Does Flour Go Bad? Fresh Storage Guide

How Can I Keep it Fresh?

Written by Elisa Chan. Updated on Flour

Flour is an irreplaceable ingredient in many cuisines all over the world. We make bread out of it, we bake, add it to various sauces, and main courses (remember pasta!).

Of course, everyone would like to know whether such a useful product tends to spoil and how we can prevent it.

Well, let’s figure this out!

How To Store Flour. General Tips And Regulations

Flour may seem to be a very simple product to store. You buy a packet of it in the shop, bring it home, toss to the far shelf, and forget about it until the time you will need it.

But everything is not so simple!

Flour is quite a tricky stuff to keep, and knowing certain rules and tips is a must, otherwise, there is a huge risk or spoiling a foodstuff earlier than needed.

To begin with, it is important to note that the storage of refined flour (e.g. self-rising, all-purpose, pastry, and bread flours) and special flours (for instance, whole grain flour) is slightly different.

  • To store refined flour at home, transfer it to the re-sealable tank after you buy the product. 
  • Never leave it in the original paper packet.
  • Always keep refined flours protected from the moisture, bugs, and air (tanks with the firm lid will help!).
  • Find a dark and cool place to keep the product in. A kitchen cabinet or a pantry will be the best option.

What about the specialty flours? Do whole-grain, quinoa, barley, nut, and other flours need another storage conditions? In fact, they do.

  • For long-term storage, you’d better keep the flour refrigerated since these sorts of flour have a much shorter lifespan compared to their traditional counterparts.
  • For oily flours like nut flour, remove them to the freezing camera in a frost-resistant tank. It will prevent the oils they contain from oxidizing.
  • Always make sure that the storage container is dry!

And of course, check the flour for the signs of spoilage regularly in order not to miss the crucial moment when the product must be thrown away.

Even though this product is basically safe to consume and use even if it is slightly off, and old flour won’t make you badly sick, it is better to ensure that the one you are using is consumable.

How Long Does Flour Last. Flour Lifespan Depending On the Type Of Product

Respectively, the issue of the flour shelf life also matters.

Since today we have plenty of kinds of this product, it will be useful to know how long each of them can remain fresh.

Long Term Storage of FlourLong Term Storage of Flour

That is why, to make the task simpler to you, we have prepared a small and laconic chart where you can see the duration of each flour lifespan.

Pantry Fridge Freezer
White flour One year Two years Two years
Whole-grain flour Three months Six months One year
Nut flour Several months Half a year Twelve months

Use this chart every time you need to refresh the term of storage for the flour you are using right now!

How To Store Flour
Photo by Sonia Nadales on Unsplash

You can even print it out and hang it on your fridge! Like that, you will always know whether your product is still consumable or, maybe, it is time to replace it with the fresh one.

How Long Does Flour Last
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How To Tell If Flour Is Bad. Major Symptoms to Note

Naturally, a question occurs about how to define the moment when flour turns bad. Indeed, it has no smell so it will be pretty hard to sense something. Maybe, there is something about its color that can help?

Let’s take a closer look!

How To Make Your Own Flour At HomeHow To Make Your Own Flour At Home

The only thing that must be remembered about this issue is that flour can’t become seriously harmful to our health unless some insects or water got into its tank.

So how do we define the spoiled product?

  • If you see big clumps inside the tank, it means that water got inside it
  • Any sort of organic growth also means that the flour was exposed to water or excess humidity
  • Any bugs or insects found inside the product indicate that it is off
  • If the flour smells rancid, discard it without hesitation

In any of these cases, throw the flour instantly! If the bugs were spotted, clean and disinfect the cabinet and the flour tank.

Anyway, if you have any suspense regarding the flour quality, it is better to discard the product rather than taking a risk and consuming it.

And besides, bad flour will not be the same easy in cooking and baking as its fresh counterpart.

So if you notice your cake is not doing well, probably the flour is off.

How To Tell If Flour Is Bad
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

How Can I Keep It Fresh?

Of course, you may wonder how you can make flour last longer.

How To Store Flour Long Term - Best Method DIY - Storing FlourHow To Store Flour Long Term – Best Method DIY – Storing Flour

We can advise several handy tips indeed.

  • Try to use the product by its expiry date
  • Don’t buy too much. Excess flour tends to spoil, that the proved fact
  • Store the product in the airtight and firmly closed tank filling it to the top. The less air there is inside the better
  • Find a dry and cool enough place in your home to keep flour there
  • Check it for freshness regularly
  • Make sure all the storage conditions are provided
  • Refrigerate or freeze it if you plan to keep it longer

Such simple and obvious rules will really help you to extend the flour lifespan so that you could enjoy cookies and cakes longer!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Can you store flour in ziplock bags?

Yes, this is one of the best options for storing it since such packets don’t let air inside.

⭐ What happens if you use expired flour?

Well, it is hard to bake with the expired product since it loses its qualities. The dough will be far less sticky and so on. However, it won’t harm your health unless it’s molded.

⭐ Can you use flour 2 years out of date?

Since flour normally lasts maximum for one year past its expiry date, it is obvious that such an old one will be impossible to cook with.

⭐ How can you tell if the flour is bad?

If you find growths, mold, flour bugs, or sense the rancid odor, the product is spoiled.

⭐ What does rancid flour smell like?

Rancid flour smells sour, musty, and sometimes a bit like rubber.

⭐ CAN expired flour make you sick?

Unless it is moldy, expired flour won’t make people sick or seriously ill. It won’t even cause food poisoning.

Flour is one of the oldest products in the world we know. It has no taste and odor but we can make delicious things out of it. Sweets, desserts, dishes – this product is indeed universal.

That is why, in order to keep it durable and consumable longer, make sure that you store your flour correctly and provide it with all the necessary conditions.

Today we have plenty of this product’s kinds. Flour made of various nuts and grains can be used for many purposes adding the new taste to the traditional dishes.

Feel free to experiment with any of those since this foodstuff has a great variety of areas where we can use it.

Take care!

Written by
Elisa is a passionate cook who will advise you on healthy and delicious food topics! With her help, you will discover how to properly store and freeze food, as well as learn important nuances about preserving vitamins in your meals to make them stay nutritious.
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here.
Is Flour Still Good To Use - Does Flour ExpireIs Flour Still Good To Use - Does Flour Expire