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Do Pretzels Go Bad? How Long Do They Last?

Do Pretzels Go Bad? How Long Do They Last?

Pretzels are pretty much the perfect snack. There’s no prep involved and there’s virtually no mess. Just open the bag and let the scrunchie munchies commence.

Pretzels are low in fat and calories. They are high in fiber, so they are good for digestion and can help lower cholesterol. On a sodium-restricted diet? These lovely little knots come salt-free as well.

You can dip them in everything from cheese to salsa and they just become more delicious. Pretzels travel well, and very few kids will turn down a baggie full of the salty stuff.

If you’ve had a bag lying around for a while, you may be wondering how long pretzels last? Do they go bad? When properly stored, unopened pretzels will stay fresh for 6-9 months. An opened bag or container will stay fresh for about 1-2 weeks when properly stored.

Unopened packages should be kept in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Opened packages should be kept in a Ziploc or plastic container, the same way as an unopened package.

Pretzels have a pretty long shelf life because they are low in moisture content. However, pretzels can, over time, absorb moisture. Even in an unopened bag (they are porous and can have tiny holes).

Moisture means mold spores can grow. Some foods, like pretzels, can contain tiny mold spores you can’t see. But you will taste it. Mold tastes a bit like dirt. If that’s not helpful because you’ve never eaten dirt, it also tastes like how mud smells.

Can You Eat Expired Or Stale Pretzels?

Can You Eat Expired Or Stale Pretzels

Yes, provided the package is in good condition and the pretzels smell and look good. Keep in mind that the expiration date is usually a suggestion of when the food will be at its best quality. It’s not an indication that the food is for sure bad or will make you sick.

Pretzels should be crunchy. If you bite into one and it’s soft or mushy, that could be a sign that moisture has gotten to them and they are no longer good to eat.


Can You Put Pretzels In The Fridge?

Can You Put Pretzels In The Fridge

As far as safety goes, pretzels can be placed in the fridge. But it’s best to keep them at room temperature.

The moisture from the fridge can make them mushy. It could also have the opposite effect. The starch in the pretzel can recrystallize and make the snack hard – like unable to bite through hard.

But if you’ve packed them in with your child’s lunch for a few hours, the pretzels will be fine.


What Happens If You Eat Expired Pretzels?

What Happens If You Eat Expired Pretzels

As long as the pretzels are in good condition (no smell, mush, or mold), probably nothing. They may not be as tasty, and you may be disappointed, but that’s a matter of personal taste.

Expired does not necessarily mean unsafe. However, if you do eat unsafe (moldy) pretzels you could get food poisoning. So if the pretzel tastes funky, spit it out and don’t eat anymore.

Mold spores spread, so if it’s on one, it’s on others, even if you can’t see it. It’s not worth a nasty bout of vomiting. Toss them out!

What About Soft Pretzels?

What About Soft Pretzels

Sold at theme parks, ball games, and in the freezer aisle, soft pretzels are just as delicious and satisfying as hard pretzels. Served warm with mustard or dipping sauce, they are definitely a treat.

But the soft pretzel has its own unique structure and must be treated differently than its crunchy relative. Your regular soft pretzel will last up to 4 days in the fridge. It’s best to wrap it tightly in foil before storing it.

A soft pretzel will last about 24 hours at room temperature. If it’s going to be left out, wrap it in plastic cling and then a layer of aluminum foil. Fresh soft pretzels can be similarly wrapped and stored in the freezer for up to a month for the best taste.

For frozen soft pretzels (from the freezer aisle), follow the instructions on the package. But if kept frozen, they should be good for 2-3 months after the package date.


What Can You Do With Stale Pretzels?

What Can You Do With Stale Pretzels

If your pretzels need a little refreshing, try popping them into the oven at 500°F (260°C) for 4-5 minutes. Just place them on a baking sheet and watch to make sure they don’t burn.

You can also put them in the microwave. Place them on a paper towel and let them spin for 20-30 seconds. Allow them to cool and the crispness should be restored.

If you don’t want to eat them plain, but don’t want to toss them, here are some yummy ideas (they don’t even have to be stale):

  • breadcrumbs (break them up and they can be used the same way)
  • substitute for nuts in a pie
  • pie crust
  • mix them with ice cream or yogurt
  • use in a parfait in place of graham crackers
  • add to stuffing for a layered flavor
  • add to peanut butter cookies for extra zing
  • trail mix


Some Fun Pretzel Facts

Some Fun Pretzel Facts

1. Historically speaking, the soft pretzel came first. Italian monks would bake the treats in the shape of arms folded in prayer. They’d be given to children as a reward for learning their prayers.

2. In the United States, Pennsylvania produces 80% of the country’s pretzels.

3. Approximately $550 million worth of pretzels are sold each year.

4. Unsalted pretzels are called “baldies”.

5. The largest pretzel ever made weighed 842 pounds, was 36 feet long, and was 10 feet wide.