How to Store Baking Ingredients

How to Store Your Baking Ingredients

I’m loving this whole having-a-podcast thing.  In our second episode of Best Life Ever, Heather and I chatted about getting our baking ingredients organized.  Seriously, why do I have three containers of all-purpose flour? That’s just unnecessary.

So let’s talk about storing those baking ingredients once you’ve gotten them organized. As you’ll note from the round-up of storage tips below, the best place to keep your baking ingredients is in a dark, dry area.  Often, the space needs to be cool as well, to prolong the shelf life of your ingredients.  For this reason, try not to keep your baking ingredients directly above your stove, opting for a cooler part of the kitchen instead.

How to store your baking ingredients:

All-purpose flour. Once you open your flour bags, transfer the flour to a clean airtight container.  Store in a cool, dry space.

Brown sugar. Store it in an airtight container, or it will get hard and clumpy. But if that happens, here’s how to fix it!

Canola Oil. The fats in olive and canola oils are easily oxidized when exposed to heat, air and light, giving the oil off-flavors. Keep the oil at room temperature in a sealed bottle.  Ideally, the bottle will be made of tinted glass or stainless steel, to keep light out.  If it isn’t, keep the oil in a dark area of your pantry.

Chocolate. Keep it sealed in a dark, dry area.  Will be good for up to a year.

Cocoa Powder. Another one that needs to be kept in a cool, dark area.  In a tightly-sealed container, it will last 2-3 years.

Coconut Oil. Keep the lid screwed on tight.  Coconut oil can last up to 2 years in both solid and liquid form.

Dried Fruit. Many dried fruits will easily pick up moisture from the air, making them clump together (or in the case of crispier dried fruits, such as banana chips, make them limp and chewy), so be sure to keep them tightly sealed. Most containers should be fine, but if your fruit comes in a plastic bag (say, from the bulk section of your grocery store), transfer the dried fruit to an airtight container.  Most dried fruits will be good for 3-6 months.

Honey. Honey will crystallize very easily, so be sure to store it in a tightly-sealed container. If it does harden, you can submerge the container in warm water to make it liquid again.  Will keep indefinitely.

Nuts and seeds. Put them in airtight, non-permeable containers (glass jars are great!) in a cool, dark place. Most will last 2-4 months, but if you want them to keep longer, put them in the refrigerator. Note: Flax seeds should always be refrigerated, due to their high oil content.

Oats. A cool, dark environment will help your oats stay good for about a year.

Olive Oil.  See canola oil.

Whole wheat flour. See all-purpose flour.  Due to the bran and germ, whole wheat flour has a shorter shelf life than all-purpose, but it will still be good for 3-5 months.

Did I miss anything you want to know how to store?


  1. Kiersten says

    Thanks for the helpful post, Julie! Any tips on how to store vanilla beans so that they don’t dry out too fast or start to mold?

    • Julie says

      To avoid drying out: I’m pretty sure vanilla beans do best when they are stored in airtight, non-permeable containers. So glass instead of plastic containers might help.

      To avoid mold: Keep the vanilla beans at room temperature – the temperature + moisture of the refrigerator invites the mold.

      I was also just reading about vanillin crystallizing on the surface of vanilla beans, which looks like mold, but is perfectly safe:

      So maybe your’s aren’t molding, just crystallizing?

    • Julie says

      I recommend it! I’ve found them at Target and my grocery store, so they should be easy to get your hands on!

  2. says

    Thanks for a few great storage tips. We buy our food in bulk to save money and minimize trips to the grocery store. Proper storage is essential to avoid waste. Now that we have a pantry, it makes a big difference.