If you’ve just opened a bag of flour and need to store it, you may wonder: How long does flour last? Flour is an everyday pantry staple, but there isn’t just one kind of flour. In fact, there are numerous varieties, each offering its own estimated shelf life.
This article will explore these different types of flour and how long they last.
How Long Does Flour Last?
The shelf life of flour is influenced by the type of flour and the manner in which it is stored. Let’s examine the approximate shelf life of each and the best ways to store them.
After reading through this section, you’ll have your answer to the question, “How long does flour last?”.
1. All-Purpose Flour
All-purpose flour is possibly the most versatile and common types of flour. It’s classed as medium-grade and comprises a mix of soft and hard wheat. As such, it contains slightly more protein than other types of flour.
The protein gives baked goods a perfectly fluffy and soft texture. If stored in the pantry before opening, your all-purpose flour could keep for between 3 and 8 months.
However, should you store the flour in an airtight container in the fridge, it can last for about 1 year. It’s also possible to store your flour in the freezer, in which case it may even be good for up to 2 years.
You can store your all-purpose flour for 6 to 8 months after the recommended expiration date. But you must ensure its container or packaging is sealed and stored in the fridge.
2. Self-Rising Flour
Self-rising flour is often used for biscuits and quick bread. This flour contains baking powder, which helps it rise, giving baked goods a light, airy texture. It’s usually finer than all-purpose flour and is lower in protein, which helps to produce a tender crumb.
Storing your self-rising flour in the freezer will ensure it lasts approximately 2 years. That’s if you store it in an airtight, freezer-safe container. The same applies to storing it in the refrigerator, but this will only see it last for up to 1 year.
Keeping your self-raising flour in its original packaging in a cool, dry pantry will generally yield a 3-to-4-month shelf life. And you should still be able to use your self-rising flour for up to 8 months past its “best before” date.
3. Cake Or Pastry Flour
Cake flour is a relatively fine type of flour. It’s derived from a soft variety of wheat and contains less protein than other types of flour. As a result, it produces baked goods that are softer and more delicate.
This flour is also typically bleached, which results in its white color, and is often used for cakes, cookies, and other desserts. If you store your cake flour in a sealed container in the fridge, it can last up to 12 months.
Placing the container in the freezer will double this expected shelf life. However, when stored in the pantry, unopened, you should be able to use your flour for at least 4 to 6 months.
That said, it’s still safe to use cake flour 6 to 8 months past its recommended usage date.
4. Whole Wheat Flour
Unrefined wheat kernel is used to make whole wheat flour. As such, it incorporates the germ, bran, and endosperm of the kernel. This type of flour is coarser than all-purpose flour and contains more fiber and nutrients.
It’s the perfect flour for baking bread and rolls but can also be used in cake and cookie recipes. If you bake regularly, the best approach for storing whole wheat flour is in a tightly sealed bag or container.
You can place it in the fridge, extending its lifespan to roughly 6 months. But if you place it in a cool, dry cupboard, it should last you in the region of 3 months.
Freezing whole wheat flour is also an option and can be kept in the freezer for up to 1 year. In the case of whole wheat flour, we do not recommend using it beyond its stipulated expiry date.
5. Almond Flour
Almond flour is produced by grinding almonds nuts. This makes it a gluten-free and paleo-friendly replacement for flour derived from wheat. It’s also high in protein and healthy fats, making it a nutritious option for those on a grain-free diet.
This nut-based flour is more refined than other types of gluten-free flour, such as coconut flour or tapioca flour. Therefore, it’s ideal for baked goods like cookies, cakes, and muffins.
You can store your almond flour in your pantry for about 3 months and in the fridge for approximately 6 months. When freezing your almond flour, you can expect a shelf life of anywhere from 6 to 12 months. But remember to always use an airtight fridge or freezer-safe container when doing so.
Storing your flour in the fridge or freezer will increase its shelf life exponentially. But if your flour displays any mold, a color change, or an unpleasant smell, you should dispose of it.
These are clear signs that your flour has gone bad and should be taken seriously. Given the above information, you should no longer need to wonder, “How long does flour last?”.