Does Cornmeal Go Bad?

Cornmeal is a staple food which is used for pizzas, bagels, breads and other foods. It is a meal ground from dried corn. Cornmeal is ground to fine and medium consistencies, but it is not as fine as wheat flour.

Sometimes cornmeal is also called polenta and it is used in different recipes all around the world. People usually have cornmeal somewhere in their kitchen, but they are probably wondering if the cornmeal can go bad.

In this article we will discuss about cornmeal and we will tell you something more about its shelf life. Also, you will find out how to store cornmeal properly and how to notice if your cornmeal has gone bad.

The Shelf Life of Cornmeal

As well as almost all other foods, cornmeal can also go bad if it is not stored properly. It is made of corn that contains oil, and it is known that oil can go rancid quickly. The shelf life of cornmeal depends on the way you store it.

If it is properly stored, your cornmeal can stay fresh on the shelf for a year. If it is stored in an airtight container in the freezer, it can remain for two or three years.

How To Store Cornmeal Properly?

At the groceries cornmeal is usually sold in cardboard containers, paper bags or plastic bags. But, you should know that cornmeal won’t stay fresh in such packages. It is possible that moisture or insects get into the bags and cause bacteria. To avoid it, you should place the cornmeal in airtight containers immediately after you purchase it.

You can also put the cornmeal in glass jars with sealable lids, in order to keep the moisture and the insects out of the jars. It is also very important to store the cornmeal in a dry and cool place, for example in the pantry. Have always in mind that higher temperatures can provide great conditions for insects. If the cornmeal is stored properly, it will hold its color and texture for a long time.

If the shelf life of the cornmeal has passed, but there are no obvious indicators that cornmeal has gone bad, then you can still use it. But, have in mind that the cornmeal won’t have sweet corn flavor. Because of that, it is best to use cornmeal as soon as possible after purchasing, to provide the best flavor for your pizzas, bagels, muffins or breads.

How To See If Cornmeal Has Gone Bad?

If you found some interesting recipe that needs cornmeal, maybe you have an old container of it in your kitchen. Probably, you won’t be sure if the cornmeal has spoiled, but don’t worry. You will easily notice if your cornmeal has gone bad. If the cornmeal is dry and loose in texture or if it has black moldy spots, it means that you should discard it.

Also, there can be some insects throughout the cornmeal, such as weevils. In this case, you should toss the cornmeal out and buy new cornmeal for your recipe. Remember that spoiled and rancid foods can cause many health issues and it is best to avoid them.


As you have seen, your cornmeal will have the longest shelf life if you store it in airtight containers. Don’t forget to remove the cornmeal from its original packing. Always try to use the cornmeal before the expiration date. When you place the cornmeal into a glass jar or into an airtight container, it is a good idea to write the expiration date on a label and stick it onto the jar or container.