Does breadcrumbs go bad?

Breadcrumbs are a staple in many kitchens because of their versatility. You can buy them at the local supermarket or make them at home with stale bread.

But, regardless of the variety you choose, sooner or later you will ask yourself: do the breadcrumbs go bad?

People use breadcrumbs as a breading or coating for fried dishes, to thicken stews, to top casseroles, etc. But if you don’t use the breadcrumbs that often, after storing it for a few months, you’ll probably start to think about its shelf life. Or if they break or not, and if so, how can you extend their useful life.

If any of these questions sound familiar to you, this article is for you. In it we talk about the conservation, useful life and deterioration of breadcrumbs, both homemade and purchased. If it’s something you’d like to learn a little more about, keep reading.

batch of breadcrumbs

How to store breadcrumbs

Storing store-bought breadcrumbs (or breadcrumbs, if you prefer) is similar to other dry goods like oats or flour.

First of all, the breadcrumbs must be tightly closed. So if you make them at home, put them in an airtight container or jar. When it comes to the store-bought variety, once the package is opened, you should do the same. Except if the package or container is resealable, then it’s okay to leave the breadcrumbs in there.

breaded fish sticks

Now let’s talk about where that bowl of breadcrumbs should go, since the pantry isn’t the only option out there.

When it comes to store-bought breadcrumbs, the pantry or a dark kitchen cabinet is probably the best place. But if you expect to store the crumbs for an extended period, the freezer is best.

If you’re making breadcrumbs from soft breadcrumbs (known as “fresh breadcrumbs”), it’s probably best to store it in the pantry or freeze it, since the fridge isn’t the best place for it. Of course, feel free to experiment with refrigerating a small portion to see how it turns out for you.

breadcrumbs in a bowl

How long does breadcrumbs last?

Breadcrumbs, except “fresh breadcrumbs”, are made from toasted and crushed breadcrumbs, so they are essentially a dry product. They do not spoil easily, but at the same time they do not retain their quality forever. However, as long as the product is stored well, a bag of breadcrumbs will keep for months.

When it comes to store-bought breadcrumbs, it comes with an expiration date. Of course, being a dry product, you can expect the crumbs to retain their freshness for a few months from the date on the label.

Opening the package doesn’t change the shelf life much if you store leftovers properly. If you need to keep your breadcrumbs longer, or notice that they start to lose quality when stored at room temperature, freeze them.

For homemade breadcrumbs, the general rule of thumb is that it stays fresh for up to 2 weeks in the pantry, one to two months in the fridge, and about 6 months in the freezer. Of course, these are general guidelines, as each bread is different in terms of ingredients, plus it also depends on how you make the breadcrumbs.


Pantry Fridge Freezer
Store bought breadcrumbs Expiration + 1 – 3 months Expiration + 1+ year
Homemade breadcrumbs 2 weeks 12 weeks 6+ weeks

Please note that the periods above are estimates only.

Bread slice and breadcrumbs

How to tell if breadcrumbs have gone bad

As usual, if moisture gets into the package and you see any signs of mold, throw it all away. Pulling out the moldy part is a terrible idea, get rid of it all.

The smell test is second. Breadcrumbs usually have a pleasant but mild aroma, and if the smell changes for any reason, the product may have gone bad. Since breadcrumbs are super cheap, it’s not worth the risk, so throw it out if the smell seems off.

Last but not least, it’s time to taste the breadcrumbs to get the final verdict. If the breadcrumbs have taken on a sour taste, discard them. If the breadcrumb has become dry, hard, or crunchy in texture, its quality has degraded, but it can still be used. It’s up to you if you’re okay with using them in the kitchen or not.

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