Found an expired brownie mix and wondering if it’s any good? Does brownie mix ever go bad?
The good news is, your mix is most likely perfectly fine to use.
Even if it expired more than a few months ago.
In this article, you will learn all you need to know about storage, shelf life, and expiration of brownie mixes.
Let’s dig in
Table of Contents
- Does Brownie Mix Go Bad?
- How Long Does Brownie Mix Last?
- Using Expired Brownie Mix
- How To Store Brownie Mix
Does Brownie Mix Go Bad?
Brownie mix doesn’t go bad in a way that it’s unsafe to use, but it doesn’t last forever either. The quality of the ingredients gradually degrades, resulting in changes in texture and taste. Plus, if the mix contains a raising agent, at some point it will lose potency, and you’ll end up with a dense brownie that’s not like the one on the package.
Ingredients of a typical brownie mix include:
- cocoa powder or chocolate
- (optional) leavening agent, like baking soda (sometimes labeled as sodium bicarbonate) or baking powder
As you probably know, flour, cocoa powder, and even chocolate can last for quite some time. Sugar and salt retain quality even better.
The only issue is with baking powder or baking soda, neither of which retains potency for all that long. And since the dry ingredients are all mixed up, you cannot test the potency of the raising agent alone without baking the brownie.
How Long Does Brownie Mix Last?
Brownie mix should work well for 3 to maybe 6 months after the date on the label.
After that period, the raising agent (if there’s any) will likely start to lose potency, and the brownie might turn out flatter and wetter than expected.
Of course, this 3 to 6 months period is only an estimate. And you cannot really tell how long does brownie mix last after the “expiration” date.
The date on the label isn’t an expiration date and has little to do with food safety. It’s usually a “best-by” or “best before” date that indicates how long, at the very least, the mix should retain quality.
With that in mind, let’s talk about working with an expired mix.
Using Expired Brownie Mix
You can use an expired brownie mix if it has been stored properly. But if it contains baking powder or baking soda and is more than a couple of months past its date, consider adding in some of that leavening agent back in to make up for the lost potency.
Brownie mixes typically use only a bit of baking powder, if any. For instance, this mix uses 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder per about 2 cups of the mix. That’s much less than cake mix or pancake mix use.
So if your brownie mix is more than 6 months past the printed date and you’re worried it’ll be completely flat, add half of the recommended amount. And if it’s more than a year expired, add the whole 1/4 teaspoon baking powder per 2 cups.
That said, I cannot guarantee you’ll end up with perfect brownies (here’s how long brownies last) after using this method. Every mix and recipe is slightly different, so your experience may vary.
Because of that, if you’re using a brownie mix that’s more than a few months expired, do it in a low-stakes situation. Choose a leisurely weekend and go for it. If it turns out well, great. If not, no big deal. Or at least bake the brownies a day in advance so if you’re not happy about the result, you still have time to buy or bake something else.
If you’re using a long-forgotten brownie mix, assume the resulting brownie won’t be all that great. If it turns out well, you’ll be positively surprised.
How To Store Brownie Mix
Store your unopened brownie mix in a cool and dry place. A cupboard in the pantry or kitchen works just fine.
If your brownie mix is way more than you need (i.e., it yields a big brownie, and you only want a couple of pieces), you can usually use half of the mix and store the rest for later.
If your mix included a couple of separate bags (e.g., one with dry ingredients, one with chocolate, and another for the topping, like mine did), pack the leftovers the same way. So if there were three bags, you should end up with three freezer bags or containers with the remaining ingredients.
Properly stored leftovers will last an extra couple of months, so there’s no need to rush using them.
If you have a couple of bags with ingredients, consider putting them all in a larger airtight container or bag. This way, everything stays together, and that’s probably the best way to go about storing leftover brownie mix. Adding a name on the label could help as well.