Doritos are a classic snack and are a staple in many pantries. Depending on who you are, you might be eating a bag a week, but for some, even the family-sized bag can take time to get through.
Maybe you’ve found a bag hiding in a cupboard that you didn’t know you had. You can’t let perfectly good Doritos go to waste. But how old is too old?
Do Doritos expire or go bad? Not formally as there is no precise expiration date. If you’ve had a sealed Doritos bag for a few months, it’s likely still good. If you’ve opened the bag and gone unfinished, it comes down to personal preference and storage.
Chips fall into the group of food items that have a sell-by date, not necessarily a used-by date. There is some flexibility in how soon you need to eat them after the sell-by date has passed, so there are no concrete rules to follow.
The use-by date is there to ensure freshness, but it’s not there for safety. However, there are some quick ways to check if your Doritos are something you really want to eat.
What’s the Typical Shelf Life of Doritos?
Because of their low moisture content, Doritos have a pretty substantial shelf life. Compared to other kinds of chips, which have more oil added, Doritos can be at their best for much longer.
Unopened, Doritos can last up to a few months and remain their ideal crispiness. Once the bag is open, it can last up to a month perfectly fresh. After a couple of months have passed, they can decline in quality, but they are still safe to eat.
Corn-based chips tend to last a bit longer than regular potato chips. They go through a different baking process, and the added salt helps so your unsealed bag will be free of moisture or bacteria.
If you have an unopened bag lying around for some time, depending on how you seal it, it’s still not going to cause any harm. But over time, you might notice it start to go stale and a change of texture. Since food texture is something people feel really strongly about, it may bother you more than someone else.
How Can You Tell If Doritos Have Gone Bad?
There is no expiration date on Doritos to guide you. The sell-by date is nothing to go by, and after they leave the store shelf, other factors go into making your Doritos last.
So, you have to use other cues to determine if your chips have “gone bad.” The chance of this happening is pretty slim, but there are some cases where you should avoid taking the chance.
Stale chips won’t hurt you and whether or not you eat them is entirely up to you. But, if you start to see mold or white spots on any of the chips, it’s best to toss the whole bag. A bad odor, taste, or appearance is also a sign that you should get rid of them.
Sometimes, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so as painful as it is, throwing the Doritos away would be the best option.
What’s the Best Way to Store Doritos?
Your storage method can make a big difference in how long your Doritos last. Storing them in a cool, dry place and as airtight as possible will increase their shelf life. This is incredibly important if you live in an already humid area because moisture will make them go bad faster.
The more moisture that gets introduced to the chips, the more likely it is that you’ll find mold spores in the bag on the chips. Storing them in the original package is great once they’re open; just make sure you have firmly clipped the bag closed or rolled it down tightly.
Some people choose to keep their Doritos in the freezer to make them last. It does affect the texture of the chips, though, and can make them brittle.
If your Doritos are still unopened, keeping them out of direct sunlight is still a good idea, but they’re already airtight, so you don’t have to worry as much about moisture.
What Happens if You Eat a Dorito That’s “Gone Bad”?
If you eat a Dorito that’s been around for a while, chances are, you’ll be fine. It won’t make you sick and won’t hurt you. The taste or texture may turn you off, but sometimes a stale chip is better than no chips.
But it’s all up to personal preference. If you hate throwing away food, they won’t do any harm, and some people suggest that you can bring them back to life by re-baking them in the oven.
You could even get creative and find some recipes that call for crushed-up tortilla chips and swap them out for Doritos instead.
If you have a sensitive stomach, it might not sit right with you, but it’s not something that will give you food poisoning or threaten your overall health.
Doritos can stand the test of time, for at least a few months, without losing the quality of freshness. Once they start to decline, it’s typically not anything serious that can damage your health.
Ultimately, if there are white spots or mold, you should just throw them away. And if they’ve met moisture, they’re likely beyond saving. If you’re ever in doubt about the quality of your Doritos and are worried about making yourself sick, the easiest thing to do is buy a new bag.
As long as you store them correctly, they shouldn’t go bad. Since there’s no expiration date, whether or not you choose to eat your Doritos when they’re not at their freshest is really a judgment call.
So, even if you can’t eat a whole bag of Doritos in one sitting, just know, you can take your time. Maybe don’t wait a year, but they can still be fresh even several months from now.