Can You Use Expired Cake Mix

If you’re gung-ho to make a tasty cake this evening, only to realize your cake mix is expired, you might think you’re all out of luck. But don’t kiss your cake dreams goodbye just yet. 

Cake mix is safe to eat for several months – if not years – beyond the “expiry” date.

Howdy! I’m Michelle, a self-taught baker with over ten years of experience. While I tend to make cakes from scratch, I can admit that I’ve used cake mixes countless times. And yes, that includes the mixes sitting in the back of my pantry that I completely forgot about.

If you’re anything like me and have way too many ingredients in your kitchen pantry, you likely find little “gems” every once in a while – such as a box of cake mix. But if it’s expired, you might be curious whether or not you can still use it.

Keep reading to find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about using an expired cake mix!

Can You Use Expired Cake Mix?

You can safely use expired cake mix. The preservatives in boxed cake mixes allow it to extend a few months, if not years, beyond the expiration date.

The more important thing to look for is the “best by” date. 

After all, most boxed cake mixes will have a “best-by” date rather than an expiration date. Why? Again, it’s because cake mix doesn’t go bad. Instead, the quality can slightly deteriorate beyond the “best by” date, leaving your cake with a less-than-perfect taste and texture.

That’s all thanks to the leavening agent. The baking powder and/or baking soda in the cake goes bad, while the remaining ingredients do not. So, if you want to make an expired cake mix, you might need to add a little more of the leavening agent called for.

How Long Can You Use Cake Mix After Expiration Date?

As long as the cake mix is stored correctly, you can safely eat the cake mix for months and even years after the expiration date. Here are a few quick storage tips:

  • Leave unopened until ready to use
  • If opened, store in an airtight container
  • Keep the boxed cake mix away from heat and humidity
  • Store the cake mix safely away from moisture

Can You Use Expired Gluten-Free Cake Mix?

The same rules apply for gluten-free cake mix – that said, yes, you can use “expired” gluten-free cake mix safely and effectively. Just add the necessary leavening agents and enjoy your delicious creation!

5 Signs Cake Mix Has Gone Bad

Even though cake mix can be used beyond the “best by” date, it doesn’t always mean it’s safe to consume. Before making a cake using expired cake mix, check for these critical signs:

  • Mold. If there are any signs of mold, toss the cake mix immediately. Mold commonly occurs when moisture reaches the mixture, so it is essential to store it in a safe location away from potential spills.
  • Changes in appearance. Cake mix doesn’t look the right color? If there’s something “off” about the hue, dispose of it.
  • Odd smell. When the cake mix has gone bad, it will have a soured or generally strange scent.
  • Holes in the box. Holes in the package can mean only one thing: pests have found their way to your tasty cake mix. There may or may not be pest remains in the box, too.
  • Weird taste. Did you use the cake mix, and now the results taste funky? Anything that tastes bad likely is bad, so ditch it to the receptacle. 

What Happens if You Eat Expired Cake Mix?

Nothing will happen if you eat cake mix beyond the “best by” date. However, if the cake has expired and gone bad, there may be negative repercussions.

Most healthy people will not have any adverse effects from eating cake mix that has gone bad, even when mold is present. The real issue is for those who are allergic to mold. It is possible for a fatal anaphylactic reaction to occur, so it is imperative to get medical treatment right away.

What Can You Do With Expired Cake Mix?

You can make a cake, of course! However, it’s recommended to make a few changes for the best results. Otherwise, you could end up with a flat and dull cake lacking flavor. 

1. Add the suggested amount of baking powder and/or baking soda.

Remember: the biggest issue with the “expired” cake mix is that the leavening agent is no longer active. Replenish the leavening agent (typically baking soda, baking powder, or a mixture of both) into the cake batter for the best results

2. Enhance the flavor.

For example, if you’re making a classic white cake, consider throwing in some rainbow sprinkles. This will provide a colorful and fun cake with an added flavor component.

3. Don’t forget to decorate.

Frosting can hide a multitude of (cake) sins, and it might be your best fix for “expired” cake mix. Slather on a decent amount of frosting and add other decorations, such as fresh fruit, candies, and other favorites, to spruce up the flavor.

4. Make something else.

Honesty time: I always have a few cake and muffin mixes on hand to whip up a batch of pancakes or waffles on busy school mornings. Follow the same steps, but place the batter on a griddle or inside a waffle maker instead. Yummy!

5. Buy a new cake mix.

If you can, why not buy a new box of cake mix? Boxed cake mix is almost always less than $5, if not cheaper. It’s better to err on the side of caution and ensure you’re making a grand cake everyone will enjoy. 


By now, you know not to hesitate to bust out the mixing bowl, whisk, and get to work – even if the cake mix is expired but still in good condition. Want to learn more? Here are a couple of frequently asked questions that might pique your interest.

Can you use expired brownie mix?

It’s the same deal for expired brownie mix: yes, you can use it. Just remember to add in a leavening agent for the best results. I’d also toss in some other mix-ins to enhance the flavor. For example, chocolate chips, walnuts, or M&Ms.

Can you use expired Duncan Hines cake mix?

Absolutely! Duncan Hines has even said their cake mixes are safe to use beyond the “best by” date. However, the quality may be lacking, mainly if you do not replenish the leavening agent.

Can expired cake mix kill you?

Expired cake mix won’t kill you. But expired cake mix that has gone bad and has the presence of mold can if you’re allergic to mold. Otherwise, your body will likely filter it out, and you’ll be perfectly fine (although you might have a tummy ache and accompanying side effects).

Final Words

If there is one thing that’s true about boxed cake mix, it’s this: it is very convenient. It does most of the work for you, and not only that, it never “expires.” 

As long as the cake mix hasn’t gone bad (odd color, flavor, or scent), it’s OK to use years beyond the “best by” date. Just add a leavening agent!

Have you ever used an expired cake mix? How did it turn out?

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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  • Ruth

    I have so many new mixed that I was going to throw out, but I saw that you said that you can use them. How much baking powder and /or baking soda do you add to Duncan Hines mix?

    • Michelle

      Hi, there! Awesome. If the box doesn’t say specifically, I’d recommend adding 1.5 teaspoons.

  • Karen

    I appreciate all the info in your article but you didn’t include how much baking soda or powder to use or which one. I know you’re re the baking queen but people like me need more details. Thank you!

    • Michelle

      If the box doesn’t say specifically, I’d recommend adding 1.5 teaspoons.

      • Debi

        CRUD! I wasn’t sure if you’d said soda or powder so I came back here to check…………. I don’t see that answer – only to add 1.5t! Help….

    • Michelle

      No problem, Marcy!

    • Michelle

      No problem, Marcy!

  • Linda

    What is the suggested amount of Baking Powder/Soda to add to a boxed brownie mix past it’s best by date?


    • Michelle

      1.5 teaspoons should do the trick!

  • Mark P. Fowler

    Thank you for providing this site very helpful, can I use canned icings after best by date?

    • Michelle

      That depends. How far past the best by date? If there are no signs of spoilage and it’s not too far behind the best by date, should be fine.

  • Mary

    You say to add recommended amounts of leavening agents. What are those recommended amounts in boxed mixes. As far as I can tell the box doesn’t list any. Also, what about expiry in King Arthur scone mix?

    • Michelle

      Hi Mary,
      I would do a full teaspoon of baking powder.
      How old is the scone mix?
      As long as there is no signs of spoilage, it should be good to go.

  • KJ

    Used ALDI box cake mixes , Pillsbury. Many times I’m always whipping up cake, brownie mix that I make a lava cake with. Knock on wood but always turns out “perfectly great” I especially don’t tell the hubby as he’s an absolute freak about “the exp. date” according to him it’s there for a reason! I’ve explained over an over. So now just don’t let him know. Yummy cakes!

    • Michelle

      Haha, I’m glad you and hubby are enjoying the cakes! Keep it up!

    • Debi

      KJ: Sounds like my sons, I won’t tell them, but I’ll try a piece first to be sure it tastes good. 😛 We mamas (wives) know how to do what we do.

      And THANKS Michelle! Greatly appreciated. We moved and the peeps who helped managed to put my “non perishables” in the FAR BACK of the storage we got. :O ugh – yeh. So I’M making brownies today. <3

  • Margaret

    Thank you!!! I am using up boxes of expired Duncan HInes Cake Mixes that were on sale during the Covid pandemic. I wanted to make cakes for church events but I didn’t think the pandemic would go on this long. Anyway, guess what I am doing with the loaves of cake I make. Feeding the birds!

    • Michelle

      I’m sure the birds appreciate it! 🙂

  • Gary

    What is the suggested amount of Baking Powder/Soda to add to a boxed cake mix past it’s best by date?

    • Michelle

      Hi Gary,
      A teaspoon of baking powder per cup of cake mix will do the trick!

      • Clara Rose Turk

        how many cups of cake mix in a box of cake mix so I know how many teaspoons of baking powder to add to an expired box

        • Linda

          There is 8 ounces per cup