In this brief article, we will answer the question, “does muffin mix go bad?” We will also tell you some interesting facts about the shelf-life of muffin mix, how to store it correctly, and what you can do with a batch that is past its best-by date.
Does Muffin Mix Go Bad?
No, muffin mix does not necessarily go bad; however, its texture and taste might not stay the best. But the exact answer to this depends mainly on the storage conditions of the muffin mix. Unopened packages can be stored in the pantry till the “best before date”. Once opened, muffin mixes should be stored in their original packages or tightly closed airtight containers below 85°F (optimum 50°F to 70°F). Humidity levels greater than 60% may cause dry foods to draw moisture, resulting in clumped caked and staled products (1).
The best method to check whether muffin mix isn’t good to use anymore is to check for changes in smell and appearance; if it tastes off and looks moldy or odd, it should be discarded.
How Long Does Muffin Mix Last?
If stored under appropriate conditions, an opened package of muffin mix can generally last for 6 to 9 months (1).
After that, the texture, color, and flavor of the muffin mix might change, but it mostly is still safe to consume if the packaging is undamaged and there isn’t any spoilage.
Is Muffin Mix Safe To Use After The Best-By Date?
Muffin mix can be safely used well past its best-by date, although cake mixes have a shelf life of about six months to a year.
Commercial muffin mixes usually feature a ‘Best-By’, ‘Best Before’, or ‘Best if Used By’ date, but this date does not refer to the safety of using the product. It is just an estimate by the manufacturer as to how long the muffin mix will retain its peak quality. However, if the storage conditions are not appropriate, spoilage may occur, such as growth of molds and oxidation of lipids. Moisture is of great importance for the safe storage of cereals and their products regarding microorganisms, particularly certain species of fungi. Therefore, make sure it is kept in a dry cool place (2).
How To Tell If Muffin Mix Has Gone Bad?
Muffin mixes contain a great portion of wheat flour. The main constituents of wheat four is starch and lipids are present in a minor quantity. However, this minor component of wheat grains deteriorates during storage, causing rancidity. Changes in lipids due to oxidation or hydrolysis are minimal in intact grain but are quite pronounced in flour when the biological order is destroyed by milling, and lipids lose their protection against oxidation. Free fatty acids are released during storage and may also change the texture of muffin batter. Due to that, bakery mixes can also undergo oxidation during storage (2). Another type of spoilage that can occur is due to mold growth. Fusarium, Aspergillus, Penicillium and Alternaria are the most frequent genera found in infected wheat products. They can produce toxins and release enzymes, which cause degradation of lipids and oxidative rancidity (3).
As mentioned in the previous sections, these are the signs to watch out for to establish whether your muffin mix has gone bad and needs to be discarded.
- If there is mold growing in the mix, or there are any other changes in its color and overall appearance, it means that the mix has been in contact with moisture and should immediately be discarded.
- Pantry pests. If there are holes in the packaging or insects in the muffin mix, simply throw it away. This hints at a possible pest infestation.
- An odd or sour smell is also a good indicator that the muffin mix should be discarded.
- If you’ve used the muffin mix and your baked goods taste or smell off, throw it away.
- If your muffins don’t rise as high as they should, the mix has probably lost its effectiveness and should be discarded. Cake mixes contain a leavening agent which produces carbon dioxide that makes baked goods rise. If the leavening agent has lost its effectiveness, the muffin mix has probably gone past its time.
How Should You Store Muffin Mix To Increase Its Shelf Life?
The best way to store muffin mix to increase its shelf life is to:
- keep it in its original container
- store it in a cool, dry place such as a pantry
- keep it at a consistent temperature away from heat sources.
- protect it from direct sunlight and humidity, or high altitudes.
What Can You Do With Expired Muffin Mix?
Simply add a fresh leavening agent!
As we’ve explained, expired muffin mixes are generally safe to use unless there are indications of spoilage. It may be rancid and have changes in the texture, when prepared, but if it is not consumed frequently, there won’t cause great health problems. The only thing wrong with them is that the leavening agent has lost its effectiveness. So, adding more baking powder or baking soda might just bring the mix back to life.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Check what leavening agent the mix contains, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or baking powder. Mostly, it is the latter.
- Find a suitable recipe that fits the size and texture of what the mix is for, and uses the SAME leavening agent. Then, calculate the amount of leavening agent needed. Most recipes require about one tablespoon (three teaspoons) of baking powder for every four cups of the mix.
- Add the leavening agent to the dry mix. If the mix is more than six months past its best-by date, use one-fourth of the amount. If it’s over a year off, use half the amount. In short, the older the muffin mix, the more raising agent it will need.
But remember: DO NOT try this procedure for a major baking project that needs to be perfect, for instance, a birthday cake or a cake that you make occasionally for some other tradition. Try this formula with a small-scale recipe that you simply want to test out.
In this brief article, we answered the question, “does muffin mix go bad?” We also told you some interesting facts about the shelf-life of muffin mix, how to store it correctly, and what you can do with a batch that is past its best-by date.
If you have any questions or comments please let us know.
- Boyer, Renee R., and Julie Michelle McKinney. Food storage guidelines for consumers. 2018
- Salman, Hayfa, and Les Copeland. Effect of storage on fat acidity and pasting characteristics of wheat flour. Cereal chem, 2007, 84, 600-606.
- Alconada, Teresa M., and María Candela Moure. Deterioration of lipids in stored wheat grains by environmental conditions and fungal infection‒A review. J Stored Prod Res, 2022, 95, 101914.