Last Updated on September 5, 2023 by Practical Cooks
The Hot Pocket. A delightful treat that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There are 58 flavors of these meaty, cheesy creations that no one really knows how to classify.
Are they sandwiches? Wraps? Burritos? Some used to just call them inside-out pizzas or calzones.But then they came out with an egg and sausage, so that couldn’t be right. Anyway, enough lamenting.
All we need to know is that they are delicious and, perhaps, do they expire and go bad?
According to Hot Pockets themselves, yes, they do expire. Each package has a “best by” or “expiration” date. So that is technically when they expire.
But that is simply a date food companies are required by law to put on the box. The date is normally 14 months after the product has been manufactured. So, if it’s past that date, it’s expired.
But it has nothing to do with whether they are bad, unsafe to eat, or how long they last. If stored properly, Hot Pockets will last for an indefinite amount of time.
This is not to say it won’t get freezer burnt or lose its flavor over time. If you have a Hot Pocket with an unknown date, simply examine it, smell it, and you’ll probably get your answer if you should eat it.
How Can You Tell If Your Hot Pocket Is Bad?
If you’re worried that your Hot Pocket may no longer be OK to eat, have a close look at it.
Though it’s not likely, it’s possible it may have mold or some other discoloration. This can happen if the sandwich was not properly stored during shipping or at the supermarket.
If it smells funny after you cook it, it’s best not to eat it.
Can I Put Hot Pockets In The Fridge?
Yes, you can put your Hot Pockets in the fridge.
You’ll have to eat them within 3-4 days. Any longer, and not only can bacteria start to grow, but they’ll definitely become soggy.
It’s not recommended to refreeze them, they may get even more soggy or have a grainy texture to them.
How Should You Thaw Your Hot Pockets?
Should you need to thaw out your Hot Pockets, you can transfer them to the fridge and they should be good in about 8-10 hours.
If you can’t wait that long, you can thaw them on the counter for 3-4 hours, but no longer than that. Bacteria can start to grow and put you at risk of getting sick.
Can You Cook A Hot Pocket In The Air Fryer?
If you’re not already doing this, you’re missing out. Air fryer Hot Pockets are fabulous, both in taste and practicality.
What usually takes 30 minutes in the oven, takes less than 10 in the air fryer. It comes out even more golden crisp than the oven too.
Just set the fryer to 350 degrees for 6-7 minutes and flip it at the 3-minute mark. Be sure to let it cool. The inside of a Hot Pocket is hot!
How Do You Prevent Hot Pockets From Getting Freezer Burn?
A craving for one of those tasty pockets has hit. So you go to the freezer only to find your beloved mystery sandwich has suffered the dreaded freezer burn.
What could you have done to prevent this calamity? First, make sure that your freezer is at the proper temperature. Then, never overfill it and clean it often.
As for the Hot Pockets, they should always be kept in their original wrappers. If you have a freezer-safe container, put them in there. If not, keep them in the original box.
Having them float about loose in the freezer will likely cause the wrappers to puncture, allowing moisture to get in and causing the freezer burn.
How Do You Microwave A Hot Pocket?
Many people shy away from microwaving foods like Hot Pockets, because they taste better crispy and crunchy. But if you are in a rush or don’t have access to an air fryer or stove, then you do what you must.
Luckily, the folks at Hot Pocket realized this and inserted a crisper sleeve to solve the problem. A Hot Pocket can be whipped up in a few minutes when using the microwave.
Simply take the pocket out of the wrapper and insert it into the sleeve. Then put it on a microwave-safe plate and place in the microwave for 2 minutes. Enjoy!
How Does The Crisper Sleeve Work?
The sleeve’s scientific name is susceptor. It absorbs the microwave and puts more heat on the Hot Pocket, in essence, broiling it, so it’s crispy rather than steaming.
Can You Eat An Unheated Hot Pocket?
No matter how desperate you are for that Hot Pocket, do not eat it right out of the package.
They are not fully cooked prior to going to market. Hot Pockets are parbaked (or half-cooked). So they won’t taste good and they may have picked up some bacteria from thawing.
Always cook your pockets, no matter how hungry you are.
Hot Pocket Facts
1. Hot Pockets were invented by 2 brothers, Paul and David Merage, in the late 1970s. Mass production started in 1983.
2. Nestle bought the rights to Hot Pockets in 2002 for $2.6 billion.
3. Many flavors have been discontinued, including fruit pastries, calzone, and subs. Not because they were unpopular, but because they required a different, more expensive dough.
4. They were originally called “Chunk Stuffers”.
5. Pizza is the most popular flavor in the Hot Pocket family.