How Long Does Flour Last? – 2 Important Types of Flour You Should Know

Flour is a kitchen necessity, but we frequently find ourselves with a half-opened box that has been sitting in the cabinet for months.

How longer can flour last? Is flour perishable? Is it possible to use “expired” flour? When you come across a sack of flour like this, these are the questions that spring to mind.

Flour, fortunately for you and me, lasts considerably longer than the expiration date on the box, especially if properly stored. Continue reading if you’d want to learn more about flour storage, shelf life, and when it goes bad.

Does Flour Have An Expiration Date?

Does Flour Have An Expiration Date?

Flour is the basis for all delicacies and the solution to our queries for most bakers. 

Whether you’re using all-purpose, spelt, whole grain or coconut flour, it’s essential to know what you’re dealing with.

“Does flour expire?” is a crucial question to ask since there’s nothing worse than having wonderfully softened butter only to discover you need to go to the shop for additional flour. 

Here’s the skinny on flour and when you should throw it:

Is it going to expire?

Yes, it’s a short narrative. The first thing to remember is that it will keep for a long time after the “best by” or “better if used by” date on the original container has passed.

Regular flour has a shelf life of six to eight months after it is printed, whereas whole wheat flour has a shelf life of only four to six months.

Types Of Flour

Types Of Flour

Aside from wheat flour, there are a few other types of flour available, such as maize flour or potato flour. 

You don’t need to memorize the shelf life of each type because they’re so similar. 

The distinction between “normal” flours and whole-grain flours is the most obvious.

Normal Flour

White flours—such as self-rising flour, white bread flour, and white cake flour—as well as “white” or processed flours manufactured from starches like potato or tapioca—are examples of normal flours.

Whole Grain Flour

Whole-Grain Flours have a one-year shelf life at room temperature and two-year shelf life in the fridge or freezer.

Oat flour and other whole-grain flours are in the same boat.

Store at room temperature for three months, or refrigerate or freeze for up to a year.

This can explain why the shelf life is shorter

Expiration And Shelf Life Of Flour

Expiration And Shelf Life Of Flour

The below are a few general guidelines for just how long certain types of flour would last if stored correctly.

  • All-Purpose Flour, Cake Flour — in the cupboard for a year. In the freezer or fridge it will last forever.
  • Self-Rising Flour — Store in the pantry for four to six months, then refrigerate or freeze for one year.
  • Whole Wheat Flour, Rice Flour — Store in the pantry for one to three months. Refrigerate for six to eight months. Freeze for up to one year.
  • Oat flour, gluten-free flour, and coconut flour — Store in the pantry for up to three months, and in the fridge or freezer for six to twelve months.
  • Almond flour and barley flour can be stored in the cupboard for up to three months. Refrigerate for up to nine months.

Don’t rely on the “best by” date to decide whether or not your flour is still OK. Long after the expiration date has passed, flour can still be completely fresh and usable.

Flour’s estimated shelf life is entirely dependent on how it is stored. 

While best before dates are useful, they are useless if your flour is infested with weevils (flour bugs) during the first few weeks.

Fats and oils are higher in whole grain flours than in refined white flours. This implies they’re more prone to oxidation (the process of becoming “off”) and don’t last as long.

King Arthur Flour, Organic All-Purpose Flour

How About Flours That Contain A Lot Of Fat, Such As Almond And Coconut Flour?

Sadly for paleo bakers, the fat in useful choice flours such as coconut and almond flour causes them to deteriorate faster than traditional cereals.

At room temperature, coconut and almond flours have a three-month shelf life, while in the fridge or freezer, they have a six-month shelf life.

Other nut flours and finely powdered seeds are in the same boat as flax.

How To Test If Flour Ingredients Are Expired

How To Test If Flour Ingredients Are Expired

First and foremost: A use-by or expiration date is printed on every bag of flour. 

If you’re moving flour to an airtight container before storing it, write the expiration date on the container before discarding the flour’s original packing.

If the expiry time on the package isn’t visible, try the aforementioned


  • When water comes into contact with the powder, it forms large clumps or some type of organic growth on the surface. The items must be rejected if this is the case.
  • If you notice anything living in your flour, throw it away. because there’s a chance there’s more mealybug within.
  • Flour may develop a bright yellow or light grey color.

Take A Whiff

  • Flour may have no odor or perhaps a faint nutty or sweet aroma. When the flour has turned wrong, it smells sour or like playdough.
  • Flour’s estimated shelf life is entirely dependent on how it is stored. While best before dates are useful, they are useless if your flour is infested with weevils (flour bugs) during the first few weeks.
  • Fats and oils are higher in whole grain flours than in refined white flours. This implies they’re more prone to oxidation (the process of becoming “off”) and don’t last as long.

Will You Get Sick If Eating Expired Flour

Eating rotten flour is not a big health risk and should not have an immediate impact on your health. 

The consequences of mycotoxins on the human body, however, are still being researched and debated.

Many popular food crops, notably grains, contain mycotoxins; it’s conceivable that they’re already present in our flour before it reaches the store shelves, but if it’s allowed to grow rancid, more might emerge.

Consuming too many of these mycotoxins, according to some studies, might lead to health problems later in life, such as cancer, renal damage, and immune system suppression.

Based on current research, it appears that ingesting a tiny amount of ruined flour will have no significant influence on your short- or long-term health. 

Consuming flour contaminated with flour bugs unknowingly – or even intentionally – is not harmful to your health. 

In fact, back in the days of the pioneers, they were thought to be a fantastic additional source of protein!

How To Store Flour To Increase Its Shelf Life

How To Store Flour To Increase Its Shelf Life

Moisture is the most crucial factor to keep in mind when keeping flour. If you put even some of the most purified white flour in a moist atmosphere, it will quickly get rancid.

Temperature and light are the other two factors to consider. Flour should be stored in a cold, dry location.

All varieties of flour will keep longer in the freezer if kept properly, as we noted in our guide on flour shelf-lives. The refrigerator is the next best choice.

However, you can’t just toss an open bag in there and assume it’ll be good for another six months — the same moisture regulations apply.

We suggest investing in some elevated glass and plastic boxes with tight-fitting lids to establish an airtight seal for pantry storage. 

This will keep creepy crawlies and dampness out of your flour.

Place the flour in a covered container – or, better yet, two bags – if you prefer a simpler option and want to save space in your fridge or freezer.

We don’t advocate storing flour in plastic bags in the cupboard since those pesky flour beetles can and will eat right through the plastic to get to your tasty flour!

If you keep your flour in the refrigerator, please ensure to get it to room temp before using it in any baking. 

Your cuisine may not be as light and fluffy as you would want if you use it cold.

Extra Large Tall Food Storage Containers 7 qt/ 220oz/ 6.5L, For Flour

Fun Facts

Self-rising flour is just normal flour with the introduction of baking powder and salt; one five-pound bag of flour yields roughly 17 and 1/2 cups. 

Because the leavening ingredients were uniformly dispersed in the bag, the recipes may rise more evenly. 

Due to the inclusion of baking powder, which has a lower shelf life, self-rising flour will have an earlier best before date.

I reasoned that making cakes with flour would extend their shelf life. But I had forgotten that perhaps the components used to make a cake affect its shelf life. 

I prepared a batch of cookies, you know. I’m going to eat nonstop for a week till I’m bored.


  • Don’t be concerned. In most cases, eating outdated flour has no negative repercussions. “The majority of the time, nothing occurs other than your baked goods don’t taste good,” adds Knauer.
  • There’s a possibility, though, that consuming outdated flour can get you sick. “Rancid flour can make you sick if it includes a lot of mycotoxins.”
  • Thank you, as usual, for taking care of “Em offgrid” in your life! Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and we hope you found the information beneficial.