If you’re a fan of brownies, you probably have a box or two of brownie mix tucked away in your pantry.
But what happens when you finally get around to baking them, only to discover that the mix is past its expiration date? Does brownie mix go bad, and if so, how can you tell if it’s still safe to eat?
Let’s discuss how long the brownie mix lasts and when it will expire. You have a brownie mix that looks fine even though it is several months past its printed date. Does that make you wonder if you can use an expired brownie mix?
Maybe you only needed half of the mix, and the other half has been in storage for a while. It’s going to be your first time using it, so you wonder if it’s still good. How long does it take for brownie mix to go bad or expire?
After the date on the label, the brownie mix should last 3 to maybe 6 months. A brownie may turn out flatter and wetter than expected after that period since the raising agent (if there is any) will lose its potency.
It is important to note that this time frame of 3 to 6 months is only an estimate. There is no way to tell how long brownie mix lasts after it has reached its “expiration date.”
Food safety has little to do with the date on the label. It is not an expiration date. In most cases, this has to do with a “best-by” or “best-before” date that indicates how long, at the very least, the mix should maintain its quality.
Does Brownie Mix Go Bad or Expire?
In the usual sense, brownie mix doesn’t go bad if kept cool and dry. Mold doesn’t grow on it, it doesn’t smell off, nor does it lose flavor. Your brownies won’t rise properly if the mix contains a leavening agent and is stored too long.
Generally, brownie mixes contain sugar, flour, salt, cocoa powder, and leavening agents. A rising agent is an optional ingredient, and you won’t find one in many popular brownie recipes.
Brownies with or without leavening differ from those that are slightly light and airy due to the presence or absence of the leavening agent. The absence of a rising agent results in dense and fudgy brownies without air pockets.
You don’t want flat and chewy brownies coming out of the oven if the mix should make light and airy brownies.
Since the rising agent is the only ingredient that loses potency over time, I want to make sure you know that. Baking soda isn’t as long-lasting as flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
Let’s get to what you’re really interested in now that we’ve covered the basics.
How Long Does Brownie Mix Last?
There is a shelf life of about a year for brownie mix. A leavening agent, which is quite common, should help it remain potent for a few months after its expiration date. Regardless, if it doesn’t, it can be used for months, if not years, after the printed date.
The mix containing a leavener cannot be predicted how long it will remain potent after the printed date. In order to ensure you get some rise, I suggest adding extra baking powder if it has been more than two months since its expiration date.
How Can You Tell If The Brownie Mix Is Bad?
You should throw away your brownie mix if:
- There is a strange smell to it. It is rare for brownie mixes to have an off odor, but if yours does, don’t use it.
- It’s old. Although you can certainly use an expired brownie mix, there comes the point when it is no longer useful. Since it’s a matter of personal preference, I cannot tell you how long is “enough” for you. I, however, discard mixes that are more than two years old.
- Moldy or wet clumps are present in the mix. Sieves and forks can be used to break up small dry clumps. When there are wet lumps or mold, it means moisture has gotten into the powder. You should discard the whole thing if that’s the case.
- Pantry bugs are inside. When your mix is infested, it’s game over. Check nearby products to see if they are infected as well. Pests in the pantry spread like wildfire.
Can You Eat Expired Brownie Mix?
If you want your brownie to be light and airy instead of dense and chewy, you might need to add some baking powder to an expired brownie mix.
Baking powder can compensate for the loss of potency in brownie mixes that contain leavening agents. In the next section, we’ll discuss how much to add.
Let me tell you something. Brownies made at home are typically dense, fudgy, and gooey. You can see photos of the most popular recipes on Google.
Premade brownie mixes, however, tend to be light, airy, and slightly similar in texture to cakes. On the boxes, you can see photos.
Leavening agents are generally present in most mixes. It is also important to note that leavening agents gradually lose their potency after the best-by date on the label has passed.
Have you checked your mix to see if it contains a leavening agent? You might find something along the lines of “leavening agent,” “baking soda,” or “sodium bicarbonate” on the ingredients list.
In the case of brownies that appear very light and airy, a chemical leavener has been added to the mix. You need to add some baking powder to your brownie batter if you wish to make them fluffy and airy like the brownies pictured on the box.
If you want to avoid the hassle of soaking baking soda in water, you can use baking powder instead. It’s now just a matter of figuring out how much baking powder you should use. Let’s talk about it.
How Long After the Expiration Date Can You Use Brownie Mix?
You can use brownie mix as-is even years after its expiration date if it doesn’t contain a leavening agent. You can revive it by adding a teaspoon of baking powder to two cups of the mix.
Reduce that to one teaspoon per four cups if the mix has been “expired” for less than half a year. The amount of baking powder you need is merely a rough estimate.
When you make brownies from a brownie mix, the brownies aren’t as light and airy as cakes. Baking powder probably needs to be used about half as much to provide that texture.
If you prefer flatter brownies, you can add a little less to make them even flatter. Make low-stakes brownies on the weekend with your expired brownie mix rather than trying to impress someone with your baking ability.
The brownies won’t turn out exactly the way they’re supposed to if you add the amount of baking powder listed.
I suggest you use your brownie mix as is, without adding extra baking powder, if your mix has just “expired” or is past its expiration date. If everything goes well, the leavening agent will still do its job, and the baked good should rise nicely.
A slightly less airy brownie is the worst that could happen. A quarter teaspoon per cup if it’s more than two months past the best-by date should help. Add half a teaspoon per cup if it has been expired for more than half a year.
Last but not least, please keep in mind that adding extra baking powder should only be done if your brownie mix contains a leavening agent. You should use it without any extras if it doesn’t produce flat and fudgy brownies.
Your brownie mix’s leavening agent may no longer be active, but there’s no way to tell. The only way to find out for sure is to bake the brownie.
It is possible to cook a single pancake from an expired pancake mix to see if it is flat or fluffy. You add the necessary baking powder if the former is the case.
The Use Of Expired Brownie Mix
A brownie mix that has expired can be used if it has been stored correctly. Consider adding some baking powder or baking soda back into the recipe if it contains baking powder or baking soda and is more than two months old.
The amount of baking powder used in brownie mixes is usually very small, if any at all. In this mix, 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder is used per about 2 cups. Compared to cake mixes or pancake mixes, that’s a lot less.
When your brownie mix is more than 6 months old, add half of the recommended amount if you are concerned it will become flat. For expired items, add the whole 1/4 teaspoon baking powder per 2 cups if it has been more than a year since it was purchased.
Although using this method should result in perfect brownies (here’s how long brownies last), I cannot guarantee it. Your experience may vary depending on the mix and recipe you use.
Using an old brownie mix should therefore be done in a low-stakes situation if it has been expired more than a few months. Take advantage of a leisurely weekend.
Hopefully it will work out well. No problem if not. Alternatively, bake the brownies a day ahead so you still have time to replace them if you don’t like the results.
Here’s A Tip
It is likely that the brownie you make with an old brownie mix will not be that great if it is a long-forgotten mix. It will be a pleasant surprise if it turns out well.
How To Store Brownie Mix
Make sure you store your brownie mix in a cool place (70°F or below) and away from sunlight. You can store the leftovers in an airtight container or in a freezer bag if you don’t use the whole bag at once. If not, at least use a plastic clip to secure the original bag.
I think that’s about all it needs. You should be able to store your brownie mix for a long time if it is well-sealed. By sealing your brownie mix, you ensure it cannot absorb moisture and grow mold. In addition, it prevents pantry bugs from breeding.
By storing your brownie mix in the refrigerator or freezing it, you may be able to extend the shelf life of the cocoa powder.
However, cold temperatures don’t give as much benefit as refrigerated full-fat powdered milk, for example.
Can I Use 2-Year-Old Brownie Mix?
There is no doubt that brownie mixes will last for up to 12-18 months, whether they are boxed or unboxed. The same cannot be said for all brownie mixes. How long they last depend on several factors.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this brief guide on brownie mix. A few key points to remember:
Keep brownie mix sealed tightly in a cool, dry place. The use of refrigerators and freezers might be helpful, but they’re not necessary.
Your brownie mix will stay fresh for months or years without a leavener if it does not contain one. Nevertheless, if it does and has expired for more than two months, add 1/4 teaspoon baking powder per cup to revive it. You should double that if it has been expired for more than half a year.
There is no such thing as bad brownie mix in the traditional sense. It won’t stay potent forever if it contains leaveners such as baking soda or baking powder. Brownies that become super dense and chewy will be the result of the leavener losing its potency at some point.
Brownies made from premade mixes tend to be lighter, airier, and more cake-like in texture than those made from scratch. Similar to cake mixes, you add a leavener to the mix to achieve that texture.