Do Oats Go Bad?

bowl of bad oats

Many of us may think that anything with a long shelf life might be kind of questionable. In most cases, that’s probably true. However, when it comes to oats, if they're properly stored, they can actually stay good well beyond their expiration date.  They doesn’t answer every questions though. You might still be wondering, how do you know when your oats have gone bad? And, how do you properly store oats to make sure they don’t get spoiled? This is obviously different for dry oats, and prepared oats, so we’ll cover both.

How to Tell if Your Oats have Gone Bad

Dry Oats

Although dry oats can last for a few years, one of the ways you can tell if your oats have gone bad is by trusting your senses. Although this isn’t a perfect test, it is the first judgment to see if they’re past the expiration date. Oats that have spoiled will change in texture and color. If you’re a regular oat eater, you probably already have a good idea of what your oats should look like. And, if it smells different than usual, avoid those oats like the plague.

You should be able to spot if there is something off about your dry oats by looking for the following:

  • Mold
  • Discolorations of the oats
  • Pantry pests in the container

If you still aren’t sure if your oats are spoiled even after inspecting the oats while dry, try cooking them next. One of the first tell-tale signs of bad oats is that when they're cooked with a liquid, the liquid remains considerably separated from the oats and any other ingredients. Do not eat the oats if you notice this separation because the oats will quickly develop mold and will be unsafe to consume. Aside from the liquid test, you can again rely on your senses. If the oats smell unusual or have a different texture, then it is likely that it is rotten. In order to make sure you use the oats in time, finding new recipes can help.Dry, prepacked, overnight oats don’t last quite as long as traditional oats. They will usually last about nine months as long as they haven’t been opened.

Prepared Oats

Unlike dry oats, which can sometimes be hard to tell if they’ve spoiled, prepared oats, such as overnight oats or cooked steel cut oatmeal, have tell-tale signs that they’ve gone bad. Prepared oats, which should be stored in the refrigerator, go bad much more quickly than dry oats, which can be shelf-stable for years. Like most prepared foods, prepared oats will probably last only 36 hours to seven days in the fridge. The main sign of prepared oats going bad is the liquid completely separating from the rest of the oats. Another common sign is mold growing on the oatmeal.

How to Properly Store Dry Oats

If your oats are dry and packaged, it is best to store them in a cool dry place that is not susceptible to temperature changes. If you leave your oats in an area that fluctuates in temperature, moisture will develop inside the package. This will lead to a growth in mold, in turn, spoiling your oats. Yuck!

If your oats are prepared, it's best to store the oats in your refrigerator set at 40°F immediately after use. You’ll also want to make sure the prepared oats are kept inside an airtight container to prevent moisture or other contaminants from spoiling your oats. Putting a date on top of the container can help you know when it was prepared.

Where do I find the best oats?

When it comes to oats that are made from quality ingredients, are rich in nutrients, and are gluten-free, Oats Overnight is a perfect choice. Simple and easy-to-make, our oats give you a delicious breakfast you’ll be looking forward to every day! Order today and we’ll ship your oats straight to your door!

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About Oats Overnight

Enjoy the benefits of eating breakfast with none of the work. Overnight oatmeal loaded with superfoods like flax, chia, maca root, and 20g+ of protein. No recipes needed. Life Is Hard, Make Breakfast Easy.