Do dried beans expire

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “do dried beans expire?” We will also discuss what is the shelf life of this ingredient and how you should store it.

Do dried beans expire?

Yes, dried beans expire. Even when stored properly, dried beans will spoil eventually, they have a minimum shelf life of a whole year, according to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Before this statement, it was believed that dried beans last indefinitely because they do not exhibit the common types of spoilage, but their quality does decay. Keep reading to find out about some tips to store this ingredient properly, and some other interesting FAQs.

How are dried beans made?

Dried beans do not grow in trees, literally, to produce them it is necessary to submit fresh beans to several drying processes. Let’s take a look at the process needed to make dried beans.

  • Once beans are harvested, they need to be left to dry out.
  • Once dried, a device will collect and shake loose the beans.
  • Now the beans need to be washed thoroughly and they are ready to be packed and delivered.

On some occasions, a longer drying process is needed.

How long do dried beans last?

Dried beans will not exhibit the typical signs of spoilage but the quality will be severely affected as time passes. Fortunately, for this to happen, you need to wait for several years. Although they do not look bad, the nutritional content will also suffer the consequences.

Dried beans’ nutritional value exhibits a typical shelf life of 2 or 3 years, past this time, the nutritional profile of your beans might be messed up.  

Although they can last longer than a couple of years when stored properly, you need to consume them within 5 years, at this point, the quality will be severely compromised, and you might not like the taste and flavor.

How to store dried beans?

Although we have already discussed that dried beans can last about 5 years, the USDA does not think the same and declares that they have a minimum shelf life of 1 to 2 years. 

The truth is that if you do not store your dried beans properly, they can spoil sooner. Certain suggestions might help you to do so

  • Store dried beans in a cool, dark, and dry place. Humidity and heat can severely mess up the properties of your beans and can also accelerate the spoilage process.
  • Use an airtight container to store them. This will be helpful to prevent them from being exposed to agents responsible for spoilage.
  • Remove all bad beans. This might take you some minutes, but it will help to keep beans for longer. You only need to check carefully for any pieces that exhibit odd features. 
  • If you cook the beans, they need to be refrigerated ALWAYS. Cooked beans have a short shelf life, and if left unrefrigerated, they will spoil in a few hours. 

Can you freeze dried beans?

Yes, you can freeze dried beans, but you first need to cook them. This will save you time in the future, and also will enlarge the shelf life of your beans. Let’s check how you should freeze your cooked dried beans.

  • First of all, they need to be rinsed under running water. If you notice any bad beans or other objects, like rocks, it is time to remove it from the rest.
  • Let your dried beans soak overnight. This will reduce the time needed for beans to be cooked.
  • Once cooked and cool down, place them inside a freezer bag, squeeze out all excess air, and freeze it!

I recommend you label the date you have cooked the beans, this will help you to keep track of time.

How to tell when dried beans have gone bad?

Even with perfect storage, it is only a matter of time before dried beans spoil. Several signs will let you know when dried beans are no longer suitable for human consumption, throw them immediately if you notice any of these signs.

  • Pantry insects. These little insects are a nightmare as they can penetrate bags and cardboard. If you notice some weevils in your beans, discard them immediately.
  • Off smell. Take a quick sniff at your dried beans, if you detect any rancid or sour odor, it means they have gone bad.
  • Mold growth. Although this rarely happens, if this is your case, do not use the dried beans. Discard them immediately. 

As you can tell, it will only take you a couple of minutes to examine if your dried beans are still edible. Consuming expired beans might not be harmful, but in rare cases, it can lead to some health effects. You can read more about this subject here.

Other FAQs about Beans that you may be interested in.

Why are beans bad for you?

How to store dried beans

Can you eat lupini bean skin?

Do beans go bad


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “do dried beans expire?” We have also discussed other queries related to the subject at hand. 

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, 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.