Can Popcorn Go Bad

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does popcorn go bad

Popcorn is an extremely popular snack that can be found in many countries around the world. It is mainly known for being the snack that’s served with soda pop in the movie theaters. You can also use it at home as a compliment to movies, television shows that you enjoy from the comfort of your own couch. Popcorn can also be served at bars and restaurants with beers or other alcoholic beverages. There are many kinds of popcorn but each type of the product comes from corn kernels, which ‘pop’ when they are heated in the microwave or oven. It’s extremely for popcorn to form and only takes a couple of minutes to be ready for eating. A quick and delicious snack, it’s not surprising to see how popular the product is in different countries around the world. When you’re at the local supermarket and you see a big sale on popcorn, what should you do? Would it be worth the potential savings in time and money to buy a couple of packages of the product in bulk? Will you be able to store the popcorn successfully for the long-term without any problems? The ultimate question remains; does popcorn go bad?

Does Popcorn Go Bad or Expire?

Unfortunately the answer to this question is a yes, popcorn will eventually go bad after a long time. It’s not so much that popcorn will go sour on you but that the quality of the kernels and the taste of the product would start to diminish over time. Popcorn is a type of grain and you won’t get sick by eating it after a long period but it’s likely that it will eventually become flavorless and lose its’ general appeal. If you’re curious about properly storing the popcorn, or extending its’ shelf life, please read on in this article to discover this useful and practical information.

Storing The Popcorn

When it comes to storing popcorn, you will want to make sure that it’s in a cool, dark, and dry place away from outside elements such as heat, humidity, sunlight, and water. The best place to store the popcorn would be in the kitchen cabinet or pantry where it is both cool and dry. A little known fact about popcorn kernels is that they have moisture already inside them so it would not be wise to place the popcorn in the refrigerator or freezer. Unfortunately, this would cause the popcorn to dry out from the cold temperatures causing the flavor and texture of the kernels to erode.

If the kernels lose their moisture, they won’t be able to pop as much as if they had been stored at room temperature in a kitchen pantry. This is why it is not recommended to store the popcorn in a refrigerator or freezer for the long-term. Whether the package of popcorn is opened or unopened, you must make sure to tightly seal the contents at all times. You don’t want air or any other outside elements to affect the corn kernels, which will harm the storage process.

Shelf Life of Popcorn

When it comes in a package, popcorn usually will have a “best by” or “use before” date. While this isn’t a formal expiration date, this date signifies the end of when most of the kernels will pop into the popcorn. After that date passes, it becomes less and less likely for the kernels to pop into the final product. If you store the popcorn properly in a cool, dark, and dry place and it remains unopened, you may keep the popcorn package past the “use by” date because it is likely that the food will still be edible for you, your family, and your friends.

If the popcorn remains unopened, the shelf life should be at least a couple of months or more before the kernels start to dry out and lose their flavor. The quality should be good for that amount of time if the package is unopened. However, if you decide to open your package but have some leftover popcorn, it should still be good to eat for up to a week or two afterwards. Popcorn won’t go bad or spoil on you really but the quality will decline shortly after opening the package. The storage life for an unopened package of Popcorn is much longer than that of a package of popcorn that has been opened and used before.

Signs of Bad Popcorn

While popcorn doesn’t go bad or spoil in the traditional sense, it can definitely go past the point of no return in terms of usage. The quality of the popcorn, its’ texture and overall flavor will diminish after a few months from the initial date of purchase. While proper storage can extend the shelf life of the product, it won’t be a permanent fix.

In order to discover when popcorn is of a low quality, there are a number of things to look out for. You should check the appearance of the popcorn for signs of moisture or wetness. If you encounter these elements in your kernels or popped popcorn, you should throw the bag out immediately because it’s likely that the taste and quality won’t be there. The kernels will not pop as well due to the exposure to the moisture. Also, if you see any mold or signs of it on the popcorn itself, that’s a very bad sign and the product should be thrown out immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry especially when it comes to eating moldy popcorn. If the popcorn also emits a pungent odor or tastes awful, then it would be best to discard of the product. A simple smell or taste test of your popcorn will do the job and won’t make you sick so you should not worry about that.


If you store the popcorn properly and follow the necessary steps, your popcorn should stay good for weeks and even for a few months. It’s important to check for good quality at all times and to keep the product cool and dry. Enjoy this delicious snack with your friends and family! The only thing I’ve noticed so far is that when leaving popped/cooked popcorn out for a day, it will lose the crispiness. It kind of tastes softer. I usually just like to finish eating the popcorn right away or just throw out the leftover. 


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I am a mother of four children and I love cooking healthy, nourishing meals for them. When I can find a little free time, I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others at Bakeaholicmama.

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