Eating Campbell’s soup past the printed expiration date may be safe as long as you follow some rules. The best before date on soup cans is more of a guideline than a hard rule and you may be able to consume Campbell’s soups weeks or even months beyond that date. Here are some quick tips to help you make the call:
How to Tell if Expired Campbell’s Soup is Safe
- Check for changes in color, texture, or smell – discard if it seems off.
- Don’t eat soup from cans that are bulging, dented, or damaged.
- Make sure to heat soup thoroughly to 165°F to kill any bacteria.
- Refrigerate opened cans and consume within 3-5 days.
- Freeze cans of soup if you won’t use them right away.
Campbell’s soups typically have a shelf life ranging from 12-24 months when stored properly in a pantry. The expiration date is usually set conservatively early in that window. As long as the can remains in good condition, the contents should last and retain quality well past that date as long as they are stored at 40°F or below. Let’s take a deeper look at how to know if your expired can of Campbell’s soup is still safe and good to eat.
Monitor the Can for Signs of Spoilage
Start by examining the condition of the soup can. Look at the can ends – they should be concave or flat. Bulging ends could mean bacteria produced gas and expanded the can. Next, check for dents, cracks, or damage. Severe dents can compromise the integrity of the seal and introduce bacteria. Rust is also a bad sign. Finally, give the can a shake – the contents should not slosh around or seem watery.
Before opening the can, check the color and consistency of soup inside if possible. It should look normal with no major color changes or separation of ingredients. Once opened, inspect the soup. Does it smell normal with no sour or off odors? Give it a stir – are there any signs of curdling, mold, mushy textures or other issues?
Safely Reheating Campbell’s Soup
If the soup passes the visual checks, it should be safe but be sure to heat it thoroughly before eating. Bring the soup to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute. This kills any bacteria that could be present. Microwaving soup can leave cold spots where bacteria survive, so it is best to heat on the stovetop.
A good rule of thumb is to reheat soup to 165°F, measured with a food thermometer. This high temperature guarantees any pathogens are destroyed. Just make sure to stir well when checking temperature to avoid hot spots.
How Long Does Unopened Campbell’s Soup Last?
Unopened cans of Campbell’s soup have surprisingly long shelf lives. The soup can normally stay fresh 12 to 24 months past the “best by” date printed on the can if stored properly. An unopened can lasts:
- 12-18 months past printed date if stored at room temperature.
- 2-3 years past printed date if stored in a cool, dry pantry.
- 3-5 years past printed date if kept in the refrigerator at 40°F once opened.
Proper storage is key – cans should be kept in a cool, dry place around 50-70°F. Temperature extremes can speed up spoilage. Make sure cans are not exposed to direct sunlight or sources of heat like appliances or hot pipes.
Also check that the cans are not dented, bulging or damaged before opening. Look for rust as well. If the cans pass visual inspection, the soup inside should be perfectly safe and retain its nutrition and flavor well past the best by date.
Does Campbell’s Soup Expire?
Yes, Campbell’s soup does technically expire eventually. Over an extended period of time, the quality and safety can deteriorate. Nutrient levels decline, texture changes, and spoilage is more likely. But if stored properly, canned soups have an impressively long shelf life.
The expiration date on the can is intended as guidance. Due to liability concerns, manufacturers err on the side of caution. If you open a can of Campbell’s a year after the printed date and it looks, smells and tastes normal, it is likely still good. Trust your senses!
How to Tell When Opened Canned Soup Goes Bad
Once you open and use a portion of a can of Campbell’s soup, it is important to handle and store it properly. An opened can lasts 3-5 days in the fridge. Look for these signs that opened soup has spoiled and should be discarded:
- Mold – Mold or yeast growth anywhere in the soup is a clear sign of spoilage.
- Clumpy texture – Normal soup should be smooth and uniform. Separation of liquid and clumping are bad signs.
- Off smell – Soup that has soured or gone bad will have a distinctly unpleasant sour, rotten, or alcoholic type of smell.
- Fizzing or bubbling – Fermentation causes carbonation – discard soup that hisses, foams or bubbles when you open the container.
- Change in color – Normal soup should not have dramatic changes in color from what is expected.
Trust your nose – if it smells bad or off, the soup has spoiled and should not be consumed. When in doubt, throw it out. Reheating or boiling soup that has gone bad will not make it safe to eat again.
Can You Freeze Canned Soup?
Freezing is a great way to extend the shelf life of canned Campbell’s soups past their expiration date. Simply leave soups in their cans and place the sealed cans in the freezer. Frozen soups last 6-8 months in the freezer before quality begins to degrade.
Make sure to leave headspace at the top of cans, as soup will expand as it freezes. Defrost frozen soup cans completely in the refrigerator before opening and reheating on the stovetop.
Tips for Storing Campbell’s Soup
To get the longest shelf life from your Campbell’s soups and ensure they last past printed expiration dates, follow these storage tips:
- Store unopened cans in a cool, dry place around 50-70°F.
- Avoid direct sunlight, heat sources like appliances, and temperature extremes.
- Keep cans in a cupboard or pantry, not above the stove or near dishwashers.
- Wipe the lids of cans before opening to prevent contamination.
- Transfer opened soup to a sealed container and refrigerate.
- Use refrigerated soup within 3-5 days.
- Freeze cans of extra soup to extend shelf life for months.
- Look for any signs of damage, rust, or bulging before opening cans.
Properly stored cans maintain quality for well over a year past the printed date. Refrigerating opened cans and freezing extras allows you to keep enjoying Campbell’s soups for even longer!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do unopened Campbell’s soups last at room temperature?
Unopened Campbell’s soups typically last 12-18 months past their printed expiration date when stored at room temperature. The key is proper storage around 50-70°F in a pantry or cupboard.
Can Campbell’s soup make you sick after the expiration date?
Eating spoiled Campbell’s soup could potentially make you sick, especially if it has been open for a while. Follow safety tips, and as long as cans are intact and soup looks and smells normal, it should be safe to eat weeks or months past the printed date.
Do canned goods really expire?
Canned goods do expire eventually, but often remain edible and retain nutrition for years past their printed expiration date. Shelf life depends on storage conditions. Unopened cans stored properly at room temperature can often safely be consumed 2-5 years beyond the date on the label.
Can you eat expired Campbell’s soup if the can is not bulging or dented?
Most likely yes. As long as the can has no signs of damage, bulging or rust, and the contents look and smell normal, unopened Campbell’s soup is probably fine to eat for a long time past the printed date.
Does the liquid in Campbell’s soup go bad faster after opening?
Yes, the liquid (“soup broth”) has a higher water content so will spoil more quickly than chunkier ingredients once a can is opened. Leftover broth should be discarded after 3-4 days in the refrigerator while other contents may last 5-7 days.
Campbell’s soups stay safe and retain their flavor and nutrition well past the printed best by date, as long as cans are stored properly. Keep unopened cans in a cool, dry place and discard any that are damaged. Use opened cans within 3-5 days and freeze extras if you won’t use them right away. Trust your senses – if the soup smells and tastes normal, enjoy it even months past its expiration!