Do Macadamia Nuts Go Bad?

You decided to do some spring cleaning and have found an olf pack of macadamias stored in the back of a cabinet. Do macadamia nuts go bad?

The package seems to be intact, and the kernels look healthy. The only issue is the date on the label, according to which the nuts are “expired.” Should you eat them or discard them for safety purposes?

This article answers these and other questions related to the shelf life, storage conditions, and going bad of macadamias. Let’s dive in.

Macadamia nuts closeup
Macadamia nuts closeup

How To Store Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts have the hardest nutshell to crack (IP), and because of that, they are in almost all cases sold shelled.

Lack of shell means you need to protect the nutmeat from everything that may cause the nuts to go rancid. That includes air, moisture, light, and heat (WIKI:R).

The easiest way to protect the nuts from most of those elements is to use an airtight container or a freezer bag. Sometimes macadamias come in resealable bags, and they’re okay too.


Leave as little space in the container as possible. That means going with an adequate-sized container, or squeezing out the air out of the bag before sealing.

When it comes to where you should keep that container, like with pistachios or pine nuts, we have the usual three choices: pantry, fridge, and freezer. Choosing one depends on how long you want to keep the nuts around.

If you’ve stocked up for more than half a year, go with cold storage. Otherwise, the pantry or a dark cabinet in the kitchen is good enough.

Last but not least, make sure your dog can’t get to macs. These nuts are toxic to dogs (WIKI:M).

Macadamia nuts in a glass bowl closeup
Macadamia nuts in a glass bowl closeup

How Long Do Macadamia Nuts Last

University of California (UOC) says that macadamia kernels last about five months at room temperature, 12 in the fridge, and 24 when frozen. And those estimates are similar to what labels of packaged macadamia nuts say.

In other words, the pantry works fine for medium-term storage, and cold storage is called for only if you need to keep the nuts for a prolonged period.

Macadamia nuts side closeup
Macadamia nuts side closeup

Should you refrigerate macadamia nuts? Probably not, unless you live in a hot climate or have bought a ton and are worried they’ll go bad or stale.

For prepackaged macadamias, check the best-by or best-before date on the label. That date isn’t an expiration date, but a good reference point informing you how long the nuts should keep quality. They won’t go bad a day or a week after that date, but the quality you get might not be perfect.

That also means that even if yours are a couple of months old, it’s still worth checking if they are edible or not – more on that in the next section.

Macadamia nuts5 – 6 months12 months24+ months
Macadamia nuts in a black scoop
Macadamia nuts in a black scoop

How To Tell If Macadamia Nuts Are Bad?

If you’re familiar with spoilage signs of walnuts or peanuts, you know the drill. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Look for signs of mold. If there are any in the package, discard the nuts.
  2. Throw out any dried out, shriveled, or discolored kernels.
  3. Check for rancidity. That means smelling and tasting the nuts. If the odor reminds you of paint or something chemical, or the taste turned bitter and harsh (instead of light and buttery), the macs are no good.

What if your nuts seem to be okay, but taste so-so? How do you refresh stale macadamia nuts? The answer is simple: you roast them.

Macadamia nuts in mesh bag
Macadamia nuts in mesh bag

Roasting Macadamia Nuts

When it comes to roasting nuts, there are many recipes and guidelines online. Each recommends a different temperature, roasting time, and spices (if there are any).

While the spices are up to you, it’s important to remember that heating fats to a super-high temperature isn’t exactly healthy (HL). And the temperature of 350°F that some guides recommend is way too high.

Instead, I suggest following the safe roasting process outlined by Healthline (HL). This way, you both get the flavor you want and make sure the nutritional value doesn’t suffer. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 284°F (140°C).
  2. Put the nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Roast for up to 15 minutes.
  4. Let the nuts cool before consuming.

The process above isn’t rocket science. All you need is to choose the right temperature and set a timer, and you should be golden.

As I mentioned, the spices you use are up to you, so feel free to experiment. You can find dozens of recipes online, so you can surely find one or two that fit your palate.


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