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Does Peanut Butter Go Bad

If you’ve ever wondered, “Does peanut butter go bad?” you’re not alone! In this informative blog post, we’ll unravel the mystery behind the shelf life of this popular spread.

Discover key factors that can affect its freshness, potential signs of spoilage, and tips to help extend its longevity. So, stick with us as we dive into the world of peanut butter preservation!

Does peanut butter go bad?


Peanut butter can go bad, but it usually takes a while. If you see signs of mold or if the peanut butter smells rancid, then it has gone bad and should be thrown out. Peanut butter that has been stored in a cool, dry place can last for up to two years.

Jar of peanut butter on a round cutting board with a few peanuts on the board.

Yes, peanut butter can go bad if it has been contaminated, but it is rare. It can also lose its taste over time if not stored properly. To ensure the best quality and taste, check for signs of spoilage before consuming it.

How to tell if peanut butter has gone bad

It’s common to buy a jar of peanut butter and not realize it’s past its expiration date until it’s too late. Knowing how to tell if peanut butter has gone bad is essential for ensuring a safe and healthy product.

There are several signs you can check for to determine if your peanut butter is still good. By following these steps and practicing proper hygiene and food safety techniques, you can help prevent foodborne illness.

1. Smell the Peanut Butter

The best way to tell if your peanut butter has gone bad is to check the smell.

If the aroma has faded, or if you start to notice a foul odor coming from the jar, it’s likely that bacteria has grown in the peanut butter.

Additionally, rancid peanut butter may also smell stale, bitter, or metallic. If you detect any of these odors, it’s best to discard the peanut butter and get a new jar.

2. Check the Texture

To tell if your peanut butter has gone bad by its texture, you should look or feel for any lumps or inconsistencies in texture. It may be hardened or dried out as well.

Separation of the oil is to be expected, especially with natural peanut butter, but if the texture has become grainy or lumpy it may be a sign that the peanut butter has gone bad.

4. Look at the Appearance

Bad peanut butter will have a darker color than when it’s fresh, and the consistency might be dry and hard.

If the peanut butter has separated into layers, look for a yellowish hue on the top layer and a sour smell.

Additionally, you may find dark spots or mold growing on top of the peanut butter, which is a sign that it has gone bad and should be discarded.

5. Taste the Peanut Butter

If peanut butter has gone bad, it will have a sharp or bitter taste and will not have the same texture or flavor as it did when it was fresh.

Discoloration, a foul smell, and a bitter or sour taste are all indications that the peanut butter has gone bad and should be discarded.

It is important to know when things have expired or gone bad, find out how to tell if honey is bad, or how to tell if jelly has gone bad!

Type of Peanut ButterUnopened Shelf LifeOpened Shelf Life
Commercial (Regular)12-24 months3-6 months
Commercial (Reduced Fat)12-18 months3-4 months
Natural/Organic6-12 months2-3 months
Homemade1-3 months1-2 months

How to Store the Peanut Butter?

The proper way to store peanut butter is to keep it in an airtight container away from light, moisture, and strong-smelling foods.

Make sure the lid is tightly sealed, and label and date each jar. It is also best to store peanut butter in the refrigerator if it is going to be stored for a long period of time.

Additionally, always use a clean utensil when using peanut butter in order to avoid cross-contamination.

All-natural peanut butter is best stored upside down so that when you open it the oils are at the bottom and easier to stir and also a lot less messy.

Check out some of my other posts on how to store grapes or how long can yogurt sit out.

How long does peanut butter last?

Peanut butter has a long shelf life and typically lasts between 6-24 months unopened, or 2-3 months once opened.

Natural peanut butter without preservatives can last several months unopened, or up to a month once opened.

It’s best stored in a cool, dark, dry place and can be stored for up to 12 months, though it likely can last longer.

Refrigeration may also help prolong its shelf life, although makes natural peanut butter difficult to use.

Frequently asked questions for Does peanut butter go bad?

Yes, refrigerating peanut butter can help extend its shelf life, especially for natural or organic varieties. Keeping it chilled will slow down oil separation and help maintain its freshness for a longer period.

Oil separation is a natural process that occurs in peanut butter, especially in organic or natural varieties. Simply stir the separated oil back into the peanut butter for a smooth consistency before consuming.

Yes, you can freeze peanut butter to prolong its freshness. Place it in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag, and it can last up to 6 months in the freezer. Thaw it in the refrigerator before using it.


The answer to “Does peanut butter go bad?” is yes, but its shelf life can be quite impressive when stored properly.

Always make sure to follow the recommended storage guidelines and check for any signs of spoilage before indulging in your favorite peanut butter treat.

By taking these precautions, you can enjoy this creamy, delicious, and versatile spread without any worries!

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