Does Ramen Go Bad? What You Need To Know

does ramen go bad


Perhaps you are an avid outdoorsman, a prepper, or just a cook – most of us have come across an old packet of ramen and have wondered, “does ramen go bad?”

That is the question that we are going to answer today.

We will talk about instant ramen, cooked ramen, expiration, and provide some tips on how to make your ramen taste better.

Let’s get started.

With Instant Ramen It Is Unlikely, But It Can Happen

does ramen go bad

Instant ramen has been dried and packaged in a sealed plastic container, and thus it is shelf-stable.

This is why many people turn to eat instant ramen when they are camping, building a prep bunker, or just waiting for payday – ramen is low cost and does not require any refrigeration.

The general consensus is that if ramen has gone bad, it will start to smell off and there might be discoloration.

If your ramen exhibits any of these signs, it is better to simply toss it then risk getting sick.

It is also likely that the seasoning package they add, which generally contains traces of meats and vegetables, will expire first before the noodles.

If you cook this package and notice any of it smelling off or is discolored, throw out the entire package immediately.

Inspect The Packaging

does ramen go bad

One of the main ways that instant ramen can go bad is having the packaging become destroyed.

If there is any sort of tear or opening in your packaging, that is a good sign that the ramen has been compromised by mold, rot, or pests.

Additionally, take a look at the expiration date on the packaging. In this case, it is in the top center of the ramen pictured above.

The general consensus is that if I keep this ramen in an ideal dry and untampered position, it may last an additional year or more.

Keep in mind that eating any food long after its expiration date is a risk, but with well-kept instant ramen, you should be okay if you proceed with caution.

Also, keep in mind that the cheap plastic bowl ramens may expire more quickly because it can let in moisture.

Note that just because it is technically edible does not mean that it will taste good.

However, we imagine that if you are here because you are thinking about eating old ramen you have bigger concerns than culinary delight.

Fresh Ramen Is Completely Different

does ramen go bad

It is worth noting that all of the information up to this point has been about dried instant ramen.

If you are asking about fresh ramen that you have taken home from the store or instant ramen that you have already cooked, then yes, your ramen will expire quickly.

This is because once moisture has entered the noodle, it quickly starts down the path of becoming inedible, even if you are keeping it in the fridge.

If you need to eat old leftovers, you better keep an eye on it and not risk eating it after a few days.

Tips To Extend Ramen Noodle’s Shelf Life

  • Package In An Airtight Container – If you are serious about trying to maximize your ramens shelf life consider putting the ramen in an airtight container. This goes for instant and homemade noodles.
  • Clean Your Environment – This may be difficult depending on your surroundings, but you leave lots of ramen laying around, there is a chance that small rodents and other pests will infiltrate the area and compromise your ramen. Keep your storage area as clean as possible.
  • Stick Cooked Ramen In The Fridge – If you have already cooked your instant ramen or taken some home as take-out, seal the ramen in an airtight container and stick it in the fridge. It won’t last as long as dried ramen, but it should last for a few days.
  • Freeze Your Ramen – It may sound strange, but one thing you can do to help extend your ramen’s shelf life indefinitely (and keep away pests) is to put your ramen in the freezer. You can place instant ramen directly in the packaging in the freezer.

How Can I Make Instant Ramen Taste Better?

does ramen go bad

There are various things that you can do to make instant ramen taste better, especially if it is on the older side.

Most of these things are simple, low cost, and readily available to almost everyone. The first suggestion we have is to put an egg in it.

A scrambled or fried egg adds a lot of life to instant ramen and can seriously change your perception of the food.

Additionally, we recommend tossing the included seasoning packet, which tends to be loaded with salt and unhealthy ingredients anyways.

Instead, experiment with adding garlic, chili, ginger, olive oil, and other ingredients to create a healthier, tastier dish.

Of course, this may not be the most feasible option for apocalypse preppers or students on a tight budget, but if you can make it happen, adding cooked chicken or ham to your ramen recipe can really spice things up.

At the end of the day, ramen, even instant ramen, can be a versatile and exciting dish. Feel free to experiment and come up with your own recipes.

How Long Does Ramen Last?

Instant ramen, in theory, can last for years after its expiration date if it is stored properly.

Instant ramen, in theory, can last for years after its expiration date if it is stored properly.

However, you need to look for any tears or disruptions to the packaging – it is likely that if the packaging has been majorly disrupted that the ramen has gone bad.

Also, inspect your ramen thoroughly and understand that it may be a risk to eat it if it has expired.

Freshly made ramen may only last for a few days after it is has been cooked.

We recommend never risking it – if you believe your ramen has gone bad due to discoloration or an off-smell, throw it out.

Why Does Ramen Expire?

Instant ramen, in theory, looks like it should last forever – it has been extensively dried and looks like it could remain edible for years to come.

However, this is simply not true – first of all, the noodles are deep-fried before they are dried and packaged.

Eventually, moisture can creep in and cause these noodles to start rotting or becoming moldy.

Instant noodles can last for a long time, but as you can see, they do not last forever.

Is Ramen Good To Bring While Camping?

Yes, ramen is a great food to bring while camping because it is small, compact, easy to make, and extremely versatile.

If you are planning on cooking while camping, make sure you have proper cookware.

Additionally, if you are serious about camping in the winter or other adverse conditions, check out our article on cold weather tents with stoves.


Thank you for taking the time to read our article. Hopefully, now you feel like you can answer the question “does ramen go bad?”.

We wish you the best of luck with camping, prepping, or just cooking delicious ramen at home. Feel free to leave a comment or question below.