Can you use expired flour?

In this article, we answer the following question: Can you use expired flour? We discuss whether the flour expires and how to store it correctly. 

Can you use expired flour?

You can use expired flour. In baking mixes and flours, they can be safely consumed up to 30 days after the expiration date on the packaging. However, all-purpose flour (wheat) can last six to eight months after the date printed on the package; Whereas whole wheat flour is best consumed for four to six months afterward.

Corn flour lasts from nine to 12 months, rice flour lasts from six to eight months, potato flour lasts the same.

But how is it possible to recognize that flour is not safe to use? You just have to sniff it, meaning if it smells musty, then it’s not helpful. Too long after its expiration date, the flour will begin to give off this aroma.

Some insects will invade the flour in the worst case because moisture can attract them, but it is very rare.

So can expired flour be used or not? It may have passed the expiration date on its packaging, and if it smells good, you can still use it. If the color has changed, it means that the product has been affected. The FDA suggests that flours be stored in cool, dry cabinets.

Does the flour expire?

The answer is yes. But it will always depend on the type of flour we are talking about since there are foods that last longer than others. The case of legume flours, for example, these never expire.

But in this case, we will talk about the most common flour that exists worldwide, wheat flour. As with cereal, or bread itself, flour, which is a product of this, also has its lifetime.

The estimated time that our ordinary wheat flour can last is about six months to a year, or until the manufacturer says its expiration date. After that, the flour will gradually lose its essential oils.

By losing these fatty acids completely, our flour will start to smell like burnt oil—an elementary to identify smells that will warn us that our flour must be finally discarded.

Therefore, when you have a flour that has passed through this period, regardless of whether it has its expiration date or not, you should then check if it has this peculiar smell, and it will be time to say goodbye to it.

If you have used flour in this condition, your health is not really at stake, so you should not worry.

If you use it, you run the risk that your recipes such as bread, biscuits, cookies, muffins and other recipes, will not have the results that we always expect and give off a smell of rancid flour.

Flour that expires in one month

Cooks most knowledgeable in this matter comment that wheat flour generally has a shelf life of one month after it has expired according to its manufacturer.

Thus, there is no problem using it during this period in your recipes without running the risk that they will not be as we would like. But we recommend that you also inspect your flour before consuming it and avoid setbacks.

It is also important to differentiate its expiration from the arrival of the typical pests such as flour bugs, weevils, and moths, just to name a few.

Remember that your flour can be affected by these pests long before they win as it does not depend on this to make them suffer from this attack. The important thing, in this case, is to know how to keep it.

Flour that expires in 2 years

Very well, it is time then to talk to you about the way to be able to keep your flour for longer and make it last twice as long, as usual, being able to use it up to two years later.

The main factors of flour degradation are several, and once we keep in mind what they are, we will then be able to extend our flour’s lifetime so present in many recipes.

These factors are the temperature in which our flour is located, the light of the room where it is located, and of course, the humidity of that place.

How to store flour for a more extended period?

For practical and healthy conservation of our flour, the manufacturers suggest that we keep it in a dry place, without direct sunlight, away from the ground, and at a cool temperature.

When it comes to domestic care, the ideal is to keep our flour in a humid place, which would significantly affect the oxidation of fats. For this reason, it is good to keep them in tightly closed containers.

This is also to prevent the absorption of odors that flour has very effectively. Remember that the fats that it has are very absorbent of any odor in its environment.

The experts then assure that the best way to prevent our flour from expiring suddenly is by freezing it as method number one. In this way, we will prevent it from going rancid and being attacked by insects.

For this, what we must do is simply empty our flour into an airtight bag and try to remove as much air as it has inside. Once we achieve this, we can close it.

In this way, we freeze our flour, and, in case we need it, we simply have to remove it from the freezer and wait for it to reach room temperature.

Our flour will be healthy for much longer, away from bugs that can affect you, from stinky odors, and the oxidation of fats. This will make it last for a period of up to two years without problems and even much longer.


In this article, we answered the following question: Can you use expired flour? We discussed whether the flour expires and how to store it correctly. 

Expired flour does not represent a health risk for us, but to tell the truth, its smell can vary and determine the result of a creamy recipe by making it smell like burnt oil; therefore, it is convenient to keep it as we have explained.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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