Do Taco Shells Go Bad? A Guide to Taco Shell Shelf Life

Do Taco Shells Go Bad? How Long Do Taco Shells Last? These are some of the most common questions that taco lovers often ask. No one wants to spoil their perfect taco experience by consuming stale or expired taco shells. The good news is: if stored properly, taco shells can go a long way without compromising on their flavor and texture. In this article, we will explore everything related to the shelf life of taco shells – from how long they last to storing and reviving old taco shells.

Do Taco Shells Go Bad?

Taco shells are a popular ingredient used to make tacos, burritos, and other Mexican dishes. They are usually made of flour or corn and can come in different shapes and sizes. But like any food item, taco shells do have a shelf life.

Definition of Taco Shells

Taco shells are crispy tortilla shells that are filled with ingredients such as meat, lettuce, and cheese to make a delicious dish called tacos. These shells are mostly made of flour or corn and may contain additional ingredients like vegetable oil or salt for flavor.

Factors That Affect Taco Shell Shelf Life

  • Exposure to Air: Once the packaging is opened or damaged, the taco shells start losing their crispiness over time due to exposure to air.
  • Date of Manufacture: Taco shell manufacturers usually provide an expiration date on the packaging. The shelf life of taco shells depends on the manufacturing date as well as storage conditions.
  • Inappropriate Storage: If the taco shells get exposed to moisture, heat or sunlight for long periods, they will get stale faster than if stored in cool dry places like pantries or kitchen cabinets.

How To Tell If Taco Shells Have Gone Bad

You can tell if your taco shells have gone bad by looking at them closely before use:

  • If any mold spots appear on the surface then discard them right away because it indicates that they’ve been contaminated by fungus which could potentially cause poisoning after consumption.
  • If they no longer look fresh because their color has changed from its original crisp white into yellowish-brown tint which means either oxidation or rancidity started taking place.
  • If they taste or smell off, stale, or rancid, it’s probably best to throw them out. Ideally, a taco shell should have a crispy texture and fresh aroma when bitten into.

It’s important to consume the taco shells before their expiration date while they are still crispy and intact. A good rule of thumb is to purchase them as close as possible to the time that you plan on using them for your meal.

How Long Do Taco Shells Last?

When it comes to taco shells, shelf life can be a concern. How long do they last before they become stale or simply inedible? In this section, we’ll look at the shelf life of unopened and opened taco shells, as well as tips for extending their freshness.

Shelf Life of Unopened Taco Shells

  • Taco shells that are unopened and stored properly (in a cool, dry place) can last up to six months on the shelf.
  • The expiration date on the package is usually a good indicator of when they will start to lose their freshness, but using them a few weeks after that date should still be okay if they have been stored correctly.

Shelf Life of Opened Taco Shells

  • If you’ve already opened your taco shell package, the lifespan will shorten. They tend to go stale quickly if not packaged and stored properly.
  • If you don’t use them all in one sitting or need to store half-used packages, you should transfer them into an airtight container such as a plastic bag with an adhesive seal or wrapped tightly in foil.
  • A package with opened shells generally lasts seven to ten days maximum before becoming overly brittle and stale.

    How To Extend The Shelf Life Of Taco Shells

    • As mentioned already above- Transfer any unused portion from open packs immediately into air-tight zip bags which should delay rancidity for another day or two.
    • To keep your fresh taco shells tasting just like new, make sure you’re storing them in an air-tight container once you’ve opened the initial package.
    • If you are worried about their crispness quality, warm them in a preheated oven at 350°F for 3-4 minutes and allow them to cool completely before use.

    By following these simple tips and ensuring proper storage, your taco shells can be enjoyed for longer without losing their essential crunchiness. Now go on and have those delicious tacos that we all crave every now & then.

    Storing Taco Shells

    When it comes to storing taco shells, there are definitely some do’s and don’ts. Here are the best and worst ways to store your taco shells along with some helpful tips:

    Best ways to store taco shells

    • Airtight container: One of the best ways to store your taco shells is in an airtight container. Make sure that the container you use is large enough to hold all of your shells without crushing them.
    • Cool, dry place: Another important factor when storing your taco shells is ensuring they’re stored in a cool and dry place. This will help keep them fresh and prevent any moisture from causing them to become limp or stale.
    • In a paper bag: If you don’t have an airtight container, using a paper bag can also be effective for storing your taco shells. Fold down the top of the bag so that air doesn’t get inside; this will help keep your tacos fresher for longer periods of time.

    Worst ways to store taco shells

    • Fridge or freezer: Tacos should never be stored in the fridge or freezer as this can cause them to become soggy and lose their crispiness—definitely not what we want!
    • In plastic packaging: Although tempting, leaving your tacos in their packaging isn’t recommended as they will inevitably become crushed over time.
    • In open-air containers: Taco shell rack or cage may seem like good options but if left exposed, it may become too humid or moist which isn’t ideal for the shells.

    Tips for storing taco shells

    • Store just before use: Ideally, you should aim to store your tacos as close to usage time as possible. This will ensure they remain fresh and crisp, so try not to store them too far in advance of enjoying your meal.
    • Avoid stacking: If you’re using an airtight container or paper bag, be sure to avoid stacking your taco shells on top of one another. Doing this can cause them to break or become crushed, reducing their overall quality.
    • Eat leftovers quickly: If you end up with any leftover taco shells, try and eat them as soon as possible. They’re best eaten fresh but if that’s not feasible, reheat at low temperature in oven or microwave.

    Reviving Old Taco Shells

    If you have ever cooked tacos at home, you probably know the struggle of keeping leftover taco shells crispy and tasty. Wasting food is never a good option, so in this section, we will explore some tips for reviving old or stale taco shells.

    How to revive stale or old taco shells:

    • Moisture is one of the main reasons why tacos shells become soggy, stale and lose their crunchiness. To revive them, spread them out on a baking sheet, and place them in a preheated oven (around 375°F) for 5-7 minutes until they are crisped up again.
    • If you don’t want to use an oven; alternatively, you can heat your griddle or skillet over medium-high heat for around 30 seconds before adding your taco shells. Cook each side for about 10-15 seconds until they regain crispiness on both sides.

    Tips for making old taco shells taste better:

    • All it takes is two simple steps: First brush the inside of your shell with some oil – preferably canola as it has a high smoke point- then place it on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven set at around 350°F degrees. Bake them for approximately seven minutes until golden brown; once done let them cool down before filling with your favorite meats and toppings.
    • You can also give your Mexican-inspired dishes an exciting twist by dusting off seasoning such as chili powder or paprika over each tortilla -and if you desire add-on cheese. It’ll enhance their taste profile adding that extra spice needed to perk things up!

    No one wants to eat dull or unappetizing tacos right? So, before you toss your old taco shells into the trash bin, use these tips to remedy them and make your dinner fit for a foodie!


    In conclusion, there is no definite answer to “Do Taco Shells Go Bad?” as it depends on various factors such as storage conditions, manufacturing process, and packaging methods. However, by following some basic guidelines, you can ensure that your taco shells maintain their freshness for an extended period.


    Can I eat my expired unopened pack of tacos?

    Technically, you can still consume them if they have been stored correctly and show no signs of damage or staleness. Nevertheless, it’s always best to follow the expiry date mentioned on the package.

    What’s the ideal temperature for storing tacos?

    Room temperature is suitable for storing unopened packs of sealed tacos in cool dry places like cabinets or pantries. You should avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or heat sources.

    Is freezing a good option for preserving unused tacos?

    Yes! Freezing unused tacos after opening them from their original pack would prolong their shelf life up 6-8 months when stored appropriately in ziplock bags with air squeezed out before sealing tightly.

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