What happens if you eat expired instant noodles?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “what happens if you eat expired instant noodles?”. Moreover, we will discuss how to identify instant noodles that have gone bad, the health consequences of eating spoiled instant noodles and the proper way to handle your instant noodles to prevent its spoilage.

What happens if you eat expired instant noodles?

Eating expired instant noodles may not necessarily cause immediate harm, but it can lead to a loss of quality in terms of taste, texture, and nutritional value.

You should always check your instant noodles before consumption. Expired instant noodles may become stale, develop an off-putting odor, or have a change in appearance, indicating potential spoilage or the growth of harmful microorganisms.

Consuming spoiled or expired instant noodles could potentially lead to different foodborne illnesses, which may cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea (1-2). 

You have to be very careful! The risk of food poisoning increases if the expired instant noodles were improperly stored, exposed to moisture, or contaminated during preparation.

To ensure your own safety, we recommend you to adhere to expiration dates and store your instant noodles properly. Remember: Your safety comes first!

What are the health risks of eating expired instant noodles?

Eating expired instant noodles can increase the risk of foodborne illnesses due to the potential growth of harmful bacteria, such as Bacillus cereus or Salmonella, which can cause gastrointestinal issues (3-5).

Expired instant noodles may contain toxins produced by bacteria, such as Bacillus cereus, that can lead to food poisoning symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea (3)

The loss of nutritional value in expired instant noodles can contribute to a less balanced diet, potentially leading to deficiencies in essential nutrients over time.

Consuming expired instant noodles that have gone rancid or developed mold may also expose you to mycotoxins, which can have harmful effects on the liver and other organs (6).

Some individuals may be more susceptible to foodborne illnesses, such as pregnant women, young children, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems (1), so you should be especially careful if you belong to one of these groups.

What should you do if you accidentally eat expired instant noodles?

If you accidentally eat expired instant noodles, the first step is to assess the severity of your situation. Check the expiration date, evaluate the appearance, smell, and taste of the noodles to determine if they are significantly spoiled or contaminated.

If the noodles appear and smell fine, and you experience no immediate adverse effects, it is likely that the risk of serious harm is low. In such cases, monitor your health for any unusual symptoms or discomfort.

If you experience mild symptoms such as upset stomach, nausea, or mild diarrhea after eating expired instant noodles, it is recommended to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and resting until you feel better.

However, if you develop severe symptoms like persistent vomiting, high fever, abdominal pain, or signs of dehydration (2), it is crucial to seek medical attention promptly. 

Contact your healthcare provider or visit an emergency room to receive appropriate evaluation and treatment. They will find the best treatment for you!

To prevent such incidents in the future, make it a habit to regularly check the expiration dates on your instant noodles. It is also important that you always check for signs of spoilage before eating your instant noodles!

What are the signs of spoilage in expired instant noodles? 

The only way to tell whether your expired noodles are spoiled is to physically inspect them. You could check for the next signs of spoilage:

  1. Foul odor: One of the noticeable signs of spoilage in expired instant noodles is a strong, unpleasant smell. If the noodles emit a rancid, sour, or off-putting odor, it indicates potential spoilage and the presence of harmful bacteria or mold.

You should not eat spoiled noodles, especially if they are contaminated with these microorganisms as this can be harmful for your health (7).

  1. Mold growth: Another visible sign of spoilage is the growth of mold on your noodles. Mold can appear as fuzzy patches or discolored spots, typically green, black, or white. Consuming noodles with visible mold can lead to foodborne illnesses and should be avoided (8).
  1. Unusual color: If your instant noodles display an abnormal or unusual color, such as darkening or discoloration, it suggests potential spoilage and the presence of harmful microorganisms.
  1. Sliminess: Spoiled instant noodles may become slimy or excessively sticky in texture. This change in texture can indicate bacterial growth and should also be considered a sign of spoilage.
  1. Change in texture: Expired instant noodles might lose their firmness and become excessively soft or mushy. If the noodles have a significantly altered texture, it suggests a decline in quality and potential spoilage.
  1. Off taste: When instant noodles have expired, their taste may change noticeably. They may have a bitter, sour, or unpleasant taste, which indicates spoilage. 

If your instant noodles taste noticeably different from what they should, you should not eat them. It is best to throw them out!

Remember that it is always best to err on the side of caution and discard your expired instant noodles to avoid the risk of foodborne illnesses.

How long does instant noodles typically last before it expires?

The shelf life of your instant noodles can vary depending on the specific brand, ingredients, and packaging. In general, most instant noodles have a shelf life of about 1-2 years from the date of manufacture. 

However, you should know that this is an estimate, and you should always check the actual expiration date on the packaging. 

We recommend you to consume your instant noodles before the indicated expiration date to ensure their quality and your safety.

How to preserve the freshness of instant noodles?

If you want to preserve the freshness, taste, and texture of your instant noodles, you can follow the next recommendations for a more enjoyable and safe experience:

  1. Store your noodles in a cool, dry place: To preserve the freshness of instant  noodles, keep them in a cool and dry area, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. This helps maintain their texture and flavor.
  1. Use airtight containers: Transfer your noodles to airtight containers or resealable bags to protect them from moisture and air exposure, which can lead to staleness or spoilage.
  1. Keep away from strong odors: Instant  noodles can absorb strong odors from other foods. So, store them separately from items with strong smells to preserve their original flavor.
  1. Follow the expiration date: Pay attention to the expiration date on the packaging and aim to consume the noodles before that date for the best quality. Expired noodles may lose their taste and texture.
  1. Avoid crushing or breaking the noodles: Handle the noodles gently to prevent crushing or breaking, as this can affect their texture and make them less enjoyable to eat.
  1. Consider refrigeration: If the packaging recommends refrigeration, store the instant  noodles in the refrigerator to extend their freshness. Place them in a sealed container or resealable bag to prevent absorption of odors and moisture.
  1. Cook as per instructions: Follow the cooking instructions provided on the packaging to ensure that your noodles are cooked properly and maintain their desired texture.



In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “what happens if you eat expired instant noodles?”. Moreover, we discussed how to identify instant noodles that have gone bad, the health consequences of eating spoiled instant noodles and the proper way to handle your instant noodles to prevent its spoilage .


1. Lennard LB. Food microbiology and food poisoning. In: Food & Nutrition [Internet]. Taylor & francis Gr…. Routledge; 2020 [cited 2023 May 30]. p. 132–54. Available from: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781003115663-11/food-microbiology-food-poisoning-louise-lennard 

2. Milaciu M V, Ciumărnean L, Orășan OH, Para I, Alexescu T, Negrean V. Semiology of food poisoning. Int J Bioflux Soc [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2023 May 10];8(2):108–13. Available from: http://hvm.bioflux.com.ro/docs/2015.108-113.pdf 

3. Schoeni JL, Lee Wong AC. Bacillus cereus Food Poisoning and Its Toxins. J Food Prot [Internet]. 2005 Mar 1 [cited 2023 Jun 3];68(3):636–48. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0362028X22009760 

4. Ehuwa O, Jaiswal AK, Jaiswal S. Salmonella, Food Safety and Food Handling Practices. Foods 2021, Vol 10, Page 907 [Internet]. 2021 Apr 21 [cited 2023 Jun 19];10(5):907. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/10/5/907 

5. Rodrigo D, Rosell CM, Martinez A. Risk of Bacillus cereus in Relation to Rice and Derivatives. Foods 2021, Vol 10, Page 302 [Internet]. 2021 Feb 2 [cited 2023 May 27];10(2):302. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/10/2/302 

6. Pleadin J, Frece J, Markov K. Mycotoxins in food and feed. In: Advances in Food and Nutrition Research [Internet]. Academic Press Inc.; 2019 [cited 2020 Apr 27]. p. 297–345. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31351529/ 

7. Bintsis T. Foodborne pathogens. AIMS Microbiol [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2023 May 16];3(3):529. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6604998/ 

8. Dantigny P, Conika M, Fontana A, Schorr-Galindo S. Mycotoxins during Consumer Food Storage. Mycotoxins Food Beverages Innov Adv Part I [Internet]. 2021 Jun 10 [cited 2023 May 31];51–68. Available from: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.1201/9781003035817-3/mycotoxins-consumer-food-storage-philippe-dantigny-monika-conika-angélique-fontana-sabine-schorr-galindo 

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