep for around 2 to 4 months after opening the jar, potentially longer if you like sour dill pickles. Pasteurized and unpasteurized pickles stored in the fridge can last more than 3 months. Pickles purchased in bulk from a barrel should be used within a week.

For refrigerated pickles

The optimal time for refrigerated open pickles is for the first one to two months. Some pickle makers recommend consuming their pickles in two months, while others say they’ll last “as long as it takes for you to eat them. Open pickles continue to sour. Therefore the harsher the taste, the longer they are kept in storage after opening. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference.

For pickles at room temperature

Keep pickles at room temperature for no more than two hours. Please don’t leave it out on the counter for too long. The “danger zone,” defined by the United States Department of Agriculture as a temperature range between 40°F and 140°F, is where bacteria proliferate. This holds for both commercially available and homemade pickles, pasteurized or not.

Indicators that a pickle has gone bad

 Here are some telltale signs that a pickle has gone bad.

Presence of molds

Mold can grow on pickled cucumbers that aren’t completely submerged in brine, but it can take up to a few months for this to occur. Therefore, there is a greater risk of mold if you buy pickles in bulk from the farmer’s market (without any brine).

Increased sourness

Overly sour pickles are frequently the result of lengthy storage. Therefore, it is best to store them at a temperature that is too warm or both. Those pickles aren’t rotten, but they don’t taste very nice.

A fizz occurs upon opening the jar.

After opening, the jar fizzes. However, fermentation may slow down, but it doesn’t stop completely.

Changes in the texture and the flavor


Pickles are living organisms; thus, the flavor, texture, and color will vary from batch to batch. The flavor and texture have changed from the last jar. You only have to open the jar and take a sip of the nectar. If you detect a different flavor, either insipid or bitter, or tastes different when it is fresh, do not eat them. You’ll need to check on any other jars you had in your storage area.

Awful smell

One way to know if your pickles have gone wrong is that it has a foul odor. Pickles can ferment, but the rotten smell from this process is a sure sign that hazardous germs are lurking inside. If the pickles jar is giving off a foul scent, don’t even consider eating them. It has the potential to do far more damage to your body. You’ll have to eliminate all the pickle jars that have a foul odor because they’re detrimental to your health.

Bubbles in the jar and bulging cover

If the canning jars have bubbles in them and no one has shaken them, this is a red flag that the pickles are bad. Likewise, if the seal on your storage jar is damaged, do not take the pickles within.

They can harm your health, so toss out any jars that aren’t in excellent condition. Expanding lids in the storage area denotes danger, as the pickles inside such a jar are already stale. Pickles with too much acid create pressure; if the pot can’t handle it, it might burst.

Color changes

The fungus has to be present for the color to change. Hence, this is a foolproof method for determining whether or not pickles are bad. If in doubt, make sure the pickles are brightly colored. Throw away all the jars with the same result if they are dull and soft.

Changes in Brine/vinegar texture

Identifying the difference between brine and vinegar texture can be challenging, but if you pay carefully, you will notice. The liquid within the jar is always thick when preserving these pickles. If the fluid becomes unexpectedly thin and watery, it’s a sign that there’s a problem. This is yet another excellent method for determining whether or not pickles are terrible.

It’s already past its expiration date

One of the ways to tell if pickles are bad is to look at the expiration date. Remember that it is unreasonable for a pickle jar not to have an expiration date. The manufacturer will always specify the exact date.

Before purchasing quick pickles, make sure to check the expiration date. Do not purchase if the expiration date is not original. This indicates that the pickles may have passed their sell-by date. Also, even if the pickles appear in wonderful shape, do not purchase.

Ways of properly storing pickles

clear glass bottle on black table

For an unopened jar

  • An unopened jar of pickles is shelf-stable
  • Eat at least two years once they’ve been sealed properly and there is no bulging.
  • Store in a cold and dry spot, such as your root cellar or pantry; it does not need to be refrigerated.
  • Keep canned pickles away from windowsills and other heat sources in your kitchen, such as the oven or back of the fridge.

For an opened jar

  • Transfer the dills and brine to an airtight jar or food storage container if the original package cannot be resealed.
  • Make sure to keep pickles in your fridge once you’ve opened and resealed their jar.
  • Eating pasteurized or unpasteurized pickles that have been opened is okay, as long as they are submerged in brine and the jar has been properly sealed.

For homemade pickles:

  • Almost the same storing methods with an opened jar are observed for homemade pickles.
  • Also, the brine should be at least one part vinegar to one part water.
  • Some advocate employing brine made of 2/3 vinegar and 1/3 water. It is recommended to use non-iodized salt, like pickling, kosher, or sea salt. Iodized salt can cloud your brine.
  • Use serving thongs or a fork instead of your hands to remove the pickles from the jar. Doing the former can contaminate your brine.

Safety precautions when storing and throwing pickles

  • Pickles should be labeled with the date they were created so that those past their expiration date may be easily identified.
  • Keep the jars out of the reach of children when you toss them away. You have a couple of options: dig a trench and hide them or get the rubbish picked up immediately. Those jars are popular with small children, but it’s harmful to them to ingest what they find inside of them. Make sure you’re not polluting the environment while taking care of your health.

Cucumbers as pickles

Pickles don’t need to be frozen because their shelf life is already increased, and thawing them results in rubbery, grisly pickles. Cucumbers, on the other hand, can be frozen and used as pickles.

Cucumbers are not cooked in this unconventional technique. This is a simple method that preserves pickles without the need for an airtight jar. A drawback of this method is that you must remove the pickles from the freezer 24 hours before eating them. You can eat them for the following two to three weeks after they’ve been thawed if you keep them in the fridge.

  • Boil water with a 1:1.5 water-vinegar ratio of salt, sugar, and vinegar.
  • Make sure to use only fresh and undamaged cucumbers.
  • Ensure the cucumbers are cool before putting them in a container with water.
  • After thoroughly rinsing them under a cold water stream, cut them into rolls or freeze them as whole vegetables.
  • Please keep track of when vegetables were frozen and eat them within two years.

Frequently asked questions

Is it necessary to keep open pickles refrigerated?

No, however, there’s a reason why keeping them in the fridge is recommended. The fermentation will speed up if you leave them out at room temperature after opening, and they will grow much sourer faster than if you keep them in the fridge.

Leaving an open jar of pickles out overnight isn’t a huge problem. All you have to do now is put them back in the fridge, and you’re set to go. But if it’s a matter of days, pickles that are not covered by the brine will mold. Then, they may turn too sour to eat within a week or two.

What should I do if I leave pickles at room temperature for hours and the jar is still carbonated?

Place the jar in the refrigerator for a few days with the top loosely on. Any carbon dioxide should be able to leave, and the fizz should be gone.

Will pickle juice go bad?

Pickle juice is an acidic solution with a low pH balance, so it usually will be pale yellow and fully clear. However, there may be a problem with the chemicals in your pickle juice if it becomes hazy or if you find mold or slime growing in it. Pickle juice, like the pickles themselves, can become unstable and moldy or slimy over time, more so if it is contaminated.

When it comes to pickles, can you get sick from eating them?

It’s unlikely that a jar of pasteurized pickles will get you ill at random. However, pickles contaminated with mold or harmful bacterial byproducts might cause food poisoning if you disregard the warning indications listed above. That is why pickles should always be purchased from a reputable supplier.

It is possible to get botulism from home canned or farmer’s market pickles that have not been pasteurized. Drooping eyelids and difficulty breathing are also possible signs. Moreover, some would suffer from fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and excruciating stomach discomfort.


Pickles don’t go bad or expire, but they get sourer as time passes. When bought in bulk, pickles without brine will keep for about a week. Afterward, it should be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or container. It is also best to store it in a dark, cool area. Keep the jar refrigerated and sealed once you’ve opened it.

When they get too acidic, they won’t be worth eating. If possible, consume dill pickles within a year of opening the jar or within three to four months of the expiration date. It’s possible to quadruple such estimations for people who prefer sour pickles.