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How to tell if hummus has gone bad

Hummus is a great dip or spread that is filled with all kinds of great vitamins. Hummus is one of those foods that doesn’t have a real long shelf life but it is pretty easy to tell when it has gone bad.

I will cover in this post how to tell if hummus has gone bad.

The best way to tell if hummus has gone bad is by smelling it. A sour smell or taste are both good indicators that hummus has gone bad. Hummus can also start to grow mold if it is left long enough. Plain fresh hummus doesn’t have much of a smell at all.

hummus gone bad in a bowl

4 Ways to Tell if hummus has gone bad

Hummus is one of those fresh ingredients that doesn’t have a long shelf life when homemade or store-bought. It is important to make sure that it is still fresh before you enjoy it to ensure that you won’t get food poisoning or foodborne illness.

Best if used by date

You will notice that the date hummus companies put on their labels are “best if used by” dates and not “expiration” dates. This is because they are recommending you consume it by this date for the best quality.

So if you haven’t opened it until that day or the day after you will be fine as long as it was sealed and stored properly.

You can use hummus up to 5 days after the best if-used-by date as long as you check it and make sure it is ok. Follow along for more ways to tell if hummus has gone bad.

Sour smell

If you open your container of hummus and notice a sour smell to it then it is safe to say that you should just throw it away. It has spoiled and the bacteria have started to grow and your hummus isn’t safe to eat anymore.

Hummus doesn’t have much of a scent to it. Once you add different flavors and seasonings obviously the smell will change too but the sour smell is always a good sign that it has spoiled.

Whether you have chocolate hummus, garlic hummus, or my personal favorite everything bagel hummus you will have different smells. Sweet, garlic, or smoky scents are all perfectly fine if they go along with the flavor that you bought.

Hummus and sour are a bad match and a good way to tell that your hummus has gone bad.

Taste sour

Much like the smell of hummus, it should never taste sour. You will notice that sometimes it has a lemony taste or a cilantro taste but those are much different than the sour taste of bad hummus.

You will know right away if you go to eat it and it has that fermented sour tang to it. Throw it away and go back to the store. It is not worth the risk of foodborne illness.

As I mentioned before hummus comes in all kinds of different flavors so one might taste completely different than another. This is totally normal as there are many flavors out there. Sour is not one of them. Appearance


Hummus is a creamy smooth spread. The color will vary by the flavor the most important thing to look for to tell if your hummus has gone bad is mold.

An obvious sign with no question on if you should consume it or toss it. Mold comes in different colors and none of them are good for you.

You might see a white, grey, or black fussy mold growing in your container. This will typically happen if it is not stored correctly or if it has gone well beyond the “best if used by date”.

How to store hummus

You want to make sure that you store your hummus in a tightly sealed container. This goes for both store-bought and homemade hummus.

If air and other containments can get to the hummus, bacteria start to grow and spoilage starts to happen.

Storing hummus in the refrigerator

You also want to always store your hummus at 40°F or below. Right from the store and in between uses make sure that it is kept cold and sealed. Hummus will stay fresh up to 5 days after opening.

The FDA recommends that after hummus is left out for 4 or more hours that it gets tossed out. After that time period bacteria started to grow and putting it in the fridge will not stop it at that point.

Freezing hummus

Hummus can be frozen. Depending on the manufacturer, the same consistency and taste don’t always come back but it will still be tasty. Most of the time you can let stir it back to life once it is thawed out.

Make sure to use a tightly sealed freezer-safe container to prevent moisture from getting in and causing freezer burn. I recommend frizzing it into small servings so that you can take out only what you plan to use within a day or two of thawing out.

Freezing hummus will allow you to keep your hummus for 6 months to a year. I wouldn’t recommend going past a year because the flavor and texture at that point will have changed and won’t taste great.

You want to make sure that when you are thawing out your hummus, you thaw it in the fridge. It will take about a day to thaw out. Stir it up and enjoy!

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