Does coconut flour go bad?

Does coconut flour go bad? Coconut flour is a type of nut flour with large amounts of oil. It has become very popular, especially among people who follow the paleo or gluten-free diet.

Although there are many recipes dedicated to coconut flour, you can also use it in recipes you already make. Just substitute 10-15% of the wheat flour for coconut flour and you’ll get similar results, while also making the food you prepare somewhat healthier.

Although this coconut product is called flour, it’s not exactly “regular” flour. Their storage is governed by slightly different rules. Because it contains nut oils, coconut flour is prone to oxidation and rancidity. That means yes, it can go bad, or at least rancid, at some point.

Coconut flour in a ceramic bowl

How is coconut flour stored?

The normal thing is to keep the flour in the pantry or in a kitchen cabinet, right? Well, while that is the recommended method for most flours, it is not for coconut flour.

Coconut flour should be stored in a really cool and dark place, away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat. Keeping it at a low temperature is even more important after opening the package.

Obviously, you don’t want any moisture getting into the flour, so the place where you store it should also be dry.

Last but not least, be sure to close the packet tightly after each use, or better yet, transfer the flour to an airtight container after opening. Storing open bags of coconut flour (especially at room temperature) can cause the product to go rancid more quickly. The changes will be slight, but you will surely notice the difference.

Flour and coconut flakes

Let’s go over the different ways to store coconut flour and their pros and cons.

Storing coconut flour in the pantry
Although storing coconut flour in the pantry isn’t the ideal method, it should work as long as the container remains unopened. Once the bag is opened, it is better to store the flour in the fridge. We recommend storing an unopened bag of coconut flour in a dark cabinet. Be sure to keep it away from light, heat, and moisture for best results.

Evidently, storing coconut flour in the pantry after opening it won’t make it go rancid or rancid right away. Its quality will slowly deteriorate over time, and moving it to the fridge or freezer will slow that process down.

Storing coconut flour in the fridge
The best way to store coconut flour is in the fridge, regardless of whether the container is open or not. The cold temperature reduces the risk of oxidation and rancidity, thus prolonging the shelf life of the product.

With that being said, I recommend transferring the product to an airtight container after opening. Coconut flour can absorb odors from the fridge, which could affect its overall taste. Also, poorly packaged coconut flour will go bad much faster even if you keep it in the fridge.

Storing Coconut Flour in the Freezer
If you have bought too many bags of coconut flour and do not plan to use them soon, it is best to store them in the freezer. It’s a great way to extend the shelf life of this gluten-free flour.

If the coconut flour comes in cartons or plastic packets, you can pop them into the freezer right away, with no additional preparation required. But if you have coconut flour left over, it will need an extra layer of protection. Keep the original container closed and then put it in a resealable bag before putting it in the freezer.

Gluten free coconut flour on a table

how long does coconut flour last

Coconut flour typically comes with a “best before” or “best if used by” date, which means the product maintains its highest quality before the best before date. After the expiration date, coconut flour does not go bad right away. It’s food, not magic, and that means its quality slowly deteriorates over time.

The speed of the deterioration process depends on many factors, and temperature is one of the most important. The lower the temperature, the slower the spoilage process, so if the flour is in the fridge or freezer it can easily last a few more months or even years (if kept in the freezer).

As long as there are no signs that the flour is bad, rancid, or aged, it should be perfectly safe to eat. Keep in mind that although the flour will likely be able to be eaten for a long time, you may not like the taste of it.

That being said, properly stored coconut flour should stay fresh for at least 12-18 months after the date of production.

Pantry Fridge Freezer
unopened package “Consume preferably” + 3 – 6 months “Consume preferably” + 6 – 12 months “Consume preferably” + 12 – 24 months
open container “Best before date” “Consume preferably” + 3 – 6 months “Consume preferably” + 6 – 12 months

Keep in mind that these dates are approximate and coconut flour tends to last much longer. Always check if the flour has not spoiled before using it.

cooking with coconut flour

How to know if coconut flour is bad?

Coconut flour typically has a sweet, nutty aroma and is ivory or light cream in color. Changes in texture, flavor, aroma, or color are signs that the coconut flour has gone bad.

If the flour is super lumpy (we’re not talking about little clumps that will form sooner or later), throw it out. Ditto if you develop a strange (or weird) odor. Coconut flour takes on a slightly bitter taste when rancid, so watch out for that too.

Sometimes bugs can infest coconut flour if the product has been stored in the pantry for too long or the packaging has somehow come undone. If this happens, discard the product immediately.

If, for example, the expiration date has passed and there are no obvious signs of spoilage, can the coconut flour still be used? In general, it can be used perfectly. Many people have used coconut flour past the best before date and have had great results.

coconut flour

Coconut FAQ

Does coconut flour need to be refrigerated?

Although storing the coconut flour in the fridge is by no means necessary, it is the recommended method (see Bob’s Red Mill FAQ). Coconut flour stored in the fridge deteriorates more slowly than if it is stored at room temperature.

If you use up the entire bag within a few months of buying it, storing this gluten-free flour at room temperature shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Can I use coconut flour after its expiration date?

As stated above, the date on the package is usually not an expiration date, but rather a “best before” date. As long as the flour does not show the signs of deterioration described above, it is usually perfectly possible to use it.

If the coconut flour seems fine but has been stored in questionable conditions, consider throwing it out anyway. Better safe than sorry.

How to use leftover coconut flour?

One day I thought I was going to eat healthier and I bought a bunch of coconut flour. It turns out that making great pancakes with only coconut flour is not so easy and I went back to using regular flour.

Coconut flour sat in the cupboard for quite a while, and then I found out that you can easily substitute coconut flour for some of your regular flour in many recipes. Since then, I’ve been adding a tablespoon or two of coconut flour here and there (and to my pancakes, too!), slowly running out of stock.

If you’re not sure how to use that coconut flour that’s been sitting in the cupboard for years, you can do the same.

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