How to Store Pantry Items
Consult these storage techniques and guidelines* before cleaning out your pantry.
Most of these items, once open, can be kept at room temperature in their original packaging in the pantry. Exceptions include
baking goods in bags, such as flour, sugar, and cornmeal, which should be transferred to airtight containers as soon as you
bring them home, and dry items, such as grains and rice, which should be transferred to airtight containers once open (see
below). For items with active ingredients, like baking powder and yeast, follow the use-by dates.
such as brownie and cake mixes
Pantry: 1½ years
Pantry: 6 months (unopened); until the use-by date (open)
Pantry: 1½ years (unopened); until the use-by date (open)
Note: If you keep baking soda in the refrigerator as a deodorizer, replace it in 1 month or by the use-by date if that comes first.
See Can Cans Last Forever?
Pantry: 2 years
Pantry: 6 months (dried); 2 months (panko)
Freezer: 6 months (dried and panko)
Note: Fresh bread crumbs should be kept in the freezer and will last for up to 6 months.
Broth, boxed and canned
Pantry: 5 years (unopened)
Refrigerator: 4 days (open)
Freezer: 3 months (open)
*Real Simple consulted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), food scientists, food manufacturers, and a host of other experts—including fishmongers, cheese sellers, coffee roasters, bakers, and bartenders—to establish these storage guidelines. The first consideration was safety. But because you want your food to be delicious, too, for some products, Real Simple chose the conservative storage time for optimum freshness.