Do Ramen Noodles Go Bad? How to tell? Instant, Fresh, Cooked

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on August 3rd, 2022

Ramen noodles are a staple in many people’s pantries. They’re easy to make and can serve as a meal for one person or a hearty side dish for a big family. But how do you know when your ramen is bad? How long can you store it before it goes bad?

Maybe you’re not a chef and just bought a few packets of quick ramen noodles. And some of them are still sitting in the pantry after a few months. And you’re wondering how long they’ll survive and if you’ll still be able to utilize them.

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Or perhaps you decided to boost your game and purchased fresh wheat noodles to make a chicken or beef ramen for a weekend supper. And you’re not sure if you should keep the fresh noodles refrigerated or not. Alternatively, because unwanted noodles have a short shelf life, you may freeze them.

In any case, if you want to discover more about ramen noodles, keep reading. This page discusses ramen noodles storage, shelf life, and spoilage. We cover quick, dried, and fresh noodles, so no matter what type you choose, we’ve got you covered.

What is the shelf life of instant noodles?

Have you ever searched for the expiration date on an instant noodle package?

According to the manufacturers of instant noodles,

Cup noodles have a shelf life of roughly 6 months after manufacture, while bagged instant noodles have a shelf life of 8 months.

But, wait a minute, instant noodles do not go bad immediately after their expiration date.

So, once the expiration date has gone, can you still consume them?

The answer is yes, but I do not advise it.

After 8 months, the oil in your instant noodles will begin to degrade, and the taste of the noodles will no longer be as wonderful as it was when it was new.

You should not consume expired instant noodles.

In my view, and based on personal experience, I would not eat instant noodles that are more than three months over their expiration date.

Remember that you must still inspect the quality of your instant noodles.

Why do instant noodles spoil?

Do you know why instant noodles spoil when they expire?

The oxidation of the oil in the instant noodles is to blame.

The production method includes deep frying instant noodles.

In a factory, noodles are placed in a metal frame and immersed in high-temperature oil ranging from 140°C to 160°C (284°F to 320°F)…

…and fry for 1 to 2 minutes.

After the expiration date, the oil will begin to oxidize, and the noodles will begin to smell and taste unpleasant.

What Is the Shelf Life of Ramen Noodles?

Let’s start with instant dry noodles once more. They typically have a few years of shelf life. The label undoubtedly has a best-by date, and because these noodles include preservatives, they can easily keep for months over that date.

When it comes to pasta-like wheat noodles, the label includes a date. However, because this product is not as heavily processed as quick noodles, its shelf life is generally approximately a year, perhaps a year and a half. And while the noodles will continue to be of high quality for a few months beyond that date, they deteriorate with time and will not survive forever.

The freshest noodles have the shortest shelf life. They normally stay in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks. If you need to keep them for a longer period, freeze them.

If you’re wondering, you can freeze instant and wheat noodles, but their shelf life is so long that it’s typically not worth it.

Ramen Noodles Shelf Life
Ramen noodles typePantryFridgeFreezer
Instant8 months3 monthsUp to one year
FreshUp to label date10 daysUp to 2 months
Cup3 to 6 months3 monthsUnsafe
Wheat3 to 6 months3 monthsUp to 4 months
CookedUnsafe5 to 7 daysUp to 2 months

Please keep in mind that the dates shown above are simply estimations.

Why Are Ramen Noodles So Long Lasting?

Because of the dried noodles, ramen noodles have a long shelf life. This indicates that microbes will be unable to flourish in the absence of water and oxygen. Deep-frying the noodles decreases the water content to three to six percent, preventing microbial development.

Ramen noodles are also high in Vitamin E, which works as an antioxidant and helps to postpone noodle oxidation. The flavor packets will degrade quicker than the noodles.

How long beyond the expiration date can you consume ramen noodles?

The expiration date on ramen noodles is sometimes referred to as the date on the container. This is the manufacturer’s recommended use by date.

Best by dates are included to ensure that the noodles continue to taste as intended and retain the texture that the maker had in mind when designing them. It assures that when you consume them, you have the experience that they want you to have.

The fact is that your ramen noodles will last much longer than that. Ramen noodles are generally good for a year beyond the expiration date indicated on the packaging.

How to Tell if Your Ramen Noodles Are Bad

So, before you create the broth, miso paste (if used), and the rest of the ingredients for the bowl, make sure the noodles are fresh, right?

When it comes to instant dry noodles, they should be OK as long as moisture does not seep inside the box.

Open the bag and examine the block from every angle. Then, using your fingers, smash the noodles and check for anything that shouldn’t be there, such as mildew or bugs. Finally, give the noodles a whiff to see whether they’re safe to eat.

The procedure is essentially the same for wheat noodles. Check if the food is dry, there are no bugs in the package, and does not smell bad.

Both quick noodles and their wheat counterparts do not frequently deteriorate in such a way that they are harmful to consume. The worst that may happen is that the noodles taste a little stale after cooking, and that’s it.

On the other hand, fresh ramen noodles are damp and can grow mold if stored for an extended period or under unsuitable settings.

The first step is to inspect the noodles for mildew or black spots. The next step is to take a good breath to ensure it smells correct. If everything appears in order and the fresh noodles are not stored for an extended period (such as more than a month), they should be safe to make.

The Dangers of Eating Expired Ramen Noodles

In most circumstances, you may safely consume expired ramen noodles because they pose no health dangers. Nonetheless, this food has few nutrients and many chemicals, preservatives, and taste enhancers.

Furthermore, ramen noodles are heavy in salt, which might be harmful in the long term. As a result, several studies demonstrate that eating ramen noodles daily might harm your health by creating heart, liver, and blood disorders.

Remember that you may always use a single noodle block and top it with homemade chicken soup, mushrooms, sour cream, or meat. You will avoid artificial flavorings and be able to enjoy ramen noodles as part of healthy meals.

How to Keep Ramen Noodles Fresh

There are three types of ramen noodles available. There are dried instant noodles, which are commonly marketed in block form. Then there are wheat noodles, which look like thick spaghetti. Finally, the fresh ramen noodles that are commonly utilized in ramen establishments.

Please remember that some purists argue that dry instant noodles have nothing to do with ramen unless the label says “ramen.” However, for the sake of this essay, let us assume that dry instant noodles are likewise ramen noodles. Let’s go on to storage.

In terms of storage conditions, dried instant noodles don’t require much. Allow the packs to rest in a dark, dry location at room temperature, and you’re good to go. While you usually always use the entire block of dried noodles, you can cut it into smaller pieces if necessary. And to preserve the rest, place it in a resealable bag or airtight container and return it to its original location.

When it comes to wheat noodles, the storage rules are similar. Choose a cool, dry location away from direct sunshine and heat sources. The pantry or a kitchen cabinet will serve just nicely.

If feasible, seal the packaging firmly after opening it, or move it to an airtight container or a freezer bag. It’s very much the same as how we store dried spaghetti.

Last but not least, there are freshly prepared noodles. If you choose this option, you should refrigerate the noodles as soon as you get them home. If you’re unsure if yours are fresh or not, if they were in the refrigerated section, they are.

If you don’t use them all at once, ensure the remaining is properly wrapped in the fridge. Once again, freezer bags come in handy. Because fresh noodles don’t last long, freezing them makes perfect sense.

Fresh noodles, it turns out, freeze quite well. If unopened, freeze them in the original container; if opened, use a freezer bag or double-wrap the item in aluminum foil. Refrigerate the noodles overnight to thaw.

How to Buy Ramen Noodles

There are a few things to consider while accumulating noodles that will last for a long time.

Date of Expiration

Stock up on noodles with a long expiration date. This way, you won’t have to replace them regularly, and you’ll be prepared for any food-related emergency.


The packaging has a significant impact on the lifetime of your ramen noodles. Its quality might imply the difference between a pack that expires and one that lasts a long time. Avoid purchasing noodles in low-quality plastic wrapping. This is more prone to be chewed through by ants, punctured by sharp items, and penetrated by moisture, resulting in deterioration.

Choose high-end noodles. Cup noodles are somewhat more expensive than standard packets, but they are far more secure and are less likely to be infested by ants or rodents. These cups, often constructed of plastic or styrofoam, have more robust walls.


Editorial Staff

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