Can you use Shake and Bake after expiration?

Shake ‘n Bake is a popular seasoned coating mix used to bread and flavor foods like chicken, pork chops, and fish before baking or frying. Like most food products, Shake ‘n Bake does come with a printed expiration date on the package. This leaves many consumers wondering whether the product is still safe and effective to use after that date has passed.

What is Shake and Bake?

Shake ‘n Bake is a seasoned breading mix marketed by Kraft Heinz in the United States and Canada. It was launched in 1965 and consists of crispy breadcrumb coating flakes and powdered seasoning mix packaged together in a distinctive shaker bottle.

To use Shake ‘n Bake, you place the food you want to cook, such as chicken, into a plastic bag. Then you shake in the breadcrumb coating flakes, seal the bag, and shake it to coat the food. Next, you remove the coated food from the bag and coat it with the seasoning powder. Finally, you bake or fry the food until it’s fully cooked.

The breadcrumb coating gives the food a crispy, crunchy exterior, while the seasoning mix provides flavors like garlic, onion, paprika, and herbs. Using Shake ‘n Bake helps save time compared to making your own breading and seasoning from scratch.

Why do foods have expiration dates?

Expiration dates are intended to indicate the last day a food product is likely to be at peak quality and flavor. The dates serve as guide for retailers to know how long to display products on shelves and for consumers to know when they should use foods by.

For packaged foods like Shake ‘n Bake, the expiration date is determined by the manufacturer based on research and shelf life testing. It accounts for how long ingredients like spices and dried vegetables will retain their optimal taste, aroma, texture, and nutrients under proper storage conditions.

Expiration dates are different from “use by” or “best before” dates, which indicate the last day a product is expected to be safe to eat. Expiration dates are about quality rather than safety.

Is it safe to use Shake and Bake after expiration?

Yes, Shake ‘n Bake is generally safe to use and consume even after its printed expiration date as long as it was stored properly.

The ingredients in Shake ‘n Bake such as breadcrumbs, salt, spices, and dried onions and garlic are shelf-stable. They do not require refrigeration and are not prone to growing dangerous bacteria or making people sick after the expiration date when stored in a cool, dry pantry.

The exception would be if the Shake ‘n Bake packaging became damaged or opened allowing moisture or humidity to enter. Then mold growth would become a risk. As long as the Shake ‘n Bake box or bag remains well-sealed, the product inside should not pose any safety risks when used past its date.

Safety tips when using old Shake and Bake

  • Check for visible mold growth or foul odors which signal spoilage.
  • Ensure your Shake ‘n Bake packaging has not been torn or damaged.
  • Store Shake ‘n Bake in a cool, dry spot in your pantry after opening.
  • Use opened Shake ‘n Bake within 6 months for best flavor.
  • Properly cook any foods coated in old Shake ‘n Bake to 165°F internal temperature.

Does Shake and Bake expire?

Yes, Shake and Bake does technically expire once its printed expiration date has passed. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the product will be unsafe to eat or must be thrown out.

Food expiration dates are not regulated by law at the federal level in the U.S. Each state sets its own food date labeling regulations. Most use some variation of “best by” or “use by” phrasing rather than “expires on” or “do not use after.”

Therefore, the Shake ‘n Bake expiration indicates when the product may start losing its ideal texture and flavor but not become hazardous. You do not need to immediately discard Shake ‘n Bake once the date shown has passed.

How to tell if Shake and Bake is expired

Signs that your Shake ‘n Bake is past its prime and should be discarded include:

  • Stale, rancid, or musty odor
  • Change in flavor – bitter, bland, or unpleasant taste
  • Change in texture – crumbs are hard, dried out, and flaky
  • Dull or faded appearance – loss of vibrant color
  • Clumping of contents – flakes and seasoning don’t separate

As long as your Shake ‘n Bake does not exhibit those traits, it should still be fine to use from a safety standpoint after its expiration date when properly stored.

How long does Shake and Bake last after opening?

An opened package of Shake ‘n Bake will typically last about 6 months past its printed expiration date when stored properly in a cool, dry pantry.

Keeping Shake ‘n Bake sealed in its original packaging helps extend its shelf life once opened by protecting it from humidity and preventing the spices and seasonings from degrading too quickly.

The exception would be if Shake ‘n Bake was not handled properly after opening such as leaving the bag open. Then it may only last about 3-4 months before drying out or taking on a stale flavor and aroma.

Here are some tips for getting the longest shelf life from opened Shake ‘n Bake:

  • Fold over the opened bag and seal it with a chip clip or clothespin.
  • Transfer contents to an airtight container if bag won’t seal tightly.
  • Keep unused portion in a cool, dry spot – not fridge.
  • Write the opening date on the bag or container.

Does expired Shake and Bake make you sick?

Consuming Shake ‘n Bake that is past its expiration date is very unlikely to make you sick or cause food poisoning, as long as it has been stored properly.

The ingredients in Shake ‘n Bake such as breadcrumbs, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, dried parsley, and paprika do not easily harbor pathogenic bacteria that can lead to illness when ingested past their prime.

Additionally, the low moisture content and acidity of Shake ‘n Bake helps create an unfavorable environment for dangerous bacteria to grow. So expired seasoning mixes like Shake ‘n Bake do not pose much of a food safety risk.

The worst that is likely to happen from eating expired Shake ‘n Bake is some minor stomach upset if the spices have become particularly stale, rancid, or degraded in quality.

When to throw out Shake and Bake

You should discard your Shake ‘n Bake if:

  • There are visible signs of mold
  • It smells unpleasant or rancid
  • The texture feels damp, hardened, or sticky
  • It tastes noticeably bland, bitter, or bad

Following basic food safety practices like avoiding any Shake ‘n Bake that is obviously spoiled will help prevent the unlikely occurrence of illness from using old Shake ‘n Bake. Properly cooking foods coated in it provides an extra layer of protection as well.

Does Shake and Bake go bad if not refrigerated?

No, leaving unopened Shake and Bake at room temperature rather than refrigerating it does not make it go bad or increase the risk of foodborne illness.

Shake ‘n Bake is what is known as a shelf-stable product due to its very low moisture content and water activity. This means that dangerous bacteria, molds, and fungi are unable to grow in the dry seasoning blend.

So keeping properly sealed Shake ‘n Bake in your pantry rather than the fridge will not impact its safety or shorten its shelf life. In fact, refrigerator temperatures and humidity can actually hasten staling and quality deterioration.

Once opened, Shake ‘n Bake will stay fresh up to 6 months in the pantry. Refrigerating after opening is still not needed for safety, though some people prefer keeping opened seasoning mixes in the fridge to prolong freshness.

Pantry storage tips

  • Store in cool area away from heat sources like oven.
  • Keep Shake ‘n Bake sealed in original packaging until first use.
  • Close bag tightly after each use.
  • Keep away from humidity and moisture.
  • Write date opened on package.

Will expired Shake and Bake still work?

Yes, Shake ‘n Bake that has passed its printed expiration date will generally still work fine for breading and seasoning foods. Its performance may just start to slowly decline.

As Shake ‘n Bake ages and loses its optimal freshness, you may notice:

  • Breading flakes don’t stick as well to moist foods
  • Seasoning powder clumps rather than flowing freely
  • Foods don’t get as crunchy or crispy after baking
  • Seasoning flavor seems faded rather than bold

These issues arise as the dried breadcrumbs lose their crunchy texture over time and the spices and flavorings degrade in the seasoning blend.

The composition of Shake ‘n Bake also makes it prone to absorbing moisture from the air during storage, especially after opening. This can make the breading soggy and impact how well it adheres and crisps up.

While not ideal, Shake ‘n Bake can still help impart some crunch and taste to foods past its prime. You may just need to increase the coating amount and baking time to compensate as it gets older.

How to store Shake and Bake

To get the longest shelf life both before and after opening, be sure to store Shake ‘n Bake properly:


  • Keep sealed in original packaging.
  • Store in a cool, dry place.
  • Avoid warm or humid environments.
  • Check packaging for damage before use.


  • Reseal packaging tightly or transfer to airtight container.
  • Keep in a cool, dry pantry – not the fridge.
  • Fold over bag and use clip or clothespin to seal.
  • Write date opened on package with marker.

With proper storage, an unopened package of Shake ‘n Bake should last about 9 months past its printed expiration date before quality really declines. Once opened, expect about 6 months of peak freshness if stored correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can expired Shake and Bake make you sick?

It is highly unlikely for expired Shake ‘n Bake that has been stored properly to cause illness or food poisoning, though its texture and flavor will decline over time.

How can you tell if Shake and Bake is bad?

Signs that Shake ‘n Bake has gone bad include mold, foul odors, hardened or caked texture, bitter taste, dull or faded appearance, and failure to stick to foods or crisp up properly during cooking.

Does Shake and Bake need to be refrigerated after opening?

No, keeping opened Shake ‘n Bake in the pantry rather than refrigerator will not impact its safety. Refrigeration is not necessary but can help prolong its shelf life somewhat.

Can you use Shake and Bake after the expiration date?

Yes, Shake ‘n Bake can safely be used past its printed expiration date for up to 6 months, though its quality slowly declines over time. Expired Shake ‘n Bake poses no food safety risks if properly stored.

How long does dry Shake and Bake last in the pantry?

Unopened Shake ‘n Bake will stay fresh for about 9 months past its expiration date when stored properly. Once opened, it lasts about 6 months in the pantry before quality starts to fade.

The bottom line

Shake ‘n Bake can be safely used past its printed expiration date as long as it has been stored correctly and there are no signs of spoilage like mold, clumping, or rancid odors. While not ideal in terms of texture and flavor, expired Shake ‘n Bake that was kept in proper dry, cool conditions will not make you sick or pose health risks if consumed.

To maximize shelf life, keep Shake ‘n Bake in its original packaging until opened, sealed tightly after each use, and store in a dry pantry. Refrigeration is not needed. With proper storage, unopened Shake ‘n Bake lasts about 9 months past its date and opened Shake ‘n Bake lasts about 6 months.

Be sure to inspect Shake ‘n Bake for any signs of moisture, caking, foul odors, or other deterioration before use. As long as it appears fine, go ahead and use Shake ‘n Bake that is past its expiration date to bread and season your foods.

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