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Hey, it happens. Sometimes we don’t get to use food we’ve purchased before it goes bad, but that doesn’t mean you should just toss it! There are ways to use expired food safely in recipes, crafts, beauty, and more.

Not down to use expired food for other things? Here are some food coupons and deals to replenish your pantry for cheap.

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1. Paint with spices that have lost their potency.

A plastic pallet with paint from spices.

Some spices will lose their flavor over time. Whole spices tend to stay fresh for about four years, ground spices for about three years, and dried leafy herbs for only about one to three years.

If you have ground spices like nutmeg, paprika, cinnamon, and other colorful seasonings that have been sitting in your spice rack for years, turn them into paint! Just add a teaspoon or so of hot water and let kids paint away — they’ll love the smell!

A child painting on a piece of paper with paints made from spices.


2. Make stale crackers, chips, cereal, and popcorn edible again by toasting in the oven.

A person pouring Cheez-its onto cookie sheet next to a person placing a pan of Cheez-its into an oven.

Spread stale snacks in a single layer on a baking sheet and pop them in a 350-degree oven for 3-5 minutes.


3. Make finger paint with expired Greek yogurt.

Children finger painting.

Mix yogurt with food coloring or even Kool-Aid mix and let kids paint on a white, plastic tablecloth. As long as the yogurt isn’t too far gone (no more than 3 weeks past expiration) you can still eat it.


4. Use sour milk to make cakes, biscuits, waffles, and pancakes.

A jug of milk next to a person making pancakes on a griddle on a stove.

Sour milk is a great substitute for buttermilk and tastes great in baked goods.


5. Disinfect your kitchen with dry white wine.

A person pouring wine onto a sponge next to a person wiping a counter with a sponge.

The alcohol, combined with the acidity, helps remove stains and kill germs.

Warning: the acidity can damage some countertops like granite.



6. Exfoliate your face with expired Greek yogurt.

A person pouring honey into a bowl next to a person putting a face mask on.

Greek yogurt is packed with lactic acid, a common ingredient in beauty products. To use your slightly expired yogurt as a face mask mix:

  • 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (a natural moisturizer)

Apply the cream to your face and leave it on for 15 minutes before washing off with warm water.


7. Microwave stale bread for 20 seconds to make it edible again.

A roll laying on a counter next to a person cutting a roll.

If you have bread or stale bagels that are too chewy to enjoy, wrap pieces in a moist paper towel and microwave. The moisture will soak into the bread.


8. Condition wood furniture with expired mayo.

A person wiping down wood furniture with mayonnaise.

The oil in mayonnaise helps moisturize solid wood tabletops to restore moisture and even remove water stains.


9. Sauté wilted or slightly brown lettuce.

A person holding a head of lettuce next to a person cooking lettuce in a pan on a stove.

It’s common to sauté most greens, why not lettuce? Just don’t eat rotten lettuce that’s been sitting in brown juices.


10. Empty expired canned goods and recycle the can.

A person putting an empty food can into a recycling bin.



11. Soften brown sugar clumps in a blender.

A person putting clumps of brown sugar into a blender.

Stick hardened brown sugar into a blender and pulse until useable. Depending on how hard the chunks are, you may need to add a few drops of water to help break up the clumps.


12. Turn stale bread into bread crumbs.

A person grinding up bread into bread crumbs next to a person pouring bread crumbs into a zip bag.

If your bread is still slightly soft, slice it into 1/2-inch cubes and bake in a 300-degree oven until all the moisture is gone. Then, fill your blender up to a third of the way with dried cubes, and blend to desired texture. Store crumbs in the freezer.


13. Replant celery stumps.

A person cutting off the end of celery next to a person placing a celery stump into a bowl of water.

So many times have I only used a stalk or two of celery. Instead of tossing any leftover celery that’s gone stale, use the base to grow more!

Stand the base in a small dish of water for a week or so until new leaves appear in the center. The leaves will be yellow at first, but they’ll turn green eventually. When that happens, plant the celery in the ground or in a pot with soil.


14. Trap fruit flies with stale red wine.

A person pouring wine into a bowl next to a person poking holes into saran wrap covering a bowl of wine.

Leave a bit of red wine at the bottom of the bottle and let it sit out. The flies will flock to the sugary liquid and get trapped inside. You can also put the red wine in a separate container, cover it with plastic wrap, and poke holes in the top so flies can get in, but not out.


15. Exfoliate your face, hands, and body with stale coffee grounds.

A person scrubbing their hands with coffee grounds.

Add grounds to facial or body scrubs, and enjoy smoother skin!



16. Keep a bag of wilted herbs and vegetable scraps in your freezer for making stock later on.

A person putting vegetable scraps into a zip bag.

Don’t toss those wilted herbs and vegetables in the trash! Freeze them for later and make homemade vegetable broth.

16 Awesome Things You Can Do with Expired Food