Does Hummus Go Bad?

Does hummus go bad? Hummus is a Middle Eastern and Arabic dip or spread which is quite popular almost all around the globe now[1]. It’s especially popular among people following vegetarian or vegan diets. If you’ve wondered whether it does go bad, the answer is quite obvious: it does. There are however, quite a few things about storage and shelf life of hummus you might find useful. Those pieces of information might become handy when you’d like to store hummus for an extended period of time, or to know if you can eat hummus that was left on the counter overnight.

How to store hummus

As you probably know, hummus should be store in the fridge. If it’s an opened package of purchased hummus, keep it tightly covered. If it’s your own, homemade hummus, keep it in an airtight container if that’s possible. If not, it should be covered tightly (e.g. using foil and a rubber band). If the package of commercially package hummus is still unopened, you can simply put it into the fridge.

If you’d like to store hummus for extended period of time, you can also freeze it. To do that, you need an airtight container or a heavy-duty freezer bag. Just put the hummus in it (doesn’t matter if it’s a homemade hummus or unopened or opened purchased one) and put it into the freezer.

Hummus and chicory
Image used under Creative Commons from Lablascovegmenu

If you’d like to be able to thaw only a small amount of hummus at a time, consider freezing it in an ice-cube tray. Once it’s frozen (that doesn’t take long), take the tray out of the freezer, put the cubes into a bag and put them back into the freezer. Now if you’re in need of hummus, you can thaw as much as you need at a time.

What is the shelf life of hummus?

Since homemade hummus usually doesn’t contain any preservatives, it’s shelf life isn’t very long. If you store it in the fridge, it should be fine for at least 5 to 7 days, maybe a few days longer if it’s in the coldest part of the fridge. I suggest that, as a rule of thumb, you should discard homemade hummus that is stored for more than one and a half, maybe two weeks. If it’s not that old and seems edible, you can eat it. If someone left homemade hummus on the counter overnight, I suggest you probably should discard it, even if it seems fine.

When it comes to purchased hummus, if the package is still unopened, it should be fine for 2 to 4 weeks. Or just check out the “Best by” date on package and add maybe a week. That’s true only if you’ll store hummus in the fridge. Unrefrigerated definitely won’t stay that long. Once the package is opened, hummus should be fine for about a week, plus maybe a few days. Please note that sometimes the package says that the hummus should be used within two days of opening it. If that’s the case, I wouldn’t assume it’ll be fine for more than 3 to 4 days. Again, even if you store it in the coldest part of the fridge, in most cases you shouldn’t eat it after more than 2 weeks after opening the package.

If you’ll decide to freeze hummus, you can keep it in the freezer for how long you want. Please note that after a couple of months its quality will slowly start to deteriorate, so keeping it in the fridge for more than half a year doesn’t make sense really. One more thing about freezing – hummus will lose some of its texture after thawing and that’s perfectly normal.

How to tell if hummus is bad

There are a few signs that might suggest that your hummus is already bad. Firstly, hummus tends to get moldy after storing it for too long or not in an appropriate conditions. If you can find any signs of mold, discard the product. Hummus can also go rancid, so check if you can find oil separating from other ingredients. Also, make sure the product doesn’t smell off or funny. If that’s the case, throw it away as well. If it looks, smells and tastes well, it should be OK.

So, as you should know by now, hummus does go bad and it might happen really fast if it isn’t stored appropriately. If it’s stored in the fridge, it’ll be fine for some time. If one would love to store hummus for an extended period of time, freezing it is also a good idea.