Does Granola Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on January 6th, 2023

Granola has a half-year shelf life and normally lasts at least a few months over its expiration date.

When you open the bag, it usually keeps for several months, depending on storage circumstances and whether or not it contains any preservatives.

And, because granola doesn’t spoil quickly, the expired granola you discovered in the back of the cabinet is OK to consume.

Similar criteria apply to store-bought granola bars, but not to homemade granola (if you like that).

Granola’s Health Advantages and Drawbacks

Granola contains protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, B vitamins, and vitamin E, among other nutrients. On the other hand, granola with more dried fruits and sweeteners has more sugar than nut- or grain-based granola.

Because of the protein and fiber content, granola is frequently satisfying. It can also lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar, promote digestive health, and give antioxidants.

Be aware that granolas can be high in calories and rich in added fats and sugars.

If you’re seeking healthier granola, study the nutrition labels carefully. Instead of sugar or sweeteners, the first three components should be natural foods such as oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

What Ingredients Cause Granola to Expire Quicker?

While the anticipated five-month shelf-life in the pantry is mostly for dry cereals, your granola may expire sooner if other ingredients with a shorter shelf-life are put in.

Fruit, nuts, and even chocolate can all decrease and jeopardize the shelf life of your granola because germs will travel to the grains after they have dined on the other components.

To avoid this, keep the individual ingredients for your granola mix separately.

As stated at the outset of this essay, the shelf-life of any multi-component product is only as long as the ingredient with the shortest expiration date. Once bacteria and fungus have established themselves, they may swiftly spread to other items in your recipe.

What Is the Shelf Life of Granola?

Granola has a shelf life of roughly 6 months, and it should preserve quality for 3 to 6 months beyond the date on the label if the product is unopened.

Granola may be stored in an airtight container for 3 to 6 months after it has been opened. It all depends on the substances utilized and whether or not the manufacturer employed preservatives.

Granola is often made using rolled oats, dried fruit, spices, and a sweetener such as honey or maple syrup. All of these last for a long time.

But there’s also oil (coconut oil is commonly used in homemade granola) and nuts. Unfortunately, both are prone to rancidity (for additional information, see my article “Does Coconut Oil Go Bad?”). As a result, granola has a very short shelf life compared to alternatives such as cereals and oatmeal.

Each granola bag has a best-by date. That is not an expiration date but rather a conservative estimate of how long the product will remain fresh. Granola will readily survive months over that date if kept unopened.

Things vary a little as you open the package.

Long-term air exposure stales granola and accelerates the rancidification process. Rotten granola isn’t inherently dangerous to consume (in moderation) but tastes horrible. That’s a good enough cause to toss it out.

In summary, you shouldn’t expect your granola to taste fantastic after sitting open for half a year.

Granola (unopened)Best-by + 3 – 6 monthsBest-by + 3 – 6 months
Granola (opened)3 – 6 months3 – 6 months
Homemade granola1 month1 month
Granola barsBest-by + 3 – 6 monthsBest-by + 3 – 6 months
Homemade granola bars7 – 10 days

Is it possible to store granola in a humid environment?

Humidity is a major contributor to the loss of quality in stored food and the creation and proliferation of fungus and bacteria. Therefore, before storing any food, calculate the appropriate relative moisture required to increase its shelf-life before placing it in your storage setting.

Because granola is essentially grains and other cereals baked till dry, it is ideal for maintaining granola at the lowest humidity possible. Any additional moisture may reconstitute the cereals and destroy their texture, risking microbial development.

How Long Can Granola Be Kept in the Pantry?

Granola, mostly dehydrated carbohydrates, maintains well at room temperature for lengthy periods if various conditions are considered while storing it.

Suppose your granola is home-baked and lacks the preservatives and sterilizing effects of commercially manufactured granola. In that case, it is best to wait for it to cool before storing it in a dry, airtight glass container.

If, on the other hand, you bought your granola in a store, it is recommended to keep it in its original packaging in your pantry. The expiration date on the box should serve as a reference for when your granola is no longer safe to consume.

How to Keep Homemade Granola Stored at Room Temperature

Allowing the home-baked granola to cool before storing it in an airtight container allows any remaining water in the granola to evaporate due to evaporation caused by the changing temperature.

Place the granola container in a dark and cold part of your pantry or cabinet, away from any heat sources.

Aside from temperature and humidity, avoid exposing the granola to direct sunlight since this may produce unanticipated changes in the quality of your cereals. Maintain a safe distance between the container and any open windows.

Depending on the humidity in your home, storing the granola in this manner will allow it to preserve its edibility and high quality for up to five months.

Should Granola Be Stored in the Refrigerator?

Granola, as previously stated in the preceding section, is mostly made of baked and dried grains, and as such, it must be kept as dry as possible.

Because of the nature of water in colder surroundings, it is preferable to avoid storing granola in the fridge as much as possible.

Condensation may occur within the granola storage’s interior walls, affecting its texture and activating any dormant bacteria and fungal colonies that may be present.

If you must refrigerate your granola, it is best to do so in a resealable plastic pouch with as much air as possible. Vacuum-sealing your granola is the best method to keep it fresh while refrigerated.

Granola will keep about the same amount of time in the fridge as it would outside the fridge — up to five months.

Homemade Granola

If you store homemade granola at room temperature, it will keep its optimum quality for approximately a month. Make it two months if you don’t mind somewhat stale granola.

Also, always verify the recommended storage period for the recipe you’re using, as they might range from 2 weeks to 2 months.

You may freeze your homemade granola to extend its shelf life even more.

When preparing homemade granola, double the recipe and freeze half.

You have three options for storing homemade granola: at room temperature, in the fridge, or the freezer.

In most circumstances, a cabinet in the pantry or kitchen will suffice, but refrigeration may be required if it’s a hot summer. It all depends on how heat-sensitive your components are.

The freezer is your best choice if you want to store your granola for a few months without losing quality.

Granola Bars

Commercial granola bars and homemade granola bars differ slightly regarding storage and shelf life. That’s why I separated the information into two pieces.

What is the shelf life of store-bought granola bars?

Depending on the contents, store-bought granola bars generally have a shelf life of 6 to 12 months. They also last for at least 3 to 6 months after the best-by date on the label.

Commercial granola bars are always shelf-stable and may be stored in the kitchen cabinet. However, you may store them in the fridge instead for greater quality.

If you start a bar but don’t complete it, store the leftovers in the fridge and consume them within 4 to 5 days.

How Long Does Homemade Granola Last?

Homemade granola bars may be stored in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days. Ensure the bars are securely sealed so they don’t collect odors or moisture.

If you require additional time, freezing the bars is a viable alternative.

When cooking granola bars at home, doubling the recipe and freezing the second half is easy to save time.

It’s a good idea to keep handmade bars refrigerated for at least two reasons:

  1. Many bars are kept together by butter (either ordinary butter or a substitute, such as peanut butter), although not all butter varieties stay up well at room temperature.
  2. The cool temperature keeps the components from melting and keeps the bars from adhering together (or at least reduces the stickiness)

When it comes to storage, it’s better to follow the advice of the recipe’s creator. However, my proposal should work in virtually all circumstances if you don’t have such information.

Is it possible to store granola in the refrigerator?

In general, storing granola in the refrigerator is a terrible idea. Refrigerator moisture may cause granola to get soggy and, in severe circumstances, moldy. Furthermore, you run the chance of the granola acquiring smells from other foods in the fridge.

Furthermore, while granola remains stable at room temperature for months, there is no benefit to storing it in the refrigerator.

The only exception is if you reside in a highly humid climate. At room temperature, the humidity will substantially diminish the life of your granola. You may avoid this by storing it in the refrigerator. Then, if it becomes a little soggy, crisp it up again before eating.

How to Tell If Your Granola Is Bad

Granola will ultimately give you warning indications that you shouldn’t consume it. Granola, like all foods, displays symptoms of expiration or spoilage.

Granola, on the other hand, maybe a little more difficult because it does not go bad as fast and readily. As a result, you’ll probably need to run a couple more tests to see if it’s edible.

Before tasting tests, you should consider how old your granola is. If you’re certain it’s at least a year old, toss it out without hesitation.

If you’re still unsure, you might attempt the following steps:

Smell  It

For a reason, everyone’s initial impulse is to smell the meal they are dubious about. It’s the simplest method to tell if something is still excellent. Smell your granola to see if it has an unpleasant odor-

It might smell like rotten nuts or mold. Some aromas may be difficult to pinpoint, but you’ll know it’s not how granola should smell.

Check to See If It’s Stale

Because of the natural oils therein, stale granola has a unique scent and taste. But unfortunately, the oils lose their taste and emit a strong stench over time. In addition, if you take a mouthful of it, you’ll realize it’s rather difficult to chew.

Examine for Mold

Moldy food is never safe, and moldy granola is no exception. Mold, on the other hand, is extremely difficult to grow in a dry and chilly environment. On the other hand, if it comes into touch with moisture, it’s fair to presume it’s moldy, as evidenced by the odor.

Search for Insects

Even if you keep your granola in a cold, dark area like your pantry, insects can sneak into it. As a result, it’s better to store it in a tight bag to prevent pests from getting in.

Also, if you see insects within the package, it’s best to throw them away for your protection.

The Dangers of Consuming Expired Granola

Store-bought granola is safe to eat months after its expiration date, so you’re unlikely to become sick. In addition, its components are entirely plant-based. Therefore they can’t go bad.

There aren’t many hazards to eating old granola. If it hasn’t developed mold, even the squishy one you find at the bottom of your pantry is okay to consume.

If your granola contains butter and is two years old, you may experience nausea and vomiting. However, this one would most likely have an unpleasant odor you would detect before eating.

One thing is certain: you cannot get food illness by eating expired, store-bought granola. Of course, if it’s handmade, you could feel slightly nauseous, but you’re not at any actual risk.

How to Store Granola

The ideal location to keep granola is in the pantry or a kitchen cabinet. Make sure the area is dry and away from heat sources. The original packaging is good for long-term storage as long as it is unopened.

While you open the bag, always firmly shut it when not in use. This is especially critical if you plan to keep the granola for a few months.

The original container should be sufficient for storage if you finish a single granola bag in 2 to 4 weeks, even if it isn’t one of those resealable varieties.

Make sure the granola is properly wrapped for long-term storage. If your bag cannot be resealed, place the granola in a resealable bag or an airtight container. You can get one of those fancy granola containers if you like it.

Should granola be refrigerated?

Low (but not freezing) temperatures don’t do anything for granola. So it only makes sense to keep granola in the fridge during the summer when it is extremely hot where you normally keep it.

Warm temperatures melt chocolate chips and hasten oil rancidification. So naturally, you want to prevent both, which is where the fridge comes in.

Make sure your granola is properly wrapped before putting it in the fridge.

Otherwise, the oats in granola would absorb moisture and maybe absorb fridge smells. And trust me when I say you don’t want granola that smells like pork.

Is Granola Freezable?

Granola may be frozen to keep it fresh for longer. If you bought too much on sale, are concerned about spoilage, or prepared a large quantity of homemade granola, freezing is the way to go.

The freezing procedure is as straightforward as it gets. All you need to do before freezing your granola is make sure it’s tightly wrapped.

Nothing further you need to do if the original package is unopened. Alternatively, place the granola in an airtight container or a freezer bag. If you choose the latter, push out the air before closing it.

Freezer bags take up less freezer room than containers. Use these if you don’t have a lot of freezer space.

How long will your granola last in the freezer? Michele’s Granola recommends 6 months. However, a few more months are unlikely to make a significant difference.

Place the bag or container on the counter away from sunlight the night before you need it to thaw.

Granola Freezing Instructions

Another method for dealing with humidity is to freeze your granola. The easiest approach to keep granola fresh for as long as possible is to freeze it. It’s ideal if you’re not sure when to consume the granola.

To keep granola in the freezer, do the following:

  1. Allow the granola to cool to room temperature before putting it in the freezer to prevent moisture from forming ice crystals. Any additional moisture will melt when the granola thaws, making your breakfast mushy.
  2. Put the granola in an airtight jar to keep it fresh. I prefer to use Ziploc bags because they allow me to quickly press out all of the air and allow me to freeze the granola in portion-sized chunks. If you’re using a solid container, attempt to fill it to the brim as much as possible to reduce space.
  3. Label the storage container with the date, so you know how long the granola has been sitting there.
  4. The granola will keep in the freezer for six to eight months but consume within three months for the finest quality.

After freezing, there should be no discernible difference in the texture or flavor of your granola. However, if you use a lot of dried fruit in your granola, you may find that the fruit becomes a little hard. If this concerns you, you can easily leave the dried fruit and add it after the granola has thawed.

Thawing Frozen Granola or Granola Bars

Frozen granola isn’t the most delicious treat. Therefore, you should defrost the granola before eating it after freezing for optimum results.

Set the granola on a counter and leave it at room temperature for a few hours. It should be thawed and ready to use after one or two hours. Because there isn’t much liquid in granola, it won’t take long to defrost and won’t become soggy.

It’s not a good idea to defrost it in the refrigerator. A refrigerator defrosts things considerably more slowly, which might benefit foods with a lot of moisture, such as meat or fruit. On the other hand, a dry item, such as granola, can melt significantly faster on the counter.

How to Resurrect Soggy Granola

Don’t be alarmed if your granola becomes mushy for whatever reason. This is not to say that your granola is destroyed – far from it! But, first, ensure no mold in your granola since dampness may cause mold to grow. If there isn’t a mold, reheat the granola.

To resurrect stale granola:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and distribute the granola on top. You’re looking for a thin layer of granola. You may need two baking pans if you have a lot of granola to crisp up.
  • Bake for up to 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool. When the granola has cooled, it should have crisped up beautifully. However, if you reside in a very humid area, it’s better to let the granola cool inside the oven, where it will be dry. This keeps the humidity from destroying the granola before you can consume it.

Because everyone has different tastes for the crispiness of their granola, feel free to vary the timeframes and temperatures listed above. Also, because the granola has already been baked, it can easily burn. To prevent this, I always check the granola while baking.

You may also use the microwave if you’re in a hurry. Microwave the granola for 10 seconds after spreading it on a microwave-safe dish. This rapidly warms the oils, allowing them to be reabsorbed by the grains and nuts. A similar effect may be obtained by tossing the granola in a frying pan.


Editorial Staff

Our writers, editors, content managers, and SEO specialist. We all take part in crafting amazing articles. We spend hours ensuring that each article is based on facts, researched, and thorough. You'll never want to click the back button to look for more answers other than here!