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Does Flour Go Bad? [Infographic + Storage Tips]

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Flour on a bench with eggs

Flour is one of the most common ingredients found in the kitchen and is used in virtually every corner of the globe. It’s a white powder that is made from grinding grains, rice, nuts, legumes and more.

Flour is the main ingredient for a huge number of recipes including cakes, biscuits, bread and these legendary homemade tortillas that will impress. But how long does flour last before it goes bad? Let’s dive in and take a look.

How long does flour last?

Flour will eventually go off; however, it is a relatively hardy ingredient that will last many months if stored correctly.

An infographic about how long flour lasts.The packaging will display a best before date to give you an indication of how long the product will retain its quality. It’s important to understand that best before dates don’t mean you need to toss the flour out if it has expired. It is just a suggested date. If you see use by date then this food should be disposed of as it may be unsafe to eat.

Flour on bench with butter
Quality flour is virtually odorless.

Common signs that your flour is spoiled

In many cases, weevils are the main reason for needing to toss out flour. Rest assured, they’re easy to identify. Once you see them, dispose of the flour immediately and check the rest of the pantry for signs of further infestations.

Whole wheat flour retails some of its oils and this can cause the flour to go off faster than other flours. You can only expect it to last 2-3 months. You’ll know it’s off by smelling it – the flour will have a rancid smell.

For all flours, the symptoms of flour that’s gone off are the same. Instead of that fresh, almost odorless smell, you’ll find that the flour gives off a slightly unpleasant smell. The best way to describe the smell is a mild to intense sour smell.

How to extend the life of your flour

Flour’s biggest enemy is moisture so you need to always store your flour in a dry location.

You can get more life out of your flour by following a few simple tips:

  • store in a cool dry location.
  • once opened, store in an airtight container.
  • if you live in a very hot climate and your house is like an oven, store in the fridge.
  • avoid storing odorous ingredients like onions near your flour.
  • flour packed in airtight containers and stored in the freezer will last for many years.
  • add a bay leaf to your flour to ward off pesky insects like weevils.