Does Cake Mix Go Bad and How Long Does it Last

Oh, you beloved pre-made cake mixes. You are so handy and easy to use! But do you last forever? The answer is not quite. However, cake mix – when stored properly – can easily last well beyond the “best by date,” sometimes up to five months

Hey, there! My name’s Michelle, and I love baking cakes. While I don’t use cake mixes too often, I totally love their convenience (and my mom certainly does, too). So when she asked me if the cake mix goes bad and how long the cake mix is good for after the expiration date, I knew I had to hunt for the answer.

Considering whether or not to use the cake mix that’s been hiding in the back of your pantry? You need to know about cake mix shelf life, and that’s what this article is here to teach you.

Let’s learn about cake mix, people!

Does Cake Mix Go Bad?

If you take a look at any pre-made cake mix, you will notice that there is no “expiration date”. Instead, there is a “best by” date. What’s the deal? There’s a reason for this wording. 

Premade cake mixes won’t technically ever “go bad” if they’re stored properly. The preservatives can easily allow cake mixes to last one, two, three years, and beyond. That doesn’t mean you should use them, though. 

The issue with using “old” cake mix is that it won’t work. The leavening agent (baking soda/baking powder) will eventually expire and be rendered useless. So, while you can bring a very old cake mix to life by adding a leaver, I don’t necessarily recommend it.

At least you won’t have to worry about the cake mix making you sick (as long as it was stored properly and looks/smells/tastes alright).

How Long Does Cake Mix Last?

So how long does cake mix last? Perhaps the better question is when it is the best time to use cake mix before the worry of the leavening agent expiring. It’s pretty simple:

  • Store-bought cake mix can last up to five months in the pantry and seven months in the fridge beyond the best-by date.
  • An opened store-bought cake mix can last around three months in the pantry and five months in the fridge beyond the best-by date.
  • The homemade cake mix has a much shorter shelf life, around seven days in the pantry and three months in the fridge. 

How to Store Cake Mix

Keep in mind that it really comes down to how you store the cake mix. Here are a few key things to remember about cake mix storage:

  1. Keep it in the original sealed packaging. This is the best “house” for your cake mix.
  2. If not, use an airtight container. The seal is imperative to shelf life for cake mix.
  3. Keep it in a cool and dry place. Heat, humidity, and light can create a breeding ground for bacteria and ruin your cake mix.
  4. Keep it away from pungent odors. The last thing you want to do is have your cake mix absorb the flavors around it. 

If you don’t want to mess with the finickiness of pantry storage, you can also opt for the fridge. Most mixes can be frozen, too. However, cakes made with whipped egg whites (chiffon and sponge) will get ruined in the freezer, which is not a viable storage option.

How to Tell Cake Mix Has Gone Bad

Unfortunately, the cake mix does not last forever. If you’re wondering whether or not your cake mix is still good, look for these key signs.

  • An off appearance. Take a good look at the cake mix. Is it clumpy? Does it look like the texture or color has changed? Are there any signs of mold? If so, it’s time to dump the cake mix and buy fresh.
  • Odd or sour smell. When the cake mix is old, it can start to get an undesirable sour scent. While this is still technically “okay” to eat, it will ultimately change the flavor of your baked treat. Best to discard!
  • Doesn’t taste right. If you decided to give it a whirl and bake it with the cake mix you’re unsure of; the last test is the flavor test. Does your treat taste the way it’s supposed to? If not, you may have baked using an old cake mix. Power through or toss in the trash can.

The good news is, store-bought cake mixes are pretty cheap, so you won’t be out a ton of money if your cake mix has gone bad. You can also try your hand at homemade cake mix, which is a cinch (and also budget-friendly).


Now you know everything there is to know about whether or not cake mix goes bad and how long it lasts. Still not enough to satisfy your thoughts and questions? Don’t worry – I’ve found some frequently asked questions for you to indulge in.

What happens if you eat expired cake mix?

Nothing. You’re not going to get ill from eating expired cake mix. What will happen, though, is plenty of disappointment. Seriously. If you use an old cake mix and your chocolate cake mix tastes like a sour nightmare, you’re not going to be happy about it!

CAN expired cake mix hurt you?

The good news is, using old cake mix is not going to hurt you. It’s more an issue of being upset with the final product. The texture and flavor may be altered, rendering your baked treat useless.

Can you use Betty Crocker cake mix after the expiration date?

You can use Betty Crocker cake mix after the expiration date. Well, rather I should say the “best by” date since cake mixes do not have expiration dates. Just do the quick appearance and smell check before using it for your baked goodie.

How long is a cake mix good after the expiration date?

With proper storage, cake mixes can easily last up to five months beyond the best-by date on the package. The same is not true for homemade cake mixes. These expire much quicker – within a week in the pantry and within three months in the fridge.

How long is Duncan Hines cake mix good after the expiration date?

Technically, Duncan Hines’s cake mixes are said to be good “indefinitely” (which is the case for other kinds of cake mixes, too). That’s because the ingredients will never go “bad”. The issue is the leavening agent might not work the way it’s supposed to, which can leave you with a flat cake.

How long can you keep cake mix in the fridge?

Cake mix can easily go in the fridge for several months beyond the expiration date (best-by date). For premade cake mixes, the shelf life increases by up to five months. For homemade cake mixes, the shelf life increases to three months.

Final Words

Cake mix is great because it truly never goes bad. You just have to store it properly, and you can use it well past the best-by date. Just check the way it looks and smells before using it to ensure a good result. 

Did you know how long cake mix lasts? Are you as impressed as I was when I found out? Comment below!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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