How To Tell If Peanut Butters Gone Bad ( + How To Store It Right)

Peanut butter is one of those foods that everyone loves. It’s delicious, nutritious, and versatile. However, peanut butter can also be dangerous if stored incorrectly. Peanut butter is packed with protein, which makes it a great food for athletes to eat before or after workouts. But when you’re not using your body as an engine, storing the right way will keep your peanut butter safe from spoilage while keeping its nutritional value intact.

If you’re looking for ways to store peanut butter correctly, then keep reading. In this article, I’ll teach you how to tell if peanut butter has gone bad and how to store it properly.

Can peanut butter go bad ?

Yes, peanut butter can go bad! And there are many reasons why it could happen. The most common reason is because peanuts have been exposed to air too long. This causes them to lose moisture and become stale. Another cause of spoiled peanut butter is improper storage conditions. For example, refrigerated peanut butter should never sit at room temperature longer than two weeks.

The best thing to do in these situations is throw out what’s left and buy more fresh peanut butter.

Peanut butter is produced with a lot of peanuts so they don’t last forever. Once opened, peanut butter loses some of its nutrients over time. So make sure you use up all of your peanut butter within six months. They have fats, proteins , carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and other important nutrients. You need to consume them all to get the full benefits.

What happens if my peanut butter goes bad?

When peanut butter starts going bad, it becomes rancid. Rancidity means that the oils inside the peanut butter start breaking down into smaller molecules. These small molecules create off-flavors such as burnt rubber, cardboard, plastic, and even vomiting.

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Processed vs natural peanut butter

When buying peanut butter, look for “natural” or “no added sugar” labels on jars. Natural peanut butter doesn’t contain any preservatives like salt, sugar, stabilizers, emulsifiers, or artificial flavors. On the other hand, processed peanut butter does include additives like salt, sugar, and stabilizers. Processed peanut butter may taste better but it won’t give you the same health benefits.

They both differ when it comes to storing. When purchasing natural peanut butter, always purchase only what you plan to use immediately. While processed peanut butter lasts longer due to their preservative properties, natural peanut butter lasts about three days once open. After that, it begins losing its nutrition.

How long does peanut butter last ?

Once opened, peanut butter keeps well for several years. That said, it still needs to be used quickly. A jar of peanut butter that sits around for five years might begin to smell funny. Also, peanut butter tends to separate faster when kept warm. Therefore, it’s recommended that you cool peanut butter completely before opening.

Processed or natural, oxidation is the factor that determines shelf life. Oxidation occurs naturally during production. However, processing speeds up the process by adding chemicals. As a result, oxidized peanut butter will spoil much sooner than unprocessed peanut butter. When the jar is opened frequently more air goes inside which accelerates the rate of oxidation.

If I store my peanut butter properly, how long will it keep?

Store your peanut butter in an airtight container away from heat and light. Ideally, place it in the refrigerator where temperatures stay between 40°F – 140°F. Keep it away from direct sunlight since this also increases the risk of spoiling. Make sure not to freeze peanut butter either. Freezing destroys the fat content and makes it harder to spread.

The best way to tell whether your peanut butter has gone bad is to check out the color. The darker the peanut butter gets, the worse it tastes. This is because dark colors are caused by chemical reactions. In addition, there should be no visible signs of mold growing on top of the peanut butter.

How to detect if Peanut Butter is bad, rotten or spoiled?

Peanuts can go bad very fast. They have a short shelf life so they need to be stored correctly. Once peanuts get old, they lose moisture and become dry. Dry peanuts tend to crack easily and turn brownish yellow. You’ll know your peanut butter is bad if:

1. Your peanut butter smells funky.

Smell is a good evidence to determine if your peanut butter is safe to eat. Smells like ammonia, sulfur, or rotting meat indicate that your peanut butter could be contaminated with bacteria. Bacteria causes food poisoning. Odour intensity means that your peanut butter smells stronger than before. Stronger odor signals that your peanut butter might be contaminated with harmful microorganisms. Rotten peanut smells are usually associated with rancid oils. These odors come from fats breaking down into smaller molecules called free fatty acids.

2. There are small white spots on your peanut butter.

White spots mean that your peanut butter contains milk solids. Milk proteins break down over time causing them to appear as tiny specks. White spots do not necessarily mean that your peanut butter is unsafe to consume. But, these spots are a sign that your peanut butter isn’t fresh anymore.

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2. There are cracks in the surface

Cracks may occur due to improper storage conditions. Cracking happens when oil separates from its solid form. Oil-based products such as peanut butter contain both liquid and solid components. Over time, the solid component becomes separated from the liquid part. This separation results in cracking.

3. The texture changes

Texture change means that your peanut butter starts losing some of its consistency. Texture loss indicates that your peanut butter is getting older. Moisture evaporates from the product resulting in less volume.

4. Color fades

Color fading means that your peanut butter turns grayish black. Black color comes from oxidation.

Blackened peanut butter has an unpleasant smell and appearance. A dark colored peanut butter also tends to look grainy. Darkening of peanut butter is one of the first indications that your peanut butter is going bad.

5. Taste changes

Taste change means that your peanut butter loses flavor. Tasting test shows that your peanut butter doesn’t taste right. Some people say that their peanut butter tastes bitter while others claim that it tastes sweet.

6. The oil separates

Oil separating means that you see two layers of peanut butter. One layer looks oily and another appears clear. When oil separates, it creates a thin film at the bottom of the jar. As the peanut butter ages, more oil will separate from the rest of the mixture.

Rancid peanut butter

Oils and fats can go rancid quickly. Oily foods spoil faster because they attract oxygen which speeds up chemical reactions. Fats oxidize too. Oxidation occurs when fat breaks down into smaller particles. Smaller pieces of fat cause rancidity. Eating rancid peanut butter isn’t suggested as it can make you sick. Consuming it may cause upset stomachs, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and dizziness.

While there were some people who tried it and said that it was good, I think this would have been better off being left alone for a few years.

How to store peanut butter properly?

The best way to store peanuts is by keeping them dry and cool. You should keep them away from heat sources and moisture. They need air circulation around them so that they don’t get moldy. Also, avoid storing nuts near other items that give out strong aromas. Nuts stored properly won’t last long. Peanuts are a very perishable food item. Once opened, they start spoiling within days or weeks depending on how well sealed they are kept.

How long is Peanut Butter good for when prepared in a dish?

Peanut butter is not meant to be eaten straight from the container. It needs to be mixed with something else before eating. For example, if you want to eat peanut butter sandwiches then mix it with bread slices. However, once you open the package, it goes stale pretty fast. So, you shouldn’t consume it until after 2 months.

Does Peanut Butter Have To Be Refrigerated After Opening?

Yes! Peanut butter must always be refrigerated after opening. This helps prevent bacteria growth. Bacteria grow rapidly at room temperature. In addition , it prevents peanut butter from turning brown. Browning happens due to exposure to light. Light causes oils to break down causing discoloration.

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What is the best way of storing peanut butter in a freezer?

You can freeze peanut butter without any problems. Just place the jars in freezer bags and seal them tightly. Make sure that the bag does not touch anything cold like ice cubes. Keep frozen peanut butter for about 6-8 months. But, freezing makes it hard to spread. Freezing also damages the texture of peanut butter making it harder to scoop. Therefore, we recommend using peanut butter immediately after purchasing it. We suggest buying small containers instead of large ones. Large jars tend to take longer time to use than small containers.

What happens if I don’t refrigerate my peanut butter?

If you do not refrigerate your peanut butter, it could become spoiled. That is why we advise against leaving it unrefrigerated. Even though it might seem fine now, it could turn bad later. Furthermore , it will lose flavor and consistency. It will not survive for longer days. Humidity and high temperatures accelerate the oxidation process. Hence, it becomes difficult to control the quality of peanut butter.

Hence freezing it is recommended.

Why Shouldn’t I Use Raw Peanut Butter?

Raw peanut butter has more nutrients but less taste compared to roasted one. Roasted peanut butter contains higher amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect our body cells from damage caused by free radicals. These compounds slow down aging processes. Moreover, roasting enhances their nutritional value. On top of that, roasting improves oil absorption capacity. Oil absorbs vitamins A, D, E and K.

Is There Any Difference Between Natural And Processed Peanut Butter?

Natural peanut butter has no added ingredients such as salt, sugar, preservatives etc. On the contrary, processed peanut butter contains these things. These additives help preserve the product but they also add extra calories. Some brands even contain hydrogenated oil. Hydrogenation process involves adding chemicals to vegetable oils. This changes their physical properties.

A cool pantry will keep it fresh for longer

The best way to store peanuts is keeping them in a cool dry area away from direct sunlight. You should avoid storing nuts on shelves or racks near heat sources. Heat accelerates oxidation which leads to rancid smell and flavors. Also, make sure that there are no cracks or holes in the jar lid. Cracks allow moisture to enter into the jar. Moisture promotes mold formation. Moldy food tastes disgusting. Furthermore, cracked lids let air inside the jar.


We hope this article helped you understand how to tell whether peanut butter is good or bad. As mentioned earlier, always check expiration dates before consuming. Always buy only what you need. Never consume old products because they may be contaminated with bacteria. We recommend consuming it within 3 weeks of purchase to get maximum benefits. Now, it can be easy for you to find out when peanut butter expires. We recommend consuming it within 3 weeks of purchase to get maximum benefits.

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