Sometimes nothing is more comforting and nostalgic than good and rich Hot Pockets!
You can rely on these tiny calzones to satiate and appease your savory desires anytime.
But what’s more comforting is having a whole stack of these goodies in your freezer.
However, with loads of something stocked up, comes the inevitable problem, the passage of the expiry date.
So are your beloved Hot Pockets also prone to expiring, despite them being kept in the refrigerator?
Hot Pockets have an expiration date, as does most any other food. The expiration date for Hot Pockets is generally 14 months from the date of manufacture.
After their expiry date, they are not allowed to be sold legally, thereby implying that eating them does pose a serious health problem!
That being said, keep on reading to know more about whether your Hot Pockets are safe to consume after they expire, what happens once they do so and much more!
Are Hot Pockets Safe To Eat After Their Expiry Date?
Sometimes the dreaded thing occurs and your hot pockets pass their expiry date. But, the good news is this does not always mean that it is time to throw them out.
However, there is a catch. It is still safe to eat your Hot Pockets even after their expiry date provided they have never been thawed and then refrozen.
This is because the very low temperatures in the freezer are not ideal for bacterial growth, thereby restricting the spoiling of Hot Pockets.
It is the lack of these very low temperatures that result in anything spoiling way faster in the fridge as well as at room temperatures.
So, if your Hot Pocket is beyond its expiry date, here are a few things to keep an eye out for:
- An off-putting smell
- Visible mold such as blue-green or white spots.
- A gooey or sticky outer surface.
In case your Hot Pockets have any of these signs, simply throw them away since they are no longer safe to eat. If you do so, you may end up getting food poisoning!
Aside from those aforementioned problems, the foremost thing that can happen to your Hot Pockets after it has expired is that the flavor, consistency, and quality can suffer.
So if your Hot Pockets do not show the above signs, they are safe to eat if you’re in a bind and need a fast lunch or snack.
They won’t taste as good but at least they won’t make you queasy or hurt your stomach!
What To Expect Once Hot Pockets Expire?
Freezing food has been a proven method of food preservation for quite some time now.
This is due to cold temperatures slowing down and halting bacterial growth and hence preventing contamination.
But it does not ensure that the risk of spoiling is completely removed since there are other ways of your food going bad.
Hot Pockets can easily be stored in the freezer for long periods until the expiration date.
However, it is also important to know that as time passes the quality of your Hot Pockets doesn’t remain the same even if they are stored in the freezer.
There would be a reduction in the texture, taste and quality as they are stored for longer times. Several things can occur to Hot Pockets in particular beyond their expiration date:
Your Hot Pockets Would Experience Freezer Burn
The likelihood of developing freezer burn increases with the amount of time an object is kept in the freezer.
This phenomenon arises as a result of water loss while your hot pockets are kept in the freezer, which results in a texture that is worn out and “burnt.”
In other words, freezing removes the moisture from the meal while freezing the surface.
The consequence would be a food that is rough, discoloured, coated with ice crystals, and withered. The level of air in a product’s packaging directly affects whether or not freezer burn will occur and how soon.
Although freezer-burnt food doesn’t look or taste great, it is still safe to eat. Your Hot Pocket might not cook as uniformly if it has freezer burn, either.
To fix this, try rotating and flipping your hot pocket multiple times to uniformly cook it; however it would not be the same as a fresh one before expiration.
The Particular Flavours Of The Ingredients Might Not Taste The Same.
Your Hot Pocket’s contents might not taste as wonderful and fresh as those in a more recent Hot Pocket if it stays longer in the freezer.
So long as you’re not consuming a Hot Pocket that is two years old, the difference in taste and quality should be minimal.
The Pastry Could Get Dry
Your Hot Pocket’s dough might harden up even if it doesn’t get freezer burnt. Although it might not taste as good as the non-expired one, it wouldn’t cause any food poisoning so if you are willing you actually can eat it
Is It Necessary To Keep Hot Pockets Refrigerated?
Yes, it is necessary to freeze your Hot Pockets until you decide to consume them if you want them to last till the expiration date.
It is recommended not to defrost them until you’re planning to eat them or even thaw and then again freeze them, since it promotes bacterial growth and as a result raises the possibility of contamination.
How Long Can Hot Pockets Be Kept In The Freezer?
Hot Pockets kept in the freezer would last as long as the given expiration date.
Hot Pockets boxes should be rotated so that the oldest ones are consumed first and they aren’t kept in the freezer for extended periods.
This is because their flavour and texture might worsen with time. Their outside might become gooey or sticky.
At this point, it is usually better not to eat them, as there is the risk of food poisoning and it is difficult to identify from the outside whether the inside is going to turn out good or bad.
Since Hot Pockets consist of dairy products, it is better to freeze them than to leave them in the fridge.
Can They Be Kept In The Fridge And For How Long?
Hot Pockets can be left in the fridge for approximately 3–4 days if you wish to thaw them so they can be cooked more swiftly and evenly.
However, you shouldn’t keep them any longer than that as the cheese and meat in your Hot Pockets could get spoiled.
Keeping your Hot Pockets in the fridge gives them the time to thaw and would cook faster and more evenly, but you have to be careful not to leave them in there for too long, as they’ll spoil faster in the fridge than in the freezer.
So it’s recommended to thaw the required hot pockets which you are planning to eat.
Final Words on If Hot Pockets Expire
To sum up, it is necessary to store your Hot Pockets in your freezer and should only be taken out once you have planned to eat it.
You could leave it in your fridge or kitchen for it to defrost and then cook it quickly and evenly.
However, do not store it for long periods, especially if it has been refrozen after being thawed, as its quality deteriorates even when kept in the freezer and once spoiled it could cause serious food poisoning!