Can Flour Go Bad? How to Tell if Your Flour is Expired

You want to bake something, but don’t bake very often.

Can flour go bad or does it last indefinitely?

Is it okay to use the flour you bought two years ago?

Baker holding flour

If you want to know how to tell if your flour has expired, you have come to the right place!

Keep reading to learn all about how to know when it’s time to ditch the flour.


With 9 guaranteed-delicious cookie recipes and plenty of secret baking hacks, this is your ad-free key to cookie success!

Leave this field blank

Can Flour Go Bad?

Flour can go bad.

Generally, flour can last for about three to eight months.

Different factors determine the shelf life of flour.

Let’s explore the topic of expired flour in the following post.

We will discuss ways to tell if the flour has gone bad.

Flour and rolling pin

We will also look at ways to extend the shelf life of flour.

We’ll even discuss the dangers of eating expired flour!

But first, let’s continue learning about how flour can go bad quickly.

Must-Have Baking Tools (seriously)

Type of Flour

Different types of flour have varying shelf lives.

White flour typically has the longest shelf life because it is the most processed type of flour.

It does not have much oil so it is less likely to spoil.

Whole wheat flour, as well as most gluten-free alternatives to flour, has more oil.

The oils are more likely to go rancid or spoil when exposed to high temperatures, moisture, or light.

Flour Storage Methods

Flour in airtight container

While flour can be stored at room temperature, there are a few ways to store flour.

Storing flour in an airtight container is one of the best tips for prolonging its shelf life.

It should also be kept in a cool dry place.

If your house has high humidity or gets hot in the summer, you can refrigerate it.

Flour lasts up to a year in the refrigerator.

Flour lasts up to two years in the freezer.

The important thing to remember if you store it in the fridge or freezer is to keep out moisture.

The easy solution is to keep it in an airtight container.

Let the flour reach room temperature before you use it.

How Long is Flour Good for?

Flour is good for 3-8 months.

All-purpose flour has a longer shelf life while other types of flour have shorter lifespans.

To increase the shelf life, store flour in an airtight container in a cool dry place.

Woman looking in the fridge

Store flour in the refrigerator or freezer for an even longer lifespan.

Does flour spoil after a long time?

Yes, flour does spoil.

If you want to know how to tell if it has spoiled, keep reading.

How Do You Know if Your Flour Has Gone Bad?

Flour with whisk and rolling pin

Smell your flour to know if it has gone bad.

You’ll know your flour expired if it smells rancid.

Flour that is safe to eat has a pretty neutral smell.

Flour that is not safe to eat will have an unpleasant odor.

You may even notice that the flour is slightly discolored.

This is another sign that you should toss it out. 

If moisture gets into the package of flour, you may see some mold.

Even if there is just a little bit of mold, discard the entire package of flour.

You will also notice that flour has a best-by date.

While this date may help you know when the flour has expired, it doesn’t really mean anything.

Flour that has passed the best-by date may not be as fresh, but it may still be good.

Can You Use Expired Flour?

Can I use flour that expired?

You should not use expired flour.

We do not have any definitive answer that expired flour is bad for you.

However, we have enough evidence that it might not be good.

While old flour is probably fine in small amounts, you don’t want to be a guinea pig in the expired flour experiment, especially if you are baking a cake, it could ruin the consistently and you could end up with a crumbly cake mess!

Hopefully, your experience doesn’t lead science to determine that expired flour is bad to eat.

Moldy flour is definitely bad to eat.

If you see any mold on the flour, throw the entire package away.

Using even a minuscule amount of moldy flour could result in food poisoning.

How Can You Extend the Shelf Life of Flour?

Flour coming out a bag

Can flour go bad?


Can you postpone the expiration of flour?


If you don’t go through flour quickly at all, you may want to consider using white all-purpose flour.

This type of flour naturally has the longest shelf life.

Be sure to store flour in an airtight container.

This keeps out moisture, air, and light.

All three of these can cause the flour to go bad sooner.

If you want a package of flour to last a year, store it in the refrigerator.

If it will likely take two years for you to use the entire package, store it in the freezer.

Make sure it is in an airtight container if you store it in either of those places.

Can You Buy Small Amounts of Flour?

You can buy 2-pound bags of flour at many stores.

You will usually find a 5-pound bag of flour at the store, but many big stores will have multiple sizes to choose from.

If you don’t bake a lot, you may want to consider stopping by a big supermarket to pick up a small bag of flour. 

You can even grind your own flour if you want to ensure that you have the right amount.

While many people think you need to use a special tool, you can grind most whole grains using a food processor or coffee grinder.

If you can buy whole grains at your local farmer’s market, you can use a food processor to grind it into flour at home.

Then you can save the whole grains for other purposes.

These options will help you to eliminate food waste in your home.

About The Author

Leave a Comment