How Long Crackers Actually Last And The Best Way To Store Them

If there is one staple you should absolutely be storing in your home year-round, it's crackers. In many ways, crackers are the multitool of cuisine; they can be slathered with peanut butter for an after-school snack, or elevated with fine cheeses as the foundation of a gourmet charcuterie board. They can even be used as ingredients in cooking more complex meals. You can add crushed crackers to thicken up a soupy sauce or process them to make the perfect leftover cracker pie crust. Such a versatile food is always welcome in the kitchen — that is, as long as they are fresh. Read on to learn how best to store crackers and for how long you can expect them to last.

Like many shelf-stable snack foods, crackers tend to last quite a long time. Most varieties of crackers can last six to nine months if unopened, and several weeks after being opened, before they begin to decline in quality. These estimates only apply, though, if the crackers are stored properly. Since crackers are so dry, it is important to keep out moisture in order to prevent them from expiring. To do so, place the crackers in an airtight container and store them in a cool, dry space like a pantry.

How to know if crackers have gone bad

Even with correct storage, crackers will eventually spoil in one of two ways: by going rancid, or by going stale. Rancidity occurs in foods when the fats present in them start to expire. While rancid crackers won't necessarily make you sick, they can taste quite unpleasant. If your crackers have a sour or fishy smell, they are likely rancid. Stale crackers are another matter. Crackers going stale means they have absorbed moisture, which allows for pathogens like bacteria and mold to grow more quickly. If you find that your crackers have a soft, stale texture, be sure to examine them closely for signs that they have become unsafe to eat. If the crackers have a musty smell, an odd taste, or show changes in color, it is best to throw them out.

If you want your crackers to last even longer before they go bad, you may be tempted to try storing them in the refrigerator or freezer. This is a mistake, as these two spots have relatively high humidity when compared to a standard cupboard, so placing your crackers inside only risks exposing them to more moisture. Instead, you can extend the life of your crackers by adding a slice of bread to the container or a scoop of baking soda into the cupboard, as these items will absorb any extra moisture in the air and protect the crackers from going stale.