Does cornmeal go bad?

In this article, we will answer the question “Does cornmeal go bad?”, and how to store cornmeal?

Does cornmeal go bad?

Yes, cornmeal can go bad, especially past the expiration date. Weird odor, clump formation, bitter taste, and rancidity all mean that the cornmeal has gone bad. Sometimes, it can also get infected by insects.

Cornmeal is ground from dried maize, therefore, has quite a long shelf-life if stored correctly. Read on If you want to know how to store cornmeal to prevent it from going bad.

What is cornmeal?

Cornmeal is simply dried and ground corn. The texture varies from coarse to fine and everything in between. It is used as the main ingredient in dishes like cornbread, polenta, hot cereal, cornmeal fritters, cornmeal pancakes, etc. In other dishes, it is used as a side or additional ingredient.

Cornmeal is naturally gluten-free and is frequently used in arepas, tamales, and tortillas. Regular or determined cornmeal is stripped off its germ during processing and is often enriched with Vitamin B (thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin) and iron.

Whole-grain cornmeal has all of its components intact and is therefore nutritionally superior to determined cornmeal. Blue cornmeal has a greyish color and is made from native blue corn.

How to store cornmeal?

Degerminated cornmeal should be stored just like flour. Therefore, an unopened cornmeal package needs to be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place like a pantry or a kitchen cabinet. Keep it away from direct sunlight or stovetop. If the cornmeal is to be kept for years, it should be freeze-stored.

Once the package is opened, transfer the cornmeal to an air-tight container or sealable glass jar if that original package is not resealable. The container should be tightly sealed to protect the cornmeal against bugs, insects, and moisture.

Whole-grain cornmeal is more susceptible to spoilage. After opening the package, whole-grain cornmeal needs to be stored in the fridge or freezer.

The shelf-life of cornmeal

The following table shows an estimated shelf-life of different types of cornmeal under different storage conditions.

In the pantryIn the fridge In the freezer 
Degerminated corn1 year past the Best-by date 5 years past the Best-by date 
Whole-grain cornmeal (unopened)3 months past the Best-by date 
Whole-grain cornmeal (opened)3-6 months 6-12 months 

How to tell If the cornmeal is bad?

  1. Degerminated cornmeal does not go rancid. It gradually loses its flavor and freshness instead. In case of the presence of bugs in your cornmeal, discard it immediately.
  2. If the determined cornmeal gives off any undesirable or strange smell, toss it in the bin.
  3. Whole-grain cornmeal has its germ intact which is rich in oils. Therefore, it can go rancid. Check for rancid odors and discard the cornmeal If you smell something off.
  4. Whole-grain cornmeal contains black or grey-colored spots because of the presence of germ. These are not to be confused with mold growth.

Recipes with cornmeal 

Cooked cornmeal mush


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups boiling water


Combine cornmeal with salt in cold water. In s saucepan, heat some water and pour the cornmeal mixture into it slowly. Cover the pan and let the cornmeal cook for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy.



  • 3 cups of fluid milk
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 3 eggs


In a saucepan, add cornmeal, milk, salt, and oil. Cook this mixture on low-medium heat until thickened. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs. Pour the cornmeal mixture into the eggs. Add this mixture to a 9-by-9 baking tray. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes in a preheated oven at 400℉. Serve warm and enjoy.


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 to 4 tbsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of fluid milk
  • ¼ cup oil


Mix all the dry ingredients including cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with milk and oil. Fold this whisked mixture into the dry mixture until just combined. Transfer this mixture to a 9-by-9 baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes in a preheated oven at 425℉. When the top is golden brown, remove it from the oven. Serve warm and enjoy.

Cornmeal muffins 

The recipe mentioned above for cornbread can be used to make cornmeal muffins as well. Just pour the mixture into a muffin tray instead and bake them in a preheated oven at 425℉.

Cheese cornbread

This is a variation of cornbread. To make cheese cornbread, add 2 eggs into the mixture instead of 1. Add1 ½ cup grated cheese before baking.


In this article, we answered the question “Does cornmeal go bad?”, and how to store cornmeal?