Hey! This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.

Breadcrumbs are a very situational ingredient and only see themselves used in a few recipes whereas something like salt or garlic can be used multiple times a week. So if you have a large stock of breadcrumbs and fear you won’t use them quickly, you may be wondering if they go bad or expire.

Breaking bread

What are breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumbs are almost exactly what they sound like. They are tiny bits of bread with a crumb-like consistency that is used for breading, stuffing, and topping many foods. It can add texture and a nice look to many meals. Breadcrumbs can also be used in combination with other dry ingredients of a similar consistency to cover something such as chicken to make it a completely different meal. They can also often be seen in a lineup of wet and dry ingredients for people who are wanting to batter or deep fry meats or food such as chicken and cheese.

Do breadcrumbs have a shelf life?

If you have a box at home or have recently made some you may be asking yourself “do breadcrumbs go bad?” and the simple answer is yes they will, eventually. Store-bought breadcrumbs last for quite some time and have a longer shelf life than their homemade counterpart. The box that they come in should have a vest before date on it that will signify when your breadcrumbs will start to decline in flavor and quality. It is quite a long shelf life as it is, but they should still be good for up to two weeks after this date so long as they have been stored properly.

How to properly store breadcrumbs

When it comes to storing breadcrumbs, it is not too dissimilar from other dry ingredients such as flour or baking soda. The proper storage methods should be prioritized as this will equate to longer shelf life. The breadcrumbs should be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry, and dark place.

A pantry is ideal and so is a cupboard within your kitchen. Any sources of moisture or heat will have a bad effect on your breadcrumbs so it is important you keep them away from any. This also means cabinets near stoves or ovens should be avoided as they are likely to get hot too, and also can become prone to condensation which is a source of moisture.

After being initially opened, breadcrumbs should be tightly sealed after each use, and if the packaging does not tailor for this then it is recommended that you transfer them to a container that allows for a tight seal.

This helps protect your breadcrumbs from moisture and pests. If your packaging of choice is a plastic bag, it is ideal for you to remove any excess air by squeezing the packaging and letting the air out before sealing it shut. This should be done each time you want to use your breadcrumbs. It might seem like a hassle, but it ensures your ingredients stay at the highest quality for a longer period of time.

If you are desperate to preserve your breadcrumbs for a long period of time then it is possible to freeze breadcrumbs. This is a last resort method as it will significantly change the taste, texture, and quality of your breadcrumbs. Putting breadcrumbs in the freezer will help them last longer but you must take some preventative measures to prevent freezer burn. The best way to do this is to put them in an airtight container, but it is not recommended to let them stay for months in the freezer.

What happens if breadcrumbs expire?

There are some ways you can tell if your breadcrumbs have either gone bad or have expired. Like any dry ingredient mixed with moisture, if you see any signs of mold then you must discard the entire thing. You may think that you can just separate the moldy part from the rest but this is not good, the bacteria has already spread and it is healthier to just throw it all away.

The scent of breadcrumbs will also change if they spoil. Normally they would have a mild and pleasant aroma that smells faintly like bread, but if this changes for whatever reason then it is time to toss them. The price of breadcrumbs is not so high that it is worth risking your own health to keep them for a bit longer than you should.

The final way to tell if breadcrumbs are bad or not is not something that you can really test, it is more of a way to let you know that you have made a mistake. By this, I am talking about eating them, there will be a very apparent sour taste if you eat them after they have spoiled. The texture will also not be pleasant as they will be stale breadcrumbs, which happens after too much air exposure similar to stale bread.

Homemade breadcrumbs

Making breadcrumbs at home can be super easy. and will provide you with high-quality breadcrumbs for all of your cooking needs. There is only one ingredient and one step to this process, which shows just how easy it is. You need a couple of slices of your preferred bread, with or without the crust…it really does not matter. You will also need a food processor or a blender, or an electric herb grinder. Anything that will turn your fresh slice into a pile of crumbs easily.

The only step is to simply turn on your machine until the bread is turned into crumbs. After this, you can either use them immediately or store them for whenever you next require them.

Are fresh breadcrumbs better than store bought breadcrumbs?

The homemade breadcrumbs are likely to taste better and be better as they are fresh and of higher quality, although a storebought variant has the potential to be of varying flavors and also in varying thickness, such as their coarseness. The main difference between the two that you should focus on is that storebought breadcrumbs will also last longer than fresh ones, and this is because they were dehydrated before being made which gives them a much lower moisture content, which is ideal for them keeping for longer.

Homemade breadcrumbs will be fresher but unless you have the option to dehydrate the bread first, your crumbs will only last a couple of weeks due to the bread being moist when you used it.

Is it OK to eat expired bread crumbs?

Eating expired breadcrumbs are fine to eat unless they are moldy or have been exposed to pests. If they are simply just old and stale, they can still be eaten but they will taste worse and feel stale. The only thing that will be an issue is that they are of lower quality once expired.

Can old breadcrumbs make you sick?

Once breadcrumbs get old and expire, they will go stale and lose their flavor. They are still fine to eat but will not be as pleasant as they once were. However, if your breadcrumbs are old, moldy, and have been exposed to pests then there is a chance that they will make you sick. If you see any mold you must discard them all, not just the moldy area.