Does Popcorn Go Bad? [New Info] & How Long Does Popcorn Last

We all love popcorn, who doesn’t? it’s one of the essentials for a good movie night and it surely makes a great snack for people trying to diet. Some of us stock on some popcorn kernel for the tough days, others want it homemade so they buy plenty of it. This is why you should read this article to answer any questions concerning popcorn going bad.

Let’s say you bought a large bag of your favorite snack and you kinda forgot it in the cupboard. You probably asked yourself when you found it “Does popcorn go bad?” and this is why we are making this article. We will answer the burning question “Can popcorn go bad?” as well as “How long does popcorn last?” in the following paragraphs. So, follow along!

Does Popcorn Go Bad

(Credit: Georgia Vagim)

Does Popcorn Go Bad?

The answer to such a question isn’t this evident as people might think. This is why we should first explain what type of popcorn we have at hand. There are 3 types of popcorn according to its state:

  1. Popped popcorn: This is the popcorn you buy from the movie theatre or you make at home.
  2. microwaveable packets: These are dry popcorn kernels, covered in some fats to give it a taste.
  3. Popcorn kernels: These are the raw kernels that pop into popcorn.

Generally speaking, we can say Yes to the question “Does popcorn expire?” However, it does go stale. and microwaveable packets can indeed go bad. and we will elaborate on how long each type lasts in the upcoming paragraphs.

How long do popcorn kernels last?

We established that not all types of popcorn can last the same way. but indeed some types do last longer than other variants. Here is the shelf life of popcorn.

How long do popcorn kernels last

(Credit: Lynda Sanchez)

Shelf life of popped popcorn

Popped popcorn is commonly referred to as commercially-popped popcorn. It’s the type that comes pre-made by a company and you can eat it right away. It has a best-by date that you Can use to tell if the popcorn is expired or not. usually, it can last as long as 3 months after the production date according to Let’s Popcorn FAQ.

The popcorn can still be fresh and rather be enjoyable even after its best-by date. but the longer it’s left in the package, the more likely it will start to lose flavor and go stale if left long enough and wouldn’t be enjoyable. but it rarely goes bad and can be safe to eat most of the time.

Shelf life of microwaveable packets

microwaveable packets of popcorn are usually made of dry kernels alongside some fat that gives it the taste. The kernels are fine, they can stay just as fine for a prolonged amount of time. The fat doesn’t have the same ability tho, and it usually goes bad fairly quickly. It can last for around 3 months and After the expiry date can last for a week or two. any more than that is not safe as the fat turns rancid.

Shelf life of dry kernels

The shelf life of dry kernels is indefinite. Dry popcorn kernels last the longest and they can be used even after years of production date based on Steinke’s Gourmet Popcorn FAQ. However, that doesn’t mean that it won’t lose quality as it ages. The reason dry kernels pop is because of the moisture inside every kernel. and if the kernel loses that water, it won’t pop into when cooked. This is why it’s better to make sure the kernels are stored.

Commercially popped - Unopened+ 2 – 4 weeks
Commercially popped - Opened1 – 2 weeks
Dry kernels+ 6 – 12 months
Microwaveable packets+ 3 months

How To Store popcorn?

Storing popcorn is essential to make sure it doesn’t go bad. Knowing How to store popcorn is another trick that will help you protect your precious snack from expiring and tasting stale. Here is how:

How To Store popcorn

(Credit: Christian Wiediger)

  • Unopened popcorn packets can be stored anywhere away from the heat. This can be in the pantry or a good and cool cupboard. they will last for a long time as long as they aren’t exposed to heat.
  • Dry kernels are better stored in an airtight container to preserve the moisture of it for as long as possible.
  • Popped popcorn doesn’t hold up well when stored. but storing it away from the air is a good idea. Make sure it’s not exposed to air so it doesn’t lose its moisture.

Small note: Do not try to microwave old popcorn or heating it again. This will only cause it to lose more moisture and thus taste even staler than before heating.

How To Tell if Popcorn Has Gone Bad?

Now that you have stored your popcorn and want to see if it’s still good or not. you might be wondering How do you know if it has gone bad? Well, the answer to this question lies in the following points:

How To Tell if Popcorn Has Gone Bad

(Credit: Valeri Randalainen)

  • Popcorn generally doesn’t grow any sort of mold even if it has expired.
  • As it ages and starts going bad, it will become stale and lose moisture. eventually losing all the taste and becoming tasteless.
  • Tasteless and dry popcorn is a good sign that it has gone bad.
  • For microwaved popcorn, you won’t be able to tell until you try microwaving it and seeing how it turns out. If the result looks weird and kinda disgusting after microwaving, then perhaps the fat inside the package has become rancid and thus should be discarded.
  • Dry kernels usually never go bad, but they lose moisture. If less than 3/4 of your dry kernels pop, perhaps you should try moisturizing it to see if it will pop again or not.

Can I eat expired popcorn?

Well, it’s a yes and a no at the same time. A yes cause expired popcorn is generally safe for consumption and you probably won’t become sick after eating it. However, expired popcorn is tasteless and is stale. eating it doesn’t sound fun or enjoyable.

I would say better safe than sorry and throw it away. Unless you are in dire need for food and there is nothing but expired popcorn, then eating it is kinda safe.

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Wrapping up

As they say, everything can go bad, it’s about how long before it does. We hope we answered your important question such as “Does popcorn go bad?” and “How to tell if popcorn has gone bad?” so you can enjoy your meal without worry or health consequences. We also explained How to store popcorn and we hope we managed to do so in an enjoyable to read way. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Can I eat Expired popcorn

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About the author

Michelle Ivory

Hello! My name is Michelle Ivory. I am a health-conscious who also happens to enjoy writing about food! Did you know that almost 40% of all food in America is wasted food? That's right! this is because people are unaware If their food has really gone bad or not. This is why it's my job to guide people on how to tell if their food has gone bad or not. which is why I decided to create this website to help people make an informed decision on their food and whether they should throw it away or not.

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