The Right Way to Store Flour at Home
Follow Rules to Keep It Fresh, Bug-Free
If you just stick that bag of flour in the pantry when you get it home from the store, it isn't going to last as long as it should, and it could attract bugs. Yuck! Learn how to store your flour properly so it lasts months (or years) longer.
Refined flours include all-purpose, bread, cake, and self-rising flour. Here's the best way to store it:
- Place your flour in the freezer for 48 hours to kill any weevil or insect eggs that might be present.
- Transfer it to a food-grade container (plastic or glass) with a tight-sealing lid. This will keep your flour from absorbing moisture and ensure that insects and other pests can't get to it. It will also keep your flour from absorbing odors and flavors from other foods or products that are stored near it.
- Store your flour in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Flour will keep up to six months in the pantry.
If you'd like to keep your flour longer, store it in the freezer instead. It will keep there for several years but is best used within a year. Even though it's frozen, you can just scoop out whatever you need. There's no need to thaw it out or bring it to room temperature.
Whole-Grain and Other Specialty Flours
Whole-grain flours included whole wheat, oat, rice, rye, nut, and seed varieties. Here's how to store it:
- Freeze the flour and transfer it to an air-tight container, as described above.
- Store it in the refrigerator or freezer. The high levels of natural oil in the flour will cause it to go rancid quickly if it's stored at room temperature.
When to Replace Your Flour
As long as your flour smells and tastes good, it's still fine to use. But definitely toss it as soon as you notice a decline in quality.
There's nothing you can do to bring it back once the oils start to turn.
More Storage Tips
- Do not combine new and old packages of flour. This will shorten the shelf life of the new flour.
- If your home doesn't have air conditioning, move your flour to the refrigerator or freezer in the summer.
- Write the date on your flour when you buy it so you know how long you've had it.
- Be sure to write the type of flour on the container, too. It's easy to get all of those containers of flour mixed up.
If a recipe calls for a type of flour that you don't use regularly, see if there's a substitute that you can use in its place. It'll save you from having to buy and store another bag of flour.
Here are some substitutes to check out:
- How to Make Self-Rising Flour
- Bread Flour Substitute
- Cake Flour Substitute
- Pastry Flour Substitute
- Semolina Flour Substitute