Flour Expiration Dates & Usage


Hoping for input from all of you experienced bakers out there -- When your flour has a use-by or expiration date, how comfortable are you using it vis-a-vis that date: up to it, after it by ?? much time, getting rid of before that date, etc.?? I keep my flour in a cool, dry pantry in the original paper package, inside a plastic bag.

badge posted by: beachdee on November 12, 2011 at 6:23 pm in Q & A
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reply by: Mike Nolan on November 12, 2011 at 8:19 pm
Mike Nolan

I've used flour that was several months past its 'use by' date, as long as it still smells good it should be OK.

reply by: --jej on November 12, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Hi Beachdee! I agree with Mike. Give it the smell test. When flour goes bad, you will know. Mine doesn't usually last beyond the expiration date, however. Well, sometimes the 'other than unbleached AP' will last a bit longer. And those, should they need to be disposed of, go into my garden.

reply by: --jej on November 12, 2011 at 8:54 pm


reply by: Mrs Cindy on November 12, 2011 at 9:26 pm
Mrs Cindy

As long as it smells good, I use it. I've never had a problem. Some of my flour, that I stored in the freezer, was a year or more past the use by date and there was no problem with using it or with the taste of the finished product. Of course, it passed the smell test!


reply by: Mel_KAF on November 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm

We generally recommend storing all purpose flour up to 12 months at room temperature and whole wheat flours up to 9 months in the freezer.

That being said, all purpose flour doesn't really "expire." The "use by" or "best by" dates are usually given as a reference to state when the flour will perform at its best.

Whole wheat flours, can go rancid very quickly due to the natural oils found in the whole grains.

Always be sure to check your flours before using them. Rancid flours will smell "off" and have a bitter taste to them. ~Mel @ KAF

reply by: beachdee on November 13, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Thank you all for your input. I have a bag of KAF White Whole Wheat flour that expired in October. I used it (before checking the date) on Saturday to make some pumpkin oat muffins and they came out beautifully and everyone enjoyed them. Later I noticed the date on the bag -- but now I see it was nothing to be concerned about. I sniffed in the flour bag and it really smelled not at all. I will think about keeping flour in the freezer, but it may not be possible until a couple months from now since right now it's full of goodies from the garden -- not such a terrible thing! Our back room leading out to the garage stays plenty cool in the winter and it sits in a bin on the floor in the closet there. Thanks again, now I know what to watch for.