How Long Do Pop Tarts Last? Do They Expire?

Here’s all you need to know about the shelf life and expiration of Pop Tarts. Learn how long Pop Tarts last and whether or not they ever expire.

New to Pop Tarts and wondering how long they last or if you can eat them after the date on the box?

If so, you’re in the right place.

Let’s jump right in.

Pop tarts package

How Long Do Pop Tarts Last?

Pop TartsBest-by + 3 – 6 months for best quality

Pop Tarts come with a date printed on the label and easily retain quality for at least 3 to 6 months beyond it. Just make sure the pastries are sealed tightly. Otherwise, they’ll dry out and lose quality much faster.

Pop Tarts are shelf stable and keep quality for quite a long time, indicated by the best-by date printed on the label.

That date only informs you how long the pastries should retain top quality. It’s not an expiration date by any means, and the product stays safe to eat beyond that date. Even Kellogs state that in their FAQ pages.

Pop tarts: best-by date
Pop tarts: best-by date isn’t an expiration date

The only issue with that is that it’s difficult to tell how long past the printed date the pastries will last. The 3 to 6 months period I mentioned above is a relatively safe estimate, so your Pop Tarts might still be quite tasty even a year or more beyond the best-by date.

That, of course, also depends on how much you care about the quality. If you’re hungry or crave a quick sugar fix, old, semi-stale Pop Tarts will do just fine.

Long story short, how long the pastries are okay to eat is more about the quality, not food safety. If the wrap is untouched, Pop Tarts are unlikely to go bad.

Pop tarts pair

Do Pop Tarts Expire?

Pop Tarts are still safe to eat after the date printed on the label. The only thing that changes beyond that date is that the producer no longer guarantees the quality of the pastries.

In other words, your out-of-date Pop Tarts should be safe to eat, but the quality might be slightly lower than what you’re used to. The texture might change a bit, or the flavor may fade.

But if you need a quick bite to eat or crave some sugar, your “expired” Pop Tarts will do just fine.

Of course, that’s not to say that Pop Tarts never go bad and are immune to spoilage. That’s not the case at all.

They’re unlikely to spoil, but you should always give them a quick once-over before eating, especially if they’re well past their date.

Let’s talk about that in more detail.

Pop tarts up close

How to Tell if Pop Tarts Are Bad?

Discard your Pop Tarts if:

  • They look off. Take a closer look at the front and back of the pastry, and look for anything that looks off. That might be some off-color dots on the back of the Pop Tart or discolored frosting. In most cases, these will be safe to eat, but you never know, so it’s better to play it safe.
  • They’re moldy. Pop Tarts aren’t likely to grow mold, but if the plastic wrap is not tight and some moisture gets inside, it’s a possibility.
  • They smell off. Pop Tarts have a mildly sweet aroma that differs slightly between flavors. So if your give off a sour smell, it’s apparent that something is wrong, and those Pop Tarts have to go. That said, finding that your Pop Tarts are smelly is quite rare.

Those are the typical spoilage signs for Pop Tarts. And as I already mentioned, Pop Tarts don’t go bad easily.

What’s more likely to happen is that yours will taste a bit stale and flavorless if you store them for months beyond the date on the label. And it’s up to you if you toss them or eat them if the quality is subpar.

Your Pop Tarts might also dry out if you leave them half-open. Once again, it’s your choice to use dry Pop Tarts or open a new bag.

How to Store Pop Tarts

Store Pop Tarts in a cool and dry place, away from heat sources. And if you have any unwrapped leftover pastries, place them in a freezer bag, squeeze out the air, and seal tightly. Then, store that bag at room temperature.

That’s all Pop Tarts need.

The pastries are wrapped in twos, so unless you ever need a single, you never have to worry about wrapping any leftovers yourself.

Pop tarts: two bars wrapped
Pop tarts: two bars wrapped together retain quality for a long time

Thanks to the wrapping, Pop Tarts stay nice and fresh for months, and you don’t have to worry about eating them all soon after opening the paper package. So you could eat a pair today and return in a couple of months to enjoy the rest.

All in all, there’s not that much to storing Pop Tarts. You don’t ever have to worry about refrigerating or freezing them, and the packaging is taken care of too. It’s even simpler than storing Oreos or marshmallows.

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