Does Granola Go Bad or Expire? How Long Can It Last?

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So you decided to go on a diet, yippee finally! You bought Granola in bulk so you can save money and have an endless stock of tummy-filling snacks in your pantry.

As the days go by, you forget about your diet and go back to your regular eating habits until you’re already overweight. Not only that, your energy levels dropped, and your digestive system went haywire already. Now, you’re committed to making your diet work. But, unfortunately, all your granola bars are already expired.

Here’s the big question: does granola go bad?

  • Fun Fact: Granola may go bad within 6 to 8 months.
  • But here’s the twist: it can still be edible after that.

Why is this so? Well, continue reading to find out!

In this article, we’ll also discover the answers to the following questions:

Does Granola Go Bad?

Yes, Granola does go bad. This is because it’s a mixture of dry fruits and nuts. However, thanks to the dehydration process that the ingredients go through, they already have low water content so that Granola won’t get spoiled quickly.

How Long Does Granola Last?

Okay, so Granola has a long shelf life, but how long does it last exactly? The answer depends on the type of Granola you have and its storage conditions.

To help you determine when you can safely consume Granola, here are some of the granola shelf life guidelines you need to know about:

Store-Bought Granola

Fun Fact: Different brands have different recommendations on Granola’s storage time. Some products have a shorter shelf life because they contain ingredients that may go rancid faster (like nuts and fruits). On the other hand, other granola products have a longer shelf life as they were manufactured with additives and preservatives.

Typically, store-bought Granola can remain fresh for 6 to 12 months after being baked. This date is printed on Granola’s packaging.

Just a heads up, though. The printed date is not the expiration date which indicates the product’s safety. Instead, it’s a best-by date that tells you when you can expect the product to remain at its freshest and best quality.

Because of this, you can still safely consume Granola even if it’s past the best by date, but it may start to lose its quality beyond the bets by date gradually.

So how long past the best by date the store-bought Granola can be used for? Check out the following granola shelf life guidelines:

Store-bought Granola (Unopened):

  • Best by date + 3 to 6 months (with additives and preservatives)
  • Best by date + 1 to 2 months (with nuts and fruits)

Store-bought Granola (Opened):

  • 3 to 6 months after opening

Homemade Granola

Since homemade Granola hasn’t undergone a commercialized dehydration process and has no additives or artificial preservatives, it has a shorter shelf life than a store-bought Granola.

The best way to determine how long it will last is to check out the storage period guidelines of the recipe that you’re following.

If there’s no available information about its shelf life, here’s the simple shelf life guidelines you need to know about:

  • Refrigerated Homemade Granola: 2 weeks
  • Frozen Homemade Granola: 3 months

Granola Bars

Like store-bought Granola, commercial granola bars are shelf-stable and have a relatively long shelf life of 6 to 12 months after baking. Because of this, you should also pay attention to the printed date. But again, this is a best-by date and not an expiration date.

On the other hand, homemade granola bars are like homemade Granola because it has a shorter shelf life than the store-bought version.

Take a look at the provided guidelines to determine the storage period of granola bars:

Commercial Granola Bars

  • Unopened: Best by date + 3 to 6 months
  • Opened: 4 to 5 days after opening

Homemade Granola Bars:

  • 7 to 10 days (refrigerated)

Warning: Generally, Granola is safe to eat past the printed date. However, this is only true if the product is stored correctly and has no signs of spoilage.

Learn more: Can cereal go bad?

How to Tell if Granola Has Gone Bad?

Because of this, it’s always a great idea that you examine it first before consuming or throwing it away. Here are the signs of bad Granola that you should watch out for:

1. Off Smell

Granola has been dehydrated, so it has low water content. However, it does contain oil, making it go rancid or stale over time.

If Granola has an off-odor like old paint or rancid oil smell, then you should throw it away.

2. Mold growth

The worst thing that could happen to your Granola is it gets wet. Aside from the fact that moisture can change Granola’s texture, it can also cause organic growth.

If you’ve noticed white or green fuzzy growth in the Granola’s surface or its packaging, discard it right away.

3. Bugs and Other Insects

You need to understand that bugs and other insects are attracted to dry foods like Granola. So if you open Granola and find a few bugs, get rid of it right away because pantry pests can compromise the food’s nutritional value.

Pro Tip: If your Granola lost its crunch and has become soggy but doesn’t have enough molds, don’t fret because there’s still a way to bring back its crunch and freshness.

We’ll discuss how to do that in the following sections.

How to Store Granola Properly?

2 of the 3 signs of stale Granola can be prevented if you follow the correct storage practices. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to properly store Granola:

1. Keep it away from air.

While the grains will remain okay when they contact air, other granola ingredients like nuts and fruits can go stale faster when exposed to air.

To keep Granola fresh for longer, we recommend transferring Granola from its original package to an airtight container or bag.

Pro Tip: If you’ve opened a pack of Granola, you can use a sealing clip to close it. You can also place it in a resealable bag for an added layer of protection.

2. Keep the packaging sealed tightly at all times.

Another thing you need to do to prevent air exposure is to keep the granola bag or container sealed tightly at all times. Doing so can also help prevent insects from getting into the bag of Granola.

3. Store granola in a cool, dry, and dark place.

High temperatures may cause the chocolate to melt and the oil to become rancid faster than expected.

On the other hand, moisture can cause organic growth and a soggy texture.

Because of this, it’s recommended that you store Granola in your pantry or any kitchen cabinet that’s not near any heat sources.

Other Granola-related Questions

The Bottom Line

Granola may go bad, but it’s honestly one of the products with a long shelf life. If stored properly, it can be safe to eat for even after months past the expiration date and has no signs of bad Granola.

That’s why you must follow all of our storage tips so you can enjoy all the fantastic health benefits of Granola for a very long time.

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Up Next: Your Common Food Ingredient’s Shelf Life – A Comprehensive Guide By Groups

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