Shelf Life of
Cereal

How Long Does Cereal Last?

How Long Does Cereal Last?

How Long Does Cereal Last? The shelf life of cereal depends on a variety of factors, such as the best before date, the preparation method and how and where the product is stored. Because of its relatively low cost, ease of use and high calorie density, cereal is one of the most popular grains around when looking for a quick breakfast or a late night snack. Cereal can be processed from almost any type of grain, and everyone has their favorite cereal – the topic can open a great debate!

So, how long does cereal last? When properly stored, the shelf life of cereal past its best before date is approximately …

(Unopened) Pantry Refrigerator
Past Printed Date Past Printed Date
Cheerios lasts for 6-8 Months
Shredded Wheat lasts for 6-8 Months
Box of Cereal lasts for 6-8 Months
(Opened) Pantry Refrigerator
Cereal lasts for 4-6 Months
Cooked Cereal lasts for 4-5 Days




Of course, foods last for a shorter period of time if they are not stored properly. Like a lot of other grains, it usually has a best before date and not a use by date. Because of this distinction, you may safely use it even after the best before date has lapsed.

How to tell if cereal is bad, rotten or spoiled?

Practicing proper hygiene and food safety discipline will help prevent food borne illness. Since cereal grains have been dried, removing all the water, there is not much that can go bad with them unless you live in a very humid climate which could put some water back into the cereal and cause the cereal to go bad. Your senses of touch and hearing are the best ones to see if cereal has gone bad. If you try to break a flake of cereal and there is no crackling sound, then the cereal has probably gone bad – or more specifically the cereal is stale and has lost its crunch. It would still be OK to use for baking, but not very tasty to eat.

There are, of course, certain health risks associated with spoiled cereal, so always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your cereal prior to the eat by date.

How to store cereal to extend its shelf life?

Proper food storage is the key to extending the expiration date of food. You can help cereal stay fresh by storing it in a cool, dry, and dark place. The original box works great as long you tightly roll over the packaging or better yet use a clip to seal the opening.

Once prepared, cereals like oatmeal and cream of wheat that have been cooked should be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly closed container to keep out moisture and other contaminants.

Some benefits of proper food storage include eating healthier, cutting food costs and helping the environment by avoiding waste.

How long is cereal good for when prepared in a dish?

How long does cereal last? That depends. How long does milk last? In general, foods last only as long as the quickest expiring ingredient in the dish that it is prepared. Although, once you pour that milk into your cereal you basically have about 10 minutes to finish the bowl to enjoy the cereal at it’s best. To find out how long those other ingredients are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Grains, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or search below!

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What are our shelf life resources?

Our content incorporates research from multiple resources, including the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Food & Drug Administration. In addition, we scoured the web for informative articles and reports related to food safety, food storage and shelf life.

*An important note about expiration dates …

Although the cereal shelf life information on Eat By Date is generally reliable, please remember that individual cases will vary and that our advice should only be taken as an opinion. So, how long will food last? Let’s find out!