Is It Ok to Eat Expired Popcorn

Popcorn is one of our favorite snacks. It’s so easy to make, whether you throw some kernels into a pan, use a popcorn maker, from chocolate and caramel to traditional salt and butter varieties, or toss a bag or toss a bag in the microwave.

Even though popcorn is nonperishable, it will eventually spoil over time. Many people ask: is it ok to eat expired popcorn?

But no doubt that popcorn suffers textural and flavor changes over time, and popped kernels tend to go stale, but eating expired popcorn does not pose health issues as long as there are no signs of spoilage associated with it.

Let’s get down to more details on this frequently asked question, is it ok to eat expired popcorn?

Is It Ok to Eat Expired Popcorn

If you are among the people asking is it ok to eat expired popcorn? Yes, you can. If your popcorn has reached its expiry date and is in good condition, it is still safe to eat. Several factors could affect the shelf life of your popcorn, but typically the quality of loose kernels in a container will last for up to a year

It is worth mentioning that instead of “expiry date,” you will find a “best before” or “best by” date written on the packet of popcorn. Since this date is a best-by date rather than an expiration, you can probably eat it.

Remember that you might want to calculate 6-8 months out and not go beyond that date for quality. The “best by” or “best before” date on the popped popcorn package refers to quality rather than safety, so the popcorn doesn’t go bad immediately after the best before date. 

This date is when you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of popcorn, but you can still use popcorn past this date as long as it is properly stored.

However, if the popcorn has mold or the popcorn bag has an opening, it is unfit to eat since you may be exposed to bacteria. When the tear is visible, it is evident that your popcorn has absorbed moisture and won’t pop as effectively.

How Long Is Popcorn Good for After the Expiration Date?

Popcorn holds its moisture for about 6-12 months, so most popcorn you find on the shelf and in microwavable bags has an expiration date of about eight months. You can eat popcorn after the expiration date; however, going more than two months may produce some very dry popcorn.

In essence, popcorn kernels keep moisture inside of their shell. Dry popcorn kernels won’t explode in the microwave because there isn’t any steam inside to create pressure. Over time, they gradually start to lose this moisture and can become extremely dry.

As popcorn kernels lose their moisture, they will be less to form popcorn, and the higher the chance of them burning when making them.

The good news is that it’s quite uncommon for popcorn to develop mold, and if you store your kernels in an area that’s cold, dry, and airtight, they can continue to be used for up to two months after their expiration date.

Anything longer than that will make the popcorn dry out, affecting the taste. Before storage, ensure the bag is intact to prevent air and moisture.

What Happens If You Eat Expired Popcorn?

Expired popcorn does not necessarily mean it is bad or harmful; it might be a bit dry. But any popcorn that has developed mold may be detrimental to your health and pose bacterial infections. Food poisoning causes severe problems like stomach disease, vomiting, diarrhea, and other common symptoms and could be dangerous.

Additionally, microwave popcorn contains additional cooking oil and spice that might develop rancid and become harmful for human consumption. As a result, the popcorn would have a bad impact on you.

How Can You Know If Popcorn Is Expired?

When popcorn becomes bad, the moisture that is often kept in the shell is released, and the corn turns dry. As they absorb moisture, they get softer and soggier over time, changing in texture.

Microwave popcorn tends to go rancid, a sign that the oil or butter used in it has gone bad quickly, whereby you can tell by the taste. Therefore, it becomes unsafe to eat and should be trash immediately.

Also, dry kernels go bad after absorbing moisture, which will show mold growth. They tend to dry up, which results in the inability to pop up after heating. If this is the case with your kernels, pop a lesser amount and observe the results.

 Remember that bugs are the worst enemy of grain storage. If bugs infest your popcorn, it is a sign that they are unsafe for human consumption.

Tips To Properly Store Popcorn

If you store popcorn correctly, you will increase its shelf-life and quickly prevent it from going bad.

So, how should popcorn be stored for optimal flavor?

Moisture is an enemy of the freshness and quality of the popcorn; therefore, it should be kept in airtight containers or jars to reduce its exposure to air. Do not store your popcorn in a humid environment.

It would be best if you never stored your popped popcorn or dry kernels in the refrigerator or freezer as the high moisture content and cold temperature there can negatively impact the quality of the popcorn. Popcorn can be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place. A cool and dry corner of your pantry can serve this purpose nicely.

Dry kernels should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark corner of the pantry or kitchen cabinet, away from direct sunlight and heat. Do not unnecessarily open the lid of the popcorn container and seal it again as soon as possible after scooping out the popcorn you need.

Once you have opened the popcorn package, transferring the rest to an airtight container or plastic zipper bag is recommended. If you want to store the open popped popcorn in the original packing, then it is recommended to roll the open end of the packet and secure it with the help of a clipper.

How Do You Fix Stale Popcorn?

You can reheat popped popcorn by placing it in the oven at a lower temperature for a few minutes until you get the right consistency.


The answer to this question is it ok to eat expired popcorn? depend on the condition of the popcorn. If your popcorn has reached its expiry date and is in good condition, it is still safe to eat.

But several factors could affect your popcorn’s shelf life, making it unsafe for health.

Always remember that microwave popcorn is heated in a microwaved bag, which releases a chemical coating that breaks down and becomes absorbed into the popcorn, which can cause many health challenges.

Therefore, you should be careful about the life shelf of your popcorn and how you store it and always observe food safety.

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