Kraft Mac and Cheese has been around for as long as I can remember. I grew up with it, and my children love it. My daughter could eat it every day.
It is a staple in almost every home in America, and when someone mentions mac and cheese, the blue box with the yellow lettering comes to mind.
Kraft Mac and Cheese is a quick and easy dinner that almost everyone loves.
Chances are you have at least one box of this classic pasta in your home right now. It’s one of those food items that you think will last forever. But, have you ever wondered if Kraft Mac and Cheese goes bad?
Yes Kraft Mac and Cheese does expire or go bad. However, the expiration date on the box isn’t a determining factor. It simply means the product is best by that date.
Read on to find out more about when you should consume Kraft Mac and Cheese and when it’s not safe to do so.
Can Kraft Mac and Cheese Expire?
Mac and cheese is a shelf-stable food, meaning it has a good chance of being just fine to eat past the expiration date. Most shelf-stable foods can be consumed well past this date, and Kraft Mac and Cheese is no exception.
If stored properly, a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese is edible past the expiration date. As long it has not been opened, there will be no big change in the quality of the product.
You certainly won’t need to fret over the possibility of food poisoning if you do eat it past the expiration date because, in reality, it’s just a best-by date.
Most manufacturers in the United States have pretty strict guidelines when it comes to the best-by or expiration date. The dates are only indicators of the freshness of the product, and in most cases, it does not mean that the food is unsafe to eat. Kraft Mac and Cheese does not go bad in the way that expired dairy or meat would.
If you store the food properly, away from moisture and pests, your unopened box of Kraft Mac and Cheese is safe to eat for almost two years! The pasta is almost always safe, but double-checking the sauce mix is where you want to be a little more cautious.
How Can You Tell If It Has Expired?
It’s not overly easy to tell by physical appearance if a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese has gone bad or is unsafe to eat. Freshly made pasta will go bad after a short amount of time, but when it comes to dry pasta, you can be confident that it will stay much longer.
As long as the product is unopened and the sauce packet is sealed, chances are it has not spoiled. But if the product was tampered with or left open, the chances of moisture ruining the product are much greater.
You may notice that the pasta is soft or has formed lumps, and the cheese sauce may have become wet or solidified.
However, this is a totally different scenario if you have already cooked the mac and cheese. Cooked mac and cheese will go bad, and the indicators are pretty clear. The product will smell terrible, and you may see a hardening of the noodles or even mold. In this case, toss it!
Another way to tell if the product has expired is the sauce mixture will likely have no flavor and may not mix well. It’s best to toss this too, because you want to avoid ingesting any molds or fungus that may have accumulated. These cheese packs also contain dairy in some form, such as milk or whey, and these will also lose flavor if they expire.
How Do You Store it Correctly?
Kraft Mac and Cheese is pretty forgiving when it comes to storage. It can usually be tucked away in the cabinet and forgotten about until you are ready to eat it for up to two years.
Dry pasta keeps very well and should give you no problems. The sauce packet is where things can get tricky. When storing your mac and cheese, you want to ensure that the cheese packet is not tampered with in any way.
An opened or torn sauce package will begin to take on moisture, which is when molds can set in.
Store your Kraft Mac and Cheese in a dry and cool cupboard where the presence of dampness and moisture is nonexistent. Storing the product in a dark place will also help it keep as direct sunlight or artificial light can damage it.
Pay attention to temperatures too, because you will keep the product fresher if you don’t transfer it to warm and cold climates. It should be left at one temperature.
What is the Shelf Life?
The shelf life of Kraft Mac and Cheese is pretty remarkable, but this depends on whether the product is opened or unopened.
Stored properly, Kraft Mac and Cheese is safe to eat for almost two years. Keep it a dry, cool place that is out of the sunlight.
By keeping your mac and cheese stored properly, you can probably eat it well past that two-year mark without a problem.
If the box of mac and cheese was tampered with or is open in any way, your time frame will be less. Any box of Kraft Mac and Cheese that has been opened should really be eaten within two weeks.
It will also help to keep it in an airtight container because once the box has been opened, you are subjecting it to moisture and mold.
If you have already cooked your mac and cheese and can’t quite finish it, you still have about four days as long as it is stored properly in the refrigerator.
Can You Store Mac and Cheese in the Freezer?
Kraft Mac and Cheese can absolutely be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Any longer than that, and the taste may be affected. Keep it in a sealed container to prolong flavor and prevent any freezer burn.
Will Kraft Mac and Cheese Last Past the Expiration Date?
You can safely rely on Kraft Mac and Cheese to last well beyond the expiration date. A properly stored box of mac and cheese will keep just fine for up to two years.
Because it is a shelf-stable food, it will keep much longer. The only thing you may notice is that the taste isn’t as good if it’s well past the best by date.
Can Kraft Mac and Cheese Be Reheated?
While I personally think it’s not as good the second time around, you can certainly reheat mac and cheese. You can reheat it in the oven, the microwave, or in a saucepan. The trick is adding a milk splash, so the noodles don’t get dried out.
Other Expiration Facts
This classic American staple has a remarkable shelf life and can last up to two years if stored correctly. You need not worry about food poisoning.
Any cooked mac and cheese should be kept in a sealed container and can be safely eaten in four days as long as it’s kept in the refrigerator.