Does Ramen Noodles Expire or Go Bad?

Ramen noodles are a top choice for a quick, energy-filled, and delicious meal for people of all ages, professions, and cultures. The reason is that the ramen noodles offered on the market are easy to find, inexpensive, and can be prepared in a matter of minutes. All you need is some boiling water. Due to their long shelf life, high carb content, and ease of preparation, ramen noodles are a top choice for survival and emergency food storage.

This Japanese meal is especially popular among college students and people who don’t have the time or the kitchen facilities and equipment needed for cooking more complex meals.

Plus, it is easy to store ramen in your cupboard or pantry so that you will have an easy and quick meal option whenever you need it.

But the questions you are probably asking are – how long can you store the ramen, and does ramen expire?

The short answer is that ramen does not have an indefinite shelf life. On average, the shelf life of ramen noodles is about 8 to 12 months, but you can expect them to still be good to eat for up to 3-4 months after their best by date.

We have included some general info and tips regarding the shelf life of ramen, the best ways to store it, methods for preparing older ramen, as well as how to determine whether it is still good to eat.

Ramen Shelf Life vs. Until When is it Good for Consumption

The usual shelf life of packaged ramen noodles is 8 to 12 months.

As we mentioned earlier, if ramen is stored correctly, then it will be fit and safe for consumption for 3-4 and more months after its best by date expires.

It is essential to know that even months after the ramen has reached its best-by date, the noodles themselves will not cause you any harm, such as food poisoning, if consumed.

The science behind this is the fact that they are made of dehydrated wheat flour, water, salt, and preservative. The process of dehydration removes all microorganisms, which will cause the food to start spoiling over time. But some vitamin E oil is added to the noodles during their production for slowing down their oxidation. The degradation of this oil can cause the ramen noodles to become brittle and lose their taste after a long storage time.

The included flavor packet determines the actual taste of the ramen.

But overall, it is not recommended to eat ramen after more than eight months following the expiration date printed on its label.

How to Properly Store Ramen to Prolong its Longevity

If you like to keep your pantry stocked up with essential foods, including ramen, you should ensure that you store them properly.

First of all, check the packaging of the ramen to make sure that it is not damaged or broken. It should be properly sealed to keep the noodles and other contents away from the air and oxygen.

If you notice a tear in the packaging, either throw it away or if you have torn it, eat this package of ramen first.

Always keep the noodles in a dry place, away from any moisture or bugs.

If you prefer to be extra safe, you can seal the packaged ramen in vacuum-sealed bags or airtight containers. This will help prolong the longevity of the noodles by guaranteeing that they are safe from contact with moisture, oxygen, or bugs. But do not remove the original packaging of the noodles before sealing them or boxing them!

The best place to keep the ramen noodles is in the pantry, cupboard, or other dry, dark, and cool area with minimal temperature fluctuations. It is a good idea to store it away from foods that can emit odors, especially if you haven’t sealed the packaged noodles in an additional vacuum bag or airtight container. Noodles can easily absorb different odors if exposed to them.

Make sure to rotate the stored goods in your pantry so that you eat the oldest ramen first every time.

Some people even freeze the ramen after sealing the packages in vacuum-sealed bags. This can ensure that the noodles last for six or more months after the best by date.

How to Improve the Taste of Older Ramen?

Even though the dehydrated noodles themselves can last for a very long time, the included flavor package or soup can deteriorate in taste over time.

If you suspect that the included soup or flavor pack has expired, you can still prepare your ramen noodles. In fact, you can turn them into a delicious and easy-to-make dish.

You can add ingredients of your choice such as broth, veggies, ground meat, sliced jerky, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, grated cheese, sauce, or any other ingredients you like. The noodles themselves do not have a distinctive taste, so the broth or other ingredients mixed into the ramen are what will add flavor to your meal.

How to Tell Whether the Ramen is Still Good to Eat?

The most obvious way to tell whether the ramen is good to eat is to check the best by date on the package. This is the date up to which the noodles and flavor package will keep their best quality and taste. But even after this date, you can still safely prepare and eat the ramen.

If the noodles you will be making are three or more months past the printed best by date, it is a good idea to check them for any spoilage.

First of all, inspect the noodles for any changes in color or signs of mold. Smell them to determine any foul or unusual smells.

If nothing seems suspicious, you can go ahead and cook them. Sniff and taste the ready ramen to determine whether it is good for consumption.

If you are in doubt, it is better not to eat the old ramen at all.

To stay on the safe side, make sure to check the following before preparing expired ramen noodles:

  • Signs of mold or damage on or in the package
  • A loss of color of the noodles
  • A bad smell

Even though you can hardly get any serious food poisoning from old ramen, it may taste unpleasant and may cause you some stomach problems.

So, unless you are in an emergency situation, it is better to avoid cooking and eating ramen, which is more than six months after the expiration date.

Noodles that have expired 8-12 months ago will most probably taste and smell bland or bad and can give you a stomach ache.

In case of emergency when you don’t have another energy source, you can eat the noodles even up to 2 years after the best-by date has expired. But keep in mind that the ramen will most likely be oily and unpleasant to eat or smell.

When eating ramen, which has long expired, you better leave out the added flavor packages. Add your own fresher and safer ingredients instead.

Related: Canned Food Expiration Dates Chart: How Long Does Canned Food Realy Last?

Final Words

Ramen noodles are an excellent choice for stocking up your pantry or emergency supply. They are dehydrated and, as such, have a long shelf life. But this is valid only if the noodles are unsealed, adequately packaged, and stored away from moisture, bugs, oxygen, direct sunlight, and temperature fluctuations.

So, store your ramen noodles correctly, and you will have a quick, easy, and energy-packed meal at any time, including in times of emergency.

Related: 7 Best MRE Meals to Prepare for Emergency Situations and Survival

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