Do Pringles Expire or Go Bad?

by Charlie
Published: Last Updated on
Do Pringles Expire

Most foods expire eventually, but what about chips like Pringles? Open or sealed, cold or warm environment, wet or dry: these all have an impact on how long it takes for Pringles to expire.

Do Pringles expire? Pringles will expire eventually, but how long that takes depends on the conditions in which those Pringles are stored. The good news is that Pringles are designed to last a pretty long time when sitting unopened on shelves and can last about twelve to fourteen months if they remain unopened.

Of course, who is going to buy Pringles and not eat them for that long?

There are many factors to consider regarding when your Pringles are or aren’t good to eat, all of which we’ll discuss here.

When Pringles Expire – Difference in Expiration Dates and Best-By Dates

Before you even worry too much about an expiration date on your Pringles, you should check and see if what you really have is a “best by” date, which is not the same thing. An expiration date tells you when something is supposedly no longer safe to consume. A best-by date just tells you when a product is no longer ideal.

You can usually eat Pringles after a best-by date has passed. They just won’t be as good as if you had eaten them prior to that date. It’s safe to eat Pringles two or three weeks after the best-by date if you haven’t opened them before, and you probably won’t notice anything wrong.

If you eat them after that, it’s very unlikely that you’ll suffer any negative health effects, but they might be stale and not taste as good.

But this is all only relevant to an unopened can of Pringles, and how often does one have unopened cans of Pringles for that long? What about when you open a can, but don’t eat all of them at once?

How Long Can an Opened Can of Pringles Last?

Under ideal conditions, a can of opened Pringles can last one to two weeks. Those ideal conditions involve how you store your opened can of Pringles. Store it properly and you might get this kind of longevity out of them. Store them improperly, and they may only last a few days at best.

Ideal storage conditions for an opened can of Pringles include having the lid on whenever possible, as well as being stored in a place that is both dark and cool. On the other hand, having the lid off and being kept in warm areas or in direct sunlight will cause the Pringles to go stale much faster.

You’ll also want to be especially sure that you keep the Pringles away from moisture. We’re sure you can imagine why moisture would quickly make your chips undesirable for consumption

Even though ideal storage can extend the tasty lifetime of your Pringles, it’s still difficult to keep them from going stale once they’ve been exposed to air for a long period of time, so it’s usually recommended to just consume your Pringles on the same day you open them. 

Why Do Pringles Last Longer when Unopened?

The main culprit when it comes to your Pringles and going stale is the air that gets into them after the can is opened. Contrary to popular opinion, there isn’t a whole bunch of air inside of a can of Pringles: it’s actually nitrogen, which helps keep the Pringles crisp.

This means that a can of Pringles is airtight prior to being opened, and that means that the air that would usually make those Pringles soft over time can’t get in. That’s why an unopened can of Pringles can last for months or even a year, while an opened can of Pringles can’t.

Of course, once you open your can of Pringles, it is no longer airtight, so the moment you do that, their expiration date is sped up significantly. They’re on a timer from that moment on. Even putting the lid back on won’t change that, as once the seal is removed on the can, you cannot make it airtight again.

Keeping the lid on helps keep air from getting into the can in large quantities, but it does not keep the air out entirely. That’s why an opened can of Pringles will still only be good for a couple of weeks, even if you store them properly. 

Where Can You Find the Expiration/Best-By Date on a Can of Pringles?

If you’d like to know the expiration or best-by date for your can of Pringlesyou can often find them on the bottom of the can. Looking down there, you’ll be able to see a surprising amount of information, but what you’ll be interested in are the dates preceded by the letters “P” and “E.”

The date after the letter “P” is the date the chips were produced, while the date after the letter “E” is when the chips are supposed to expire. Just remember that the expiration date is not a hard cut-off for when the chips are no longer edible, it’s just an estimate of when the chips will no longer taste their best.

You would have to leave Pringles opened for an absurdly long time for the chips themselves to pose a health hazard to you, and by that time, you would probably be able to tell that there’s something wrong with the chips just by seeing, touching, or smelling them.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, how long your Pringles last depends on if you leave them unopened or not. An unopened can of Pringles can last as long as fifteen months from the date of their production onwards. But if you open the can of Pringles, they will only last a week or two under ideal circumstances, and only a few days under other circumstances.

All of this being taken into consideration, it is generally recommended to just eat your Pringles on the same day that you open them. That way, you don’t have to worry about their freshness!

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