Do Oreos Expire or Go Bad?

by Charlie
Oreos

I don’t know about you, but a package of Oreos doesn’t last long in my house. Still, Oreos should be eaten sooner rather than later. Learning how long they last, how to properly store them, and how to spot spoiled Oreos can make sure you enjoy every last bite.

Do Oreos expire or go bad? Yes, Oreos do expire or go bad but can still be considered fresh 1 or 2 months after the “best by” date. While every food goes bad at some point, Oreos probably will not expire anytime soon after you purchase them. They are built for the shelf, and even the “best by” date on them is usually at least nine months post-production.

How Long Do Oreos Last?

It is safe to assume that an unopened bag of Oreos will still be fresh one to two months after the “best by” date. Once they are opened the timeline speeds up and the Oreos will only remain fresh for another one or two weeks.

While this is the timeline that most Oreos go by, things like environment and storage methods can change how long Oreos stay fresh.

How Do Oreos Last So Long?

Despite what your eyes and taste buds would have you believe, Oreos are dairy-free (and they are actually vegan). Because they utilize preservatives like sugar, Oreos are formulated to sit on the shelf for a bit.

While the actual recipe for the cream center has never been revealed, taking a look at the ingredient list on the back of the package leans toward the filling ingredients being:

  • Sugar
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • soy lecithin
  • Some sort of artificial flavor
  • Palm and/or canola oil

Because all of its ingredients are shelf-stable and Oreos utilize preservatives the cookies can handle waiting a while before they are eaten.

How Should Oreos Be Stored?

There are two storage methods for Oreos: keeping them in the resealable bag they come in and moving them to a more airtight container.

If you plan on eating the cookies within a few days the Oreo bag should be sufficient. You just need to make sure it is sealed all the way around and that the seal is tight.

If it takes you longer to go through a bag of sweets then you can relocate them to a food storage container. Looking for an adequate online can be a bit overwhelming, but an airtight glass storage container should protect your cookies without clashing with your kitchen decor.

You can also move the provided Oreo tray into a storage container if you need a slimmer storage option.

Either way, make sure you store the Oreos in an area that is:

  • Cool
  • Dry
  • Dark

The most ideal location is your pantry.

How Do You Know if Oreos Have Gone Bad?

To figure out if Oreos have “gone bad” you should evaluate the cookies “best by” date, storage conditions, texture, and taste. Oreos do not usually smell, even if they have gone bad.

The first thing you should look at is that “best by” date. If you are anywhere more than two months out from that date then the cookies have probably gone bad. If the package was opened more than two weeks ago I would not be optimistic.

Any Oreos that were stored in unsafe conditions should be discarded. Apart from the exposure to air and moisture, opened Oreos may have also come into contact with insects, even if you do not think there are any in your home. It is safer to throw them out.

If they were stored properly, check the texture of the Oreos. While most other cookies dry out and become hard when they are stale, Oreos actually get much softer and crumbly. If the cookies are no longer firm then they are on their way out.

If you still are not convinced you can always do a taste test. This will be a sure indicator of whether the Oreos still have their unique taste.

What Happens if You Eat Old Oreos?

If you run a taste test find out your Oreos have gone bad you should not worry too much. Even when they are stale Oreos pose no adverse health effects.

The most you would need to worry about is whether an insect has been on them. Many insects carry bacteria and diseases that they can easily transfer to the food that they come in contact with.

While it is still unlikely you will get sick it just isn’t worth risking. This is another reason airtight containers are highly recommended.

Can You Still Eat Old Oreos?

Again, as long as the only issue with the Oreos is that they are stale then you can eat them. While old Oreos certainly are not the tastiest snack, there are a few ways you can blow past the off-taste by:

  • Refrigerating them
  • Dipping them in milk
  • Mixing them with other food

Try each method to see what you like the best.

Refrigerating Them

Many people swear that they are able to bring life back to their Oreos by putting them in the refrigerator or freezer. You can even store Oreos in the refrigerator or freezer in the first place if you are worried about the pantry being too warm.

Dipping Them in Milk

This helps bring out the richness of the Oreos, but it is best done with Oreos that are barely old. If they are too stale they will fall apart in the milk.

Mixing Them With Other Food

Stale Oreos are a great way to add an extra layer of flavor to a dish, and you can mix them with pie crusts or other cookie mixes to accomplish this.

If you are not a baker then adding crumbled Oreos to your ice cream or pudding changes up the texture and the taste, and it prevents food waste.

Final Thoughts

While Oreos do not formally expire or go bad they do still have a point where you can tell they are no longer fresh. With adequate storage, you can keep the cookies fresh for much longer, but there will always be a limit.

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