Breadcrumbs are one of those ingredients that are great to have on hand, store-bought, or homemade. However, you will rarely use a whole box at once. So there might come a time when you realize that your breadcrumbs have been sitting on your shelf for a while.
Then you might find yourself asking today’s question: do breadcrumbs go bad?
Yes, since they are made from bread, all bread crumbs go off eventually. Dried bread crumbs have a longer shelf life than fresh ones but all of them will go stale or moldy at some point.
When you cook with fresh or dried bread crumbs that are at their best, they will be super crispy and delicious. This is why it is important to know when your bread crumbs have gone bad.
In this article, we will be looking in detail at the shelf life of bread crumbs and give you some helpful tips and tricks to store them, so they stay fresh and crispy.
Now let’s dive in!
What Are Breadcrumbs?
Bread crumbs are a breading coating made from crumbled bread. They can be made fresh or store-bought and sometimes come preseasoned.
There are a few different types of bread crumbs that vary in texture and crisp factor as well as shelf life.
The different kinds of bread crumbs include [*]:
1. Dried Bread Crumbs
These bread crumbs are made from stale bread that has been toasted to remove the moisture and ground to form a fine crumb.
These are the kind that you will find most commonly in a shop. Since they are dried, they last a little longer than the fresh kind.
2. Panko bread crumbs
This is a special Japanese bread crumb that has a very light, flaky texture.
Panko is made from a specialized Japanese bread that is baked with no crust, which gives it such a light texture. This is ideal for when you want a really crunchy coating that isn’t too heavy.
3. Fresh bread crumbs
If you want to use up stale bread, bread crumbs are a great way to do that.
You can make fresh bread crumbs by balling up a slice of bread and grating it on a regular home grater. After that you can use them the same way you would use dried bread crumbs.
Do Breadcrumbs Go Bad?
Yes, eventually your breadcrumbs can go bad. Exposure to air will make them go stale, while humidity can cause molding.
So now that we know this fact, how do you know when your bread crumbs have gone bad?
Let’s take a look at what to look for in fresh breadcrumbs and then some signs that they might have gone bad.
When you first open a box of bread crumbs, they should be:
1. The flakes should be loose
Each crumb should move around on its own and not stick to each other. This shows that there is no moisture present in the bag.
2. No noticeable odor
Breadcrumbs shouldn’t have a strong smell.
If anything they will smell slightly of bread but have very little odor.
3. Fresh, bready flavor
The easiest way to tell if a breadcrumb is fresh is to taste them.
They should have a very neutral flavor that has a hint of breadiness.
How can you tell if breadcrumbs are bad?
On the other hand, bad bread crumbs will be:
1. Mold present
The number one way to tell if breadcrumbs are off is if there is mold present.
It will be light, white, and fluffy in texture. It will start on the edges and begin to cover the surface of the bread crumbs before making its way through the bag.
If this happens discard it immediately and give your cupboard a good clean. This will prevent the mold from spreading to other food.
2. Old smell
The second sign is a bad smell.
If the breadcrumbs smell moldy or old this is a sure sign that they have expired.
3. Stale flavor
The last thing to do is to taste them.
If they taste stale and old then they should be discarded.
How Long Do Breadcrumbs Last?
The shelf life of breadcrumbs all depends on what kind of breadcrumbs you are using.
- Dried bread crumbs have a longer shelf life because all their moisture has been toasted away. If stored correctly, dried breadcrumbs can last for up to 6 months in your pantry.[*]
- Fresh bread crumbs still hold some of the moisture from the bread, so they have a shorter shelf life. If stored in an airtight container, fresh breadcrumbs can last up to a week in a cupboard.
Do breadcrumbs go Off if left out?
No, breadcrumbs are perfectly safe if left out. We do not recommend putting your breadcrumbs in the fridge.
It is an old wives tale that putting bread in the fridge will keep it fresh longer; it actually does the opposite.
The dry fridge air can make the breadcrumbs stale faster than in a cupboard.
We only think breadcrumbs should be refrigerated if you live in a very humid country. This could cause your breadcrumbs to mold if kept out of the fridge, so it’s the only option.
How to store bread crumbs the right way!
The two things you need to focus on to keep breadcrumbs fresh are avoiding moisture and air exposure.
Moisture will cause the breadcrumbs to clump up and potentially mold. Air exposure will make them go stale faster.
Our suggestion is to store your bread crumbs in an airtight container in a cupboard away from direct sunlight.
One tip we find helpful is to put a food-safe oxygen absorber in the container with your crumbs to absorb any excess moisture.
Step 1. Pick a container
The best container to use is a sealable jar or airtight plastic container.
Make sure it is clean and fully dry.
Step 2. Transfer your breadcrumbs
Remove your breadcrumbs from the original packaging and transfer them to the fresh container.
Step 3. Store in a dark cupboard
A dark pantry can keep your breadcrumbs away from heat and potential condensation.
A cupboard or pantry is ideal for storing bread crumbs in most climates.
Can You Freeze Breadcrumbs?
If you want a long-term storage solution, freezing is a great option.
This is also a good way of saving bread crumbs that might otherwise go off in the cupboard.
To freeze your bread crumbs:
- Transfer to a Ziploc bag and squeeze out all the excess air before sealing tight.
- Label and date the bag and pop them in the freezer
Fresh breadcrumbs can last 3-6 months in the freezer. Dried breadcrumbs can be stored in the freezer for up to a year.
Once you have defrosted them you can refresh them by spreading them on a tray and toasting them in the oven for a few minutes.
After all of that, we hope you feel a little more confident about spotting a good or bad breadcrumb. The most important things to remember are:
- Dried bread crumbs can last up to 6 months if properly stored
- Frozen, dried bread crumbs can last up to a year in the fridge
We hope this article has encouraged you to make your own bread crumbs or change up your storage solutions so your bread crumbs last you as long as possible.