How to Tell if an English Muffin Is Bad [Definitive Guide]

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If you’re a fan of English muffins, it’s important to know how you can tell if they are still good.

This article will cover all the ways to tell if an English muffin is bad and other common questions surrounding storing English muffins. 


Signs That an English Muffin Is Bad

Mould, discolouration, dryness, or strange smells are the key signs your English muffin has gone bad. 


Mould is one of the main signs your English muffin has gone bad. Mould will appear in dark, black spots on your muffin. It will usually have a fuzzy, raised texture.

Once mould starts to appear, the whole muffin will be infested with mould spores. Don’t mistake the white powder at the bottom of the English muffin for mould. It’s actually farina flour.

Farina flour stops the muffin from sticking to the baking tray when it is cooked. If you don’t want to eat it, simply scrape it off with your finger. 

Mould can easily grow on English muffins when they are stored in your cupboard or bread rack. This is because it is a warm, often slightly damp environment. As muffins grow old, they become more susceptible to an infestation by mould.

Storing English muffins in the fridge will reduce the likelihood of mould growth. However, expired muffins that have been in the fridge for a prolonged period of time will eventually grow mould.

If you notice one muffin in the package has contracted mould, we recommend disposing of the entire pack. This is because mould is often invisible to the naked eye. One mouldy muffin means that the others are not far off. 


Your English muffins have started to go bad if they have become discoloured. Discolouration means any change of colour that is different from the normal pale, golden brown.

Discolouration is a sign your English muffins are starting to deteriorate. In this case, we recommend discarding the muffins, as the discolouration will continue to get worse as they get older. 

Discoloration is usually a precursor to mould. Before the mould grows to the surface, it will change the colour of the muffin. If you notice a green, black tinge on your muffin, it is very likely mould has caused the discolouration.

In this case, you can wait and see what happens, or you can immediately dispose of your English muffins. 


Staleness commonly occurs when a pack of English muffins have been left open for too long. Starch molecules crystallise causing the muffins to become hard or dry.

English muffins that have gone stale is  a sign they are going bad. A stale English muffin will not cause any nasty side effects, although it will be unpleasant to eat.

The texture and the flavour of the muffin worsens once it has become stale. Instead of a fluffy, light muffin, it will taste chewy or crunchy. 

To find out if the muffin is stale before you eat it, we recommend lightly squeezing the muffin. The muffin is not stale if it is still malleable. The muffin is stale if it feels firm to the touch.

You can prevent English muffins from becoming stale by storing them in the fridge or freezer once the package has been opened. Although, these two cooling methods can still change the texture of the muffin. 

Strange Smell 

Strange smells from the muffin are a good indication that the English muffin has gone bad. It is possible some kind of bacteria or microorganism has infested the muffin causing it to smell bad.

A smell can also occur when the muffin has passed its expiry date and is starting to spoil. Any unusual smell is a good reason to dispose of the muffins. 

How Long Does An English Muffin Last? 

An English muffin will last for around 2 weeks at room temperature. After two weeks, English muffins can start to become stale, mouldy, or dry.

To be safe, it is recommended you eat English muffins stored in your cupboard within 2 weeks. You can also refrigerate the muffin to extend its life for another week or so.

It is good to know that the fridge can dry out and change the texture of your muffins. You can also keep English muffins in the freezer for up to 3 months.

English muffins won’t expire after the 3 month mark. But, they will start becoming susceptible to freezer burn and may deteriorate. 

How to Freeze English Muffins

The freezer is an easy and convenient way to store your English muffins (particularly if you’ve made them fresh and delicious like these orange strawberry jam muffins). The freezer can keep your English muffins fresh for at least a couple of months.

It’s a good idea to remove the muffins from the package and place them in an airtight, freezer safe ziploc bag. This will seal in the freshness and ensure the muffins are kept safe.

Technically there is no expiration date on food stored in the freezer. However, over time the food deteriorates and will be unappetising when defrosted. This is because food suffers from dehydration and oxidation in the freezer. 

Can You Eat English Muffins Past Its Expiration Date? 

No, you should not eat an English muffin past its expiration date. An expiration date is the date the manufacturer has determined the product should no longer be used.

After the expiration date has passed, it is likely the English muffin may start to contract mould or become stale. In extreme circumstances, eating an English muffin past its expiration date can make you unwell.

You should dispose of the whole package of English muffins once they have passed their expiration date. 

Why Do English Muffins Last So Long? 

English muffins last so long because they are made with preservatives. The main preservatives in English muffins are sodium benzoate and calcium propionate.

Both are chemical substances that slow down the growth of microorganisms in food. English muffins will generally last longer than normal bread because they are more processed during the baking stage, coupled with the added preservatives. 

Do English Muffins Need to Be Refrigerated? 

It is recommended to keep your muffins in a sealed bag in the fridge to maximise freshness. Although, it is not essential that you do this.

Remember, refrigeration does slightly change the texture of the English muffin. You can also store English muffins in the cupboard in an airtight bag or container.

English Muffins do not need to  be refrigerated unless this is your preferred form of storage. 

To Sum Up

English muffins will generally last longer than white bread. It is optional to keep your English muffins in the fridge, as they can also stay fresh for up to 2 weeks in your cupboard.

You will know your English muffins have gone bad if they start to grow mould, are stale or hard, and if there is a foul smell wafting from them. If you notice any of these signs your muffins have expired and need to be thrown away.