Can you eat expired noodles?
This article will answer the question “Can you eat expired noodles?” and how to store homemade egg noodles?
Can you eat expired noodles?
Yes, you can eat expired noodles unless they are spoiled. Dry boxed pasta is safe to eat for about 1-2 years past its expiry. Fresh (uncooked) noodles that are, stored in the refrigeration, should be tossed 1-2 days past the expiry (2).
Spoilage of refrigerated fresh pasta products can occur because of the growth of several microbial types. The types and numbers of microorganisms present are dependent on the microbiological quality of raw materials used during production. Ingredients used to manufacture dough such as flour, spices, and eggs contain microorganisms and, since lethal heat steps are not used, microbial content of the finished products will reflect that of the ingredients. Hygienic conditions of manufacturing equipment can also impact the numbers and types of spoilage microorganisms present (5).
Pasta represents a strategic product in the Italian agri-food industry, giving Italy the peculiarity of being, at the same time, the main producer and consumer of pasta. The durum wheat production involves more than 250,000 farmers while the industrial sector, which is almost 6% of the total Italian agri-food industry turnover, is composed of semolina and pasta production (1).
How long do cooked noodles last in the fridge?
Cooked noodles stay fresh for 3-5 days in the fridge (2). Egg noodles that have been kept unrefrigerated at the danger zone for more than 2 hours should be thrown away. The danger zone is a range of temperature i.e 40℉-140℉, at which bacteria grow exponentially (3).
A sealed package of egg noodles will generally last 1-2 years if kept in a dry and cool place (2). Cooked leftovers of egg noodles should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking.
How to store homemade egg noodles?
In the refrigerator
Before refrigerating, dry the noodles thoroughly for at least 2 hours by spreading them on a wire cooling rack. Different types of pasta with different shoes, sizes, and thicknesses will take varied times for drying completely.
Drying the pasta is important or else the moisture on the surface and the already humid environment of the fridge will lead to bacterial and mold growth on your delicate egg noodles.
After the noodles have dried completely, place them in an air-tight container or a plastic bag. Keep it at a steady temperature of 4℉ or below. Store up to 3 days (4).
Fresh pasta should be packaged in an oxygen-free atmosphere to suppress growth and spoilage by aerobic microorganisms and to reduce oxidative changes to color and flavor (5).
In the freezer
Frozen homemade egg noodles will keep fresh for about 6 months. For safe storage, let the noodles dry thoroughly for at least 1-2 hours.
After they are completely dry, place them in a freezer bag. Label the bag and put it in the freezer.
Frozen pasta does not have to be defrosted. Just put it directly in the boiling water straight from the freezer.
For how long is pasta good in the fridge?
On average, cooked or leftover pasta will only be good in the fridge for less than a week. On the other hand, uncooked pasta lasts indefinitely in the pantry if stored correctly.
|Type of pasta||Shelf-life in the fridge|
|Fresh homemade wheat pasta||4-5 days|
|Fresh store-bought wheat pasta||1-3 days|
|Cooked wheat pasta||3-5 days|
|Lentil-, bean-, or pea-based pasta||3-5 days|
|Gluten-free pasta||3-5 days|
|Tortellini or other stuffed pasta||3-5 days|
|Lasagna or other cooked pasta with sauce||3-4 days|
Pasta will keep longer in the fridge if the sauce and the pasta are stored separately. The estimated shelf-life of different types of pasta sauces is given below (2).
|Type of sauce||Shelf-life in the fridge|
|Tomato red sauce||4-5 days|
|Alfredo white sauce||3-4 days|
|Vinegar and oil||3-4 days|
|Meat sauce||3-4 days|
|Fish sauce||3-4 days|
How to reheat leftover pasta?
Cooked pasta without sauce can be reheated by keeping it in the hot boiling water for about a minute. Drain the water and serve warm. Pasta with sauce can be reheated in 3 following ways:
- Grease a pan and put the refrigerated pasta in it. Cook the pasta on the stovetop on low-medium heat. Stir gently for even cooking.
This cooking step might reduce the liquid content of the pasta, add a bit more sauce, milk, or water to adjust the consistency and texture.
- Transfer the pasta to a casserole dish. Put the dish in a preheated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350°F or 176°C.
- Transfer the pasta to a microwave-friendly dish or plate. Cover the dish halfway through with a microwave-safe plastic wrap. Leave some space for steam to eject.
Toss the pasta occasionally to distribute heat evenly throughout the pasta. Remove when heated completely.
What happens if I eat spoiled pasta?
Eating spoiled pasta can lead to food poisoning. The most common bacteria that contaminates pasta and pasta products is B. cereus.
Signs of food poisoning caused by this bacteria are reflected in an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. If the poisoning is severe and is left untreated, it may even lead to death.
If the stored leftover pasta has poultry and meat products like fish, chicken, and eggs in it, it is highly susceptible to contamination by Salmonella, Listeria, Clostridium, and Campylobacter (5, 8).
How to tell if the pasta is bad?
A food unfit for consumption may not necessarily be spoiled and may contain a high number of food poisoning causing bacteria. Microbial deterioration of food is evidenced by alteration in the appearance (color changes, pockets of gas/ swelling), texture (soft & mushy), color, odor, and flavor or slime formation (7).
In fresh pasta, the main spoilage microbial groups are mesophilic and psychrotrophic bacteria, coliforms, Staphylococcus spp., lactic acid bacteria, yeasts and molds. In a fresh pasta shelf life evaluation study, the growth of visible molds occured after the loss of sensory acceptance due to the presence of off-odors. Results suggested that the sensorial quality, in particular the odor of the packaged product, played a significant role in determining the product acceptability (6).
Gray patches and slimy texture are obvious signs of spoiled pasta. If the pasta gives an off-odor, throw it away.
Discolored patches or gray/ white spots are an indication of mold growth and the pasta should be discarded.
Uncooked pasta stored in the pantry might develop bugs if stored for longer periods. It is recommended to check the pasta before boiling.
Other FAQs about noodles that you may be interested in.
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This article answered the question “Can you eat expired noodles?” and how to store homemade egg noodles?
- Cacchiarelli, Luca, and Alessandro Sorrentino. Market power in food supply chain: Evidence from Italian pasta chain. Brit Food J, 2018.
- Food Keeper. US Department of Agriculture.
- Leftovers safety. US Department of Agriculture. 2020.
- Geiger, M. Making Homemade Noodles safely. Iowa State University. 2018.
- Cook, Frederick K., and Billie L. Johnson. Microbiological spoilage of cereal products. Compendium of the microbiological spoilage of foods and beverages. Springer, New York, NY, 2009. 223-244.
- Costa, Cristina, et al. Shelf life extension of durum semolina‐based fresh pasta. Int j food sci technol, 2010, 45, 1545-1551.
- Dilbaghi, Neeraj, and S. Sharma. Food spoilage, food infections and intoxications caused by microorganisms and methods for their detection. 2007.
- Most Common Foodborne Illnesses. American Medical Association.