Can Boxed Pasta Actually Go Bad In The Pantry?

If you've ever celebrated anything, you can probably imagine this: It's a special night. You've spent the day stirring and sampling a delectable pot of tomato sauce, and you want to bring your meal to the next level. You decide to make fresh pasta. You gather together flour and eggs, then dive into the recipe. Instantly, you're overwhelmed by how involved the process is. 

Your hands are preemptively sore from the endless dough-kneading, you don't have time to let the dough rest, and the intricacies of rolling and cutting fresh pasta are way above your pay grade. Maybe you should just use boxed pasta. You remember that you have a few boxes in the back of your storage space, but wonder just how long they've been sitting in there. 

Fresh pasta will only stay safe to eat for a couple of days, but registered dietician Alyssa Pike tells Bustle that boxed pasta can last years. As long as you bought your boxed pasta within the last two solar cycles, you're only a boiling pot of water away from enjoying your carefully crafted spaghetti dinner.

Your boxed pasta will last a long time

In an interview with Bustle, Alyssa Pike, of the International Food Information Council, explains that dried pasta is generally safe to eat. Pasta-savvy influencer Linda Miller Nicholson agrees, explaining that if it's kept in a cool, dry place, "dried pasta can be stored more or less indefinitely."

According to the USDA, the best way to avoid your dry goods being exposed to bacteria or moisture, which will cause dangerous mold to form, is to ensure that they are kept in an airtight container. Many are sold in packages that fit these parameters, but transferring a dry food, like pasta or cereal, to a plastic or glass container can be a good way to ensure its security. The National Center for Home Food Preservations explains that "Glass containers are excellent for storage because any moisture that collects on the inside can be seen easily."

The quality of pasta can degrade over time

According to CNN, expiration dates don't necessarily indicate whether or not your food is safe to eat. Rather, they indicate when a product is at its optimal quality. This is absolutely the case with dried pasta. You only need to toss your pasta when it's become discolored or has developed an unpleasant odor, not by the expiration date printed on the box (per PureWow).

Though boxed pasta will remain safe to eat for an incredibly long period of time, whether or not it has actually "gone bad" depends largely on your interpretation of the term. While it won't make you sick, dried pasta that is cooked and eaten after its expiration date likely won't have the best taste or texture (via Bustle). You can tell when your pasta has aged past its prime when the noodles start to crack. Share the Pasta adds that you can ensure you're eating the freshest possible pasta by adhering to, "the first-in, first-out rule: use up packages you've had longest before opening new ones."