Does Brownie Mix Go Bad? Can It Really Expire? (How Tow Tell)

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Did you know how brownies were invented?

There’s a myth that brownie was discovered when a woman from Boston forgot to add baking powder to her cake. So instead of throwing the flat cake, she cut it up into smaller slices and served it.

However, there are no evidences to support this myth, so we don’t know whether this is the answer to the origins of the brownie mix.

While there’s no question that brownie is one of the most delectable desserts in the world, there are a few unanswered questions about it.

Another query most bakers have is this: does brownie mix go bad? Well, we have the answer to that.


Brownie mixes won’t last forever.

But there’s one thing you need to understand. Brownie mix won’t go bad in a way that can be harmful to you. However, it will go bad in the sense that it will lose its quality.

So how long can you use brownie mix? Well, continue reading to know the answer!

When you do, you’ll also learn about:

Are you ready to dive into the world of brownie mixes? Let’s go!

Does Brownie Mix Go Bad? Can It Really Expire?

As mentioned, brownie mix can go bad when stored for a significant time. Brownie mixes are usually baking powder, flour, sugar, and cocoa powder. All of which have a long shelf life.

Expiration Date Vs. Sell By Date/ Best Before Date

Here’s a twist: brownie mix will go bad in quality but not safety. This means that you can safely use the brownie mix as long as it doesn’t show any signs of spoilage.

But what about the printed date on the brownie mix box?

That date is not an expiration or safety date but a sell-by date or best before date. While expiration dates indicate when the product will no longer be safe for consumption, sell-by dates or best before dates is the manufacturer’s guideline on when you can enjoy the brownie mix at its best quality.

Because of this, you can still use expired brownie mix. However, be prepared for its quality to change.

is it safe to use expired brownie mix?

The two ingredients most responsible for the degradation of brownie mix’s quality are the leavening agents– baking soda and baking powder. This is because these ingredients may lose their rising ability over time and cause the baked brownies to become flat.

Additionally, the cocoa powder may lose its taste, and the flour may already start to give off a rancid odor.

So when you use up old brownie mix, you might end up with flat, flavorless, and funny-smelling brownies.

  • Pro Tip: Some bakers recommend just adding a bit of baking powder to address the cake’s rising ability issues. Since most brownie mixes contain 1 teaspoon of baking powder, their recommendation is to add ½ teaspoon to the mix.

But please keep in mind that this won’t solve the flavor and smell issues. Plus, adding a new ingredient may also change the taste of the mix.

How Long Does Brownie Mix Last?

You already know that the shelf life of brownie mix is quite long, but how long does it last exactly? Store-bought brownie mix generally stay for 12 to 18 months when stored properly.

But please keep in mind that the provided shelf life guideline is only an estimate, and how long the storage period can be will depend on the brand, quality of ingredients, and mixture ratio of the brownie mix.

But what about homemade brownie mix? Since homemade brownie mix does not contain the same preservatives as store brownie mix, it has a shorter shelf life. Homemade brownie generally stay its best quality when stored the right way for about 3 months only.

  • Pro Tip: To maximize the shelf life of your homemade brownie mix, make sure that you use only the freshest ingredients.
  • Warning: When it’s not stored properly, brownie mix can go bad earlier than the expiration date or stated shelf life. Because of this, you must always examine the mix first for any signs of spoilage before using it.

How to Tell if Brownie Mix Is Bad?

So what are the signs of bad brownie mix that you should look out for?

The truth is expired brownie mix doesn’t spoil the same way other food items do. So it can still look the same even if its quality has already deteriorated.

Because of this, you should examine the mix carefully to determine if it’s still okay to use or not. With that said, here are the signs that you should look for:

1. Changes in Appearance

Any changes in appearance, such as mold growth and discoloration, may indicate low quality. Mold growth may take place when the mix has been exposed to moisture.

If there’s any sign of mold growth, discard the mix right away.

2. Pantry Pests

If the brownie mix box has holes or there are already insects and bugs in the mix, never use it. Not only did the insects compromise the mix’s nutritional value, but they have also already negatively affected the taste for sure.

  • Pro Tip: If you found pantry pests in your brownie mix, take the time to inspect the other food items and do a general cleaning of your pantry to prevent further infestation.

3. Off Smell

As mentioned, brownie mix contains flour, and it can go rancid when stored for a long time. (*) Therefore, if the brownie mix already gives off a rancid or sour smell, it means that it has been stored in the pantry for way too long, and its quality has already deteriorated.

If this is the case, you need to throw it out right away.

How to Properly Store Brownie Mix?

Improper storage is the most common cause of the mentioned spoilage signs. To avoid it, you must learn more about brownie mix’s proper storage. Here are some food storage tips:

1. Store brownie mix in a dark, cool, and dry place.

Damp places will encourage mold growth, while hot temperatures and direct sunlight will make the quality of the brownie mix ingredients deteriorate faster.

This is why the best storage place for brownie mix is in a pantry or kitchen cabinet located far from heat sources like the oven and stove.

2. Transfer leftovers to a covered airtight container.

The mix will deteriorate faster once you open the package due to air exposure. Therefore, you should store the leftover brownie mix in a covered airtight container to minimize degradation.

3. Practice the first-in, first-out rule.

If you have two boxes of brownie mix, use the oldest item in your pantry or the brownie mix with a shorter shelf life first.

  • Pro Tip: To easily follow this rule, we recommend placing the new box behind the old box when sorting your grocery items in the pantry.

4. For long-term storage, place the brownie mix in the freezer.

As it turns out, you can freeze brownie mix. It’s one of the best ways to prevent the flour from becoming rancid.

To freeze the mix, you only need to place it in a freezer bag and place it in your freezer. It’s that simple.

Another option is to prepare the brownie mix and freeze it as a brownie batter. To freeze unbaked brownie batter, spread it in a cookie sheet and freeze, then transfer the sheets to a freezer bag once it’s already frozen.

How To Thaw Brownie Mix?

If you stored brownie mix in the freezer, there’s no need to thaw it. Instead, you can use it right away.

But if you prepared it into the batter first, you would need to transfer it into the refrigerator and let it sit overnight. Of course, you can also leave it at room temperature for a few hours.


The Bottom Line

Brownie mix has a very long shelf life, but it won’t last forever. While you can use it safely (as long as there are no signs of spoilage) for months to years, its quality will deteriorate once it goes past its expiration date.

Because of this, we recommend that you use up your brownie mix before the expected shelf life so you can enjoy it at its best quality. Also, make sure to follow all our food storage tips so you can keep the brownie mix fresh for as long as possible.

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Up Next: Does Granola Go Bad and Expire? How Long Does It Last?

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