What happens If you eat expired pasta? (+3 Tips)

In this article, we will answer the question “What happens If you eat expired pasta?”. Moreover, we will tell you how to identify if your pasta has gone bad, the health consequences of eating spoiled pasta and how to store your pasta to prevent its spoilage.

What happens If you eat expired pasta?

The primary concern with consuming expired pasta is the potential growth of harmful bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, or Escherichia coli (E. coli) (1-3). 

If your pasta has been improperly stored or handled, it may become contaminated with these microorganisms and lead to foodborne poisoning if consumed (4).

Signs of food poisoning are reflected in an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. If the poisoning is severe and is left untreated, it may even lead to death (5).

If the stored leftover pasta has poultry and meat products like fish, chicken, and eggs in it, it is also highly susceptible to contamination by Salmonella, Listeria, Clostridium, and Campylobacter (4,6).

As pasta ages, it can also undergo changes in texture, flavor, and color. Expired pasta may become stale, lose its desirable texture, or develop an off-putting taste.

Over time, the nutritional value of pasta can degrade. The vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients naturally present in the pasta may diminish, reducing its nutritional benefits.

We recommend you to always check the expiration dates, store food properly in appropriate conditions (cool, dry place), and follow the recommended storage guidelines to prevent the risk of food poisoning. 

If you are unsure about the safety of consuming expired pasta, you should err on the side of caution and discard it.

How to tell if the pasta is bad?

To determine if your pasta has gone bad or spoiled, you can look for the following signs of spoilage:

  • Visual changes: Examine the pasta for any visible signs of mold growth, discoloration, or unusual spots. If you notice green, black, or any other abnormal colors on the pasta, it is likely spoiled.
  • Texture alteration: Expired pasta may become excessively dry, brittle, or sticky. If the texture has significantly changed and it feels slimy or clumped together, it is best to discard it.
  • Foul odor: Take a sniff of the pasta. If you detect a rancid, sour, or off-putting smell, it is a strong indication that the pasta has spoiled.

If you observe any of these signs, it is important to be wise and discard your pasta. Consuming spoiled pasta can potentially lead to foodborne illnesses or unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms (7-8)!

Remember that it is always better to prioritize food safety and choose fresh, properly stored pasta for consumption.

What should you do if you accidentally eat expired pasta?

If you accidentally eat expired pasta and experience no immediate adverse reactions, it is generally not a cause for immediate concern. You should monitor your symptoms and stay hydrated. 

However, if you start to feel unwell or develop symptoms such as stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, it is advisable to seek medical attention (9). 

While most cases of consuming expired pasta may not lead to serious health issues, it is always wise to consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or experience persistent symptoms.

How long does pasta typically last before it expires? 

The shelf life of pasta can vary depending on various factors such as the type of pasta, packaging, and storage conditions. 

Generally, dry pasta, which is the most common type, has a relatively long shelf life. It can typically last anywhere from 1 to 3 years past its printed expiration date when stored in a cool, dry place. While cooked or leftover pasta will only be good in the fridge for less than a week. 

The estimated shelf-life of different types of pasta is given in the next table:

Type of pastaShelf-life in the fridge
Fresh homemade wheat pasta4-5 days
Fresh store-bought wheat pasta1-3 days
Cooked wheat pasta3-5 days
Lentil-, bean-, or pea-based pasta3-5 days
Gluten-free pasta3-5 days
Tortellini or other stuffed pasta3-5 days
Lasagna or other cooked pasta with sauce5 days

Remember that pasta will keep longer in the fridge if the sauce and the pasta are stored separately. We recommend you to do that and always check the expiration date and assess the pasta’s appearance, smell, and texture before consuming it, especially if it has been stored for an extended period.

What is the best way to store pasta to avoid its spoilage?

To store your pasta correctly and prevent its spoilage, you can follow the next three tips and guidelines:

  1. Keep it dry: Moisture is the enemy of dry pasta. Store it in a cool, dry place away from humidity and moisture sources like the stove, sink, or dishwasher. Airtight containers or resealable bags can help maintain pasta’s quality by preventing moisture absorption.
  1. Seal properly: Ensure that the pasta packaging is tightly sealed after each use. If the original packaging is damaged or opened, transfer the pasta to an airtight container or a resealable bag.
  1. Avoid heat and light: Excessive heat and exposure to direct sunlight can accelerate the deterioration of pasta. Choose a storage location that is away from heat sources like the oven or direct sunlight.

By storing your pasta properly, you can help prolong its shelf life and maintain its quality. Nonetheless, we recommend you to regularly check your pasta for any signs of spoilage, such as mold growth, discoloration, or off-putting odors, before consuming.


In this article, we answered the question “What happens If you eat expired pasta?”. Moreover, we discussed how to identify if your pasta has gone bad, the health consequences of eating spoiled pasta and how to store your pasta to prevent its spoilage.


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2. Colombari V, Mayer MDB, Laicini ZM, Mamizuka E, Franco BDGM, Destro MT, et al. Foodborne outbreak caused by Staphylococcus aureus: phenotypic and genotypic characterization of strains of food and human sources. J Food Prot [Internet]. 2007 [cited 2023 May 22];70(2):489–93. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17340888/ 

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6. 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 

7. Dierick K, Van Coillie E, Swiecicka I, Meyfroidt G, Devlieger H, Meulemans A, et al. Fatal family outbreak of Bacillus cereus-associated food poisoning. J Clin Microbiol [Internet]. 2005 Aug [cited 2023 Jul 3];43(8):4277–9. Available from: https://journals.asm.org/doi/full/10.1128/jcm.43.8.4277-4279.2005 

8. Woolaway MC, Bartlett CLR, Wieneke AA, Gilbert RJ, Murrell HC, Aureli P. International outbreak of staphylococcal food poisoning caused by contaminated lasagne. Epidemiol Infect [Internet]. 1986 [cited 2023 Jul 3];96(1):67–73. Available from: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection/article/international-outbreak-of-staphylococcal-food-poisoning-caused-by-contaminated-lasagne/44A193D31B5C741EE9B6E954FE4C77E3 

9. McRobert GR. THE TREATMENT OF BACTERIAL FOOD POISONING. Br Med J [Internet]. 1934 Aug 8 [cited 2023 May 10];2(3841):304. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2445530/ 

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