Can Oatmeal Go Bad?

Oatmeal cereals are one of the most popular breakfast choices, especially for kids. Because of that, quite a few people ask themselves whether or not oatmeal can go bad and how to tell if it’s already bad. You wouldn’t like to serve bad oatmeal for breakfast, would you? If you’re among the people searching for those answers, you’re in the perfect place. Read along!

Storing oatmeal

Storing oatmeal in the cupboard in the kitchen is perfectly fine, as long as the area is dry (it usually is). You can of course to choose to keep it in the pantry and that’s fine as well. Probably the best choice is keep it in the pantry until you decide to open the package and keep the opened package in the cupboard, so you can get eat easily when preparing breakfast for your kids. Make sure the package is sealed pretty tightly when not in use, so oatmeal won’t pick up any odors or, what’s worse, moisture. Some people decide to transfer oatmeal after opening the package into a plastic lidded container and that’s definitely a good idea. Either way, keep oatmeal away from water and odors, and it will be fine for a long time.

(credit: nate steiner)

Shelf life of oatmeal

Most manufacturers suggest that oatmeal should be consumed within a year of so after the production date. Of course each package has a ‘best by’ or ‘use by’ date on it, but it’s only an estimate of how long the oatmeal should of its top quality. If you’ll store oatmeal properly (and most of us do), it will be safe to consume for at least a few years. Just make sure water (os steam) can’t reach it.

The important thing to remember here is that the quality of oatmeal will slowly deteriorate over time. Its texture and color might change slightly, so can its flavor. All in all, after a few years of storing oatmeal, you might be unsatisfied with its quality and decide to throw it away. That’s of course a matter of personal preference.

How to tell if oatmeal is bad

As mentioned earlier, if stored properly, oatmeal will be safe to eat for years. But how one can tell if it’s bad? If water can somehow find its way into the package/container with oatmeal and will spoil it, there are few signs you should look for. First one is obvious – mold. If oatmeal will go bad, it’ll probably start to grow mold and that’s usually easy to spot, especially if it starts to grow on top of the oatmeal. The second sure-sign of spoilage is smell. If it smells off, oatmeal is surely bad and should be discarded. If you’re not really sure if it’s fine of spoiled, throw it away.

As you already know, oatmeal can go bad, if water/steam/any form of moisture can find its way into the package, but if it will stay dry, it will be fine for a couple of years. So, just make sure oatmeal is stored properly and it will surely stay fine until you’ll use the whole package.