How Long Does Flour Keep Well?

how long does flour keep

Do you like baking? Flour is used to bake bread, cookies and pies. They are so delicious when you cook them at home, with the best, top-quality, fresh ingredients! But how to store them properly? How long does flour keep fresh? Let’s discuss how to maintain the most suitable conditions. How to prevent an infestation? I’ll try to clear it up now.

Types of Flour

Flour is an essential ingredient to cook. Besides baking purposes, it’s widely used. Product is added to various dishes. For example, it’s used to coat meat or to make your soup thicker. Meanwhile, there are several types of flour. How to select the ingredient that suits your favorite recipe the best?

Visiting a grocery store or a supermarket, you see several flours on the shelves. They are commonly sold in flimsy paper bags. These packing can be easily pierced, allowing bugs and oxidization. Therefore, at home, it’s better to store flour in glass food storage containers.

Here you can see more information about best glass food storage containers!
Flour types that are commonly available in the USA are:
what is flour used for

  1. Bread.
  2. All-purpose.
  3. Self-rising.
  4. Enriched.
  5. Potato.
  6. Whole-wheat.

Most flours are white, containing gluten. It gives bread its tough, elastic texture. It is made of soft or hard wheat, leaving out bran, germs. Vitamins, nutrients and microelements are typically added to enriched flour.

Self-rising flour is used to bake biscuits, cookies and pies. Baking powder and salt are already added. It helps bakery goods rise. Meanwhile, it’s especially important to keep it in a quality food storage container. Baking powder loses its effect with time.

Here you can see more information about best flour storage containers!

Flour Expiration Date

As these types are made of different grains, such as corn, rice, wheat and even vegetables. Their shelf life is not completely the same. Protein gluten content varies too, depending on the bakery purposes.

How to Store Flour Long Term

Flour TypeProtein Content, %Shelf Life in Unopened Package, MonthsShelf Life in Opened Package, Months
Rice, corn, potato8-986

That is, if you check shelf life or expiration date on the package, it goes about storage in the pantry. Does all-purpose flour go bad? According to USDA, it remains fresh during a year after the purchase date. Product is made of high-grade wheat. It has fine texture, suiting many preparations. Whole-grain product have a much shorter shelf life. Why? They include germ and bran. So, the foods are to be used within several months of purchase.

types of flour comparison

How to Store Flour to Prevent Bugs?

Keeping flour in original containers is possible. It is to be stored:

  • in a cool, dry place;
  • in tightly closed packages;
  • away from heat and sunlight;
  • keeping it from absorbing moisture.

Room temperature is tolerable. These conditions are taken into account to recommend the expiration date. Meanwhile, bug proof food storage containers with air-tight lids are essential. Vacuum seals are beneficial. Flour easily absorbs moisture and odors. Any chemicals should not be available around. Additionally, containing oils, product is prone to oxidation.

How to keep bugs out of flour? Storing the powder in a tightly closed container or jar keeps insects (psocids) from invading. They can be made of food-grade plastic or glass. Metal containers are not good. They might leach chemicals and elements to the food.

However, you can put it to the tin in original, paper packaging. Just squeeze the bag to let the air out. Fill the jar by the flour as full as possible. It’s beneficial to prevent oxidation. Label it for your convenience.

How to Store Food in a Fridge Safely?

According to the FSIS Service, flour is a shelf-stable food. It means it doesn’t need refrigeration. Even after opening the original packaging, it’s not necessary. However, the best way to store flour and sugar long term is freezing it. This way, you maximize the shelf life of white and whole-grain flour. So, how long can you stay flour after the expiration (best by) date?

How to Store Flour in the Freezer

All-Purpose Flour Package Pantry - Shelf Life Prolongation, MonthsFridge - Shelf Life Prolongation, MonthsFreezer - Shelf Life Prolongation, Months
Unopened2-4 12-1418-20
Openedup to 3 weeks6-12 14-18

So, any flour type can be kept in a refrigerator. Air-tight container is a must to prevent moisture. It should not be made of metal. Possibility of thermal shock is to be eliminated. Contamination with dangerous chemicals is unacceptable.

flour in fridge or pantry

Freezing to kill bugs is recommended to perform initially. As soon as you buy a new package, put it in the freezer for 48 hours. However, keep product in the sealed container when you take it out. Bringing back to room temperature may last for about an hour or two. Condensation from the air should not precipitate on food ingredient.

What to Do with Expired Product ?

Flour might be spoiled after its shelf life inspiration or just in several months or weeks after the purchase event. You can tell it by:

  1. rancid, sour or musty smell;
  2. dark or greyish color;
  3. moldy taste;
  4. changes in texture.

Flour absorbs odors of other food. It doesn’t mean that it’s bad. However, if it’s moist or some bugs are inside, the package is to be discarded. Whole-grain meal contains germs that are rich in oil. Therefore, it gets rotten faster than white powder. Keeping in a fridge or freezing the flour for long term storage is recommended.

Expired production can be used if you stored it in a freezer. Spoilt, bad or moldy food is not healthy. What happens if you use it for cooking? Your bread and cookies won’t smell delicious. Additionally, eating rancid flour may make you sick. Quite naturally, the effect is not immediate.

Moldy food contains mycotoxins. They may cause acute poisoning or serious health issues. Cancer, kidney or liver tumors, immune deficiency might be caused by these toxic metabolites. Nevertheless, consuming production infected by bugs is considered to be safe. Beetles are a perfect source of protein. They don’t constitute any danger for your health.

Overall Impression

So, what is the best way to store product long term? It is to be kept in air-tight containers or jars, in a dry, cold place. Freezing it is beneficial, as it lets killing insects and prolongs shelf life of the powder. Just don’t let it get moist. Cook and bake your favorite dishes with various types and enjoy your meal!

Video: Long Term Storage of Flour


Hi, I’m David from St Louis, Missouri. Are you looking for a storage box? This blog helps you to make your informed decision. I’ve initiated it, trying to apply my knowledge and personal experience. So, be informed and don’t hesitate to ask questions.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply