If there’s one delicious snack that many kids just cannot seem to get enough of, it’s Rice Krispies.
Whether you enjoy pouring them out into some milk as a sweet and hearty breakfast option, or you buy them in cubes and pack them into your kid’s lunch boxes, it’s never a bad time to enjoy snacking on these delightful treats.
The truth is however, after you buy a big box of Rice Krispies from the grocery store, it can be very easy to stash them away and forget about them, especially if the kids have decided to move on to a different cereal option that they prefer the taste of, and this raises an important question, do Rice Krispies expire?
The answer is actually a little more complicated than you might initially think, so to clear things up, we’ve provided the full breakdown below so that you can know whether it’s safe to eat these light and fluffy snacks after they have been in their box for a few weeks, or even several months.
Is It True That Rice Krispies Expire?
The answer to this is yes, but also no. Basically, while Rice Krispies do technically have an “expiration date” which can be found labeled on the box, this isn’t the same kind of expiration that means they would be inedible and unsafe to eat which it would with meat or fish for example.
Instead, this date simply refers to when the Rice Krispies will stay the freshest and most flavorful, so it is more of an advisory that you may want to eat them before the date if you want to get as much flavor out of them as possible.
Because of this, you don’t need to worry about throwing these fan-favorite snacks out if they have been left out a little longer than the date on the box, as long as you’re okay with them tasting a lot more bland and hollow than usual.
However, because they will pose no risk to your health, they will still be perfectly fine to eat.
What Do Expired Rice Krispies Taste Like?
After being opened for a few months, the butter and marshmallows which are the main ingredients used to make this cereal as light and sweet as it is will begin to become dry and stale with them finally solidifying.
Because these are the binding ingredients that form the core of Rice Krispies, it means that the entire food will become affected by them drying up, causing the texture to become very hard to crunch down into along with being a lot stickier than usual.
That sweet flavor that Rice Krispies are so beloved for will also be completely gone, making for a fairly bland bowl of cereal which you should only really consider using if you don’t have any other options available to you at the time.
How Long Will Rice Krispies Stay Fresh?
An unopened bag of Rice Krispies will only start to lose its taste after about 12 months, though even if you were to use an unopened bag a year after buying them, they would still be fairly fresh, just not as soft or delicious as they were when you first got them.
After this 12 month period however, the binding ingredients will begin to dry up and make the cereals hard and unpleasant to bite into, so it’s usually advised to finish them before the year is out.
Opened bags will only stay fresh for about half the time, which still means that you’re going to get a decent shelf life of 6 months even after you have started using the bag.
The Best Way To Store Rice Krispies
How you store your cereal plays a big part in how long it will remain fresh. After all, if you leave an opened bag of Rice Krispies out on the counter for several months, you can be sure it will start losing its taste by 6 months.
But if you store them correctly, you can get a lot more longevity out of a single packet which can also help save you a little bit of money down the road.
The general rule of thumb is that Rice Krispies, and really any type of cereal, should be stored in a cool, dry area of the house, and should always be away from direct sunlight since this can cause the ingredients to solidify much faster.
The pantry is therefore usually the best place to store them so that they are kept away from sunlight, moisture, and any heat, and if you live in a particularly humid environment.
It can also be worth investing in a sealed plastic cereal container which can be bought very easily online nowadays and will ensure your cereal remains fresh, even when the temperature starts to heat up outside.
What About Rice Krispy Treats?
For anyone who doesn’t know, Rice Krispy Treats are small bite-size snacks that are made by piecing together multiple different Rice Krispies to create a block that is held together by butter and marshmallows.
And while it’s hard for them to “expire” in the traditional sense, because they use more ingredients and a lot of butter, it does mean they can become unpleasant and even moldy after a while.
Rice Krispy Treats will remain fresh if they are kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about two weeks, and while you can eat them after this, they will lose a lot of their taste and can become a little too hard to bite into.
Many people will also advise that you freeze them if you want them to last a little longer, and while this is definitely a viable option, keep in mind that you do run the risk of them becoming soggy, so make sure not to leave them in the freezer for any longer than 6 weeks.
When To Throw Out Rice Krispies
These warning signs apply to both regular Rice Krispy cereals, and Rice Krispy Treats. The biggest giveaway that signifies that the cereal or snack has been left out for a little too long is the smell, especially if they start to smell like paint or grass.
This, along with the cereals turning a different color from their original light brown and beige appearance, signifies that they are starting to become bad and unsuitable to eat, and while eating them shouldn’t pose any serious health risks, it is still a good sign that you should toss them out.
You will also want to feel the cereals to check how sticky and hard they are. If they feel rock solid rather than light and easy to break, then the chances are they aren’t going to taste great, even if you pour them into a bowl of milk, so you should throw them out immediately so that your kids don’t start complaining about their unpleasant texture and taste.
Don’t worry if you’ve left your packet of Rice Krispies out in the pantry past their expiration date, they may not be as fresh as they were when you first bought them.
But they will still be completely safe to eat, so be sure to use them up before you spend more money on a new bag of a different cereal brand.
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