Medically reviewed by Sade Meeks, MS, RD, Nutrition — composed by Tiffany La build on February 25, 2021

Oatmeal (and oats, in general, no matter exactly how you whip castle up) is a an excellent food choice for any component of the day. Short in calories and fat, high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins — it’s also versatile and inexpensive.

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It’s good for keeping you full, managing weight, lowering cholesterol, and stabilizing blood sugar. Because of the beta glucans in oats, they also offer gut health and wellness benefits.

For these reasons amongst others, oatmeal has actually earned its ar as one of America’s favorite breakfast foods. It also has a national day (mark your calendars for October 29th).

But simply how solid is this pantry staple as soon as it involves shelf life?

Here’s the 411 on just how long girlfriend can proceed to eat oats prior to tossing them.


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First thing’s first: check the expiration date. This date is a an excellent gauge come follow, but other factors can quicken expiration (like warehouse environment).

If there’s no clearly shows expiration date and you’re ~ above the fence about your oats, inspect for mold. If you check out mold anywhere, toss the whole batch best away. If friend don’t check out it, check for any type of of the other adhering to signs the expiration:

Color and also texture. Oxidation and moisture can cause oats to revolve stale and readjust their flavor, color, texture, scent, and overall freshness. Oats have to be a irradiate brown or cream color and not have any discoloration — whether it is dark or light spots. This deserve to be brought about by pests or mold growth.

Smell. Oats should have actually a nutty, slightly sweet aroma, no sour or bitter. Any unpleasant smells space a sign that oatmeal has gone poor or turn rancid.


Unlike dairy products or meat, dried foods commonly won’t make you ailing if eaten past their expiration date. This is because dried foods have a low existence of water and also moisture, inhibiting food poisoning microorganisms and also spoilage.

However, the doesn’t average eating oatmeal with traces of mold won’t make you sick. Improper warehouse or exposing her oats to excess humidity can cause unwelcome mold growth.

Even if eat expired oats that look fine won’t necessarily reason you harm, the quality and also flavor that oats decrease over time. If lock taste funky, smell funny, or watch strangely clumpy, it’s probably finest to part ways.


The shelf life the oats depends on three key factors:

type that oatsstorage areastorage container

Here room the main species of oats and also how lengthy they last:


Type of oatsLasts for
instant oatmeal1–2 years
flavored oatmeal6–9 months
steel cut oats2 years
rolled oats1–2 years
prepared oatmeal3–5 days

Depending on the type, oatmeal have the right to last from 6 month to 3 year with ideal storage. Oatmeal it is flavored with fruit or dry cream big 6 months on average and instant oatmeal lasts about a year.

Similar to other dried foods like pasta, steel cut and rolled oats last because that 1 come 2 years. And also prepared oatmeal lasts for around 3 come 5 job in the fridge.


Oats should be save on computer in cool, dry settings with secure temperatures. Moisture or temperature alters that cause condensation will certainly promote the development of mold.

Oats should likewise be stored in airtight containers to minimize exposure come oxygen. Glass, stainless steel, or ceramic job-related best.

A dry and also dark pantry or cupboard is constantly a safe bet.


If your oatmeal is expired but cost-free from mold, you have the right to repurpose it instead of throwing that away. Oatmeal is an excellent for the skin, especially dry or irritated skin. You can use oats past their element to make scrubs, face masks, or a dry scalp treatment.

Itchy AF? take it a super soothing oatmeal bathtub to comfort winter skin — we have three impressive recipes here.

Have a pet? Oatmeal additionally makes a good natural deodorizer and soothes skin worries in dogs.


While dried oats will commonly last for approximately 2 years, instant and also flavored oatmeals have a shorter life expectations (6 months to 2 years).

Time can influence the quality and also taste the oats, but factors such together moisture, oxygen, and also light have the right to speed up their decline. Improper storage can also encourage mold growth, for this reason be certain to keep oats in airtight containers and also store them in a dry, cool place.

See more: How Many Fingers Do Turtles Have, Fingers Of Tortoise

Now that you know just how to extend their shelf life, say goodbye come boring oats forever through these exceptional oatmeal recipes.


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Medically reviewed by Sade Meeks, MS, RD, Nutrition — composed by Tiffany La create on February 25, 2021