Pasta is something we like to keep on hand. Our kids eat mac and cheese and spaghetti without complaining and pasta dishes are generally quick and easy to make and so versatile to make into different things. The last time I was at the store stocking up on our favorite kinds it made me wonder, does pasta go bad? How long is the shelf life of pasta? And how should I store the pasta to extend its shelf life long-term?
How to Store Dry Pasta Long-Term?
Pasta should be stored in a cool and dry location such as a storage room or pantry. Also, pasta is best-stored long-term in a sealed airtight container that protects it from moisture, air, light, and insects.
Pasta storage conditions include:
- Cool place
- Dry place
- Dark place
- Insect free
Airtight-sealed packaging options for pasta include:
- Original packaging
- Mylar bags
- Glass jars
- Plastic bags
- Bucket with bags (for further protection)
Best Way to Store Dry Pasta Long Term
The best way that I have found to store pasta is to package it in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and then store those mylar bags in buckets for additional protection. Here are the 5 steps that I take to package and store dry pasta long-term.
- Preheat sealer
- Fill mylar bags with pasta
- Place the correct amount/size of oxygen absorber in pasta (see the below chart). Push the absorber down into the pasta to reduce exposure to oxygen
- Press out as much air as possible in the bag
- Seal mylar bag
*It is best to work quickly or in smaller quantities to avoid exposing oxygen absorbers to too much unnecessary oxygen. I have learned from years of experience and research how to use oxygen absorbers, learn how to use oxygen absorbers and which foods are best to use them with.
**We have used our vacuum sealer’s heat sealer to seal our mylar bags. You can also use an iron or flat iron in a pinch. However, we recommend using an actual heat sealer like this one(see on Amazon).
Using Oxygen Absorbers in Pasta Storage
It is important to know the correct size of oxygen absorber you’ll need depending on the size of the storage container you are using. Here is our EZ Oxygen Absorber Size Chart to help you make the right choice.
|EZ Oxygen Absorber Size Chart|
|Dry Food Items||1 Quart (8×8 inch bag)||#10 Can/.82 Gal.(10×16 inch bag)||5 Gallon Bucket(20×30 inch bag)||6 Gallon Bucket(20×30 inch bag)|
|Flour/Powders||50 cc’s||100 cc’s||350 cc’s||400 cc’s|
|Sugar||50 cc’s||100 cc’s||500 cc’s||600 cc’s|
|Grains (wheat)||50 cc’s||150 cc’s||90 cc’s||1100 c’s|
|Beans||100 cc’s||200 cc’s||1100 cc’s||1300 cc’s|
|Long Pastas (spaghetti)||100 cc’s||250 cc’s||1300 cc’s||1500 cc’s|
|Small Pastas (elbow)||100 cc’s||350 cc’s||2000 cc’s||2300 cc’s|
Be careful when using plastic bags to vacuum seal pasta because pasta is ridged enough to puncture the plastic bags. Mylar bags and glass jars are safer storage containers for pasta when storing it for the long term.
How Can You Store Pasta Long-Term? Extending Pastas Self Life
To store pasta long-term you want to create an environment that has no moisture, air, or light. Pasta already has little to no moisture, this helps create an environment that is nearly impossible for bacteria to grow.
Because of the low moisture content, pasta is great for long-term storage on its own. However, there are a few ways you can extend the shelf life of your pasta.
5 ways to extend the shelf life of pasta
- Airtight container
- Vacuum seal in original box
- Glass Jars with oxygen absorbers
- Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers
- Ziplock bags
Airtight container: moving pasta from its original packaging to an airtight container can help extend the shelf life by limiting the air and moisture that can get into the pasta. It will also keep out pests.
Vacuum sealing: storing pasta in its original box gives it some extra strength for long-term storage. This is especially nice for pastas such as spaghetti and fettuccine that can break and turn into small pieces over time. It is a good idea to store these bags in a hard container such as a bucket for added protection from rodents, insects, and light.
Glass jars: sealing pasta in glass jars is great for pastas such as elbow, shells, or bowties. You can easily see what is in the jar and they don’t take up a lot of space.
Mylar bags: mylar bags with an oxygen absorber is a great way to keep out moisture, oxygen, and light. Making it a great option for all kinds of pastas. It is a good idea to store these bags in a hard container such as a bucket for added protection from rodents and insects.
Ziplock bags: Storing pasta in a ziplock bag will help keep moisture out which will help extend the shelf life. Ziplock bags are not the best option for long-term storage but will help extend the life of your pasta when stored in the pantry.
Like flour, you can put pasta in the freezer for 12-24 hours before storing it for the long term to ensure anything inside the pasta that is living will be killed so that it does not continue to grow or cause problems while stored. However, unlike flour, storing dry pasta in the refrigerator or freezer will make no difference in extending the shelf life. See how to extend the shelf life of flour.
Shelf Life of Pasta?
How long can you store pasta?
|Storage type||Shelf life|
|Pantry (original packaging)||1 year|
|Unopened (original packaging)||1-2 years past the printed date|
|Air tight container (mylar bag, sealed jar)||indefinitely|
|Fresh pasta in the refrigerator||2-3 days|
|Fresh pasta in the freezer||1 month|
The shelf life of pasta in its original packaging is one year. Unopened pasta can be kept for 1-2 years past the printed date when stored in the original packaging. When taking the proper steps to extend the shelf life of pasta such as using vacuum sealing, glass jars, mylar bags, and ziplock bags the shelf life of the pasta can be extended indefinitely and not go bad.
How to Tell if Pasta Has Gone Bad?
Pasta like many other things will give off a bad smell or appearance when it has gone bad. Here are the things you should look for.
Signs dry pasta has gone bad:
- Organic growth
- Smells rancid or bad
You can tell uncooked pasta has gone bad if you see organic growth such as mold. Mold on pasta is usually present as dark green or blue spots. Some kinds of pasta have a natural oil and can go rancid. You will know it is rancid if it has a rancid, stale, or sour smell. If pasta is stored not in an airtight container it is possible for pests to get in and cause the pasta to go bad.
Pasta can have an indefinite shelf life if stored correctly. If your pasta has been exposed to moisture or hasn’t been stored in an airtight container it is possible that it will go bad.
How can you tell if fresh pasta has gone bad?
Fresh pasta will go slimy or gooey as it starts to go bad. This usually occurs just before organic growth such as mold starts to grow.
Best Pasta for Long-Term Storage?
The best pasta for long-term storage is dry pasta. Freshly made or cooked pastas do not store well long term. To store pasta long-term you want to eliminate as much moisture as possible. This makes dry pasta a great option for long-term storage.
Whole wheat dry pasta can contain more oil causing the pasta to spoil or go rancid sooner than regular dry pasta. Whole wheat pasta can have a shorter shelf life. Always check your whole wheat pasta that has been stored long term for a rancid smell or mold before using.