Food & Drink

Does Peanut Butter Expire?

Last Updated on February 23, 2024 | 0 Comments
This guide answers the question does peanut butter expire

Do you want to answer the question: “Does peanut butter expire?” If so, you’re in the right place. Peanut butter is a favorite food in many households and knowing its shelf life and how to preserve it can ensure you’re consuming it safely. 

Maybe you've got an older jar that you just found in your pantry and you're wondering when this peanut butter expires. Or perhaps you want tips on extending the shelf-life of this staple food? This article will cover all the essentials about peanut butter storage and when and how peanut butter expires. 


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Does Peanut Butter Go Bad?

Yes, peanut butter expires and goes bad, whether it’s a commercial or natural type. Most people forget about the expiration date because this spread has a long shelf life. The commercial type can last quite a long time, whether in the pantry or the fridge. However, the natural variety doesn’t last as long because it lacks stabilizers that help keep it edible longer. 

Having answered “Does peanut butter expire?”, let’s now cover how to recognize when it’s rancid. First, smell it. Rancid peanut butter smells like overused cooking oil, something bitter and unpleasant. Next, the color would change to a darker hue and you might see texture changes (for example, tiny mold dots or chunks that seem to crack through the butter’s smoothness). Another thing is the taste — it will be unpleasant and more bitter.

However, if you only see oil separated from the solid mass, don’t panic. Moderate oil separation is normal — especially with organic peanut butter. Stirring the peanut butter before use or, interestingly, storing it upside down (with the lid sealed tightly) can correct this issue. 

It can be useful to know does peanut butter expire
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How Long Does Peanut Butter Last After the Expiration Date?

While many consider peanut butter safe to eat after expiration, we recommend disposing of expired peanut butter and not consuming it after expiration. Replacing peanut butter that has passed the expiration date with new will also ensure you get the best flavor and texture as expired peanut butter can lose flavor and become grainy.  

A spoon with peanut butter above a jar of peanut butter
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Does Peanut Butter Go Bad in the Fridge?

The fridge is an amazing asset for extending food shelf life, but it doesn’t do miracles for food after a very long time. So, when does peanut butter expire in the fridge? Opened peanut butter will generally go bad after about nine months in the fridge.

While it should stay good longer in the fridge as opposed to stored in the pantry, it will go bad eventually. Once you refrigerate peanut butter, don’t forget about it indefinitely. If refrigerated peanut butter has passed the expiration date on the packaging, throw it away, no matter when you opened it. 

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How To Tell If Peanut Butter Has Gone Bad?

Having learned whether peanut butter expires, we can now cover some telltale signs that your peanut butter has gone bad, even if it’s still within the expiry date. 

  • A Strong and Stale Smell: The peanut butter will smell very rancid like heated cooking oil if it has gone bad. 
  • Change in Appearance: The color will be darker with a strange texture. There might be a few tiny mold spores and a lot of oil built up on top as well — this is often how a natural peanut butter expires.
  • Unpleasant Taste and Aroma: The taste will be bitter and sharp, notably worse and different than the delicious peanut butter you know.

After noticing such changes to the smell or texture of peanut butter, it’s best to throw it out instead of consuming it. If you have realized that the peanut butter in your cupboard has gone bad, but you need it urgently for a recipe, there are a few peanut butter alternatives available that you likely have on hand. 

A person putting peanut butter on bread
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Does Natural Peanut Butter Expire?

Natural peanut butter expires much faster than a commercial one. This is because the natural type doesn’t have processed additives that extend its shelf life. Natural peanut butter tends to have some oil separation which is normal and should not generally be seen as spoilage. But, an abnormal amount of oil floating above the butter might indicate that it has gone off. Mold on such foods is rare, but when natural peanut butter expires it could show tiny mold spore dots. You will also notice changes in the smell, taste, color or texture. 

You may want to know does peanut butter expire when its all natrual
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Does Unopened Peanut Butter Go Bad?

Unopened peanut butter expires but this happens after a long time since manufacturing. That’s why it’s crucial how you store it after purchase. A commercial and unopened peanut butter will last nine months in the pantry. The natural and unopened peanut butter will last around six months or more in the fridge. With the natural type, it’s best to refrigerate it (instead of keeping it in the pantry). This is because it has no stabilizers to keep it safe for consumption for a very long time. 

A jar of peanut butter with a red lid next to bread
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How To Store Peanut Butter

Because of its additives, commercial peanut butter can stay in a dark and dry pantry for a long time. Once you open it, you can keep it in the pantry for a few months or refrigerate it to keep it edible for around nine months. With commercial peanut butter, it’s not necessary to refrigerate it — but it’s always a good idea.

Natural peanut butter will last six months in the fridge. But once you open it, you must consume it within a month or two. With the natural type, it’s safest to always keep it in the fridge instead of the pantry. Another storage tip is to always close the jar lid very tightly. The peanut butter won’t go bad easily when no air gets in.

You may be wondering does peanut butter expire
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Does Peanut Butter Need To Be Refrigerated?

Refrigerating peanut butter is always a good idea because storing food in the fridge extends shelf life compared to pantry storage. Opened, commercial peanut butter can stay in the pantry for two or three months and up to nine months in the fridge.

If you open a natural peanut butter, it can stay for two months in the pantry and four to six months in the fridge. If it’s natural peanut butter, it’s still best to refrigerate it immediately after opening — unless you plan to consume the whole thing in one sitting and have no concerns about expiration!

Two slices of bread with peanut butter on them
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When you think about the question “Does peanut butter expire?” you’ll now know that it does. Luckily, you will also know how to best store it to extend its shelf life, allowing you to enjoy this delicious spread for longer. Whether you choose a commercial or natural butter, you’re now equipped with all the best practices to prevent peanut butter spoilage.

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