Do Popcorn Expire? How to Pop Only the Good Ones

Your cinema or movie binging experience is not complete without fresh, crispy, and buttered popcorn at your reach as you enjoy the movie or show.

Having popcorn with a cold drink somewhat makes the viewing encounter invigorating and full of life. Sometimes, you even think of buying more popcorn, but you fear that it would expire.

Find out how long you can keep your popcorn and how you can conserve it in this article.

What Is Popcorn?

Popcorn is made from corn kernel which swells up when heated. A kernel contains moisture and oil, which makes it easy to pop.

A popcorn kernel’s strong hull contains the seed’s hard, starchy shell endosperm with 14–20% moisture, which turns to steam as the kernel is heated. Pressure from the steam continues to build until the hull ruptures, allowing the kernel to forcefully expand, to 20 to 50 times its original volume, and then cool.

When the kernel is heated, the oil and water turn into pressurized steam. The steam causes the starch in the kernel to gelatinize, soften, and become pliable.

The internal pressure of the steam continues to increase until the breaking point of the hull is reached: a pressure of approximately 135 psi (930 kPa) and a temperature of 356 °F (180 °C).

What Are the Benefits of Eating Popcorn?

You will find that popcorn is high in fiber. It is also a source of polyphenols, which are antioxidants that aid blood circulation and digestive health. Other general benefit includes:

Diabetic risk reduction

Popcorn has a low glycemic index (GI), which helps to maintain blood sugar levels while also avoiding fluctuation associated with foods high in GI.

Therefore, popcorn makes for one of the snacks that help reduce the influx of blood sugar levels, most especially for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, while improving their glucose and lipid levels.

Helps to maintain weight

Popcorn offers a snack solution that can help you avoid weight gain. Its high fiber content, in addition to its low-calorie count, contributes to this important health benefit. These properties of the snack can make people feel fuller than a less healthy, fattier snack would.

Helps to reduce hypertension and heart disease issues

Due to the presence of fiber in popcorn, it is said to be a good factor in decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as coronary heart disease.

When you make popcorn without so much salt and butter, it can help regulate blood pressure which would kick against hypertension of sort.

Does Popcorn Expire?

Yes, popcorn does expire. The only difference is that popcorn doesn’t expire within a week or a month.

Popcorn can last for up to 6 -12 months without any issues. Many brands bagging popcorn for sale have their expiring dates on the package, which you should always check before opening.

What Happens to Popcorn When It Expires?

If you have ever noticed your popcorn lost its moisture and becomes dry, this means it has expired. Another thing to note is molds. When you see a form in your popcorn then it has gone bad.

This is because the popcorn is not preheated and cannot form any longer. It is the heating that keeps the corn afloat.

How Long Is Unpopped Microwave Popcorn Good For?

Unpopped microwave popcorn kernel will last for up to 6-8 months. However, if popped, it could last for about 2-3 weeks before going dry and hard.

How Long Does Unpopped Popcorn Last After the Expiration Date?

Unopened popcorn can be kept for an extra two months after the expiring date if stored in an airtight container.

However, you should endeavor to pop kernels and eat them within six months to a year of acquiring them. This way you can get high-value popcorn when popped and can also add another season to the taste.

SEE: How to Put Butter on Popcorn Without Making It Soggy

How Do You Know if Popcorn Is Expired?

Popcorn goes bad if it’s not sealed correctly and the texture will tell you if it’s gone bad. If it’s not sealed properly, it’ll be stale. The texture won’t be as fluffy, and instead of a crunch, it may have more of a soft chew to it.

What Can Expired Popcorn Do to You?

What an expired popcorn will do to you health-wise cannot be verified. However, you should not be a curious cat and get yourself in the sickbed.

This does not contradict the fact that if your corn doesn’t show signs of expiration even if truly expired from manufacturer standard, you should not eat it.

It is favorable to eat if the signs of its outright expiration aren’t visible for you to see. However, it would still be best if you avoid expired food altogether.

How to Maintain and Store Your Popcorn

There are ways in which you can keep your popcorn for the longest time without having it expire. Most importantly, if you can make them yourself, it makes it easier if you store them, as compared to the ones already popped and packaged.

  • To store, pop a batch of kernels but do not season them.
  • After it has cooled off totally, scoop popcorn into a plate or vessel. You must ensure it is not hot, as this could make popcorn go soggy when it heats in the container.
  • Use a big container that would allow room but is still very airtight. You can also use sealable bags.
  • Keep packed popcorn at room temperature for up to 1-2 weeks. What you must not do is refrigerate or freeze popcorn as this would bring out moisture, which makes popcorn go stale and soft.

What to Do With Old Popcorn Kernels

If you have kernels lying around after you have popped a portion, you can collect them and use kernels for other nice things.

  • You can turn your old kernels into an ice pack by collecting them and freezing them.
  • You can give out kernels if they are still good to neighbors and friends to make their popcorn too.
  • Another thing you can do with your kernels is to eat them with cheesy grit by grinding them to make a smooth paste.
  • Soaked in milk and strained, you can make old popcorn into ice cream. You will need to combine it with sugar, ice, and a blender for a delicious effect.
  • You can turn old popcorn into bean bags and create a fun environment for yourself and your family.

SEE: Find Out How You Can Eat At Subway for Free


Do popcorn kernels ever expire?

Yes, they do. But this is after a very long period. This is when you must have properly stored kernels and are sure they won’t be reopened without cause.

If not, they would lose their essence in the long term. Also, you should pop your kernels within six months of getting them.

Does butter popcorn expire?

Yes, butter popcorn expires. This expiration comes after the date stipulated as the termination date. Consequently, you begin to see the popcorn lose its moisture and go dry.

Can animals eat unpopped popcorn kernels?

Most definitely. Animals in the bird family can eat both the popped and unpopped popcorn. This is even a great way to feed them and keep them healthy. To get a better effect, you can boil kernels that haven’t been popped to make them soft before giving them to the birds.

Birds are drawn to the crisp texture of popcorn. The nourishment offered is an excellent addition to the bird’s diet.

Can you revive old popcorn kernels?

Yes, you can. To do that, you need to collect popcorn kernels in a big pot or in an oven tray. Once you have done this, put the kernels in the oven at 250°F for about five minutes to warm and re-crisp.

Where do we get popcorn kernels?

You can get your popcorn kernels in Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska in large quantities. This is because these areas grow kernels in large quantities and have fertile soil for them too.

However, you can get kernel at your local store too. It is found in most food stores.

Where is the best place to store popcorn kernels?

The best way to store your kernels is to have them in a tight container or bag. You can then place this package in a cool area that doesn’t get much sunlight such as your pantry.

This way, you can easily take your kernels whenever you want to pop them and can also easily spot them if they are going bad.


Popcorn is an everyday snack that many can’t do without. It is easy to eat, affordable, and filled with nutritional benefits.

The good thing is these benefits are very essential ones. Moreover, consuming popcorn doesn’t aid weight gain either.

With this, you have popcorn stored somewhere in every home. However, they do go bad if not stored properly or opened and forgotten somewhere. To get the best out of your long-lasting popcorn, read up on the rules of preserving popcorn highlighted here.

Thank you for reading.

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