flour go bad

Does Flour Go Bad and Expire?

Many of us buy larger quantities of flour at once, but not sure how long it can last? We bring you all about the durability and storage of this essential ingredient. 

There are few who buy only one kilogram of flour in a store. We usually buy at least a pack of six bags, sometimes a dozen. We are used to having flour at home at all times. Although we often use it, we can have a few bags left for a long time. 

Now follows the question of all questions – can flour spoil? The answer is yes, and quite sooner than you probably thought. Flour is actually a highly perishable good and requires careful storage. Find out in our article everything you need to know.  

How Long Does Flour Last?

Flour is a powder obtained by grinding mainly cereals. But today, we have types of flour from hundreds of different sources. The most famous and most widely used is white flour from wheat. But, in addition to the most common types of whole grains, you also have flour from coconut, almonds, hazelnuts, and many other plants. Although some common characteristics exist, the duration will depend on the type of flour.   

White all-purpose flour

White wheat flour will last the longest due to the method of production. It has the least fat present and will therefore be somewhat more durable. It is estimated that this type remains fresh for approximately one year at room temperature.     

Whole-grain flour and other

This type of flour is not as refined as is the case in regular white. Bran and germ are left here during processing, and therefore the fat content is higher. Therefore the shelf life may be somewhat shorter, so be sure to inspect the flour well before consumption. The same goes for other types of flour. They all have a shelf life of about three months to a maximum of six months. 

Can Flour Go Bad?

Although you may have been convinced that this ingredient cannot be spoiled, we assure you otherwise. Many changes to flour can occur over time, and yes, some of them will cause food poisoning. So carefully inspect the product you are using and if you notice any of the symptoms below, know that it is ready for the trash.  

Sign 1: It has strange smell

The flour has almost no odor. This is especially true of processed white wheat flour. If what you have in front of you shows any unusual odor, throw it in the trash. The product may be perishable and have harmful bacteria that will not be visible to the eye, but you can smell them.   

Sign 2: Mold appeared

Mold is more often possible in types of flour with more fat, almond, coconut, or whole grains. Mold can be vivid by changing color or the appearance of threads that will seem like a cobweb. Be sure to throw such a product in the trash because you can get food poisoning.  

Sign 3: It has rancid taste

Another good indication that the shelf life has expired is the taste. If a rancid flavor appears, it means it’s time to throw away the product. 

Sign 4: Moths appeared

Yes, flour is a desirable home to some insects. If you notice something squirming, it is a sure sign that some other creatures have taken over your food.   

Which is the Best Way to Store Flour? 

With your storage habits, you can greatly help food to prolong its shelf life. When we talk about flour, these are some of the safest storage tips.   

Tip 1: Put it in an airtight container  

Air circulation will lead to the potential development of bacteria. Therefore it is best to put the product in a well-sealed container. Don’t forget to write what the expiration date is before you throw away the original packaging.    

Tip 2: Put it in the fridge or freezer   

It would be a good idea to leave the quantities you do not intend to use any time soon in the fridge or even the freezer. This way, the cold will slow down the development of microbes.   

Tip 3: Avoid damp places 

Flour does not like moisture at all. In addition to spoiling its texture and probably badly affecting your culinary skills, it will further enhance spoilage. So avoid dump places at all costs and keep the product in a very dry place.   


What happens if you use expired flour?

The consequences mainly depend on the type of spoilage that occurred. Most often, you will go without any consequences other than a bad taste of the food. But if mold is present and you have not destroyed it well by baking, you can get food poisoning.     

How can you tell if the flour is rancid?

It will be best to rely on the sense of smell. The rancid product will have a more pungent odor, whether it seems stale, sour, or something else. These are all signs that the expiration date has expired.  

How do you store flour for years?

The only way is to freeze it. And it is undoubtedly advisable to transfer it to a container. Although it can remain in the original paper packaging, it is more susceptible to moisture from the freezer and the smell.   

What can I do with rancid flour?

In cooking, not much. Anything you try to prepare with rancid flour will taste awful in the end.


Flour is genuinely one of the essential foods we have. Although more and more recipes, especially for cakes, do not include this traditional wheat base, it is still very present in cooking. That is why we are very inclined to buy large quantities and keep them in the pantry. However, flour is prone to spoilage and cannot last for years, as many people mistakenly believe. 

The best thing you can do is buy smaller quantities and renew your stock more often. Also, keep the products in a dry and cool place. Do not allow moisture to damage the packaging and spoil the contents. And further, do a light inspection before you start cooking. Your flour can also hide small insects that you will not notice in speed.

Up next: Wheat flour alternatives

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