Are Stale Chips Bad For You?

If you’ve ever had a snack need and rummaged in the cupboard to find a pack of chips to snack on, only to have them taste stale, you might be wondering if they’re safe to eat! Stale chips frequently lack flavor and crispness and are unpleasant to eat. They can, however, pass as a semi-acceptable snack in a hurry.

But are stale chips unhealthy? Stale chips aren’t generally bad for you, as long as they haven’t beyond their expiration date. Chips can become stale due to being left out or simply sitting in the cupboard for too long, but being stale does not imply spoilage, thus they should still be safe to eat.

So, if you’re wondering if you should keep eating stale chips or throw them away, keep reading to find out when it’s alright and when it’s not!

Are “Stale” And “Expired” The Same Thing?

The terms “stale” and “expired” are sometimes used interchangeably, but this is not always the case. Chips can be stale without being expired, and vice versa. Chips that have gone stale have lost their crisp flavor. They won’t be as crispy or tasty as they normally are. This happens frequently when the chips have been compromised by the introduction of oxygen or moisture.

But if the chips haven’t expired, even though they taste stale, they can still be edible. It’s safe to eat the chips until the expiration date, despite the slightly stale flavor, if they were stored properly.

Expiration dates, or “best-by” dates, indicate when a product is no longer at its optimal quality. That they are no longer at their peak quality is true, but that doesn’t mean they’re always bad to eat. Even if the date on the bag of chips has passed, the chips themselves may still be perfectly edible.

Is It Okay To Eat Chips That Taste Stale?

Stale chips may not be fun, but they are not necessarily unhealthy. If stale chips are still within their expiration date and show no indications of spoilage, they are safe to eat. The chips will be softer and less crispy than fresh potato chips, and they may taste less tasty as well. This isn’t necessarily a good thing to eat, but it doesn’t imply the chips will make you sick. When eating stale chips, make sure there are no other indications that the chips have spoiled – you want to make sure they are still safe to consume.

Is It Okay To Eat Chips Past The Expiry Date?

A best-by or expiration date will be printed on almost all bags of chips. A best-by date specifies the time frame during which the chips retain their greatest quality, while an expiry date suggests when the chips should be consumed by to prevent them from rotting. It’s not always necessary to toss out chips if you have a packet and see that the expiration date has gone.

One food that does not spoil rapidly and may be consumed even after its expiration date is potato chips. This is due to the fact that they have a low moisture content, making it difficult for bacteria to grow on them. The chips should be safe to consume if you open a package that has passed its expiration date and they smell normal and taste crispy and tasty.

It is recommended to discard the chips if they smell funny, taste stale, or appear to be discolored. The best-by date on chips normally does not indicate when they should be thrown away; rather, it just indicates when they will be at their finest quality.

How Long Past The Expiry Date Can I Eat Chips?

There is no rule stating how long potato chips can be eaten once they have passed their expiry date, so you must use your own discretion. Some people refuse to eat anything that is even a day past its expiry date, while others may be willing to take a chance. Because chips do not decay easily due to their low moisture content, there is minimal risk that they will go off shortly after the expiry date — especially if properly stored.

If your chips are a few days, weeks, or even a month or two past their expiry date, they should still be edible. However, before eating outdated chips, check for any evidence that they have started to spoil, just to be careful and ensure that they are still safe to consume. If there is any moisture in the bag of chips, it may hasten their spoilage, therefore you should inspect it. You’ll just have to use your own discretion while deciding whether or not to consume expired chips.

Signs That Chips Have Gone Bad

When eating stale or expired chips, you should absolutely watch out for telltale symptoms that the chips have gone bad.


Take a brief sniff inside the chip packet as you open it. The scent of the chips should only be the flavor of the chips – no off odors or rancid odors. If there is anything odd about the scent of the chips, it is best to throw them away and get a fresh packet.


Chips should be light and crispy; if they’ve lost their crunch and are soft or even soggy, they’re probably stale, but it’s also possible that they’ve gone bad. Examine the texture of the chips as well as any other indications that they may have gone bad.


The chips should have a normal appearance. There should be no degradation – the chips should not be faded or lighter than usual. Look for mold as well, which would appear as green or white patches on the chips. Throw discard the chips if you observe any mold or changes in appearance!


Do not rely on flavor as the first clue that chips have spoiled, as you definitely don’t want to put spoiled food in your mouth. However, if you do happen to take a nibble and the chips taste sour or odd, then spit them out and toss them away.

How To Store Chips To Stop Them Going Stale

Stale chips will not necessarily make you sick, especially if they have not gone bad, but they are not very tasty, and you should avoid them at all costs. If you bought potato chips in bulk or opened a bag but did not finish it all, you will want to preserve them fresh and crisp rather than allowing them to become stale.

The best way to store chips is in an airtight, resealable plastic bag, expelling as much air as possible before sealing. You can store the chips in their original box, but an extra layer of protection would be ideal. Another option is to close the open packet with an airtight bag sealer clip, ensuring that no air or moisture can get in. To keep the chips fresh, store them in a cold, dry place, such as a dark pantry.

Final Thoughts

Not all expired chips are stale chips. Chips that have lost some of their crispness and flavor but have not spoiled are still safe to eat. Check the expiration date and search for additional indications that the chips may have spoiled before eating the entire bag of suspected stale chips. When not properly stored, chips rapidly go stale, so be sure to keep them in airtight containers and in a cold, dark location so you may enjoy crisp, tasty chips whenever you want a snack!

Related Questions

Now that we’ve learned why potato chips go stale and if stale potato chips are safe to eat, we thought we’d ask you some more questions.

Is stale food bad for you?

When food is exposed to air, such as bread and chips, it becomes stale but does not necessarily mean that it has spoiled. If it hasn’t gone bad, stale food like stale bread or chips is not bad for you. However, there is a chance that the food might make you ill if it has gone bad and is stale.

Can you get sick from eating old chips?

If your old potato chips have spoiled and bacteria growth has increased, they could make you sick. Chips do not spoil as quickly as other types of food, but they can still go bad, and you must be aware of what to look for.

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