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Is It Okay to Eat Expired Cereal?

is it okay to eat expired cereal?

Last Updated on October 16, 2022 by Jim Edwards

Cereal is packaged with an expiration date so customers know how long they can store it. Usually, cereal can last a few months past its ‘best-before’ date, but its production and ingredients can determine if it is okay to eat expired cereal.

Ingredients such as nuts and whole wheat flour are prone to losing quality over time, making cereal lose its crispy texture. Plain cereal, on the other hand, can retain its quality for a long time due to the lack of such ingredients. As you can tell, cereal brands and their production determines the quality of cereal after it expires. So, we can’t exactly say that all expired cereal is okay to eat.


The Dangers of Eating Expired Cereal

Expiration dates are meant to alert people when the food is no longer okay to consume, but those label dates do not render all cereal inedible. In most cases, we can say that a specific food product loses its quality, texture, taste, and nutritional value over time, but some cereals do not go bad even after the expiration date.

Corn flakes and milk in a bowl

However, you should be prepared to eat old and expired cereal before you grab the box and fill your bowl with your favorite breakfast food. Here are some tips to prevent you from consuming bad cereal:

Check for Insect Infestation

Dry goods like rice, beans, and cereal can stay edible for a long time, but insects are likely to find their way into your pantry and help themselves to good food. You’ll be greeted with pests when you leave an opened box of cereal on a shelf and decide to eat it again after a few weeks.

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Therefore, if you find a forgotten cereal box in your house, inspect it for signs of infestation before you eat it.

Verify the Texture and Taste

An old box of cereal you did not know still existed in your pantry can make you curious. Some people would open the box and see if the taste and texture are still the same, and you should do so too. At first glance, it may not look different from usual, but a thorough inspection is necessary to ensure the cereal is safe to eat.

 Froot Loops Cereal

Cereal becomes soft and limp when it goes bad. This can happen before the expiration date, so try and minimize losing the cereal’s texture and taste by storing it in a cool and dry place. Leaving the cereal box on a shelf can worsen its quality, and the cereal starts losing its nutritional value.

Old or expired cereal is safe to eat as long as it’s stored properly, there’s no insect infestation, and the taste and texture remain unchanged. If a cereal box does not qualify for these qualities, it’s no safer to eat.

Best Alternatives to Regular Milk for Your Cereal

Unopened Expired Cereal Box

A cereal box that has been in your pantry for months can last 6-8 months more than its expiration date. The only condition is that it has to be an unopened box.

Opened and forgotten cereal boxes are prone to welcoming pests and losing their texture and taste with time. In contrast, an unopened box stays fresh for months if stored properly. You should still check it for any signs of damage before you pour the cereal into a bowl.

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Cereal Aisle

Food Safety, How Long Food is Good for After Expiration Date

Although most of us tend to choose foods that are tastier and more palatable, natural foods tend to degrade. While some foods come with clear expiration date labels, other foods are not so expressive. Take a look inside your fridge. Do you think any of the food there might be expired? If you believe that a particular food may have expired, it’s best just to get rid of it altogether.


Eating expired cereal is okay as long as it hasn’t been infected. The stale texture may taste different, but it won’t upset your stomach. However, the better alternative would be to buy a new cereal box instead of relying on an expired one. It may get you by for a few days, but constantly consuming food that has lost its nutritional value is not suitable for your health.

Is It Okay to Eat Expired Cereal – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Long Can You Eat Cereal After Its Expiration Date?

A cereal box that stays unopened can last six to eight months, and an opened cereal box can last four to six months. The duration is not fixed for all cereals, but it is valid for plain cereal.

How Do You Use Old Cereal?

If you want to revive old cereal that hasn’t expired, you can bake it. Preheat the oven to 375°F and wait for five to ten minutes for the cereal to go crispy and crunchy.

Does Cereal Grow Mold?

Grainy cereal has 10-12% of the moisture that makes it grow mold eventually.

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