Have you found a brownie mix sitting in a cupboard for who knows how long? It’s probably expired and you’re wondering: does brownie mix go bad?
Or maybe you have friends coming over for coffee in a day or two. And you want to know if that brownie mix that’s 3-4 months past its expiration date is still safe and okay to use.
If that’s what brought you here, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re going to cover everything related to brownie mixes.
- expiration – if it expires and if it is noticeable that it has been damaged
- useful life – how long you can expect it to make decent brownies (here’s how long brownies last) and how you can try to “fix” your expired brownie mix
- storage: how to do it
Interested? Let’s go deeper.
Does the brownie mix go bad?
Brownie mix doesn’t spoil in a way that’s unsafe to use, but it doesn’t last forever either.
Over time, the quality of some ingredients degrades, making the texture and flavor less than ideal.
More importantly, the brownie mix contains a leavening agent that does not retain its potency for long. And if that raiser doesn’t do its job, you end up with a super moist, flat brownie that you’ll probably throw away.
The ingredients of a typical brownie mix are
- cocoa powder or chocolate
- leavening agent, such as baking soda (sometimes labeled as baking soda) or baking powder
As you probably know, flour, cocoa powder, and even chocolate can last quite a while. Sugar and salt retain their quality even better.
The only problem is with baking powder or baking soda, which don’t hold their potency for very long. And since the dry ingredients are all mixed together, you can’t test the power of the raising agent on its own.
So, can you use expired brownie mix? Yes, but if more than 3 or 4 months have passed since your date, do it in a low risk situation. Pick a quiet weekend and do it. If it goes well, great. If not, nothing happens.
|If it’s not a low-risk situation, you can keep baking that brownie. You only have to do it a day before so that if you are not happy with its quality, you still have time to buy something else.|
How long does the brownie mix last?
The brownie mix should work well 3 to maybe 6 months after the date on the label.
After that period, the raiser will likely start to lose potency, and the brownie may turn out to be flat and moist (rather than wet) on the inside.
Of course, this period of 3 to 6 months is only an estimate. And you can’t really tell how long brownie mix lasts after the “use by” date.
|The label date is not an expiration date and has little to do with food safety. It is usually an “expiration” or “best before” date that indicates how long, at a minimum, the mixture must retain its quality.|
One thing you can try if your brownie mix is more than half a year past its date is to add a bit of leavening agent to make up for the loss in potency.
This is how you do it:
- Check if your mix uses baking powder or baking soda.
- Find a brownie recipe that is similar to your mix. That means it makes a similar brownie (in terms of size and texture) and uses the same raising agent.
- Check the amount of carbonating agent called for in the recipe.
- Add the baking soda or powder to your dry mix. If your mix is older than 6 months, use a quarter of what the recipe calls for. If it is older than 12-18 months, use half. Two years or more? Use three quarters or even the entire amount (if it has been “out of date” for about three years).
I cannot guarantee the results of this “fix” because every mix is different. But the logic behind it is pretty straightforward: the leavening agent gradually stops working, and we try to mitigate it by adding a bit to make up for it.
|If you’re using a long-forgotten brownie mix, assume the resulting brownie won’t be as good. If it goes well, you will be positively surprised.|
How to Store Brownie Mix
Store unopened brownie mix in a cool, dry place. A pantry or kitchen cabinet works well.
If your brownie mix is a lot more than you need (ie, it makes a large brownie, and you only want a couple of pieces), you can usually use half of the mix and save the rest for later.
If your mix included a couple of separate bags (for example, one for the dry ingredients, one for the chocolate, and one for the topping, like mine did), pack the leftovers the same way. So if there were three bags, you should end up with three freezer bags or containers of the remaining ingredients.
Properly stored leftovers will last a couple more months, so don’t be in a hurry to use them.
|If you have a couple of bags of ingredients, consider putting them all in a larger container or ziplock bag. This way everything stays together, and it’s probably the best way to store leftover brownie mix. Adding a name to the tag can also help.|