Do Pecans Go Bad?

Pecans are the ultimate healthy snack. They’re packed with plant-based proteins so they’re low in calories. Pecans are also loaded with a host of nutrients including antioxidants that minimize the risk of serious diseases such as cancer and heart disease. The best part? Pecans are so filling, a handful will keep you full for hours so you won’t overeat. If you are sticking to a special diet or you are simply watching your caloric intake, pecans make the best snack or mid-morning pick-me-upper! But do pecans go bad?

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Pecans are often sold in bulk so it’s common to have loads of leftovers. What if you bought more bags of pecans than you could use right away, how do you store the rest for later? What’s the best way to store pecans and other nuts?

Pecans, just like any nuts, are loaded with plant-based oil. Nut oil tends to go rancid when exposed to sources of heat and moisture. In addition, pecans are quite sensitive to temperature changes. These nuts may change in color or texture if they are not stored properly. This goes especially for de-shelled pecan nuts! Pecans can be quite pricey so storing these nuts is important to extend their shelf life and make the most out of your supply.

How to Store Pecans?

Storing Pecans in the Pantry

Unopened bags of shelled, dried, or roasted pecan nuts, as well as shelled pecans, will do well in the pantry. The sealed packaging and the shell of the nuts work to protect the nuts from mold growth and degradation. But once the container of the pecans is opened or the shelled pecans are removed, they must be stored in the fridge.

Always keep the nuts away from moist or humid environments. Exposure to moisture can cause mold growth and cross-contamination. Containers with air leaks could cause the nuts to dry out. The natural oils of the nuts could also turn rancid once exposed to sources of heat. Keep the nuts in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight for best results.

Storing Pecans in the Refrigerator

This method is suitable for storing opened bags of roasted pecans as well as de-shelled raw pecans. The chilly temperatures will extend the freshness of the nuts. However, there is always the danger of mold growth when the nuts are kept in moist environments. To avoid this, pack the nuts properly. Always use an airtight container for storing the nuts. It helps if you consume your supply as soon as possible to avoid rancidity.

You want to keep the nuts away from foods with a strong odor. Pecans have the tendency to absorb fridge odors. If you have a vacuum sealer, vacuum seal the container before stowing the nuts in the fridge or freezer.

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Storing Pecans in the Freezer

Freezing pecan nuts is ideal if you have bags of the nuts in storage that you cannot use right away. If the nuts came in plastic packaging, there is no need to transfer the product in a different container. But if the nuts came in glass bottles, transfer the pecans in a freezer-safe container or a heavy-duty freezer bag. Nuts with shells will fare better in the freezer than de-shelled pecans. In fact, nuts with shells can be frozen and defrosted repeatedly. But for optimal flavor, use up your supply as soon as possible.

Shelf Life of Pecan Nuts

The shelf lives of pecan nuts depend on how the nuts were processed. For instance, the shelf life of roasted pecans is different from that of shelled pecan nuts. Generally, commercially bought, de-shelled pecans will keep for a month in the pantry as long as the container is sealed after every use. In the fridge, out of shell pecans will keep for a year. The nuts will keep indefinitely in the freezer especially if the pecans are still in their shells.

How to Tell if Pecans Have Gone Bad?

It’s easy to tell if pecan nuts have spoiled. The nuts will take on an off-odor when they are no longer safe to eat. The nuts will develop an odor that’s similar to used cooking oil or rancid oil. If you are seeing signs of mold growth, discard the nuts immediately. Rancid pecan nuts will also develop a bitter taste. Stale pecans are still safe to eat although the flavor is no longer pleasant tasting.


Do pecans go bad? Pecans aren’t impervious to spoilage because the nuts are high in plant-based oils. To avoid rancidity, always store the nuts properly. Keep the container sealed at all times and store the nuts away from sources of heat, moisture, and humidity.