Do you have an old box of brownie mix and want to know if it’s safe to eat? It’s a good question and one we will answer in this article.
It’s important to know how to tell if your brownie mix has gone bad in order to prevent consuming spoiled brownies. And you will learn the simple way to tell if your brownie mix is good or not.
Whether you found an old box in the back of the pantry with no sell by date, or you want to know if it’s safe to make brownie mix past the expiration date, we have you covered.
We will also cover the difference between sell by dates and expiration dates. Hint: they are not the same thing. We will even give you tips on how to best store brownie mix to maximize it’s shelf life.
Can You Use Expired Brownie Mix?
First off let’s discuss the date on your brownie mix box. That date is almost always a “sell by” date and not an expiration date. Big difference!
A sell by date is the manufacturers recommended date for peak flavor and texture of your prepared brownies. On the other hand, an expiration date would mean the brownie mix is no longer safe to consume. And that is not what the date on your box of brownie mix means.
The vast majority of brownie mixes do not actually expire. The ingredients tend to be safe to eat many months past the date on the box.
The main problem you will encounter when using an old box of brownie mix is the raising agents may have lost their potency as well as some degradation of flavor. But that does not mean your brownies will be unsafe to eat.
Most brownie mixes will contain flour, baking powder or baking soda (your leavening agent), salt, sugar and cocoa or other flavoring.
These types of ingredients have a long shelf life when stored in a cool dark location. As noted above, very old brownie mix may not rise or offer as robust a flavor as a fresh box of brownie mix.
So can you use expired brownie mix?
Yes! Because the date on the box is a sell by date and not an expiration date, it is entirely safe to consume brownies made from a mix that is months past the sell by date.
Keep in mind that the brownie mix should not have been exposed to moisture or extreme heat as that can lead to certain ingredients in the mix going bad.
In fact, I have used brownie mix up to six months past the sell by date with no issues other than some lost flavor.
How Long Does Brownie Mix Last (Shelf Life)
Brownie mix has a long shelf life when stored in a cool dark place in it’s original bag or an airtight container.
Brownie mix will stay good for at least 4 months past the sell by date, with some mixes lasting up to a year or more past the sell by date.
The key to using an old box of brownie mix is just making it and checking that it rises and offers the flavor you are looking for. You almost never have to worry about it being unsafe to eat when stored properly.
Brownie mix will last from 4 months to 1 year past the sell by date.
What Happens to Old Brownie Mix?
Most brownie mix will contain baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or baking powder which allows your brownies to rise.
Baking soda and baking powder can lose it’s rising ability over time so old brownie mix may come out flat.
If your brownie mix is quite old, you can add some baking soda or powder to assist in the rising process.
Note: All brownie mixes are a little different in how much baking soda they use. Because of this, I will look up a recipe that is similar in yield to my mix and add 3/4 of the called for baking soda to my brownie mix.
Older brownie mix may also lose it’s flavor. This is something you can asses after baking your brownies.
You can boost the flavor of your brownies by frosting them. You can use a premade frosting or make your own. I like this simple recipe for chocolate ganache to frost brownies.
Important: If your brownie mix was stored improperly or was low quality there is a chance that they just won’t turn out that well. If that happens just move on and make a different brownie mix.
How to Store Boxed Brownie Mix
Brownie mix should always be stored in a cool dark location. The pantry or a cupboard is the best bet for maximizing the shelf life.
Always keep your brownie mix out of direct sunlight or extreme heat. Moisture will degrade your brownie mix so always store it in it’s original, sealed container when possible.
If your brownie mix bag is unsealed, transfer your powder to an airtight container and store it in a cupboard or pantry. Write the sell by date on it so you don’t forget when you stored it.
Sometimes you may want to make a half batch. In this case put your leftover brownie mix in a freezer bag and seal it. Write the date on it and store it in a cool dark place.
Expired Brownie Mix FAQ
How long after expiration date can you use brownie mix?
Brownie mix can be used up to 1 year after the sell by date. Flavor and leavening agents may degrade after 3 or 4 months. But your brownie mix has a long shelf life and is safe to eat many months after the sell by date.
What happens if you use expired brownie mix?
Old brownie mix can lose it’s flavor and may come out flat. This is because the ingredients will lose their potency over time. But your brownie mix will be safe to consume for months after the sell by date.
How do you bake old brownie mix?
Baking instruction vary by brand and type of brownie being made. Follow the instructions on the back of your brownie mix box. You may need to add some baking soda or baking powder if it is more than four months past the sell by date to ensure it rises properly.
Some popular brands that you may be using include the following. You can go to their respective sites to look up baking instructions if you lost your brownie mix box.