Granola has and will always be the star for breakfast, trail mix, puddings, or cookies! Its crunchiness and sweetness make every meal better almost instantly, which is why everybody has their packet in their kitchen pantries.
But you might not always finish what you started. The half-open bag of granola could have been sitting in your pantry for the last few months, forcing you to question its quality. But don’t worry; granola comes with a 6-month shelf life.
However, it is always better to stay prepared, and the following article will do just that! We shall discuss the best ways to store granola so that you can elongate its shelf life and quality.
How long does granola last? Does it go bad?
How long does Granola last once open? How long does Granola last unopened?
In the case of packaged granola, you can expect a life expectancy of 6-12 months in general. But, this timeline applies to the sealed product. After opening the package, it is better to consume the product within almost 1-4 months.
Since the ingredients can vary, the shelf-life of granola can also fluctuate depending on the product components. Also, the life expectancy of granola depends on whether the product is homemade or store-bought. So, you can expect different expiry dates in the case of your self-made granola.
How long does homemade granola last at room temperature?
Generally, homemade granola stays fresh and nutritious only for 15 days while stored at room temperature. Although many health-freak people like home-baked granola on their breakfast plate, they overlook the expiry date of the food. Yes, even your home-cooked granola can go bad after 15 days if you do not freeze it.
Your hand-made granola will retain its freshness and nutrition for up to 3 months if you keep it in the refrigerator. But, make sure you cover the granola very well while storing it in a freezer. Else, the moisture of the freezer can degrade the food quality.
How long does vacuum-sealed granola last?
So, how long your granola will last depends on the ingredients and storing procedures. If you keep the sealed package in a cool, dry place, it will stay fresh for up to 1 year. But, after opening the seal, you need to freeze the leftover in a closed container to increase its life expectancy.
How do you know when Granola goes bad?
Most of us cannot imagine a breakfast without a plate full of healthy and nutritious granola. But, an open container of granola or an improperly stored granola can go stale. The problem is detecting spoiled granola is a challenging task.
Even though packaged or homemade granola stays fresh for months, moisture or bugs can ruin its quality. If you store it in the kitchen cupboard, pantry pests can enter the packaged granola. So, the food can rot before its expiry date.
That is why we have shared a few tricks. These will help you understand whether the granola on your plate is good or bad.
Smell like paint
Most granola contains coconut oil or olive oil, whether it is store-bought or homemade. The ingredient brings the perfect consistency, taste, and smell to the food. But, the oil can go stale or rancid due to improper or extended storage.
As a result, your granola can smell like old paint. So, if the food smells off or musty, you need to discard the product immediately.
Granola becomes moldy
Improper storing habits can make your fresh granola moldy. Generally, sealed packaging or containers cannot let dampness enter the food item. But, any leakage in the seal can make the granola react with the moisture.
So, as a result, you will find molds in the food. Since you cannot fix the issue, it is better to get rid of the rotten granola. Also, try to store the food in a dry place and a sealed container next time.
The trick will help you avoid such situations.
You will notice pantry bugs in the food.
As many people keep the granola with other cereals in the pantry, pantry bugs can rot the food. Once such insects infest the package or the container, they can ruin the granola and make the food poisonous. So, it is better not to consume the granola and discard it immediately.
In the case of pantry bugs, make sure the pests have not infested other foods in the pantry. Also, try to get rid of moths, weevils, and other pantry insects as soon as possible.
The granola has lost its crunch.
The presence of sogginess in the granola can indicate the food has gone spoiled. Again, incorrect storage makes the product lose its crunchiness. If the container lets moisture and air enter, the granola becomes soggy.
But, you can make it edible again if the product does not get moldy. So to make that happen, place the granola on a cookie tray. Then, re-bake the food at high temperature in a microwave oven.
A simple trick you can follow to check the freshness of the food:
Maybe you opened the container of granola months ago and left it half-open for a few months. In that case, give the food a taste test before consuming it with other items.
Can expired granola make you sick?
As long as the granola is free from molds, you can consume expired granola. But as soon as you see molds growing or any changes in the taste or color, it is best to discard them. Such granola can make you sick.
Shelf-stable or Refrigerated Granola?
Whenever it comes to choosing one between refrigerated and shelf-stable granola, we cannot make our mind. So, here we will tell you which one is good for your health.
How long does granola last in the pantry?
Keeping granola at room temperature is good if you consume it within almost one month. In case you do not know what shelf-stable is, let us tell you. Shelf-stable refers to storing food at room temperature.
Granola stays fresh and crunchy for almost 30 days while sitting on a shelf. Since the product consists of various dry ingredients, it does not go stale quickly at room temperature. But make sure you keep it in a closed, airtight container.
Be it packaged or homemade, shelf-stable granola needs to get consumed within 15-30 days. Although it stays crunchy even after that, the food can lose its nutritional value. But, an unopened packet of granola can retain its freshness even for 6-12 months at room temperature.
So, if you plan to store the opened product for a few more months, refrigeration is the key.
How long does granola last in the refrigerator?
Refrigeration adds at least three months to the shelf-life of an opened granola. Since the freezing temperature slows down the bacterial growth, the granola stays fresh for almost 6 months. But, make sure you store the granola in a tight container in the freezer.
Also, unopened granola can stay intact in the refrigerator for more than a year if you maintain the seal’s integrity.
What Happens If You Eat Expired granola?
Consuming expired granola does not make you sick until the food gets rotten. Yes, you read it right! Like any other cereals, granola also features a prolonged storage life under the preferred atmosphere.
For instance, the granola packaging generally suggests consuming the food almost six months after opening it. But, if you store the product correctly, you can eat that even after a few days of the expiry date. It is because granola mainly consists of dry ingredients.
However, make sure the food does not show any signs of spoilage. While eating expired granola does not make you sick, consuming rotten food can cause food poisoning. Otherwise, you can safely eat expired granola till the product stays crunchy and nutritious.
Can You Freeze granola?
Yes, you can freeze granola to extend the shelf life. As we all know, granola can hold its flavor, crispness, and nutritional value while sitting at room temperature. But, any mistake during the storing process can quickly make the shelf-stable granola rot.
That is why keeping granola in the refrigerator is the best way to keep it fresh for longer. But, make sure you refrigerate the cereal in a tight container. Otherwise, the moisture can make granola soggy.
While storing packaged or homemade granola in the freezer, you can follow the following tips.
- In the case of homemade granola, freeze it after the food cools down.
- Make sure you freeze the granola in a tight container. You can also use a ziplock packet or airtight bag for storing the food.
- Labeling the granola container with the date will help you consume it within the preferred time range.
How to Store Granola?
Granola stays crisp and retains its nutritional value even at room temperature. But, proper storage increases its shelf-life and keeps it flavorful for longer. Appropriate temperature and sealed containers are the keys to the store granola.
Below we have shared apt ways to store granola. You can follow these to increase the consumption period of the food.
Store the granola in a cool, dark, and dry place
Granola can maintain its crunch while sitting in a cool and dry place. Since the kitchen pantry generally features the perfect temperature and dryness, you can store granola here for 15-30 days. But, remember the time limit applies to open or homemade food.
In the case of unopened granola, you can store it in a dry area for a long time. While keeping granola at room temperature, make sure the container is perfectly closed. Plus, make sure the place is away from direct heat and light.
Also, you need to avoid storing granola in a humid area.
Refrigeration increases the shelf-life
For instance, you cook or purchase granola in a large quantity but cannot consume it within 15-30 days. In that case, freezing the food item in a resealable bag will be the best option for you. The freezing process reduces the growth of microorganisms in the granola.
So you can consume it up to 6 months after opening the package. Moreover, keep the lid of the granola container tightly closed all the time in the refrigerator.
You can follow several do’s and don’ts while storing granola for a long time.
- Seal the bag or container after every use. Otherwise, the crunchy granola can get soggy due to the ambient moisture.
- If you have granola in bulk, store it in the refrigerator for a prolonged life expectancy.
- After opening the seal of packaged granola, transfer the food into an airtight container. Thus the cereal will stay crunchy for a long time.
- Never keep the granola packet or container open for long. As the food reacts with air and moisture, your granola can go stale.
- Avoid keeping granola in a bright and warm place. The temperature can degrade the food quality.
What are the Alternatives to Granola if it has gone bad?
The following are some of the healthiest and tastiest granola alternatives in case you find yourself with an expired batch:
- Fresh berries
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Coconut flakes
- Pomegranate seeds
How can I store granola bars?
The best way to store the granola bar is by keeping them in a sealed container. Ziplock plastics also can be a perfect substitute for containers. You can even wrap the minibars in parchment papers for better storage.
Although shelf-stable granola bars stay fresh for almost one week, refrigerated bars stay crunchy longer than that. So, in case you have granola bars in bulk, it will be best to refrigerate them. Refrigeration will elevate their life expectancy.
Is granola a healthy breakfast option?
Before answering the question, let us tell you the primary ingredients of granola. The food item is a mixture of toasted nuts, rolled oats, coconut or olive oil, and a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup. You can also add dry fruits, seeds, and puffed rice to the granola.
Hopefully, the whole ingredient list is enough to tell you whether granola is healthy or not. Even according to Healthline, granola helps decrease blood glucose and cholesterol level. Daily consumption of this food will also help improve blood pressure and gut health.
How do granola taste and smell?
Granola generally features a savory and flavorful taste because of the various ingredients. You can feel a little salty taste while taking a bite of the yummy food. But, the sweetness can also overpower in the next bite.
The salt and sweet ratio depends on the components. In a nutshell, crunchy granola is one of the most flavorsome cereals available with a delicious smell.
Yes, fresh granola can make your household smell like vanilla. Plus, the honey also elevates the divine aroma.
Can I Make Bad Granola Fresh Again?
If you have stale granola, spread it over a baking sheet and heat it at 400 degrees CF for five minutes. Let it cool down, and you’ll have crispy and crunchy granola.
Can granola grow mold?
Granola can grow mold in the absence of proper storage facilities. This is why it is essential to undertake proper storage facilities, especially if you want to use the granola for a long period.
The Bottom Line
We hope that our article has cleared your doubt about whether granola goes bad or not. Now, you can self-assess the edibility of all the granola left in your pantry or freezer with the provided information. Remember, the food loses its quality soon if stored improperly.
So, you can follow our suggested steps and tips while storing the food for a long time. In that way, you can enjoy your homemade or store-bought granola even after a few months.
Gina P. Shudnow is the brain behind all our scientific research. She is a Registered Dietitian who has been in the field for over ten years. Her nutrition tips have helped several people overcome health issues in the past. She strives to make everybody healthier without compromising on their food diet.