Does Flour Go Bad? (Here Is How To Know)

Flour is the base of pretty much every baked good and is used in making bread to pasta around the world.  But how do you know that flour that has been in your cabinet or pantry for longer than you remember still be good?  Maybe, but it’s possible it’s bad.  How can you tell?  Let’s find out. 

If you’re looking to make a dish that requires flour and your flour is old you may be wondering how long your flour is safe to eat.

So, does flour go bad?  Flour can indeed go bad, but it has a much longer shelf life than other types of food products. Depending on the type of flour you have, it can last up to a few months and up to a year at room temperature and two years or longer in the fridge. Let’s take a look at some common questions regarding when flour goes bad if it’s safe to eat expired, and more. 

Table of Contents

How long does flour stay good for?

So when exactly does flour go bad, you ask? A general rule of thumb you can use to measure how long your flour is good for is one year at room temperature, and two years in the refrigerator or freezer. However, there’s more to the question. 

Whole-wheat flour contains more fat than white all-purpose flour, making it go bad a little earlier than all-purpose. Whole wheat flour can go bad anywhere from three to eight months at room temperature. 

Type of FlourPantryFridge Freezer
All Purpose1 yearMultiple years or longerMultiple years or longer
Whole Wheat Flour, Rice Flour1 to 3 monthsSix to eight monthsUp to one year in freezer
Self-Rising flour4 to 6 monthsUp to one yearUp to one year
Almond FlourUp to three monthsUp to 9 monthsUp to 9 months
Oat Flour, Coconut FlourUp to three months6 to 12 months6 to 12 months

How can I tell if my flour is bad?

Sometimes, we don’t know exactly how long that bag of flour has been sitting in the pantry. So how can you tell if the flour is bad without knowing how long you’ve had it for?

The most surefire method you can use to tell if your flour is rancid is by smelling it. Regular flour has somewhat of a neutral or flat odor, whereas rancid flour starts to smell musty, moldy, or sour over time. 

You can also check the color of the flour. Is it still all white, or has it turned yellowish or discolored? Consider both the smell and appearance of your flour when discerning if it’s rancid or not. 

Can eating expired flour make me sick?

The answer to this question is a little ambiguous. 

There haven’t been many scientific studies done on the short or long-term health effects of eating expired or rancid flour. Anecdotally, it’s believed that eating expired flour in small amounts won’t really have negative effects, it’s probably just going to taste bad

If your flour is clearly moldy, however, it may contain a compound called mycotoxins which can make you nauseous or sick if eaten in large amounts. Because there’s no science that determines whether or not it’s safe to eat in large quantities, however, it’s best to simply avoid it if you can. 

How to store flour so it will last longer

The best way to store flour so that it has the longest shelf life possible is by placing it in an airtight container (glass jar, Tupperware, etc.) and putting it in the refrigerator. Cold environments slow down the aging process of flour and reducing the amount of air it comes into contact with can reduce the aging process as well. 

our final thoughts

Now you know the answer to the question “does flour go bad?” Flour usually expires after about a year at room temperature and two years in the refrigerator depending on the type of flour you have. Eating expired flour probably won’t kill you, but you should avoid it if you can to reduce your exposure to mycotoxins.

Consider storing it in an airtight container in the fridge to slow down the aging process. Good luck!

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About ASmith

Adam loves cooking and cooking products like cookware, tools, gadgets, and more to help make cooking easier in the kitchen. When Adam is not trying out new kitchen tools in the kitchen you find him researching the next best kitchen gadgets.