Can Hot Pockets Go Bad/Get Old?

Last updated on June 7th, 2024

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If you are a fan of quick microwaved frozen meals or send them in your children’s lunchboxes, you have probably tried Hot Pockets. Sometimes the box stays in the freezer for quite a while. If you have a box of Hot Pockets taking up space in your freezer you may try to remember how long it’s been there. 

This can cause you to wonder, can Hot Pockets go bad or get old?

If stored in the freezer as they should be, Hot Pockets will remain safe to eat almost indefinitely, but they will start to lose some quality after a few months. If your Hot Pocket does go bad, there will be signs of spoilage. Hot Pockets will go bad and get old if not kept frozen.

Hot Pockets are a lunchtime favorite. School kids can easily pull one of these frozen sandwiches out of their lunchbox and heat it in a microwave. In minutes they will have a hot pepperoni filled meal (or any other of a wide variety of deliciousness). 

Hot Pockets are even a great go-to snack (or meal) for adults. They are quick and easy to heat up and also come with a variety of filling choices ranging from pepperoni pizza with a crispy crust to bacon cheddar cheese meat with pretzel bread. These frozen sandwiches can be a great go-to for a fast meal. 

Whether you like to stock up on Hot Pockets or haven’t used them in a while, you could have a box sitting in your freezer that you bought weeks ago. 

If you are worried if Hot Pockets go bad, know that if they stay frozen, they will actually last for quite a while. When kept frozen, Hot Pockets actually last almost indefinitely. Of course, you don’t want to save them forever as over time, they will start to deteriorate and lose their quality. 

That means they won’t taste as good if you eat the frozen sandwiches after years of sitting in the freezer. Hot Pockets do have an expiration date but it is said that as long as they are properly stored in the freezer, they will last for a while longer than even their expiration date. 

It is probably best to say that you can keep your Hot Pockets for about 6 months up to a year. If you want to get the most flavor out of your Hot Pockets, eat them within this time. Even though it takes some time for Hot Pockets to go bad, they can get old and lose flavor or texture after being frozen for too long. 

How Do You Know When Hot Pockets Expire?

So, all food must have a predetermined expiration date. I already mentioned that Hot Pockets last for a while in the freezer even though their expiration date may say differently. This is because they are frozen. Freezing food helps to preserve it for longer. 

Still, over time Hot Pockets will go bad. So, how do you know when Hot Pockets expire?

Hot Pockets that have expired/ have gone bad will have a bad smell or taste, changes in the way they look and a change in texture. They may also have some mold growth. If you aren’t sure if the Hot Pocket is bad or not, it’s best to throw it away because it is better to be safe than sorry.

Hot Pockets have to legally come with expiration dates meaning that they do expire. But, in doing some research, it seems that Hot Pockets last far past these printed best by dates if they are stored properly. Hot Pockets should always be kept in the freezer. They are meant to be heated right out of the freezer so it’s ok to store them there. 

You can thaw them in the fridge for a couple days before eating them but you can’t leave them in there very long. So to prevent spoilage, you should store Hot Pockets in the freezer. Hot pockets don’t usually go bad in the freezer but will lose some quality over time. 

If however, a Hot Pocket has gone bad, it will show some specific signs that it should not be eaten. A bad smell or taste from the Hot Pocket means that it has gone bad. A change in the color or the way it looks as well as a change in texture like it being slimy or sticky means that the product has gone bad as well. 

A sure sign that a Hot Pocket is old is mold growth. It is not safe to eat bad Hot Pockets because you can get sick. By knowing the signs of when Hot Pockets have gone bad, you can avoid this.

Do Hot Pockets Go Bad If Not Frozen?

Hot Pockets are a great snack or meal if you are wanting a turnover type sandwich with a meaty filling. They make good school lunches because they are easy to pack and heat up. Hot Pockets are meant to be stored in your freezer. But if you want to put some in your refrigerator, do Hot Pockets go bad if they aren’t frozen?

Hot Pockets do go bad if they aren’t frozen. This is because their ingredients will spoil. Freezing food helps to keep it good for longer by delaying the deterioration of the product. So, when a Hot Pocket isn’t frozen it will begin to go bad very quickly. 

When purchasing Hot Pockets, you buy them in the freezer section of the store. This food is supposed to be stored in the freezer and is able to be heated straight out of the freezer too. Now, if you have thawed a Hot Pocket in the fridge, it will only stay good for about 3 to 4 days before it goes bad. 

Left at room temperature, one of these microwavable meals will go bad after about 4 hours. This is because Hot Pockets contain dairy and meat which will go bad quickly when they are frozen. When properly stored in the frigid temperature of the freezer, Hot Pockets last for 6 to 12 months but when not kept in the freezer, they will go bad in just a few days. 

So, in order to keep them good, freeze them. Hot Pockets will go bad if not kept frozen.

Final Thoughts

Hot Pockets can go bad and get old. If properly stored in the freezer, they will last for half a year to a year. After this time, they will begin to lose some quality. So, Hot Pockets will most likely last far past their expiration date or a year and still be safe to eat. 

But, they won’t taste as good. 

So, it is best to consume the frozen sandwiches within a few months for best results. You will know a Hot Pocket is bad by a bad smell, taste, discoloration, and mold growth. 

If you aren’t sure if one is good or not, just don’t eat it and throw it away to avoid getting sick. Hot Pockets do have perishable ingredients and so if they aren’t frozen they can go bad. 

So, store your Hot Pockets in the freezer but know that even though it may take a while, and according to different things, eventually they will go bad and get old.

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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