Does Mac And Cheese Expire? The Answer Might Surprise You!

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Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and is perfect as come into the autumn months again. But what if you’ve just checked the cupboard and your supply has gone out of date? Should you throw out Kraft mac and cheese which has expired? This is your guide to whether or not you should eat it or toss it. I have included how to tell if your macaroni packet is safe to use, and how to store your cooked mac and cheese.

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Does Mac And Cheese Expire? The Answer Might Surprise You!

Table of Contents

Can You Get Sick From Eating Expired Mac and Cheese?

The expiration date of Kraft mac and cheese is after a very long time. If your Kraft mac and cheese has not been opened, then you will likely not get sick if you eat it. You will be able to find the expiry date on the packet but if you find it has gone past the expiration date, I wouldn’t worry about getting sick.

Kraft mac and cheese comes in a dried packet, which is designed to last for a very long time. It will very easily last longer than the expiry date. All foods need to come with an expiration date, which can be difficult to put on when you are dealing with foods that last for a very long time.

How Long Is Easy Mac and Cheese Good for After Expiration Date?

From the pantry

For foods that are to be stored in the pantry like Kraft mac and cheese, these products will last a very long time, and will easily last past their sell-by date, as long as they have been unopened. Make sure to check that the consistency of the powders look unchanged.

The dates which are provided on the box are usually an indicator of how fresh the batch is and are intended to show to manufacturers and producers when the product is at its peak. This does not automatically mean that the food is inedible after the best before date.

As a shelf stable food, unopened packets of Kraft macaroni and cheese will keep their freshness at original quality for 2 years. As you’ll know, the dry sachet sauce mix and macaroni both come together in separate packages. You will need to check that both products are edible before using. Dried pasta will usually last a very long time so the macaroni should be good, providing no moisture has gotten to it.

From cooked

Have you cooked your mac and cheese a few days ago and wondering if it is still okay to eat a few days later?

On average, cooked Kraft mac and cheese will last up to 3 days after being cooked if you store it in the fridge. Make sure to store your cooked macaroni and cheese in an air tight container.

From frozen

If you have stored your mac and cheese in a constantly low-temperature freeze, you can freeze mac and cheese should last for up to 2 months. This is the best way to extend the shelf-life of your cooked macaroni and cheese.

Whichever way you have stored your Kraft mac and cheese and whether you have cooked it or not, it is essential that you check the dish before you eat it for signs that it might be gone off if you are suspecting that the mac and cheese might be gone off.

Below is a list of different ways in which you can check your Kraft mac and cheese to make sure that your food is completely safe to eat.

does mac and cheese expire

9 Signs that Your Mac and Cheese Has Expired

Sometimes mac and cheese can end up going bad even though it has been packaged. This can be caused by a package that has been accidentally punctured and the air has gotten into it, or maybe you have purchased a bad batch.

This mac and cheese will have gone bad even before its expiration date.

The following is a list of signs that your mac and cheese has gone bad.


Have you either opened the packet or made the mac and cheese and it just doesn’t smell right? The smell test is a super important way of making sure that your food is safe to eat. If you are very uncertain if the food is gone off because of a bad smell, then chances are that it may be gone off.

If the food smells bad, there is a high chance that it will not taste good either so it is probably worth chucking it out for safety sake. You can always have a small taste of the food to check and if it tastes a bit different, should definitely chuck it out.

Bad Taste

Going on further from the last point, if you try a small taste of your mac and cheese before serving, you should just have a quick check of the taste. If you find that it tastes a little funny, you should just leave it and chuck it out.

You won’t enjoy the meal very much if the taste of the mac and cheese is bad, and you’ll enjoy the symptoms of food poisoning even more if it has gone bad!

Rancid Cheese

How does the texture of the cheese look? If you think that the cheese has a bit of a rancid smell or taste, it might be a good idea to chuck out your mac and cheese.


The color of your mac and cheese is another good way of knowing whether your food has gone bad or not. If you think that there has been a change in color, I recommend that you get rid of this mac and cheese too.


If you see any mold on your mac and cheese, you should just toss it. While mold is not detrimental to your health, it will affect the flavor of your mac and cheese and won’t taste very nice.

This is more likely if you have already cooked your mac and cheese and are taking it out of the fridge. Mold is most likely going to grow on mac and cheese after three to four days. If you see any mold forming, just toss it as soon as possible. Leaving it in the fridge can make it susceptible to contaminating the other foods in the fridge too.

That being said, if you are taking it out of the packet and there is a piercing in the packet, you might find some mold in the packet. In this case, you should just toss it.

Watery texture

Have you seen a change of consistency in your cooked mac and cheese? If you notice an increased volume of water in your mac and cheese, then it is probably good no more and will have an acidic taste.


If the consistency has changed of the powder packet and you notice it is looking a little bit lumpier than it should, then the packet is probably out of date.

Moist powdered cheese

Have you noticed the inside of the packeted mac and cheese is a little moist? This means that the powder might look a bit lumpy and unappealing. Again if you see these signs, you should just get rid of the mac and cheese. This may cause you to feel ill if you were to eat it.

Can I Store Mac And Cheese In The Fridge?

Yes, you can. But! The fridge will only keep your mac and cheese good for three to four days. Make sure that it is stored in an airtight container.

Have you cooked your mac and cheese and want to store it in the fridge? You will need to make sure you do not leave it for longer than three to four days. Otherwise, your mac and cheese will go off in this time. If it is not stored in an airtight container, you could risk contaminating the other foods you have in your fridge.

Check that your fridge is set to at least 42 degrees Fahrenheit or less. This will help to slow the growth of bacteria in your fridge, but it wont stop it completely.

Think that you won’t end up using your mac and cheese within three to four days? In this case, it is probably best that you store it in the freezer. This will help to extend the shelf-life of your cooked mac and cheese.

Putting your mac and cheese in the freezer will help to extend the shelf-life for up to two extra months. Make sure you store it in an airtight container in the freezer too. This will help to ensure that the cold does not ruin the exterior pieces of pasta.

If you want to enjoy your Kraft mac and cheese at its best, I recommend you eat it fresh. It’s the best way to enjoy this and this type of mac and cheese is super fast food to make.

Kraft Original Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (4 ct Pack, 7.25 oz Boxes)
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What Is Actually In Kraft Mac & Cheese?

Why does it last so long? The reason that packeted mac and cheese lasts so long is because it is actually not anything like normal mac and cheese. Packeted mac and cheese like Kraft’s contains high levels of milkfat and salt. You will be happy to know that recently, Kraft stopped adding artificial dyes and flavors.

Other than salt and fat, these types of packeted mac and cheese also contain other dairy by-products, like whey, milk protein and cheese cultures. All of these different ingredients help to add to the rich, creamy texture and taste. This is what makes packeted mac and cheese taste so good.

Some Interesting fasts About Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

It provided nutrition during WW2

Thanks to its long shelf life and cheap cost, Kraft macaroni & cheese was widely used in the US during world war II. It provided a good substitute for meat and dairy, which was in short supply at the time. It was a good substitute in terms of nutrition while being satiating and was affordable.

You might be making it wrong

The method you use to make your Kraft mac and cheese is essential to creating the tastiest dish.

  • Firstly, add the pasta with a knob of butter
  • Empty the packet of powder over the buttery pasta. Next, add in your milk
  • Fold the cheese and milk around the pot until completely mixed in with the pasta. Et voila!
Does Mac And Cheese Expire? The Answer Might Surprise You!

Does Mac And Cheese Expire – Your Questions, Answered!

By now you will hopefully have figured out if you can safely eat your mac and cheese. Nobody will be getting sick from eating it. Packeted mac and cheese that does not have tampered packaging is almost always good after its expiration date.

If you have expired mac and cheese powder, then you should generally be okay to eat after the expiration date. The only thing you need to be cautious about is making sure the packet hasn’t been pierced.

The best way to know for sure if food is going to be okay is to do a quick smell and taste test. You can do this by trying a small bit of your cooked mac and cheese. This will help to make sure that your mac and cheese does taste or smell weird. This is the greatest indicator of whether your food is gone off or not.

Before going, why not check out our recipe on Kraft mac and cheese, if you don’t have butter?


Does Kraft Mac And Cheese Expire?

Kraft mac and cheese should still be good after it has passed its best-before date. As long as the packaging is still completely sealed and there are no holes in it, then you should still be able to use it. Make sure to check the smell and taste of the mac and cheese before serving.

Does Betty Crocker Mac And Cheese Expire?

Betty Crocker mac and cheese will be in perfect condition until it has reached its expiration date. After its expiration date, it is still completely edible but the quality of the ingredients may slowly deteriorate. It should still be good but you notice any changes in smell or taste while cooking, it may be best to toss it.

Does Annie’s Mac And Cheese Expire?

An unopened packet of Annie’s mac and cheese will stay good for long after its expiration date. There should not be a noticeable change in the quality. You do not need to worry about a case of food poisoning if you were to eat an expired unopened box of mac and cheese.

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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