If it’s been a while since the grocery store, and you’ve just stumbled across a box of kraft mac and cheese in the back of your cupboard, you might ask yourself: does Kraft mac and cheese expire? In this article, I’m going to answer exactly that question, so read on!
Does Kraft macaroni and cheese go bad?
If you’re wondering, does Kraft mac and cheese expire? The short answer is, technically, no. Because all of the dairy in a box of Kraft mac and cheese is fully dried and powdered, it cannot really go bad.
In most cases, you can sail past the use-by date on a box of Kraft mac and cheese, and it will still be perfectly fine to eat.
The only exception to this rule is if the internal packaging of the macaroni cheese has gone bad. If the internal bag is ripped, torn, or punctured, then external microbes have gained access to the mixture. This means that it can be considered to have gone bad, and you shouldn’t eat it.
How to tell if Kraft macaroni and cheese is bad?
If it’s opened, Kraft macaroni and cheese will go bad quite quickly, due to the sugars in the milk powder. This means that an opened packet that smells sour or stale will certainly have spoiled, and shouldn’t be eaten.
Plus, some forms of mold can grow on powdered milk. So if you see any blue, white, or green fuzz on the mixture, you shouldn’t eat it at all.
If the packet is unopened, then the effect of long-term storage will simply be that the flavor has disappeared. This happens because the flavor compounds in the powder evaporate over time. After evaporation, the meal simply won’t taste as good as it could.
So if you open an unopened box of Kraft mac and cheese and you don’t smell anything, it’s still safe to eat, but will likely be unpleasant.
Can you freeze Kraft mac and cheese?
There’s no real need to freeze the box mix of Kraft mac and cheese. It can be stored at room temperature almost indefinitely with no real decrease in quality over time. Despite that, however, you might want to freeze a prepared portion.
You can freeze cooked Kraft mac and cheese – it should be treated as you would treat homemade mac and cheese. So make sure to store it in an airtight container in your freezer, and eat it within three months.
How long does unopened Kraft mac and cheese last?
Unopened Kraft mac and cheese can technically last forever. It will forever be safe to eat, though the quality of the food will decrease quite a bit.
As a general rule of thumb, a box of unopened Kraft mac and cheese will retain the cheesy flavor for around two years. After that point, the flavor will drop off quite drastically, leading to an unpleasant meal.
How long does cooked Kraft mac and cheese last?
Cooked Kraft mac and cheese can be stored in your fridge, in an airtight container. When it’s inside that container, I would recommend only keeping it for one to two days. The reason I would recommend no longer than that is the dairy content – it really doesn’t take very long for milk to spoil.
If you were to freeze Kraft mac and cheese, you should store it in the same way. Add the mac and cheese to an airtight container, and place it into the freezer.
Once frozen, you can store it for around three months before the freezer will burn the food, effectively ruining the texture.
Tips for storing Kraft mac and cheese
The best tip I could offer for storing Kraft mac and cheese is to use an airtight container. This will ensure that the food itself doesn’t get cross-contaminated by other things that might be in your fridge, and it will also ensure that the mac and cheese won’t make your fridge smell bad.
Also, I’d recommend storing mac and cheese in portions. That way, you can reheat simply enough for those that are eating. That will mean that the remainder will store well in your fridge, ready for you to eat after a little while.
Can you eat expired Annie’s mac and cheese?
Boxed, powdered mac and cheese can be eaten up to two years after the ‘best before’ date on the packaging. If the date is a ‘use by’ date, however, you must not eat the food after that date. That could potentially make you quite sick.
Can you get sick from eating expired mac and cheese?
Yes, you can. There are two situations in which expired mac and cheese could make you sick.
The first is that a powdered mac and cheese has been opened within the box, and exposed to bacteria or something similar. A telltale sign of this will be if the mac and cheese mix smells sour or otherwise bad, especially if there’s a fuzz of any kind growing on it.
The second situation in which expired mac and cheese could be bad is if you open a box of powdered mac and cheese past its ‘use by’ date. This is quite unlikely, as most powdered mac and cheese mixes don’t have ‘use by’ dates – they’re shelf stable.
However, if you come across any food with a date on it that’s described in that way, then you shouldn’t eat it beyond that date.
How long does Kraft mac and cheese last after expiration?
After the expiry date on a box of Kraft mac and cheese, it’s generally still safe to eat for at least two years. Technically, all of the ingredients within it are totally shelf-stable. This means that if it is unopened, it will remain safe to eat for a very long time.
It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that if a box of Kraft mac and cheese is left for more than two years beyond its expiration date, it will likely have lost most, if not all, of its flavor.
Wrapping it up!
Did I answer your question ‘does Kraft mac and cheese expire?’
I hope so!
And now that you can tell for sure whether that suspicious box of Kraft mac and cheese is safe, I hope you have a better idea of what to eat for dinner!
Bon appetit : )