Do Pine Nuts Go Bad?

Pine nuts, also known as pignolia or pignoli nuts, are derived from pinecones and are usually sold in bulk, glass jars, and bags. These nuts may be small but they do add a delectable crunch to everyday dishes, snacks, and desserts. So what if you bought too many bags of pine nuts? Do pine nuts go bad?

Just like all nuts, pine nuts are loaded with plant oils, which could become rancid when stored long enough. Storing the nuts for far too long could also affect the quality, consistency, and flavor of the nuts. The nuts could become crumbly or bitter tasting after they’ve been stored for too long. So the quick answer is yes, the pine nuts could go bad at some point. But as long as the nuts are stored properly, you can make the most out of your supply with plenty of time to spare.

Image used under Creative Commons from Stuart Webster

Ideally, you should only buy the amount of product that you can afford to use up right away. But in cases when you simply cannot use up your stash, buy only the freshest pine nuts. Check the best-by-date just to make sure you have a lot of time to store and use the nuts up.

How to Store Pine Nuts?

Storing Pine Nuts in the Refrigerator

Due to the high amount of oil in pine nuts, these should never be stored in the pantry. Pine nuts are best stored in the fridge. This goes for sealed or unopened containers of pine nuts. Make sure that the container is kept airtight at all times.

You can also transfer the nuts in a resealable, heavy-duty freezer bag and store the nuts in the coldest spot of the fridge. We also recommend storing the pine nuts in a brown bag. This method keeps moisture at bay while boosting airflow that inhibits rancidity and/or mold growth. Just fold the top portion of the brown bag to seal the nuts.

Storing Pine Nuts in the Freezer

If say, you’ve got more pine nuts than you can handle but you have no plans of using these up in the near future, you may opt for long-term storage in the freezer. Although freezing will stretch the shelf life of the nuts, there is no guarantee that their original quality will remain the same once they’ve been defrosted and used in recipes.

There is no need to transfer the nuts in a different container unless the nuts are packed in sealed glass bottles. Glass bottles are not freezer-safe so use an airtight rigid plastic container or a resealable freezer bag to store the nuts in the freezer. Always roast the raw pine nuts after thawing to get rid of the nuts’ metallic aftertaste.

Image used under Creative Commons from jules

Shelf Life of Pine Nuts

Pine nuts have a long shelf life as long as the nuts were packed and stored properly. In the fridge, commercially bagged pine nuts will keep for 2 months or so. The nuts will keep indefinitely in the freezer. However, we recommend using up the nuts within 2 to 5 months for optimal flavor.

How to Tell if Pine Nuts Have Gone Bad?

It is easy to tell if pine nuts have gone rancid. The sudden change in aroma will clue you in. If the pine nuts smell a little off, like used cooking oil or even paint, the nuts have gone bad. Any changes in flavor, appearance, and texture are a sign that the pine nuts may no longer be safe to eat.


Do pine nuts go bad? They certainly do especially if they were packed and stored improperly! With this guide, you can buy pine nuts in bulk and never worry about spoilage at all.