How Long Does Cereal Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 4-6 Months

Cereals are one of the most popular breakfasts. Particularly in the cities of western countries, it is so common that one can find Cereals in almost every household. Mostly consumed with milk, Cereals might have become the favourite breakfast in various countries.

Cereals are claimed to be good for health. It is an easy process to make cereals, and mostly, Cereals come as ready to eat food. Anyways, Cereals take no or very little time to be made, and mostly, they are easy to digest as well. Even with so many benefits, one might wonder for how long the cereals can stay good enough that they can eat them.

How Long Does Cereal Last

How Long Does Cereal Last?

Cereals can easily last for months. They are dry food items. This dryness includes the process of de-oxidization, which helps them to survive for months without catching bacteria. Unpacked cereals can last up to 4-6 months easily if their packet is tightly closed or sealed again. Although once Cereal comes in contact with any sorts of liquid, its life reduces by a substantial amount. Let’s say water, for instance, its life reduces to a few days merely.

Not only breakfast cereals are long-lasting, but studies say that they have health benefits as well. Cereals like Oats and Barley lower down the overall cholesterol concentration in the body. Regular breakfast cereals help in preventing the risk of obesity. But, some recently emerging Cereals are focusing more on taste than health. Although, more research is required to come to any conclusion regarding such cereals. Some high fiber cereals do not control cholesterol and obesity but increase cholesterol in the body. So, one must always check the box or the pack of their cereals if they are buying Cereals for a healthy life.

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Cereals may last up to 8 months if the packet or box seal is not altered. This way, cereals may stay good for more than expected time. Although, one must always check the smell and have a little taste of the Cereals to be sure that they are still good enough. Another way of checking the quality of the Cereals is by cracking them. If cereal cracks, they are good and can be eaten.

CerealGood For
Opened but sealed again4-6 months
Unopened6-8 months

Why Does Cereal Last That Long?

Cereals are dried out and de-oxidized food items. As they are dry, it is hard for bacteria to come in contact with it. This way, Cereals may survive for a longer period unless they come in contact with liquid. This is so because once Cereals come in contact with liquid, like water or milk, the risk of bacteria attacking the food increases substantially.

The ready to eat cereals are packed once they are cooked, dried and de-oxidized. The aim is to prevent bacteria for as long as possible. Once the food comes in contact with liquid, its life reduces substantially. That is why cereals with milk or water can merely survive a few days. That even if they are kept in the refrigerator. While packed, dried Cereals may last easily for months.

Although it is suggested that one must always check the quality of the Cereal. The process of performing a quality check on Cereals is very easy. One only needs to break or crack it. It is said that if cereals make a crackling noise while breaking, they are good. Whereas, if there is no crackling sound coming from the Cereal, they are probably soggy. Hence should not be eaten. Also, one should take care that they close the box or packet properly once they open it. As, if the cereals stay in contact with open air for a longer period, they might come in contact with oxygen which will make them soggy. This increases the risk of cereals coming in contact with bacteria.

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Cereals are a very popular breakfast food and are getting global acceptance as well. Mostly, cereals are good for health and are easy to cook or are just ready to eat. Mostly, Cereals have positive effects on health. They help in controlling cholesterol concentration in the body, preventing obesity in the body, etc. Although, recent Cereals are focusing majorly on taste and may have adverse effects on health as well.

Cereals may last up to 4-6 months once the packing is opened. Without opening the packet, Cereals may even last up to 8 months. But, one must always make sure that cereals are good enough to be eaten. The easiest way to make that sure is by cracking Cereals. If they make a crackling sound, Cereals are good. Otherwise, they may have been oxidised and might have caught bacteria.



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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. I had a little laugh when I read the part about cracking the cereals. A simple but effective way to check quality. Thanks for the interesting read.

  2. I can’t help but appreciate the informative nature of this article. It’s always great to learn something new and useful.

  3. Given that cereals are so convenient for breakfast, this article made me realize I should check the quality of cereals before consuming. Thanks for the heads-up.

    1. Absolutely, especially the part about cracking the cereal to check its quality. Very helpful tip.

  4. I beg to differ, I believe some cereals are focusing on taste rather than health. I don’t agree that most cereals have positive effects on health.

    1. I understand where you’re coming from. But let’s consider that not all cereals are unhealthy. There are some which have positive health effects.

  5. Great article! I never knew that cereals could last that long. It’s amazing how the process of de-oxidization keeps bacteria away. Really informative post.

    1. Absolutely! I’m amazed how long cereals can last. This article provided a lot of valuable information.

  6. This article has left me more skeptical about the quality of cereals. I need to be more cautious from now on.

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