Does Nori Go Bad?

Nori is a Japanese wrapper made from edible seaweed. This product is often used as an ingredient to sushi, maki, onigiri, and bowl topper. Nori is also used as a flavoring or garnish in soups, noodles, and stews. This product is made by pressing seaweed into sheets, a process that is similar to making paper. Nori is available in supermarkets as well as specialty stores. It is often sold in packs. Does nori go bad?

Since nori is dried, it has an extremely long shelf life. However, improper storage and handling could shorten its shelf life so yes, it could go bad too! The fact is, the shelf life of nori depends largely on the storage conditions. For instance, if the product is left exposed to moisture, it could go bad within a week or so. But if the storage conditions are ideal, nori will keep fresh beyond its expiry date!

does nori go bad

Image used under Creative Commons from City Foodsters

Nori is often sold in several sheets and you’ll probably have lots of leftovers. Let’s take a look at the best way to store nori to extend the life of your supply:

How to Store Nori?

The best way to store nori is to keep it in the pantry at room temperature. Since nori is a dried product, it doesn’t require refrigeration at all. In fact, storing this product in the fridge could ruin the quality of the nori! The added moisture + chilly temperature could increase the risk of mold growth. Apart from keeping the nori in the pantry, you can also freeze this product for long-term storage.

Storing Nori in the Pantry

For unopened packs of nori, there is no need to transfer the product to a different container. The original packaging provides enough protection from the elements. Just make sure to place the nori in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.

As for leftovers or opened packs of nori, we highly suggest placing the product in a resealable plastic bag or an airtight glass jar. Just place the packs of nori in your preferred container, packaging and all, slip a small packet of silica gel, then seal. Write the storage date then store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. The silica gel will absorb the moisture, extending the shelf life of the nori.

Storing Nori in the Freezer

If you have several packs of nori and you don’t see yourself using your supply up in the near future, it is best to freeze them for long-term storage. Nori freezes surprisingly well! For both opened and unopened packs of nori, we highly recommend slipping the product in a heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag. If you have a vacuum sealer, use it to seal the bag. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, just squeeze as much air as you can before sealing the bag. Write the storage date then lay flat in the freezer.

does nori go bad

Image used under Creative Commons from Amy Selleck

Shelf Life of Nori

Unopened packs of nori stored in the pantry will stay fresh for up to 3 years, maybe more if the storage conditions are ideal. When stored in the freezer, nori will keep indefinitely. That said, we recommend consuming your supply of nori as soon as possible for optimal flavor. Freezing the nori could cause the product to degrade over time. And once you thaw the nori, it is no longer as tasty.

How to Tell if Nori Has Gone Bad?

It is easy to tell if nori is no longer usable. Just check for color changes. If the seaweed wrapper has turned a weird shade of yellow or brown, discard it. If the nori starts breaking into loose bits, it is no longer safe to consume. Check for moisture, if the product is moist, discard it. If a subtle moldy odor emanates from the product, it is no longer safe to eat.


Stocking up on nori is a great way to save money while enjoying your favorite Japanese dishes. Does nori go bad? As with any type of food, it will go bad at some point. This goes especially if the product has been left exposed to heat and moisture. As long as you keep these storage tips in mind, your supply of nori should keep for years and years!