There’s nothing quite like Cream of Wheat for a hearty, warming breakfast. It is one of those comfort foods that just wraps you up in a big hug. And the best part is how convenient it is to make by just adding milk or water. Because it is kept in its dry state, Cream of Wheat can be kept for quite a long time and still be great to eat.
Cream of Wheat does go bad, but usually not by the expiration date listed on the package. This label will usually be a “best by date” and does not relate to food safety. It only shows the date at which the manufacturer believes that the product will no longer be at its highest quality.
Once opened, it is recommended to transfer dry goods to an airtight container, like this one found on Amazon.
To learn more about this topic, please keep reading so that you will be fully informed on how to store Cream of Wheat correctly.
What Is the Shelf Life of Cream of Wheat?
You will be pleased to know that Cream of Wheat can last for quite some time, but the length of time does vary depending on whether the packet has been opened, whether it has been cooked, and where it is being stored.
Cream of Wheat Shelf Life
|Dry (unopened) Cream of Wheat||Pantry||6-8 months|
|Dry (opened) Cream of Wheat||Pantry||4-6 months|
|Cooked Cream of Wheat||Fridge||4-5 days|
|Cooked Cream of Wheat||Freezer||3 months|
Can Uncooked Cream of Wheat Go Bad?
Uncooked Cream of Wheat can go bad if moisture reaches it and bacteria gets in. While manufacturers dry and seal the product in a packet, it can become damaged or compromised over time. This can let in moisture and create an environment for bacteria or grain weevils to proliferate.
How Long Does Uncooked Cream of Wheat Last?
You might not want to eat Cream of Wheat every single day, so you could well end up having some in your cupboard for quite some time.
Uncooked Cream of Wheat that hasn’t been opened can generally last and remain at a high quality for 6-8 months past its expiration date. Even so, it can still be safe to eat for quite a long time after that. Once the package has been opened, the clock starts ticking faster, and it will last for 4-6 months.
How to Store Cream of Wheat
Cream of Wheat should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from any sources of water. That’s because the most significant danger to your Cream of Wheat is moisture. As soon as any water reaches your Cream of Wheat, it creates an environment in which bacteria can thrive, and it will rapidly start to go bad.
Can You Store Cooked Cream of Wheat?
You might be in a situation where you’ve made too much Cream of Wheat and are wondering whether you can save some. Or you could be wondering if you can make it the night before, ready for the morning. You will be pleased to hear the answer.
Cooked Cream of Wheat can be stored in your fridge and be fine to eat at a later time. It may thicken quite a lot as the milk or water gets absorbed, and if you would prefer it to be thinner, you can just add a little more milk or water when you are ready to eat it.
How Long Does Cream of Wheat Last in the Fridge?
Cooked Cream of Wheat can last for 4-5 days in your fridge. Of course, you need to make sure you check that it’s still okay to eat before you throw it out. Look for signs of mold or a bad smell. Even if there isn’t anything visibly wrong with it, it could still have gone bad.
The human nose is very good at detecting when something isn’t safe to eat, so if your cooked Cream of Wheat smells rancid or foul, you should trust your nose and throw it out. If it tastes wrong or off, it is probably best to get rid of it as well.
Can You Freeze Cooked Cream of Wheat?
If you know you won’t be eating it within 5 days, you can freeze Cream of Wheat for up to 3 months. A good tip for doing this is to separate it out into greased muffin tins and freeze them for a few hours before storing the “pucks” in ziplock bags.
Related Is Oatmeal a Good Survival Food? How Should It Be Stored?
Is It Okay to Eat Expired Cream of Wheat?
Eating expired Cream of Wheat can be absolutely fine. The expiration date doesn’t necessarily tell you when it stops being safe to eat. It is only a best-before date, which tells you when your Cream of Wheat will be at its highest quality. It might not taste as nice, but it probably won’t be harmful.
However, Cream of Wheat can go bad if contaminated with bacteria or mold, so it is important to be mindful of these signs before consuming.
How Can You Tell if Cream of Wheat Is Bad?
Your Cream of Wheat may go stale after a while. This doesn’t mean that it will make you ill if you eat it, but it may not taste as good as it did before.
If the cream of wheat is no longer white and you can see a bluish tint of mold, it has gone bad, and it needs to be thrown away. You should also throw it out if it smells rancid. Sometimes grain weevils can grow in cream of wheat. In this case, you will see little black spots, and it won’t be safe to eat.
Because Cream of Wheat is dried, this prevents bacteria from growing. This means that it can last for quite a long time without going bad.
The expiration date you see on the pack doesn’t tell you when it stops being safe to eat, and you can still eat it after its expiration date, but you will need to rely on your senses and your judgment. If it doesn’t look, smell, or taste right, it is always safer to throw it away.
Once you have cooked your Cream of Wheat, you can keep it in your fridge for 4-5 days, or you could even freeze it, and it will last for a few months.
I hope this article has been helpful.
Thanks for stoppin’ by!
For more, don’t miss How Long Does Oatmeal Last? | Proper Storage is Everything.
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.