What Happens If You Eat Stale Chips? Explained


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Have you discovered an old bag of chips in your pantry closet? If so, you may be left wondering what happens if you eat stale chips. Thankfully, we’ve got the details you need to help you figure out whether or not your old chips are safe for consumption. Let’s get into it.

Table of Contents

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Stale vs. Expired : What’s the Difference?

First, it is important to note the difference between eating “stale” and “expired” chips. Though the two terms could easily be applied to one bag of chips, the truth is that these two words are not synonymous.

Stale chips refer to chips you eat that no longer taste fresh. Could they be expired? Yes. But stale doesn’t always equate to expired. Stale chips can occur when air and moisture get to the chips to render them less crispy. This can happen easily if you leave a bag of chips open.

Likewise, expired chips don’t always mean stale. Expired simply means that a product has gone past the recommended shelf-life date. Ironically, however, this doesn’t always equate to stale chips. Some chips can remain crispy, even after having expired!

Can You Eat Stale Chips?

If you’re a snack junkie, questions like, “how to get seasoning to stick to popcorn?” and, “how to cook sausage in the microwave?” are likely commonplace. So when it comes to that bag of stale chips in your pantry, you likely have questions about that too. We get it!

We’re happy to report that eating stale chips, especially if they aren’t expired, won’t necessarily hurt you, but you might not enjoy it. A stale chip will likely be soft rather than crisp and won’t have as much flavor as a fresher variety. The chips may also have a distinctive “off” taste.

What If We Eat Expired Chips

Eating expired chips may sometimes taste horrible, but not always. In fact, some chips remain crispy and delicious long after their expiration date. Nevertheless, chips that are very old may render you a few digestive issues and may also develop a weird taste after a while.

What Happens If You Eat Expired Lays Chips?

Lays chips are no doubt a fan-favorite, but eating expired Lays chips likely won’t be the experience you dreamed of. These chips can go stale fast, likely due to their thinner cut. Still, you may be able to experience freshness from Lays chips even after expiration, provided that the bag remains unopened.

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Can You Get Sick From Stale Chips?

Yes and no.

If the chips you are eating are stale because they are expired then it is possible that you could get sick. If, however, your chips are stale because the bag was left open, then you aren’t likely to get sick. You may not like the taste, though.

Can Expired Chips Make You Sick?

Recall that expired chips are not the same as stale chips. Expired chips have gone past their recommended shelf-life date, and as such, you are consuming the chips at your own risk.

The good news is that most chips, when unopened, will remain fresh up to 2-3 weeks past their expiry date. After that, the quality of the chips will likely begin to deteriorate.

Bear in mind that there is always a risk associated with eating expired food. One may develop food poisoning, gastritis, or other ailments as a result of consuming food products past their expiry date.

When possible it is best to steer clear of eating expired food.


Are Stale Chips Bad For You?

Is it Bad to Eat Stale Chips?

Not necessarily. Stale chips that are stale because air and moisture got to them won’t hurt you; they just won’t appeal to you. If the chips are stale because they’ve gone past expiry, they may still be fine to eat, but depending on the ingredients that make up the chip, you may be better off pitching them.

Are Stale Potato Chips Bad For You?

Stale potato chips that are expired and contain dairy products, such as cheese or milk, shouldn’t be consumed much past expiry. If these same chips have gone stale because of other factors not related to expiration, however, then the stale chips are unlikely to hurt you.

Is It Bad to Eat Stale Tortilla Chips?

Stale tortilla chips shouldn’t do much harm to you unless they’ve sat unopened for a very long period of time. In some cases, even a stale tortilla chip can be revived by toasting them in the oven!

Eating Stale Chips FAQ

How can you tell if chips are stale?

Chips are often defined as “stale” when the flavor on the chip diminishes and the chip loses its appealing crunch. When you break a chip, the chip should easily snap in two. A stale chip, however, is more likely to fold rather than snap. You’ll also notice that the chip isn’t as crispy when you are chewing it.

How long does it take for chips to get stale after opening?

An opened bag of chips can generally stay fresh for up to 1-2 weeks. Be sure to use a chip clip or to fold the bag down, though, to prevent as much air from getting to the chips as possible. 

Why do chips get stale?

Chips get stale after being exposed to too much moisture. Because there is moisture in the air, chips that are left out can go stale quickly.

How long can you eat stale chips?

Stale chips, in and of themselves, aren’t likely to make you sick so eating them for a prolonged period of time probably won’t cause you much harm. If the chips are expired though, you are better off only eating them 2-3 weeks after their printed expiration date. 

Do Chips Expire if Not Opened?

Yes. Chips will expire anywhere from 2-3 weeks after their sell-by date, even if they are unopened. 

What Happens If You Eat Stale Chips? Not Much It Seems…

All in all, if you eat stale chips you are unlikely to experience many negative symptoms, but if you eat expired chips you’ll want to be careful. Remember that “stale” and “expired’ aren’t synonymous, and thus, it is important to note that eating expired chips on a regular basis could lead to some unsavory outcomes. To err on the side of safety, we would advise you to avoid eating chips past their expiry date.

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