Dry pasta is a popular food choice because it’s easy to cook and retains a rich, delicious flavor over a long period of time. With every food item, though, it’s important to make sure it is being consumed only as long as it is still fresh and edible. On that note, how long does dry pasta stay fresh? Does it go bad?
Dry pasta has a long shelf life of about two years. After two years, it won’t become ‘bad’ to the extent that it becomes inedible, but will simply lose its richness in flavor, texture, and quality over time. It will not develop mold unlike other forms of fresh food and will typically not cause any form of bacterial infections if consumed after the expiration date.
Read below to know more about the proper storage of uncooked dry pasta, some general info on what makes pasta last so long, and expiration dates for other kinds of pasta.
Why does dry pasta last so long?
Dry pasta is not as perishable as other forms of food such as fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables which must be consumed quickly before they start rotting. Dry pasta lasts a very long time because it has zero moisture content, so it’s not prone to bacterial growth or mold as with other forms of fresh food.
Many dried pasta products in the market will have a kind of an ‘expiration’ or ‘best used if by’ date. Consuming dried pasta beyond these dates does not mean the pasta has become inedible, but that you will not be able to enjoy the same quality of texture, flavor, and smell anymore.
Because the shelf life of pasta is well over one year, it makes a great kitchen staple that can turn into a quick meal. Although there should not be mold growth given the dryness of the pasta, it’s a good idea to look that your pasta is still in good condition for eating.
Discerning whether the pasta is still edible or not is easy. Check for these signs of spoilage:
- Observe whether it has unpleasant odors
- Check if the texture has become overly cracked or too brittle.
- Look for pantry bugs such as pantry beetles.
- Look for signs of mold such as white spots.
How long does opened dry pasta last?
Dry pasta lasts long whether opened or unopened. Opened dry pasta can be expected to last around one year in the pantry, which is a long time, so you don’t need to toss your dry pasta out in fear of it going bad just because you accidentally opened up the pack.
How should you store dry pasta to extend its shelf life?
Dry pasta should be ideally stored in a cool, dark place with no exposure to sunlight or other heat elements.
A kitchen cabinet or a pantry is where most people like to store dry uncooked pasta. It’s enough to store dry pasta in its original packaging inside the pantry but if you want to go an extra step, you can store the dry pasta inside an airtight container or a Ziploc bag to make it last even longer.
An airtight Mason jar also serves as a good storage space for dry pasta as it not only preserves it well but allows you to see the different pasta shapes inside.
An airtight jar also helps if you have different opened dried pasta packages in the pantry and you want them to be stored in one place and have a longer shelf life – you can just add them all to one or a few jars.
Should you freeze dry pasta?
Storing dry pasta in the freezer or refrigerator doesn’t actually increase the shelf life of the dry pasta so it’s an unnecessary thing to do. In fact, some manufacturers advise against freezing dried pasta since it can negatively affect its quality and add excess moisture to it.
How do you know when your dry pasta has gone bad?
Though typically it’s very rare for dried pasta to become inedible too soon, but there are some things to look out for to determine if the pasta has gone bad.
First, if you notice any suspicious and unpleasant smells from the dried pasta, it’s probably a good idea to toss it out. Second, look out for the changes in texture and overall quality. When dried pasta has gone bad, you’ll notice a lot of cracks in it and an overall brittle structure.
Look out for changes in color too. If the dried pasta has become excessively discolored, it’s best to discard it.
All in all, there isn’t any fixed way to know if dry pasta has become inedible. Notice suspicious changes in texture, color, smell, flavor, and use your best judgment. When in doubt, throw it out.
Is it safe to eat expired dry pasta?
In most cases, it’s safe to eat dry pasta noodles past their expiry date. The chances of getting sick from consuming expired dry pasta are very slim since the lack of any moisture content means that there’s hardly any risk of bacterial infections.
Again, dry pasta doesn’t exactly ‘expire’ – it simply degrades over time and loses its quality. Whether you get sick or not depends on the degree of degradation that the dry pasta has gone though.
How long does fresh pasta last?
Unlike dry pasta, fresh pasta doesn’t last very long because it contains some level of moisture content. Fresh pasta is a popular choice for its texture, quality, and taste, but it has a shorter shelf life. It remains good in the refrigerator for about 2 days and up to two months in the freezer if stored properly.
A kitchen cabinet or pantry is not a good place for storing fresh pasta. Fresh pasta should be stored in an airtight container and placed in a refrigerator or freezer. Consuming fresh pasta after the expiration date can lead to a number of health issues such as food poisoning with cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.
When fresh pasta begins to go bad, you may notice mold growing on it surface. It will often develop a slimy texture. Bad pasta may also have an unpleasant or funny smell.
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to consume fresh pasta that’s been kept in the fridge within a couple of days of acquiring it. Anything longer than 2-3 days is questionable, and the pasta should be checked for spoilage.
How long does cooked pasta last?
Cooked pasta can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and in the freezer for about 2 months. Once the pasta is cooked, mix it with olive oil or the sauce of your choosing it keep the individual pieces from sticking to each other. Then store it in a sealed container in the fridge.
If you plan to store cooked pasta in the freezer, remember to use a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. This will reduce the extent of freezer burn.
Now you know that dry pasta has a long shelf life, and the shelf life of dry, cooked, and fresh pasta vary. While dry pasta may be good for several years in storage under the right storage conditions, your best bet for consuming old pasta is check for signs of spoilage before using or eating it.
With this information in mind, you can go to the grocery store, stock up on your favorite types of pasta when they’re on sale, and make your favorite pasta dishes at your leisure.