Does Kahlua go bad? Yes, it has a high alcohol content, but it has other ingredients that make it spoil. Use or consume your Kahlua before it starts losing its flavor and potency.

kahlua drink - does kahlua go bad

Kahlua is the perfect drink for coffee and alcohol lovers. It’s a coffee-flavored liqueur from Mexico, a popular ingredient for making cocktails like the Espresso Martini, Baby Guinness, White Russian, and the favorite Black Russian. 

As an ingredient in tiramisu, cheesecake, ice cream, and other confections, Kahlua adds a unique twist to their flavors.  

This coffee liqueur is a blend of Arabica coffee beans, rum, vanilla beans, caramel, and corn syrup. It has an alcohol content of 20% to 24% and approximately 10 mg of caffeine per 100 ml. This is about 25% of the caffeine found in the same volume of coffee.

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With its wide range of uses, you definitely want Kahlua in your home bar or liquor cabinet. Here’s our guide to Kahlua’s shelf life, storage, and how to know if it’s gone bad. 

Can Kahlua go bad?

Yes. High alcohol content makes it hard for bacteria and mold to thrive, but Kahlua has other ingredients that make it easier to spoil. Consume your Kahlua within its shelf life to enjoy its full flavor. 

The Shelf life of Kahlua

Whether the bottle has been opened or not, this is the shelf life of the three types of Kahlua available in the market:

  • Original =  4 years 
  • Flavored variety = 2 years
  • Ready-to-drink mixes = 1 year
tiramisu - does kahlua go bad

Kahlua can still be consumed after these best-before dates, but it will start to degrade and won’t be as flavorful. Check the production date using the lot code at the bottom of the bottle to see how old the Kahlua is. 

Here’s how to read the code.

For example: L3045FJ 

  • The first number of the code represents the last digit of the production year (3 is 2013). 
  • The next numbers indicate the day of the year. Here, 045 is the forty-fifth-day of the year, which translates to February 14. 

How to store Kahlua properly

Keep your Kahlua longer by observing the following storage tips:

  • Keep Kahlua away from heat or direct sunlight. Store it in a cool, dark place, like the wine cellar, pantry, or kitchen cabinet. The fridge is also a great option, and it keeps your Kahlua chilled and ready to drink. 
  • Tightly seal the Kahlua when not in use to retain its flavor, prevent the alcohol from oxidizing, and reduce the evaporation. The flavor component of this liqueur is sensitive to air exposure.
  • You can chill the Kahlua in the freezer for a half an hour or so before drinking. Don’t forget it there! It’s not recommended to store the Kahlua in the freezer for longer. It will form an unpleasant texture.
Does Kahlua go bad? Yes. Kahlua has a high alcohol content, but it has other ingredients that make it spoil. Learn Kahlua's shelf life, storage and more.

How to tell if Kahlua has gone bad

Do you have a bottle of Kahlua that has been sitting in the pantry for a long time? Check the lot code, then look for these tell-tale signs to see if it is still safe to consume: 

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Odd smell

Weaker coffee aroma indicates that the liqueur won’t taste good. If you can smell a sour or foul odor from the bottle, throw it away. 

Change of color

Pour the Kahlua into a clear glass. Discard it if you see some discoloration, curdling, sugar crystals, or residue floating around. 


The alcohol content makes Kahlua a difficult environment for mold and bacteria. But if you see some mold on the Kahlua, discard it immediately. 

Bad taste

Get rid of the liqueur if it tastes stale or bland. 

Bottle left opened

If the bottle is already opened or the cap is loose, toss it. Kahlua cannot be left unsealed for an extended period.

Can old Kahlua make you sick? 

No, it won’t. If you have an old bottle of Kahlua that is tightly sealed in good storage, and without the signs of spoilage we mentioned above, you can still add it to your food or drinks. However, it may not taste as great as fresh Kahlua.

Looking for a way to use your Kahlua? Try this Classic Italian Tiramisu. Kahlua’s flavor is definitely a must-try for anyone looking for robust sweetness!

Does Kahlua go bad? Yes. Kahlua has a high alcohol content, but it has other ingredients that make it spoil. Learn Kahlua's shelf life, storage and more.

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About the Author

Sharon Chen is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, an author and a sous vide fanatic who believes food not only brings healing but also connection. As the creator of StreetSmart Kitchen, she's on a mission to help you find balance, ease, joy, and simplicity in the kitchen as you improve your well-being.