Wed. Oct 20th, 2021

The corn Masa is widely used in a variety of dishes, including tamales, tortillas, pupusas, and nachos. However, sometimes fresh Masa (dough) or Masa Harina (the flour used to make the dough) are left unused and stored in the pantry for an extended period of time.

As a result, “How long does Masa Dough or Masa Flour last?” and “How to Improve Their Shelf Life?” are two frequently asked questions.

If kept in a cool and dry place, the Masa (Dough) can last for up to three days. It is reduced to 12 hours if kept at room temperature.

Masa Harina (Flour) can usually be stored for 9-12 months.

However, there are a few things you can do to extend the shelf life of Masa and Masa Harina. They are as follows:

  • Keeping them cool by storing them in an airtight container or a vacuum-sealed bag.
  • The Masa is frozen. Dough’s lifespan will be extended from 3 days to 3-6 months.
  • By freezing the Masa Harina, you can extend its life by 1-2 months and get rid of the bugs.
  • In the winter or rainy season, sieve the Masa flour once a week.
  • Wrapping the masa flour in Saran wrap or covering it with a Tupperware container

What is Corn Masa?

Corn Masa, also known as Masa Preparada, is a popular dish in Mexican and Latin American cuisine. It is a type of corn dough that is used to make a variety of Mexican treats, including corn tortillas and dessert tamales.

It can be made in two ways: by adding lard or water to Masa Harina (Corn flour) or by making it from hominy, which is dried corn soaked in an alkaline solution of water and calcium hydroxide.

Fresh corn Masa can also be purchased, but it is difficult to find. It includes both coarse and finely ground doughs. The former is primarily used for corn tortillas, while the latter is used for tamales.

How long is Masa good for?

Masa is a highly perishable food that cannot be stored for long periods of time. When left unused for two days, it frequently begins to ferment. It can be kept fresh for up to three days if kept in a cool, dark place with minimal air exposure.

Masa, on the other hand, should be kept at room temperature if it is to be used in tortillas. When the tortillas are warm, they do not split or crack. However, there is a disadvantage to this as well. The dough’s shelf life is reduced to 12 hours, after which it not only loses flavor but may also pose health risks.

How can you tell if Masa has gone bad?

If the Masa has dried or tastes sour, and this sourness differs from the purposefully added sour taste, or if mould has grown on it, it has gone bad.

Masa Harina has a shelf life of how long?

Masa Harina does not go bad or expire, but it does lose its flavour and efficacy over time. Nonetheless, it lasts longer than wheat or any other flour.

It usually lasts 9 months but can last up to a year if kept in an airtight container with controlled amounts of light and minimal temperature fluctuations.

How can you tell if corn flour is spoiled or bad?

Smell the Masa flour to see if it is fresh or not. If there is no odor, it indicates that the flour is fresh; if it smells bad, it indicates that it is stale. Another two symptoms are fogginess and discoloration. Stale flour has a musty, sour flavor.


The corn Masa is used widely to make various dishes, like tamales, tortillas, pupusas, and nachos. But sometimes, the fresh Masa (dough) or the Masa Harina (the flour used to make the dough) are left unused and kept in the pantry for a long time.https://b4ec9e841b1fe7d03732c99217a4c94a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Therefore, “How long does the Masa Dough or the Masa Flour last?” and “How to improve their shelf life?” are two common questions.

The Masa (Dough) can last for a maximum period of 3 days if kept in a cool and dry place. If kept at room temperature, it gets reduced to 12 hours.

The Masa Harina (Flour) can ordinarily last for 9-12 months.

However, there are certain ways to improve the shelf-life of Masa and Masa Harina. They are:

  • Keeping them in an air-tight container or a vacuum-sealed bag at a cool place
  • Freezing the Masa Dough to increase its lifespan from 3 days to 3-6 months
  • Freezing the Masa Harina to extend its lifespan by 1-2 months and remove the bugs
  • Sieving the Masa flour on a weekly basis in the winter or rainy season
  • Covering the masa flour with a Tupperware container or wrapping them in a Saran wrap

What is Corn Masa?

Corn Masa or Masa Preparada is a staple of Mexican and Latin American cuisine. It is a type of corn dough that is used to make a variety of things ranging from corn tortillas and dessert tamales to a host of other Mexican treats.https://b4ec9e841b1fe7d03732c99217a4c94a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

There are two ways to prepare it – either by adding lard or water to Masa Harina (Corn flour) or making it from hominy, which is dried corn soaked in an alkaline solution of water and calcium hydroxide.

One can also purchase fresh corn Masa, but it isn’t easily found. It includes both coarse ground and smooth ground doughs. The former is used mainly for corn tortillas, while the latter is for tamales.

How long is Masa good for?

Masa is a highly perishable food item and can’t be stored for long. Very often, it starts to ferment if left unused for two days. It can stay fresh for 3 days at max if kept in a cool, dark place with minimal air exposure.

However, if Masa is to be used for tortillas, then it should be kept at room temperature. The tortillas do not split or crack when it is pretty warm. But this has a drawback too. The life of the dough gets reduced to 12 hours, after which it not only loses its taste but might also pose health risks.https://b4ec9e841b1fe7d03732c99217a4c94a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

How to know if Masa has gone bad?

If the Masa has dried or tasting sour and such sourness is different from the purposefully added sour taste, or if there is a growth of mold on it, it means it has turned bad.

How long does Masa Harina last?

The Masa Harina does not go bad or expires per se but loses its taste and efficacy over time. Still, it lasts longer in comparison to wheat or any other flour.

It usually lasts for a period of 9 months and might stay fresh even for a year if kept in an air-tight container under controlled amounts of light and minimum temperature fluctuations.

It must, however, be kept in mind that this flour is highly susceptible to moisture and forms mold on coming in contact with it.https://b4ec9e841b1fe7d03732c99217a4c94a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Besides, bugs may also be a determining factor.

How can you tell if corn flour is bad or spoiled?

To assess whether the Masa flour is fresh or not, smell it. If there is no odor, it means the flour is fresh, but if it smells bad, it is an indication that it is stale. Fogginess and discoloration are another two signs. Stale flour tastes musty and sour.https://b4ec9e841b1fe7d03732c99217a4c94a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Way to Improve Masa (Dough) Shelf life

Although a fresh Masa has a shelf life of only three days, it can be extended by freezing.

Masa can be frozen to keep it fresh for up to 3-6 months. It remains in excellent condition if carefully packed and frozen, and it can be defrosted and used at any time.

The Masa can be frozen in the desired shape (tortillas, tamales, or whatever else you want to make with it in the future) or in its original form.

However, freezing pre-shaped ones can keep the dough fresh for up to 6 months. It is critical to freeze them separately using plastic wrap or parchment paper because they may stick together and form large clumps if not.

If no other plans are in place, the dough can be frozen unshaped. In this case, it is good for about three months.

However, the freezing process can sometimes break down the structure of the unshaped dough, rendering it no longer malleable. To avoid this, freeze small dough balls rather than one large dough ball in the same manner as stated for shaped ones.

How Do You Defrost Masa?

Masa defrosting is primarily determined by how it is frozen.

Tortilla-shaped (or similar) doughs defrost in 30 minutes to 1 hour. They defrost faster if stored individually rather than in a stack.

Those shaped like tamales or gorditas can be cooked right away, or they can be defrosted first.

However, if kept as a single dough ball, it must be transferred from the freezer to the refrigerator the day before use. If it is to be used within a few hours, place it on an open counter to defrost naturally, or use the microwave if necessary. The bacteria attack is the only issue with keeping it open.

Ways to Improve the Shelf Life of Masa Harina

Masa Harina should be stored in an airtight container away from direct sunlight, with minimal/no moisture, and at a low to moderate temperature for extended shelf life.

Freezing may also extend its lifespan by 1-2 months, but its primary purpose is to keep pests out because the temperature inside a freezer is inhospitable to them. Furthermore, to keep the flour safe from insects and worms, it should be sieved at least once a week, especially during the summer and rainy seasons.

How Long Does Masa Last Bottom Line

Corn Masa (dough) lasts about 3 days, whereas Masa Harina (flour) can last 9-12 months. Although they are superior to other doughs and flours, they may last even longer if stored in a cool, dry, and dark location. Furthermore, freezing can help the dough stay edible even after 3-6 months.

By Beth

I'm Beth Nunes, the proprietor of preparing in the city. My family is the most important thing in the world to me. I couldn't bear the thought of my three small children going hungry, so I became obsessed with finding simple and practical ways to be prepared for the future by building food storage and gathering other emergency preparedness items.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *