Can ramen noodles go bad and expire? Don’t throw them out just yet!

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  March 22, 2022

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You’re cleaning out your kitchen cupboards, and you notice some ramen noodles in the back.

The expiration date on it is a long time ago, but can ramen noodles go bad and actually expire?

Can ramen noodles go bad and expire

First, we have to make a differentiation between instant ramen noodles and fresh ramen noodles. Because fresh ramen noodles have moisture in them, it means that they can go bad quite fast.

Favorite Asian Recipes
Favorite Asian Recipes

Fresh ramen noodles should be stored in the fridge in a sealed container. You can store them for around 2 to 3 weeks.

If you don’t know whether your fresh ramen noodles are spoiled, you should look for any signs of mold. If they smell off or bad, or have discoloration or small dark dots, discard them immediately.

But if they don’t have a strong smell or no smell at all, they’re safe to consume.

If you wish to learn more about instant ramen noodles and their shelf life, keep on reading.

Why instant ramen has a long shelf life

Instant noodles have a much longer shelf life than fresh ramen. Nonetheless, it’s best to check the expiration date on the packaging.

Because instant ramen noodles have been dehydrated, they don’t have any moisture inside. If the packaging gets damaged, the noodles can absorb moisture from the air and go bad quicker.

In addition to dehydration, manufacturers add different preservatives to instant ramen. Preservatives are chemicals that slow down oxidation and other processes that make food go bad.

Also read: how to make instant ramen without the packet

What is the shelf life of instant ramen noodles?

Processed wheat noodles usually last 3 to 6 months if they aren’t dehydrated. But most instant noodles can last much longer than that. The expiration date is always listed on the packaging, as it’s required by law.

The packaging of instant ramen noodles might make you think that they can last forever like canned foods, but this isn’t the case. The expiration date can be 2 or 3 months to 2 years for the majority of instant ramen noodles. This depends a lot on when you purchased them.

But you need to bear in mind that stores can also keep old instant ramen noodles for a long time in their storage facilities. This means that you could be buying noodles that have been made a year ago. But usually, that won’t be the case.

Can you eat expired instant ramen noodles?

Eating ramen noodles after their expiration date might be dangerous, especially if a long time’s passed. If you’ve thoroughly checked them for any signs of spoilage and haven’t found any, they’re still going to taste stale. It’s best to discard expired ramen noodles both for your safety and your palate.

Also read: My ramen smells like ammonia, why is that & is it safe?

How to check if instant ramen noodles are safe to eat

The first thing to look for before even opening the packaging is to check whether everything’s intact. If the packaging has been torn or has any holes and rips, then it may not be safe to eat. Instant ramen is packaged in cheap, thin foil, which is far from ideal.

In addition to the ramen noodles, the packaged spices and flavoring can also go bad. Most ramen noodles will have dehydrated meat or vegetables that’ll absorb moisture if the packaging gets torn or pierced. This means that not only is it going to taste bad, but it also may have dangerous microbes from the air in it.

If you want to make sure that your instant noodles are safe to eat, look for any visible signs of mold. Remember that mold might be present even if it isn’t visible though. If you notice that the noodles have been exposed to moisture or smell bad, discard them, despite what the expiration date says.

Also read: are ramen noodles fried and does that help them keep?

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.