Granola is one of the most popular breakfast options, especially amongst fitness enthusiasts. It’s a healthy snack made from dry fruits, oats, puffed rice, honey, and brown sugar.
In some cases, it even contains dark chocolate and flax seeds, so it’s high in carbohydrates and proteins but low in fat.
Although most of these ingredients have a long shelf life, it’s okay to ask if the granola sitting in your pantry for a while is still eatable.
Does Granola Go Bad?
Granola has a high nutritional value but isn’t very sensitive, which means it can last a relatively long time. Although it’s unlikely it can go bad, it can definitely go stale and lose some flavor.
One thing to keep in mind is that granola can develop mold if you don’t store it properly. If it’s only saggy, but there’s no mold, you can easily bring it back to life by roasting it.
On top of that, the nuts in it can also go rancid after some time. Rancid fat tastes bad, but it’s safe to eat for the most part.
So, to answer the question – it can’t go bad, but it can go stale, changing the flavor and texture we all love.
How Long Does Granola Last?
Much like with all food, it all depends on how and where you store it. Granola has a long shelf life, so you notice the best-by date on the packaging is usually months away.
As we said, some ingredients in it might go stale and change the flavor, but even then, it’s still safe to eat if you’re up for it.
Storing it in an opened jar you keep on your kitchen counter isn’t the same as storing it in a closed jar in your pantry. For this reason, you might want to consider how you kept your granola before trying to determine whether it’s still good to go.
|Opened||3-6 months||3-6 months|
|Unopened||Best-by 3-6 months||Best-by 3-6 months|
|Homemade||1 month||1 month|
|Granola bars||3-6 months||3-6 months|
|Homemade granola bars||7-10 days|
Is your granola older than six months? If so, it’s probably still safe to eat, but don’t expect it to taste all that great.
Ingredients change flavor over time, so you’ll find your granola isn’t as tasty as it was when you first bought it. This is especially the case if you pushed past the best-by date.
4 Tips to Tell if Granola Has Gone Bad
Granola will eventually show some signs telling you that you shouldn’t eat it. All food shows signs when it expires or goes bad, and so does granola.
However, it might be a bit more complicated for granola because it doesn’t go bad as quickly and easily. For this reason, you’ll probably have to do a few more checkups to determine if it’s eatable.
Before you go into any taste tests, you might first want to think about how old your granola is. If you’re sure that it’s at least a year old, you should throw it away without thinking twice.
If you’re not sure, you can go ahead and try these next few steps:
Everyone’s first instinct is to smell the food their unsure of and for a reason. It’s the easiest way of determining whether something is still good. Smell your granola to check if it has an off odor-
It might smell like rancid nuts or mold. Some odors you might not be able to identify, but you’ll know that’s not how granola is supposed to smell.
Check if it’s stale
Stale granola has a very distinctive smell and taste due to the natural oils inside. Over time, the oils lose flavor and give out a very heavy-duty odor. If you take a bite of it, you’ll notice it’s pretty hard to chew
Check for mold
Moldy food is never safe to consume, so it’s the case with moldy granola. However, it’s very difficult for mold to develop if you kept it in a dry and cool place. On the other hand, if it came into contact with moisture, it’s safe to assume it’s moldy, as you’ll probably be able to tell by the smell.
Look for insects
Insects can easily get into your granola even if you store it in a cool and dark place like your pantry. For this reason, it’s always best to keep it in a closed bag to prevent any bugs from getting in. Also, if you noticed insects inside the package, it’s better to throw it away for safety reasons.
4 Tips to Store Granola
Proper storage makes a significant difference in how long your granola can last, regardless of whether it’s store-bought or homemade.
If you bought some, you should check if the original package has any storage instructions. In some cases, you can find info on how long it can last after opening.
In most cases, it’s easy to store since it has a pretty long shelf life as it is. However, improper storage can cause it to go bad rather quickly, which is why you should be careful about it.
Check the tips below to see what you can do to keep your granola fresh as long as possible.
Keep the air out
Granola contains nuts and possibly raisins, all of which can go stale if exposed to air. For this reason, you should keep it in an airtight container or bag.
This is especially the case with homemade granola that doesn’t contain as much sugar or any preservatives. You might not have to refrigerate it, but keeping it in an airtight container prolongs its chances of staying fresh for a long time.
As said, leaving granola exposed to air, moisture, and heat will shorten its shelf life. You should always ensure the original package is sealed shut before storing it away.
Once you open a pack of granola, take a sealing clip to close it tightly. This will prevent the air from getting in. You can also place it all in a zip-lock.
Find a cool and dry place
Once you find the best way to pack your granola, it’s time to determine where you’ll keep it. The best and recommended place to store it is in your pantry, but only if it’s cool and dark.
Check your pantry to see if there’s any mold or insects that can harm your food. If not, it’s safe to store granola.
Refrigerating granola doesn’t do much for its preservation. However, it can sometimes help if the temperatures are high where you live.
High temperatures can cause the chocolate to melt and oils to go stale, so in this case, it might help to place your granola in the fridge. Still, make sure that the temperatures in your fridge aren’t too low since that can make granola challenging to chew. Don’t forget to place it in a sealed bag or container as well.
The Risk of Consuming an Expired Granola
Store-bought granola is safe to eat months past its expiration date, so it’s unlikely you’ll experience any sickness. All of its ingredients are plant-based, so they can’t really go bad.
With that said, there aren’t many risks of eating expired granola. Even the soft one you found in the bottom of your pantry is still safe to eat if it hasn’t developed any mold.
You might feel nausea and sickness if your granola has butter and is two years old. But this one would probably also have an off smell you’d notice before eating.
One thing is for sure – you can’t have food poisoning if you eat outdated, store-bought granola. If it’s homemade, however, you might feel a bit sick, but even then, you’re not in any real danger.
Can you Freeze Granola?
As we said, it’s often unnecessary to freeze granola since it can already stay fresh for a long time. However, freezing homemade granola is a good idea if you made too much of it.
Freezing it is simple, but make sure you packed it in an airtight container or bag, as we explained earlier. You don’t have to transfer it into another bag if it’s store-bought and you didn’t open the original package.
You should give it enough time to defrost once you’re ready to use it again. Place it away from the sun and leave it for several hours, possibly overnight.
How long you’ll keep it in there depends on how you sealed it. In most cases, it’s safe to stay frozen for at least six to eight months.
Granola is a healthy breakfast or snack option that’s quick to make. Best of all is that you can make it in batches to enjoy over a few weeks.
It can’t go bad, but it can become soggy and lose some of its flavors. For this reason, make sure you keep it away from air, light, and moisture, using it up in at least six months.