Do Almonds Go Bad?

As with all types of nuts, almonds are sold in bulk or in large bags. What if you’ve bought more almonds than you can handle, do almonds go bad?

Or maybe you’ve already opened the bag and are wondering what’s the best way to store the rest.

Perhaps you’ve heard an offhand comment that nuts are best stored in the fridge. Or you read somewhere about nuts going rancid at room temperature. And now you’re not entirely sure if you should keep those almonds in the pantry like you normally do, or should you refrigerate them.

If these doubts and questions sound familiar, this article is for you. In it, we go through storage, shelf life, and going bad of almonds. We also touch upon roasted and flavored almonds, as these are becoming a more and more popular healthy treat. If that sounds interesting, read on.

Bunch of unpeeled almonds in a mesh bag
Bunch of unpeeled almonds in a mesh bag

How to Store Almonds

Like other nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, almonds are best stored at cold temperatures. That means either in the fridge or in the freezer. That shouldn’t be surprising if you’ve ever bought almond flour or almond butter.

Almonds contain a lot of oils, and as you probably know, oils tend to go rancid if stored in poor condition. That means you need to make sure the almonds aren’t exposed to warm temperature, temperature changes, or moisture.

Nuts also tend to pick up other smells, so you should package them in a way those odors are kept at bay.

Peeled and unpeeled almonds
Peeled and unpeeled almonds

The fridge or the freezer pretty much take care of the temperature requirements, so we only need to cover moisture and strong smells.

Both of these can be checked off the list with a proper package. As long as the original package stays sealed tightly, it’s a perfectly fine option. If it’s a resealable one, you can continue using it after opening. If not, transfer the almonds to an airtight container or a freezer bag.

Unpeeled almonds in a scopp
Unpeeled almonds in a scoop

When it comes to storing raw almonds for the long term, freezing is the optimal choice. Like with keeping the nuts in the fridge, you need to protect them well when frozen. And again, the original packaging or a freezer bag or container are the best options here.

For snack almonds, which usually are roasted almonds with seasoning, you should follow the storage instructions on the label.

In most cases, you can store them at room temperature. First and foremost, keep the container closed when not in use. Like with raw almonds, if the package isn’t resealable, transfer the nuts to something that is after opening it. If the producer doesn’t ask you to refrigerate the nuts upon opening, you can still get some bonus points by refrigerating them. By and large, the fridge is better than the pantry for almonds, both raw and roasted.

Equal parts unpeeled and peeled almonds
Equal parts unpeeled and peeled almonds

How Long Do Almonds Last

Let’s start with raw almonds. The University of California says you can store these for about a year, while the Almond Board of California informs it’s closer to two years. So you can assume that almonds should stay fresh for at least 12 months, and possibly much longer if you store them properly.

When it comes to unopened snack almonds and similar, the date on the label is a good starting point. Of course, the snacks won’t spoil a day or a week past that date, but their quality will deteriorate over time. And at some point, they will taste nothing like what you’re used to.

As usual, once you open the package, the sooner you finish the snacks, the better. Consult the label for more accurate info, but if it isn’t there, two weeks in the pantry and a month in the fridge is a fairly safe estimate.

 PantryFridge
Almonds (raw) 1+ year(s)
Snack almonds (unopened)Best-by + 2 – 4 weeks 
Snack almonds (opened)2 weeks4 weeks

Please note that the periods above are only estimates. And when it comes to almond snacks, it’s much better to consult the label than to rely upon that estimate.

Unpeeled almonds in a mesh bag
Unpeeled almonds in a mesh bag

How to Tell if Almonds Have Gone Bad

Start by looking for the usual signs of spoilage like mold or dark specks. The second thing to do is to give a good whiff. If the nuts smell like rancid oil, they’re no good, and you should discard them.

The last thing you can do is to give them a taste. If they’ve developed a bitter taste, it’s up to you if you keep them or get rid of them for quality purposes.

Peeled almonds in a scoop
Peeled almonds in a scoop

When it comes to almond snacks, if they look alright, give one or two a taste to check their quality. If the flavor is good enough, and you don’t store them for too long already, feel free to finish the package. Otherwise, get rid of it. There’s no point in eating a snack that you find flavorless or even unpalatable.