Coconut flour is one of the many food products made from the fruit of the palm tree called Cocos nucifera. It’s made from dried, ground coconut meat and is a natural byproduct of coconut milk production.
Along with the likes of rice flour, almond flour, and buckwheat flour, it’s an alternative flour that is perfect if you’re after something a bit different. It’s ideal for those on a keto diet or gluten-free diet.
Like wheat flour, coconut flour is a white or off-white flour commonly used in baking. Coconut flour can be used in lieu of all purpose flour. The general rule of thumb is to substitute only 20% of coconut flour for wheat flour. This is because flour made from coconut becomes dense and soaks up a lot of moisture when it bakes. You’ll also need to mix dough for longer periods of time to gain the right consistency when using coconut.
Coconut flour has more fat, protein, and fiber than refined flour. It also contains a lot of iron, making it a good option for people who are vegan or vegetarian. However, it’s important to keep in mind that any coconut product has high amounts of saturated fats. The good news is that coconut flour is processed in a way that removes these fats, making it safer to use regularly.
Given the obvious benefits, it makes sense to stock up on as much of this alternative flour as possible. However, the key question is, does coconut flour go bad? Unfortunately, like all good things it does eventually spoil.
The good news, though, is that there are things you can do to prolong its shelf life!
Read on to learn how to properly store coconut flour for maximum longevity.
Does Coconut Flour Go Bad?
So yes, coconut flour does eventually expire. In fact, it actually expires faster than normal flour.
The reason for this is the way that the flour is created. As I mentioned earlier, it’s produced as a byproduct of making coconut milk. The process leaves a substantial amount of unused coconut pulp, which is then dried and ground into a flour substance.
Due to this, the flour retains a lot of nut oil. Although healthy, it negatively affects the longevity of the product, shortening its lifespan compared to wheat flour.
How Long Does Coconut Flour Last?
Unopened coconut flour can last in the pantry 3 to 6 months past its “best by” date. In the fridge, unopened flour can last longer – between 6 and 12 months past its “best by” date.
If the package is opened, then the shelf life will be shorter.
In fact, if you open the flour and keep it stored in the pantry, it’s best to not use it past the “best by” date written on the package.
If you store it in the fridge once it’s opened, you’ll be able to keep it only 3 to 6 months past the “best by” date.
You can also freeze coconut flour. If unopened and properly frozen, it can last for up to 24 months beyond the “best by” date. Opened flour will last for up to 12 months in the freezer.
|Condition and Storage||Use By|
|Unopened - in pantry||3-6 months after 'best by' date|
|Unopened - in fridge||6-12 months after 'best by' date|
|Unopened - in freezer||12-24 months after 'best by' date|
|Opened - in pantry||Before 'best by' date|
|Opened - in fridge||3-6 months after 'best by' date|
|Opened - in freezer||6-12 months after 'best by' date|
Whilst these dates are a good rule of thumb, you should still always check that your flour hasn’t spoiled before you use it.
What Happens When Coconut Flour Expires?
As you can see, coconut flour can be used beyond the printed “best before” date, depending on how it’s stored.
If you don’t see any signs of rancidity or deterioration, chances are you can still use it, even if it’s past its expiration date.
On the other hand, just because it will be safe to eat, doesn’t mean that expired flour will taste good or taste how it should.
Because it’s more perishable than wheat flour, the quality of coconut flour will degrade much more quickly. You’ll have to decide if it’s worth keeping a bag of coconut flour just because it “still might be good,” or if you just bite the bullet and throw it away before it goes completely bad.
If you want some unsolicited advice, I suggest using all of the flour before it goes awry.
It may seem tough, but you also can put your culinary and baking skills to good use. This way, you won’t have to worry about the coconut flour going bad, and instead, you can focus on what you’ll be making next in the kitchen.
How to Tell if Coconut Flour Has Gone Bad
There are several ways to spot rancid flour. The quickest ways to tell are if you see changes in color, smell, or texture. You can taste it as well, but it’s not recommended to eat raw flour to begin with, let alone taste test it to see if it’s gone off!
You should also be on the lookout for bugs. Flour beetles and other insects are common pests for all types of flour. If you see any bugs in your flour, throw it out immediately.
If you’re blessed with no insects, see if the flour has gone clumpy. Big, hardened clumps are an indicator of spoiled flour. If your flour is clumpy, it should probably be tossed out.
Another sign of rancid flour is mold. If you see any tell-tale signs of mold, throw your flour out. You can’t ‘save’ bad flour by scraping mold away.
How to Properly Store Coconut Flour
When I store regular flour, all I do is store it back in the pantry. At first, I thought this was the only way to do it. It’s how my mom stores it, so obviously she’s right.
Although storing wheat flour in the pantry is a common household hack, storing coconut flour needs a little more TLC to ensure the best results. For best results, it’s recommended that you store it in the fridge rather than in the pantry or kitchen cupboards. That’s due to those nut oils, which in turn makes it prone to rancidity and oxidation.
Of course, you can keep your coconut flour in the pantry – it just won’t last as long.
The ironclad rule when it comes to storing coconut flour is to keep it somewhere dark, dry, cool, and away from direct sunlight. The worst thing you can do is leave it on the counter!
Storing Coconut Flour in the Fridge
To ensure it’s safely stored in the fridge, tightly close the packaging of the flour when you’re done using it.
If you’ve ripped the bag or the bag is in poor condition, transfer the leftover flour into an airtight container. This may be an easier method for future use.
The goal is to not let any moisture get into the packaging. So, if you’re transferring the flour to a container, make sure that container is completely dry first. Once it’s all transferred and sealed, stick the flour in a really dark and frigid place, i.e. the refrigerator, away from any heat sources and direct sunlight.
Freezing Coconut Flour
If you do have a big amount of flour you’re not using, you can also store it away in the freezer.
Much of the method for the freezer is the same as storing it in the fridge.
If the flour bag has already been opened, transfer the flour to an airtight container. Use multiple smaller containers if you have a large quantity of flour.
If you have yet to open the bag, take it and seal it in a resealable freezer bag. This way, you’ll preserve the flour bag it comes in, decreasing the chance of the bag getting wet or damp in the freezer.