Does Pasta Expire? Here's How To Tell If Your Noodles Have Gone Bad

In my opinion, pasta is proof there is a god. If I could eat it for every meal, I absolutely would. Breakfast linguini anyone? However, the only pasta I have in my home is an elderly box of penne, begging the question, does pasta expire?

In the tree branch that describes the pasta world, it starts with fresh pasta vs. dried pasta. Dried pasta is more common, especially for us on-the-go folks. Of course fresh pasta is about one thousand times tastier than the boxed stuff, but who has time to hand roll spaghetti or stuff raviolis in their tiny apartments? So for those of us hoping to one day cook that questionable box of spaghetti lurking in the kitchen cabinet, here are some things you should know: yes pasta goes bad, but its shelf life depends on the kind of pasta it is.

If dried pasta is stored in a cool, dry place either in its original packaging or in an airtight container, it should be good for a few years. The expiration date on a box of pasta is usually about one to two years, and although expiration dates tend to be conservative, it’s best to follow them. Dry pasta is unlikely to grow mold or bacteria the way fresh pasta would, but it does lose its flavor as it ages. There’s no need to put dried pasta in the fridge — it won’t extend the shelf life.

Fresh pasta, on the other hand, has a very short shelf life. An unopened package of fresh pasta should last about a week in the fridge, while fresh pasta you made yourself will probably last only two days in the fridge. You can extend the shelf life of fresh pasta to about two weeks by freezing it, but when you have fresh pasta in the fridge, how long can you really wait without devouring it?

When it comes down to it, you should always use your best judgment when evaluating old pasta. If the noodles are discolored or show visible signs of mold, or even bugs from your pantry, it’s best to throw that old pasta away and start fresh.

Images: A Beautiful Mess; Giphy