Can you eat bread after the expiration date?

In this short article we will answer the question, “Can you eat bread after the expiration date?”, with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of bread, components of bread, storage of bread, the risks associated with eating expired bread, and tips to prevent bread waste.

Can you eat bread after the expiration date?

Yes, we can eat bread after the expiration date. It depends on the condition of the bread. If mould is growing all around the bread then definitely it is expired and should not be eaten. But if the bread is refrigerated and even after its expiration date its surface is clear and has no growth of mould, it is edible.

Bread is considered one of the most popular foods in the world. The main ingredients of bread are wheat, yeast and different grains. For a short period, it stays safe until its taste tends to change

Shelf life of bread and preservatives

The shelf life of bread is considered as the time until its taste tends to change. Usually, the shelf life of bread is from 3 to 7 days but that can vary based upon certain factors including the method used to store bread, ingredients of bread and types of bread.

Different types of bread include loaf, sandwich bread and bakery bread. In these types of bread, preservatives are added to enhance their shelf life. Otherwise, the usual bread has a shelf life ranging from 3-4 days.

Some bread preservatives are sorbic acid, potassium sorbate, calcium propionate and sodium benzoate. Naturally, Lactic acid bacteria are used as an alternative preservative that produces anti-mould acids.

Gluten-free bread is considered as a bread that is more inclined towards mould growth, due to the limited use of preservatives. Due to this reason, it is preferred to sell gluten-free bread in frozen form, despite room temperature.

Dried bread products including crackers or bread crumbs remain preserved for a long time due to lack of moisture, as mould needs moisture to grow.

On the other hand, dough for biscuits and rolls can also be spoiled because it has oil inside that can go rancid.

Storage method

Storage method is also one of the major factors in increasing the shelf life of bread. If bread is stored in a moist or warm environment, it is more capable of capturing mould rather than the bread that is stored in a cold, dry environment or room temperature.

Homemade bread typically stays for 3-4 days while bakery bread can stay up to 7-8 days due to the presence of preservatives.

The preservation period of frozen bread can be up to 6 months, as the freezing temperature is not capable of killing the microorganisms but able to stop the growth of mould.

Symptoms of expired bread

Although expiry dates are mentioned on the bakery products, it is not always necessary that the product has turned bad if it has passed the expiry date. Sometimes the products are safe even after their expiration date due to better conditions like storage, temperature and environment.

Examining whether the bread has gone bad or if it is safe to eat is really easy. Some of the expired bread indications are:


Mould creates fuzzy spores on the bread by absorbing the nutrients from the bread. These spores are of green, black and white colour. It is recommended by the food authority to discard the whole bread if the mould grows.

Unpleasant odour

If mould is visible on the bread, do not inhale it because that can be dangerous to health especially for those people who are allergic. In other cases, if without mould you feel some unpleasant odour, do not use it.

Strange taste

Discard the bread if it is not good to taste.

Hard texture

If the bread is placed without sealing or uncovered it becomes dry or it can be termed as stale bread. It is safe to eat dry bread if there is not any spore of mould but it will not taste as good as fresh bread.

Risk of eating bread after the expiration date

Not all moulds are dangerous for health, but we can not diagnose the mould type. So, it is a better option not to eat that bread.

Aspergillus, Penicillium, Rhizopus and Mucor are considered the most common bread moulds.

Mycotoxins are also produced by bread moulds, that are too dangerous for health if inhaled. Mycotoxins can be spread through the whole loaf, so it is better to discard the whole loaf if you see any type of mould there.

Tips to prevent bread waste

To prevent the wastage of bread you can follow the following tips:

  • Make homemade bread crackers and bread crumbs.
  • Properly seal the bread after using it.
  • Freeze the bread to enhance its shelf life but if you do not want to freeze the bread then buy it as your requirement.

Other FAQs about Bread that you may be interested in.

Can you freeze bread with paper towels (+ 5 tips)

How to separate frozen bread slices?

How long can you freeze store-bought bread?


In this short article we have answered the question, “Can you eat bread after the expiration date?”, with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of bread, components of bread, storage of bread, the risks associated with eating expired bread, and tips to prevent bread waste.