Chili powder is one of the most versatile spices as it works with all kinds of meals and dishes, irrespective of the cuisine. People add it to almost everything- right from stews, pasta, chili, rubs, etc. No wonder this spice has been in our diet since 7500 B.C.
But how long would a packet of chili powder last? Would it ever go bad? Is it okay to use it after it has moved past its expiration date? If such questions are lingering in your mind, you must pay heed to its spoilage signs and storage techniques.
Even though chili powder is bound to go bad, you can prevent it by adhering to a few tips and tricks. Read along and find out!
How Long Does Chilli Powder Last?
Chili powder, a dry spice, does not go bad quickly! Commercially made chili powders come with a use-by date, after which the chili powder will start losing its flavor.
The table below mentions how long chili powder will remain in usable condition-
|In the pantry||Under refrigeration|
|Chili powder(opened)||3-4 years||1- 2 years|
|Chili powder(unopened)||3-4 years||1-2 years|
|Chili powder( homemade)||3-4 years||1-2 years|
When stored properly, chili powder will stay usable for a long time!
How To Tell If Chilli Powder Has Gone Bad?
Commercially made chili powder will not spoil easily. Though over time, they will start losing their potency and become flat.
For Unopened packs-
- Bloated packet
Suppose the packet of chili powder looks swollen and looks bloated. It’s a sign of bacteria contaminating the packet.
Do not buy such packs, or if you have them discard them.
If you can see small holes in the packet, it’s best not to buy it. If you already have the packet, then moisture might have already contaminated it. It is best to throw it away.
- The packet is moldy or damp.
If the packet of chili powder looks damp and has mold growing on it, you can safely assume its way past usability. Best to throw it away.
For open packs and homemade chili powder-
Exposure to moisture will cause mold to grow on the chili powder. If you can see signs of mold, then you should not use the chili powder and throw it away immediately.
When stored in unhygienic conditions, the chili powder may develop worms or bugs. Put it on a flat plate and look for any signs of movement or worms. If found, dispose of the whole packet.
- Smells off
Smell the chili powder, and if you can note a weird smell, then it’s best not to use it, and it should be thrown away.
Take a small pinch of the chili powder and taste it. If it tastes off, throw it away.
Moisture will cause the chili powder to start clumping, but this is not harmful. You can still use it as long as it does not have mold formation.
What Will Happen If I Eat Expired Chilli Powder?
Nothing! Chilli powder is a spice; hence it does not really go bad. It will just start losing its flavor over time.
Remember – The use-by date mentioned on chili powder packets is the manufacturer’s estimate of the time until the chili powder will stay in its peak quality. Beyond that time, it will start losing its flavors and seem flat.
So if you eat a chili powder way after the use-by date, the most that could happen is you would not feel the spiciness!
But remember, if you eat chili powder that has signs of mold, you may experience stomach aches and vomiting. Consult a doctor if the situation worsens.
Can You Freeze Chili Powder?
Yes, you can freeze chili powder! But it is not recommended as chili powder is a condiment you will use daily; hence freezing it will be unnecessary.
Also, if not frozen properly, the chili powder may come in contact with moisture and develop mold, which would make it unusable.
If you have made large bathes of chili powder, then freezing is a good idea. You can follow the following steps-
- Put the chili powder into an airtight container or a vacuum-sealed bag. Close the lid properly and remove any air from the vacuum bag to prevent freezer burn and moisture contamination.
Divide it into batches and store them in different containers or bags. This will allow easy access and keep the remaining bathes safe and away from moisture.
- Put the chili powder into the freezer.
How to thaw frozen chili powder?
Simply Remove It from the bag and place it at room temperature or directly remove it and use it.
Refrigerated vs. Shelf-stable
Chili powder will stay in good condition stored in the pantry, but refrigeration will help it stay out of contamination.
Though refrigerating chili powder is not required, you can do so!
Refrigeration is helpful when you have a large amount of chili powder and want to keep it safe. Store the chili powder in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag and store it in the fridge.
Ensure there is no water to prevent moisture exposure, and do not constantly remove it in and out of the fridge as this will cause condensation, resulting in molds growing on your chili powder.
Pro tip- keep a small amount of chili powder ( sufficient for daily use) in the pantry at room temperature and store the remaining in the fridge to be used in batches. This will prevent constant removing and keeping of the powder, which might cause condensation.
Chili powder is shelf-stable and safely stored in your kitchen cabinet. Ensure to avoid contact with moisture or heat as these will cause it to spoil quickly.
Ensure to store your chili powder in an airtight container and keep the lid tightly shut at all times.
What Is The Best Way To Store Chili Powder?
Chili powder, as mentioned above, is a stable shelf spice and can be stored on the pantry shelf easily. You can follow these steps for doing so-
- Airtight container
Storing chili powder within an airtight container is important as contact with air will cause the chili powder to react with the moisture present and start clumping or molding, and the oxygen present will oxidize it.
- keep the container’s lid shut at all times when not in use.
- When choosing a container for chili powder, choose glass, ceramic or stainless steel, as these will keep the chili powder safe and fresh for a long time.
- While using the chili powder, use a clean and dry spoon.
- Store in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Keep the chili powder container in a hygienic place where sunlight is low. Make sure to keep it away from the stove as heat will make it deteriorate quickly. A cabinet in your pantry will work fine.
Pro tip- use darkened or opaque containers to store chili powder as exposure to sunlight will make it lose its color quickly.
Alternatives for Chili Powder if it has Gone Bad
If your chili powder packet has gone bad, but you desperately require the spice in your recipe, you can use any of the following substitutes:
- Ground cayenne peppers
- Ancho chili powder
- Taco seasonings
- Chipotle Pepper Powder
Will grounding freshly made chilies and making chili powder make it last longer?
Yes, when you freshly ground the chilies, they will stay fresh for a long time.
Can you use chili powder that is 4 years old?
When stored in an airtight container, chili powder can last for 3-4 years. However, it is best to look out for signs of any spoilage before using any old spices.
Does dried chili expire?
Dried chili expires after 6 months from its manufacturing. Due to their short shelf life, people often prefer using chili powder for seasoning their recipes as they can last for years.
Chili powder is an easy-to-store spice required for almost all dishes!
While storing chili powder, you should keep it away from moisture, and if you think the chili powder is expired, look for signs of mold and an off smell.
Comment below which storage tip you found most useful!
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Michael A. Antoine is a Sr. Chef at one of the leading chains of restaurants in the USA. He might raise hell in his kitchen, but his deep and practical knowledge about food and recipes helps us give you the best and tastiest recipes.