Does Almond Butter Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

You decided to give almond butter a try, but after a couple of uses, you went back to your favorite PB. Now you’re ready to get back on the horse and polish off that half-open jar, but you’re not sure if it’s still okay to eat. Does almond butter go bad?

Or maybe you’re a first-time almond butter buyer, and you’re wondering if it requires refrigeration after opening or not. You’ve read conflicting information on this topic, and you don’t know who to trust.

That’s where this article comes in. In it, we talk all about storage, shelf life, and going bad (and rancid) of this nut butter.

If that’s what you’re looking for, you’re in the right place. Read on.

Almond butter jar in hand
Almond butter jar in hand

How Long Does Almond Butter Last?

Unopened almond butter keeps for at least a few months past the printed date. Once you open the jar, almond butter lasts about 3 to 5 months if you leave it at room temperature, or between 6 and 9 months if you store it in the fridge. Homemade almond butter keeps for 2 weeks in the fridge.

Just like with peanut butter, it’s difficult to tell what’s the shelf life of almond butter.

Generally, this popular sandwich spread should keep peak quality for at least nine months from jarring, and three months of opening.

Of course, these periods are what the manufacturers give us, so it’s understandable that, in most cases, almond butter will easily last past those.

How long will it last exactly, you ask? As usual, it’s impossible to say, but a couple of months is a pretty safe bet.

Related: Do Almonds Expire?

Last, homemade almond butter. Since you don’t pasteurize it, storing it at room temperature isn’t a good idea. You should store it in the fridge, where it keeps for about two weeks. If you need more time, consider freezing it.

Related: Can you freeze almond butter?

PantryFridge
Almond butter (unopened)Best-by date + 6 monthsBest-by + 12 months
Almond butter (opened)3 – 5 months6 – 9 months
Homemade almond butter2 weeks

Please note that the periods above are only estimates, and vary for different manufacturers.

Almond butter date on jar
Almond butter date on jar

How To Tell If Almond Butter Is Bad?

For starters, just to reiterate what I wrote earlier, separation of oil is perfectly natural and harmless. Almond butter with a layer of oil on top is not spoiled by any means.

Having covered that, let’s talk about spoilage of almond butter.

Like with most nuts and seeds, the worst enemy of this vegan butter is the rancidification of fat. The oil goes slowly rancid by being exposed to air, light, moisture, or bacteria. And warm temperature speeds up that process. That’s why it’s essential to store it away from sunlight, in a closed container, and why refrigeration helps it retain peak flavor for longer.

How to tell if my almond butter is rancid, you ask?

First, give it a good whiff. If it smells sour, or somewhat chemical like oil paint, instead of the usual nutty aroma, that’s a sure sign it’s done for. Second, give it a taste, and if it’s off by any means, discard it.

Other than oil going rancid, look for the usual signs of spoilage such as black or brown spots on the surface or the insides of the jar, any signs of mold, funny smell, or bad taste. If either is present, discard the vegan butter.

Raw almonds on a table
(credit: Sara Cervera)

How to Store Almond Butter?

Main article: Does almond butter need to be refrigerated?

You should store almond butter in a cool or cold place, away from any heat sources, and always sealed when not in use.

When it comes to refrigeration, it’s not required, but doing so isn’t a bad idea either. Keeping the nut butter in the fridge helps it retain quality for longer, but it does so at a cost of hardening.

In other words, whether you refrigerate it or not is up to you and your situation.

Almond butter: oil separated
Almond butter: oil separated

If you look at what various manufacturers say about the issue, you won’t find a clear recommendation on what’s better either. Some suggest keeping their product in the fridge, others say you can store it in a kitchen cupboard, or simply say both options are fine.

The thing that you should remember is that if you leave almond butter at room temperature, and it’s one without palm oil or other stabilizers, the oil will separate. That’s not an issue though, because you can fix the texture by giving it spread a good stir.