Quick Answer: Whilst Kraft Mac and Cheese does have an expiry date, it can be eaten after this date with absolutely no change with its overall quality, and it won’t go bad. That being said, if the box has been opened or it has been cooked, then it can go bad.
In this quick guide we shall take a look at whether Kraft Mac and Cheese can expire, and also if it can go bad – as well as the indicators that can cause it to do so.
Can Kraft Mac And Cheese Go Bad?
Every household in America has some form of mac and cheese in their pantry, one being the boxed Kraft version. It is super easy to use, and can make a quick lunch or side dish when time is tight.
So, it isn’t surprising then that you might have found a box or two of Kraft Mac and Cheese in the back of a cupboard. These particular boxes have been forgotten about, so much so that you can’t even remember when you bought them.
Easily done, however, so no judgment here.
With this in mind, can Kraft Mac and Cheese go bad? Yes and no because there are many factors that play an overall role into whether the boxed mac and cheese can go bad.
Some of these factors include whether the box was opened, the expiration date, and where it has been stored all this time.
If the unopened box has been kept in a dry and dark place within a cupboard or pantry, and it is at least only a few months after the expiry date, then it is likely to be fine.
An expiry date basically just refers to the quality and overall freshness of the food, rather than if you eat it after this date you will become sick.
If the box has been opened, it is likely to have gone bad whether it is within the expiry date or after it. Anything may have found its way in, including air. This is a recipe for disaster, and can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Can Kraft Mac And Cheese Expire?
As we stated before, an expiry date such as a ‘sell by’ or ‘best by’ is usually an indicator of how fresh the food is, and what the quality will be like. Once it reaches that date, it is highly likely that the quality of the mac and cheese will begin to drop.
Usually the expiration dates on a box of mac and cheese is quite far into the future due to the ingredients to keep them in tip-top condition (think of that as you will).
If they haven’t been opened, then there is a good chance you can still eat them even months after the date has passed.
If the box is open, then don’t bother. There is a high chance that it has been contaminated with something or other, and the quality will have dipped dramatically.
Just remember that a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese if unopened is probably fine to eat. If you open it and it smells rancid, then obviously do not go ahead and eat it, but it is very unlikely that this will happen.
So with that being said, only take the expiration date with a pinch of salt too, as it is likely just an indicator on whether the quality and freshness is at the top of its game or not.
Should You Take Note Of Expiry Date On Kraft Mac And Cheese?
As we stated previously, you should take the expiry date of a Kraft Mac and Cheese box with a pinch of salt if it has never been opened. This is because the date signifies the peak at which the food is at its best quality.
From that date the quality will slowly begin to decline. This doesn’t mean that suddenly once the date has passed it will be horrible to eat. It just means that the optimal freshness and quality it will ever be has passed.
In fact, if you eat Kraft Mac and Cheese a few months past the best by date you likely will not even notice any differences. However, the longer you leave it, for example a whole year, you might just.
If stored correctly, Kraft Mac and Cheese can actually be edible for around two whole years. If it isn’t stored correctly or has been opened, then this will not be the case at all.
However, do check the sachet of either the sauce or dry ingredients first as this might not last as long, with the former benign the first to go.
Are There Ways To Tell If Kraft Mac And Cheese Has Gone Bad?
Whilst the likelihood of Kraft Mac and Cheese ever going bad is low, you will want to make sure that it hasn’t gone stale before you decide to eat it.
Afterall, having a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese in the cupboard and finding it a year after you purchased it can raise hundreds of questions as to whether you should consume it or not, especially if the expiry date has long passed.
Because Kraft Mac and Cheese contains pasta that is dry, it lasts much longer than something fresh. Not only that, all of the ingredients may have things added to preserve them.
This means it can stay edible for those two years – or maybe more.
Let’s take a look at how Kraft Mac and Cheese might become spoiled and ‘bad’:
Issues With Mold
If the box is sealed and every item is in its original container, again sealed, then it stands a higher chance of being fine to eat. However, there are still a few things to be aware of.
For example, any seals may be damaged or have been opened.
When this happens, the ingredients are not worth using. This means that if the box has been damaged too, something like moisture may have entered through and damaged the food.
When moisture reaches food it can cause mold to grow making it unsafe to consume.
This can also make the dry mix go lumpy and not usable. Plus, it probably isn’t best to use a packet mix once something like moisture and mold has found its way to it.
Dry And Sauce Mix
Whilst mold can be a big issue with food that has been left, you might also just find that the sauce and dry mix has lost its flavor after sitting in the box for so long.
It may have once been a strong and delicious flavor, but now it tastes and smells of absolutely nothing.
Even if the macaroni is fine, and there are no signs of mold, you will want to throw the sauce mix away because there will be no benefit to it. When that is the case, it might be worth making your own sauce to coat the macaroni.
The pasta itself is unlikely to spoil because it is dry and should have been kept correctly within the box. So with all this in mind, so long as the box has been kept dry and is fully sealed, it is always worth checking the sauce mixes.
You might find that once a couple of years has passed none of it tastes as nice, but the matter of fact is, the Kraft Mac and Cheese hasn’t gone bad!
What Is The Correct Way To Store Kraft Mac And Cheese?
Kraft Mac and Cheese has been purposely created to have a long life, meaning it is perfectly fine to forget that the box (or boxes) you bought exist.
It makes it safe to say that yes, you can still eat them a year after you brought them home from the grocery store.
Heck, even two years later!
However, for this to be a thing you need to make sure you store the box properly and to ensure it doesn’t become damaged.
That means placing them within a cupboard or pantry away from moisture and light is the best way to store a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese,
Is It Okay To Put Kraft Mac And Cheese In The Freezer?
You can put leftover cooked Kraft Mac and Cheese in the freezer, but there really isn’t any benefit of doing this. Also, the longer you leave it, the dry pasta will begin to stick to each other and you won’t be able to pull it apart.
Also, once you thaw out the pasta which has been cooked, most of the flavor will be lost. So, your best bet is to put it into the refrigerator to have later or tomorrow.
Is It Okay To Put Kraft Mac And Cheese In The Fridge?
Yes, you can put cooked Kraft Mac and Cheese in the fridge to store for your next meal or to finish off. However, there are no benefits to storing a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese within the fridge.
The best place to store Kraft Mac and Cheese is in a dry cupboard or pantry. This way it will stay away from moisture and stay in good condition.
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