Does microwave popcorn go bad?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “does microwave popcorn go bad?”. We will also discuss in detail, the shelf life, and storage methods for microwave popcorn.

Does microwave popcorn go bad?

Yes, microwave popcorn does go bad. Popcorn that may be microwaved is designed to have fats, which will lose its taste over time. You should always use it before the date on the packaging.

How can you tell if your popcorn is bad?

When popcorn goes bad, the moisture trapped within the hull dries out, and the kernel stops popping.

You may find that after the popcorn is dried, it seems significantly darker. However, you cannot know unless you attempt to pop the kernels.

Opening the cellophane bag that comes wrapped around the microwave-safe bag exposes you to the scent that may have accumulated in the microwave-safe bag, and it is different than the fragrance you may encounter if you open the microwave-safe bag after microwaving popcorn. As a result, the bag’s oils are going rancid.  If the oil has gone bad, the taste will be wrong, and it is not suggested to pop these bags.

If you are going to be around food that has gone bad, there are going to be some health hazards, so always follow safety guidelines and make sure to taste your food before the expiration date.

What is the shelf life of popcorn?

Regardless of which box you choose, storage advice for popcorn is rather consistent. A good way to keep your popcorns so that they retain their flavors until they are used is to store them in a dry, cool, and dark environment. For this, your pantry or kitchen cabinet would be a fantastic choice.

The estimated shelf life chart is given below.

How Long Does Popcorn Last (Chart)
Popcorn typePantry
Dry kernels1 to 2 years
Microwave unopened2 to 3 months
Microwave popped1 to 2 weeks
Unopened popped1 to 2 months
Opened popped1 to 2 weeks
Homemade1 to 2 weeks

How to store popcorn?

Regardless of what variety of popcorn you have on hand, the storage instructions remain the same. It is best to keep the room temperature at or below 60 degrees. Popcorn and kernel popping does not need refrigeration or freezing. In contrast to non-microwaveable packets, microwavable packets are the lone exception. Following the instructions on the packaging, always refrigerate the item.

Unopened, commercially popped popcorn (or popcorn that has been opened but kept in an airtight container) has little tolerance for either moisture or oxygen, so store it away from heat and sunshine. For this, a pantry or kitchen cabinet will do just fine.


5 Ways To Tell If Your Popcorn Is Bad

There are some indicators that it is time to get rid of them:


To check the state of popcorn or kernels, take a whiff. You must first prepare popcorn if you use the microwave pack. No matter what, toss away if they smell like mold or have a rotten oil odor.


After popping the popcorn, rub a few between your fingers to get a feel for it. You should discard them if they feel different, firmer, or gristly, or if the oils and spices from the packaging are unevenly distributed. Those popcorns are most likely safe to eat, but they have no flavor.


The best way to tell if food has gone bad is to taste it. Try one or two after you have prepared them. They are edible if you like the buttery flavor. The change in saltiness and oiliness, on the other hand, indicates that you should not eat the rest of them.


 If you do not close the container properly, pantry bugs can be drawn from flour and other foods into a container with dry kernels. If you notice any signs of infestation, such as organic particles or bugs, throw them away.


Do not pop kernels that have been infected with black or white mold. It is pointless to separate the healthy ones because mold has grown throughout the container, even if you can not see it. As a result, instead of putting your health at risk, go out and buy some new popcorn.

The risks of eating expired popcorn

Improper storage of popcorn can lead to mold or pest infestation, which compromises the safety of the product. Food poisoning can arise because of this popcorn, which causes you to get feverish, sick to your stomach, and in pain in your abdominal area.

However, microwave popcorn might be hazardous. It is also possible for some packaging additives to induce allergic responses. Diacetyl provides popcorn a buttery flavor, but it is also related to cancer and popcorn lung, a condition that has afflicted some popcorn factory workers.

Some producers use PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) to cover their microwave popcorn. This substance is known as a “forever chemical,” meaning your body will not be able to eliminate it after you take it.


In this brief article, we answered the question, “does microwave popcorn go bad?”. We also discussed in detail, the shelf life and storage methods of microwave popcorns.


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.