Does Cereal Go Bad?

Does cereal go bad or not? We all love some cereal in the morning but can it actually go bad and how can you tell? Here's a short guide for you.

Have you just found a box of cereal in your kitchen cupboard that you haven’t touched in months? You may be wondering:

Has my cereal gone bad? How long does it last?

Look no further for the answers to these questions. The storage time depends on the variety of the cereal. Plain cereals without extras added, generally, last 6-12 months past the best-by date. Cereals with fruits and other extras stay fresh for 3-6 months past the best-by date.

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How To Tell If Cereal Has Gone Bad

Look out for these signs to determine if your cereal has spoiled.

If you find insects in the package, be sure to get rid of the cereal. The flakes may become moldy if water gets to the cereal. If that’s the case, discard all of it. If there’s a change in smell or look of the cereal, it’s best to throw it out to be safe.

The quality of your cereal will deteriorate over time. If you like your cereal crunchy and it’s now turned limp and soft, you may want to toss it out for quality purposes.

If all else seems okay, give it a taste. If you’re satisfied with the flavor, enjoy your cereal without worry.

How To Store Cereal

Simply put, store your cereal in a dry and cool area like the pantry or the kitchen cupboard. They can be kept in their original packaging or placed in cereal containers.

If the cereal comes with dried fruit, it’s best to store it in an airtight container. That way the fruit will retain freshness for longer.

That’s because an airtight container acts as a seal against your cereal and the outside world, preventing bacteria from invading your delicious cereal! This should also help to maintain that crunch, as you’ll be preventing moisture from getting into your cereal.

If the cereal is already prepared or cooked, store them in the fridge in a closed container.   

How Long Does Cereal Last?

Cereals come with a best-by date on the label which indicates how long the product will stay at its best quality. However, cereals will last past their best-by date, depending on the cereal variety.

Plain cereals can last 6-12 months past their best-by date. Cereals with fruit and other extras can last 3-6 months past their best-by date.

Prepared, leftover cereals will last 3-4 days in the fridge.  

Extra Uses For Cereals

Cereals don’t just need milk or yogurt to be enjoyed. There are a variety of creative uses for cereals to add crunch and flavor to dishes.

Therefore, if your cereal is a bit stale and dry but still good to eat, try your cereal in a different recipe, and you won’t be able to tell the depreciation in quality!

You can use sugary cereals as a topping for pancakes. What about peanut butter and rice Krispies sandwich? You can make a berry pie using cereal to make a crunchy crust.

Combine and mix your favorite cereals to make a good snack mix. Finally, instead of breadcrumbs, use cereals to add a crunchy layer over some chicken.

In Summary: Cereal

When it comes to consuming cereal, Americans consume 160 bowls of cereal per person every year.

Fortunately, cereals will keep fresh for a long time if they are stored correctly. That means keeping them in a cool, dry area away from moisture and water.

If any water gets to your cereal, it can get moldy and you’ll have to throw it out. Therefore, stay on the safe side by keeping your cereal in an airtight container!

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Alisa Shimoyama

Alisa eats her way around the world on her travels and likes to have good food ready and waiting for her when she gets back.