How Long Can You Keep Popped Popcorn?

What is your favorite snack? For a very large portion of the population, the answer to that question is popcorn! One of the best things about it is how easy it is to make big batches for the whole family to share. The only problem with popcorn is knowing just how long you can keep all of it after it's made. We have researched so that you can keep snacking on that popcorn for as long as possible!

After popping popcorn, it is usually good for around one to two weeks before you may not want to eat anymore. The time frame can also slightly depend on the source of the popcorn. How you store it after it's popped also affects how long it will stay good for. Popcorn doesn't go rancid like most other foods, but it does become unpleasant to eat. You should also learn how to tell if popcorn has gone bad to avoid an unpleasant experience. 

Aside from the ability to easily make large amounts of it, popcorn is also popular for its versatility. It can be sweet or savory. You can put toppings on it or even use it as a topping if you want! Before you run off and pop a batch of your own, there may be some more things about popcorn that you should know. Make sure to keep reading below for everything about popcorn!

A wooden bowl of salted popcorn on rustic grey table. How Long Can You Keep Popped Popcorn

Everything About How Long Popcorn Stays Good

Something that's been around as long as popcorn has learned how to adapt. It comes in countless flavors, shapes, and packages. There is also a ton of different ways to pop it! So let's take a look at all of the things that influence the shelf life of popped popcorn.

Caramel sweet popcorn in glass jars, gray background

Does Popped Popcorn Go Bad?

The first and most important question is, does popped popcorn even go bad? It does, just not in the same way as some other snack foods. Popcorn goes stale before anything else. The only time it's going to mold is if it is left in moisture in some way.

Since popcorn can have such a wide array of oils and additives on it, however, those can certainly go bad. They can get rancid and foul. However, plain popped popcorn is going to stay edible for a long time. After that, it will just taste gross.

Do Different Kinds Of Popcorn Have Different Shelf Lives?

If you're buying popcorn from a store, then there are typically three different ways you can buy it. You can purchase unpopped kernels to later pop at your convenience in a variety of different ways. Unpopped kernels can stay good for years if properly stored. The two other choices are pre-popped and microwave popcorn.

Buying pre-popped popcorn from a store or business means it can come in many different forms. You can get gourmet popcorn or simply seasoned popcorn that is pre-packaged for your convenience. Pre-popped popcorn can last two to four weeks unopened, depending on its packaging. However, once opened, the quality of it only lasts for one to two weeks like other popped popcorn.

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How Long Does Popped Microwave Popcorn Last?

When the microwave popcorn is still sealed in its package, it is good for two to three months. Once you pop it, however, it lasts around one week. Microwave popped popcorn tends to stale a bit faster than other popcorn that you pop yourself. This is because of the additives in the bags that give it its flavor and its ability to pop well in the microwave.

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How Do You Keep Popped Popcorn Fresh?

There are ways to keep your popped popcorn, but airtight containers are the best option. Whether they are dark, clear, plastic, glass, or metal, it doesn't matter. For the best results, make sure that your popcorn is at room temperature before storing it in a container. If you put it in an airtight container while still hot or warm, there will be more moisture in the container, causing the popcorn to stale faster.

Another factor in keeping your popcorn as fresh as possible is where you store it. The best practice is to place the container in a cupboard or on the counter in a dark area. You want to avoid letting direct sunlight hit the container to speed up the popcorn going stale.

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How To Tell If Popped Popcorn Has Gone Bad?

There are several great ways to try and tell if your popped popcorn has gone bad. The easiest way to know if your popcorn has gone bad is by taste. It's very easy to tell if it has gone stale or lost its flavor by trying that first piece. But, unfortunately, this is also the most unpleasant way to text freshness.

To avoid having to taste old or stale popcorn, it's important to have a couple of other freshness testing skills. After a taste, the best way to test the popcorn is probably to feel it. Stale popcorn is going to feel hard and rubbery. Using your sense of smell can also help give away bad popcorn. If oils or additives on the popcorn have gone rancid, then smelling it will help identify that.

The last things to look out for are more extreme circumstances. If your popcorn has been in an airtight container for a while with moisture, then seeing mold is possible. It doesn't usually happen, but with enough moisture, everything molds.

The last thing is bugs. This might happen more with old unpopped kernels in a cupboard. Regardless of how slim the chances might be, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Other Possible Ways To Keep Popcorn Fresh

Some places make more sense than others for storing your popped popcorn. The same can be true for the container that you put it in. It's good to know all of your options, even those that may not be your first choice.

Can You Store Popped Popcorn In The Refrigerator?

You certainly can put popped popcorn in the fridge; you really shouldn't. The texture of popcorn doesn't do well in the cold fridge. That environment will cause it to become unpleasant much faster than it would in a cupboard or on the counter at room temperature.

Can You Freeze Already Popped Popcorn?

While putting your popcorn in the fridge is a bad idea, the freezer may not be. Storing popped popcorn in the freezer can prolong its freshness. Make sure that you have a freezer safe and airtight container to use.

Also, be aware that if there are any toppings on your popcorn like chocolate or cheese, they're going to freeze too. The biggest mistake to make with freezing popcorn is not to freeze it twice. Once you take it out, keep it out.

Wrapping Up

While you can keep popped popcorn after it's gone still, it will be nowhere near as pleasant to eat. After one to two weeks that popped, popcorn is going to go stale and start going bad. The best way to keep it fresh for as long as possible is in a dry airtight container. Make sure it is also in a room-temperature location out of direct sunlight.

If you want to make it last, you can freeze it in an airtight container just don't freeze the same batch more than once. With all of this new knowledge, you can enjoy your delicious snack for as long as possible!

Click on the links below to learn even more about popcorn!

Does Microwave Popcorn Expire? How Long Does It Last?

What Is The Best Pot For Making Popcorn?

What’s The Best Way To Make Popcorn On An Electric Stove?

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