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Does dry pasta expire?
Does spaghetti go bad?
In this guide, we’re going to answer some important questions about the shelf life of dried pasta and whether you can eat uncooked pasta past its expiration date.
Pasta is a universal love for many people, but it’s also one of those things that’s easy to leave in the back of the pantry and forget about because you bought 8 boxes of rigatoni and didn’t need them all at once.
While nothing in life is forever (sadly), the question of, “does dry pasta go bad?” can be answered with some simple research and some wisdom passed down by grandmothers who have been feeding us pasta from 3 years ago since the dawn of time.
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Does Pasta Go Bad?
To be clear, in this article we’re talking about dry pasta, not fresh pasta or cooked pasta.
Can pasta go bad?
Because dry pasta has basically zero moisture content, you could say that dry pasta doesn’t go bad.
There’s currently an argument brewing on Reddit surrounding how long people had eaten the dried pasta after the “best by date,” and it was getting up in the 5 year range.
The chances of you eating dried pasta that is rancid is very, very, slim, though we haven’t actually tried leaving it for like, 50 years, so don’t go crazy with it.
What can go bad is the texture and/or taste of the pasta.
While it will take awhile, it’s possible to end up with dried pasta that is crumbly or has a taste that seems “off” after many, many years.
So, no, dried pasta doesn’t spoil in the traditional sense.
That’s why it’s so good as a pantry staple.
But don’t stock up now for an Italian style dinner in 10 years.
How Long Will Dry Pasta Last?
Dry pasta, or uncooked pasta, typically has a “best by” date of 1-2 years from the date of purchase.
However, this is not an expiration date, and if you’re wondering, “does pasta expire?” then the answer is not really.
Yes, there will be a “best by” date on the pasta box, but that is because food companies have to put one down and can’t just say “never.”
The most commonly accepted rule is that dried pasta will last with the same taste and texture up to 2 years after the “best by” date (which may be far in the future anyway).
While it may still be good past this (2-4 years on from purchase), it’s probably a better idea to throw it out unless you take a look at it and it looks and feels exactly like you would expect dried pasta to look and feel with no strange colors, odors, or textures.
Expired Pasta: Can I Eat It
Yes, you can eat expired dry pasta!
As mentioned above, if you get 2+ years after the best by date, then you should probably get rid of it for taste and texture purposes, but dried pasta doesn’t really “expire” in the same way that other foods with moisture content expire and the shelf life of dried pasta is extremely long.
Be aware of what you’re consuming, and don’t eat anything that smells funny or looks different to regular dried pasta, as over the years it may have absorbed moisture if you didn’t store it properly or the texture may have broken down.
But, for the most part, for those of us who just found a box of spaghetti that expired last year or a couple of months ago – bon apetit!
Long Term Pasta Storage
If you want to extend the already long shelf life of your dried pasta, you’ll want to know how to store uncooked pasta and how to store dry pasta long term to make sure nothing strange happens to it.
The best way to store uncooked pasta is going to be in a dry, cool, and dark place.
Many pantry items don’t appreciate humidity (especially not pasta), nor massive amounts of heat or sunlight. These can impact the quality of the item over time.
The back of your cupboard is pantry is usually the safest bet, and if you want to go one step further, you can take the pasta out of its box and put it in an airtight container like this one.
This will keep any little creatures out of it who may be interested in the flour content over the years.
You should not store uncooked pasta in the fridge or freezer.
It will do nothing for it or to it, and is just weird.
How to Tell if Uncooked Pasta Has Gone Bad
There are a couple of signs to look out for when determining if you should use the dried pasta you found from the last decade.
White Spots on Dry Pasta
White spots on your pasta are a sign of potential mold spores.
It may be that your storage area was not as moisture proof as you thought, and the pasta may have gotten damp and developed mold.
Do not eat dried pasta with unusual white spots on it, particularly if the box or surroundings feel damp at all.
Discolored Dried Pasta
If your dried pasta was exposed to light or if it’s going stale, the pasta may be discolored or a much lighter color than other, fresher, pasta.
It doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad if it’s a lighter color than normal, but be aware that the taste may not be as good and if the color is uneven or spotty, definitely chuck it.
Crumbly Dried Pasta
Uncooked pasta is very sturdy. It can snap in half easily with a satisfying sound.
If your uncooked pasta crumbles in your fingers or is super floppy or not able to snap, it may mean that it has gone so far past its best that it’s better to start over with a new box.