Should coconut flour be refrigerated after opening?

Coconut flour is a popular gluten-free and low-carb baking alternative that is made from dried, ground coconut meat. It has a sweet, nutty flavor and is loaded with fiber. Coconut flour soaks up a lot more liquid than traditional flours, so it requires more eggs and liquid when baking. This article will examine if coconut flour needs to be refrigerated after opening.

Quick Answer

Coconut flour does not need to be refrigerated after opening. It has a long shelf life due to its low moisture content and lacks the oils that can cause traditional flours to go rancid. An unopened package of coconut flour will last 2-3 years past the printed expiration date. Once opened, coconut flour will stay fresh for 1 year when stored in an airtight container in the pantry.

Does Coconut Flour Need to Be Refrigerated?

Coconut flour does not need to be refrigerated due to its low moisture content and lack of oils. Refrigeration is necessary for flours like whole wheat or nut flours that have higher fat contents and can go rancid when stored at room temperature. Coconut flour has a very long shelf life, both unopened and after opening.

Low Moisture Content

Coconut flour has a naturally low moisture content of about 6%. This low moisture content prevents microbial growth like mold that could lead to spoilage. Refrigeration helps flours resist spoilage by slowing down chemical reactions and microbial growth. Since coconut flour lacks the moisture needed for mold growth, it does not need refrigeration to stay fresh.

Lack of Oils

Coconut flour also has very little oil content. Flours like whole wheat flour contain oils that can go rancid when stored long-term at room temperature. The cool environment of the refrigerator helps prevent rancidity. Coconut flour lacks these fragile oils so refrigeration is not required to prevent it from going bad.

Long Shelf Life

The low moisture and oil content of coconut flour give it an exceptionally long shelf life compared to other flours. Unopened coconut flour bags or pouches can be stored in the pantry for 2-3 years past the printed expiration date before quality starts to decline. Once opened, coconut flour will stay fresh for up to 1 year in an airtight container stored in the pantry.

How to Store Coconut Flour

To get the longest shelf life out of coconut flour, proper storage methods should be followed. Here are some tips for storing coconut flour:

Store in An Airtight Container

To prevent coconut flour from absorbing excess moisture from the air, store it in an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid. Glass jars, plastic containers, or resealable bags work well. Push out excess air before sealing the container to remove moisture.

Keep in A Cool, Dry Place

Store coconut flour in the pantry or cupboard, away from heat sources like the oven or stove. The optimal storage temperature is between 60-75°F. Avoid humid environments like inside the refrigerator. Check containers periodically for any moisture build-up.

Use Within 1 Year of Opening

Properly stored, coconut flour will stay fresh for 1 year after opening. Mark opened packages with the date to track shelf life. Use oldest coconut flour first, and do not exceed 1 year of storage once the original packaging is opened.

Check for Freshness

Look for signs of moisture, clumping, mold, or an off smell before using coconut flour that has been opened for some time. Discard flour if it smells musty, feels damp, or shows any mold growth.

Signs Coconut Flour Has Gone Bad

Coconut flour has an impressively long shelf life, but it can eventually go bad if stored improperly for too long. Here are some signs that coconut flour has spoiled and should be discarded:


  • Clumping
  • Change in texture – becomes hard and dry
  • Visible mold growth – fuzz, dots, or powdery coating
  • Change in color – darkening


  • Stale, musty odor
  • Sour smell


  • Bitter, unpleasant taste


  • Damp, sticky, or crunchy texture

Coconut flour that displays any of these signs of spoilage should be thrown out. Do not taste coconut flour if extensive mold growth is present.


Consuming spoiled coconut flour can potentially lead to foodborne illness. Mold growth and bacterial contamination are concerns. To err on the side of caution, throw away coconut flour at the first signs of spoilage.


Eating moldy coconut flour could result in a mycotoxin infection. Inhaling mold spores can also be dangerous for those with allergies or compromised immunity. Never taste coconut flour with visible mold.


Bacterial growth can occur if moisture builds up in stored coconut flour. Possible bacteria include Bacillus cereus, Salmonella, E. coli and Clostridium botulinum. Consuming contaminated flour poses a severe poisoning risk.

How Long Does Unopened Coconut Flour Last?

Unopened bags or containers of coconut flour have impressive shelf stability. Properly stored coconut flour can be kept up to:

  • 6-12 months past printed expiration date in pantry
  • 2-3 years past printed expiration date in freezer

The expiration date on the packaging is for best quality, but coconut flour remains safe to consume well past that date if continuously stored in a cool, dry pantry. Placing an unopened coconut flour package in the freezer extends shelf life even further by preventing slow moisture absorption and oxidation.

Check Packaging

Inspect packaging before use to ensure it is still undamaged and airtight. Signs of moisture intrusion like stains, mold, or clumping indicate decreased freshness and shortened shelf life.

Best By Date

The printed expiration date can be used as a starting point, but your own inspection of quality is most important. If coconut flour is more than 2 years past the date but shows no signs of spoilage, it should still be safe to use.

Discard If In Doubt

When in doubt, throw it out. If you have very old, unlabeled coconut flour that has been subjected to temperature fluctuations or possible moisture, disposal is the safest option.

Coconut Flour FAQs

What is coconut flour made of?

Coconut flour is made from the dried meat of mature coconuts. The coconut meat is pressed to extract coconut milk, then ground into a very fine, powdery flour.

Does coconut flour contain nuts?

Coconut flour is nut-free. Coconuts are considered a fruit, not a nut or grain. This makes coconut flour safely consumable for those with nut allergies.

Is coconut flour gluten-free?

Yes, coconut flour is completely gluten-free. It contains no grains or wheat and is a safe flour option for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Why is coconut flour so absorbent?

Coconut flour is extremely high in fiber, with about 5 times the amount of fiber as wheat flour. This abundant natural fiber causes coconut flour to soak up a lot of moisture. Using extra eggs and liquid in recipes counteracts the absorbency.

Does coconut flour have a coconut taste?

Coconut flour has a slight natural sweetness with subtle coconut notes. Its flavor is more neutral than coconut sugar or shredded coconut.

How do you substitute coconut flour?

Coconut flour cannot be directly substituted for regular flour in recipes. As a general guideline, use 1/4 to 1/3 of the amount of coconut flour and increase eggs, liquid, oil, and leavening agents.

The Bottom Line

Thanks to its low moisture, low fat content, coconut flour does not require refrigeration after opening. It has unusually long shelf life of up to 1 year past opening when properly stored in an airtight container in the pantry. Look out for signs of moisture, clumping, mold, staleness, or a rancid smell to determine if opened coconut flour has gone bad. Discard flour at the first indication of spoilage. An unopened, undamaged package of coconut flour can keep for a remarkably long time, even years past the printed expiration date. Following proper storage methods allows you to keep coconut flour on hand for when inspiration to do some gluten-free baking strikes!

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