Does Instant Ramen Expire? 7 Burning Questions ANSWERED


Yes, it expires and they CAN go bad.

Here are some facts about the expiration of instant noodles.
Let's take a look...

1. How long do instant noodles last?

Have you ever looked for the expiration date on a package of instant noodles?
 
According to the companies that produce instant noodles,
 
expiration of cup noodles is about 6 months after production, and 8 months for bagged instant noodles.
But wait, you don't see instant noodles go bad immediately after the expiration date has passed.
Do you?

So, does that mean you can still eat them after the expiration date has passed?

The answer is yes, BUT I don't recommend it.


8 month after the production of your instant noodles, the oil will start to deteriorate and the taste of the noodles just won't be good as when it was fresh.

You shouldn't eat instant noodles that is too old.

In my opinion, and from personal experience, I wouldn’t eat instant noodles that is 3 months past the expiration date. 


Keep in mind that you still need to check the quality of your instant noodles.  

2. How to check if your expired instant noodles are OK to eat

If you really want to eat expired instant noodles, do so at your own risk.

There are a few things you must look for.
Do my instant noodles...

...smell bad?
...have mold?
...change colour? 
...have an expiry date over 3 month ago?
...have a strange first bite?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you must not eat them. 

3. Does expired instant noodles taste good?

I have tried instant noodles which have been expired for 2 months, it just doesn’t taste as good as a fresh, new pack! 

4. What happens if you eat expired instant noodles?

After reading several Japanese blogs on the brave souls who have tried (long) expired instant noodles, here are some of their thoughts and experiences...

After 0.5 year from expiration date
"The soup was bland”
"I couldn't tell the difference even though it was old"
"This ramen tastes bad”

After 1.5 years from expiration date
"I had an upset stomach”
“I found something strange floating in the soup”
“It tasted like cardboard”
“It did not taste like food"

After 2 years from expiration date
"It tasted sour"
"I went see a doctor because I felt like vomiting."
"Smelled really strange"

After 2.5 years from expiration date
"The oil tasted like it could be the oil for machiney"
"The noodles tasted really bad"
"My stomach hurts"

After 3 years from expiration date
"I wanted to vomit"
"The soup smelled really bad"

Yes, you read that right.
It is very dangerous to eat instant noodles that have expired long ago.
If stored for a long period of time, the instant noodles will become unedible.

Please do not eat it! 

5. Why does instant noodles go bad?

 

Do you know the reason why instant noodles go bad when they expire?

It is because of the oxidation of the oil in the instant noodles.

Deep frying instant noodles is a part of the manufacturing process.

In a factory, you put noodles in a metal frame and put them into high-temperature oil ranging between 140°C to 160°C (284°F to 320°F)...

...And fry them for 1 to 2 minutes.

The oil will start to oxidize after the expiration date, and noodles will start to produce a smell and the taste will turn bad. 

6. Why can instant noodles last long?

Do you know why instant noodles can last up to 8 months?

The answer is that the noodles don’t contain as much water as raw noodles.

Originally, water makes up about 30-40% of ramen dough, but through the frying process, it goes down to 3-6%.

Also, dried soup packets make the storage time longer.
The process of dehydration and frying removes moisture and water content which inhibits the growth of microorganisms.

Vitamin E is also added as an antioxidant to help slow down the oxidation of the food. 

These components added together help prolong the shelf life of instant noodles. 

7. Storing instant noodles

How do you usually store your instant noodles?

Here are the correct ways to store your instant noodles:

  • Avoid sun light.
  • Store at room temperature.
  • Store in low humidity.
  • Avoid storing with things that have a strong smell.  

Here are some examples of deep-fried noodles, and non-fried noodles.
I have taste-tested each one and made reviews for them.

Check them out: 

Deep fried noodles
Nissin Cup Noodles Curry

About the Author

Kei is a self-proclaimed ramen lover, blog writer and founder of "Apex S.K. Japanese tableware".

"I am from Ibaraki, Japan.

Ramen is great! It can bring you a sense of happiness and satisfaction that no other food can. I have been eating ramen for 30 years.

If there is no ramen, my life would be miserable.

Ten years ago, I worked as an office worker. The job was really stressful - excessive working hours, low wages, unpaid overtime work, and constantly being yelled at by my boss.

I was new and alone, no girlfriend, no friends, and felt very lonely.

My only oasis was the ramen shop near the office. For me, the ramen chef there was literally an angel. I saw a halo on his head. (No joke)


Tonkotsu shoyu ramen was my all-time favorite. He made ramen with broth chock-full of umami flavor, nice chewy handmade noodles, and tender chashu.

My greatest dream is connect people with ramen through my blog. I want to share a lot of interesting and funny stories and ramen trivia with you.

Knowing more about ramen can help you appreciate your ramen and make it taste extra delicious."

6 comments


  • Kei

    Hi Kris,
    Thanks for leaving a comment! We’re so glad to hear you found some useful tips on our blog!


  • Kris

    I just ate an expired noodle a while ago. Thanks to your blog, I now know how to differentiate a “super” long expired from the newly expired ones. I smelled and double checked it first before cooking it. Thanks!


  • Kei

    Hi Cindy,
    Thanks for leaving a comment.
    If you purchased it in a box set or value pack set, check to see if the expiry date is on the outside packaging.
    Whenever you are in doubt, we would recommend not eating it just to be safe.


  • Cindy Tampir Brennan

    On my package there’s no date, it only has (MMDDYY) how do you know when they’re expired? I don’t want my family to get sick. I buy Maruchan Ramen noodle soup beef flavor.


  • Kei

    Hi Yuan, thanks for the comment! Enjoy your noodles!


Leave a comment


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published