Can Pasta Go Bad?

Are you a pasta lover? Nothing warms the heart quite like a nourishing bowl of pasta drenched in white or red sauce then topped with grated cheese! Pasta has been a kitchen staple in Italian homes. It can be made from scratch or store bought. Whatever type of pasta you have at home, it’s always a treat to enjoy a plateful of it for lunch or dinner. But can pasta go bad? That depends on the state of the product prior to storage.

Dry, sealed packs of pasta have an extremely long shelf life. Since dried pasta has zero moisture content, the risk of bacterial or mold growth is minimal. Hence, it will keep fresh for a while. On the other hand, cooked pasta has a shorter shelf life.

Image used under Creative Commons from Maggie Hoffman

Can Pasta Go Bad?

As mentioned above, cooked and uncooked pasta have radically different storage lives and it all boils down to moisture content. Since cooked pasta is boiled and drenched in hot water, there is a good chance that it will go bad within days. This goes especially if the product has been stored improperly. Exposure to humid temperatures could cause the pasta to spoil quickly.

Dry pasta has a long shelf life but it’s not resistant to spoilage either. It will go bad at some point although this will take a while. It’s important to store cooked and uncooked pasta properly to extend the products’ shelf life. You can start by reading the label for storage instructions.

Signs that Pasta Has Gone Bad

How do you know when the pasta you’ve kept in storage for so long has gone bad? Check for the presence of mold. Cooked and uncooked pasta that’s been exposed to air for far too long will develop mold. Check for obvious signs of discoloration or an off-odor too. If the pasta smells strange, discard the product.

Even if there are no obvious signs of spoilage, dry pasta that’s been stored for too long will lose its original flavor. The texture, once cooked, will be different too. That’s why we recommend using up your pasta supply as soon as possible for optimal flavor.

How to Store Pasta?

For uncooked sealed and opened packs of pasta, store the product in the pantry. Since uncooked pasta is sold dry, it won’t go bad when stored at room temperature. However, we highly recommend storing opened packs of uncooked pasta in an airtight container for optimal flavor. Always keep the container sealed to reduce air exposure.

Homemade pasta and cooked pasta should be kept in the fridge. The chilly temps will inhibit mold growth and reduce the risk of spoilage. Keep the pasta in an airtight container so it won’t dry out. Always seal the container until you used up the pasta to extend its shelf life.

Image used under Creative Commons from Yuki Shimazu

Dry pasta that’s been kept sealed will keep for 2 years or so in the pantry. Fresh pasta, on the other hand, will only keep for 5 days in the fridge. Cooked pasta will keep for a week or so in the fridge.

Can You Freeze Pasta?

Surprisingly, pasta keeps so well in the freezer. If you have no plans of consuming your pasta supply anytime soon, freezing makes a great storage option. For dry pasta, place the product in a freezer-safe container, original packaging and all. The extra layer of protection will keep frost at bay. For cooked pasta or homemade pasta, store it in a freezer-safe, airtight container then stick in the freezer.


Who doesn’t love a plateful of pasta? It’s the ultimate comfort food! Can pasta go bad? Yes, pasta will go bad but only when it’s stored improperly. Keep all these storage tips in mind to extend the shelf life of dry, cooked and homemade pasta!

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