How Long Does Flour Last and The Best Ways to Keep It Fresh

Flour is a popular baking ingredient, but do you know that you can use it in more ways than one? For instance, you can use it in DIY crafts, such as for making a clay dough and home-made glue. You can also use it as a natural shampoo and homemade mask. You can also use flour as a natural cleaner.

How Long Does Flour Last


Because of its multiple uses, flour is one thing that is common in the kitchen of most household. In most instances, we tend to buy more than what we need and it often ends up in the cabinet. With this, in the rest of this post, I will let you know how long does flour last and how you can keep it fresh for an extended period of time.

By knowing the shelf life of flour, you will be confident that it will stay appropriate for its intended application. To add, you should also know the best ways to keep it, which will prevent the flour from going to waste.

How Long Does Flour Last

If you bought a pre-packaged flour, the first thing that you have to do is to check the box. The manufacturer will most probably indicate a “Best Before” or “Expiration” date. This is a good way to determine how long does flour last.

Let me point out one thing – not all types of flours are the same. They can be from different sources, and for this reason, they also have different shelf life. You need to determine exactly what flour you have in the kitchen to determine how long it can be stored.

Here is a short video that shows the different types of flour that you can buy in the market.

To determine the shelf life of flour, I have consulted with the American Preppers Network (APN). The latter is one of the most popular group of people who advocate self-sufficiency and survival in the toughest conditions.

All-purpose flour is one of the most popular. If it is sealed, you can keep it in the pantry for 10 to 15 months. To make it last longer, you can keep it in the freezer for up to two years. This will keep it away from heat, which will avoid the flour from getting stale.

Another type is bread flour, which is made from high protein wheat and commonly used because of its excellent texture and ability to significantly enhance volume. If it is kept in an air-tight container away from heat and moisture, it will last for up to six months in the pantry and up to one year in the freezer.

Self-rising flour, also known as phosphate flour is often used for making crispy fried chicken and biscuit. If wrapped properly, you can store it in the kitchen cabinet for a maximum of 15 months. Store it in the fridge and it will stay in its tip-top condition for up to two years.

If you intend to make gravies and sauces, on the other hand, you should use instant flour. This can dissolve quickly when mixed with water. When it comes to its shelf life, it will last up to 8 months when sealed and one year when in the refrigerator.

For those who love to bake cakes, muffins, and pastries, use cake flour. Clumping is common if it is kept untouched for a long time, which makes sifting important. Shelf life is up to two years if you keep it in a place that is dry and cool.

Nut and alternative flours, which are known for their distinct flavor, can last for up to half a year if it is in the refrigerator and up to one year if you keep it frozen.

How to Store Flour Properly

Emphasis should be given on proper storage or handling, regardless of the type of flour that you have. It is best to buy only in small quantity so that you will not have the need to keep it in the storage cabinet or freezer.

When it comes to storing flour, one of the most important is make sure that you keep it in a container with an airtight seal. Air penetration will make it prone to the growth of contaminants that can make it spoil quicker. Mason jars and plastic containers will work.

Storing flour in vapor-proof containers will also be vital in maintaining its freshness. Store it away from other items with strong smell. Flour can easily absorb odor when air passes through the container, which will have a negative effect in its original flavor.

How to Tell if Flour is Bad

Seasoned bakers or anyone who uses flour regularly will find it easy to tell if it has already gone bad. From its physical appearance to its texture, there are several ways by which it will be possible for you to easily tell if flour has already gone bad.

One of the first things that you should do is to take a look at its color. It will be darker in color is it has already spoiled. It is no longer white, but can be grayish. Take note, however, that there are actually some types of flour that have a dark color.

Still about its appearance, you should also pay attention to the appearance of flour bugs. Similar to the appearance of moth larvae, their appearance simply means that the flour is no longer good to be used in any application. If it does not have bugs, proceed to smelling it to know if it is still fresh.

Smelling the flour is also one thing that you can do. If it is already rancid or disgusting, this is an obvious indication that you should throw it away.


By now, I hope that you have learned a thing or two about how long does flour last. Here is a quick summary of the things that I have noted above:

  • The shelf life of flour will depend on its specific type. Generally speaking, it can last from six months to two years. Storing it in the fridge or the freezer will make it last longer.
  • Proper storage is important to prolong the freshness of flour. Keep it in an air-tight container. If it will be left in the cabinet, make sure that it stays cool and dry.
  • Know how to spot if the flour is bad. Pay attention to discoloration and the appearance of flour bugs. Also, if there is a foul odor, discard the flour right away.

Is there anything else that you would like to add? Did you enjoy reading this article? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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