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Does Almond Butter Go Bad?

Today we’ll cover the shelf life, spoilage, and whether you should refrigerate almond butter.

Say you’ve found a half-open jar of almond butter that’s been sitting in storage for a few months. That makes you wonder: does almond butter go bad?

Or you’ve just opened your first ever almond butter jar, and you want to know how long it lasts and whether you should store it in the fridge or not.

Either way, you’re looking for a short guide to almond butter to learn everything you need to and nothing that you don’t.

If that’s the case, you’re in the right place. Let’s jump right in.

Table of Contents

Does Almond Butter Go Bad?

Almond butter goes bad, and the most common way it spoils is by going rancid, the same way almonds go rancid.

How long it takes for the spread to spoil depends on the ingredients and how you store it. But even if you do everything right, your almond butter won’t last forever.

When it comes to store-bought almond butter, you can buy almond butters made with almonds only or ones with some extras like sugar or palm oil.

The latter variety tends to retain quality a bit longer and stores better, but that’s at the expense of extra ingredients that aren’t necessarily the most healthy additions.

Knowing that, let’s talk about spoilage signs so that you can confidently tell whether your almond butter is okay to eat or not.

How to Tell if Almond Butter Is Bad?

Discard your almond butter if:

  • It’s rancid. Rancid almond butter tastes bitter and sharp. And it might also give off a chemical, nail-polish-remover-like smell, although that’s not a hard-and-fast rule. In short, if the taste or smell goes south, it will be caused by rancidity in most cases. And that means you should toss it.
  • It has separated beyond reparation. Some oil on the surface of your almond butter is expected, especially if the spread doesn’t have any extra ingredients. And you can fix that with no problem, which I will cover in the next section. But if the nut butter is so old that the bottom is rock solid and you cannot stir everything together, it’s gone.
  • It’s moldy. Mold isn’t typical for high-fat products, but if you notice any fuzzy action or dark specs on the surface, toss the jar.
  • You store it way longer than feels comfortable. If the spread is so beyond the best-by date on the label that you’re not okay with using it, it’s time for it to go. I’ll discuss this in more detail later on.

If you notice anything else about your almond butter that doesn’t seem right, err on the side of caution and toss it. Better safe than sorry.

Now, let’s get back to separation.


Oil separation in almond butter is normal and nothing to worry about. Peanut butter also separates if stored for long enough.

To fix separated almond butter, giving it a good stir with a teaspoon is enough in most cases. But if it’s difficult or even impossible to stir it, there are a couple of ways you can fix it. I outlined them in my article on peanut butter.

Now, not all store-bought almond butters are made equal.

Those made of almonds only separate easily and need to be stirred regularly to retain the texture. But there are also no-stir almond butters (like this one) that maintain their consistency even without stirring.

Those spreads typically have a bit of additional oil (often palm oil) and maybe sugar that help retain the consistency with no extra effort on your part.

If you’re getting frustrated with always having to stir your almond butter, try buying a no-stir one.

Having that out of the way, let’s cover the shelf life of almond butter.

How Long Does Almond Butter Last?

Store-bought almond butter, unopenedBest-by + 1 – 3 months
Store-bought almond butter, opened3 months6 – 12 months
Homemade almond butter1 month3 months

Almond butter has a shelf life of about a year and keeps for about three months if you leave it at room temperature or 6 to 12 months if you refrigerate it.

On the other hand, homemade almond butter keeps for about a month in a cool and dry place and maybe 3 to 4 months in the fridge.

Those are the only rough estimates, of course, as the exact storage period depends on the ingredients and storage conditions.

That’s why various brands have different suggestions. For instance, Almondie recommends using their almond butter within a year of opening, while Once Again Nut Butters advises using their products within three months.

So to get the most accurate info, it’s best to read the label.

(Both brands say it’s unnecessary to refrigerate their product, in case you were wondering.)

Storage conditions are also important. For example, almond butter kept in a cool pantry won’t go rancid nearly as quickly as one stored in a warm kitchen cupboard during a hot summer.

So instead of relying on dates, give your almond butter a quick check if you haven’t used it in a while.

All that’s necessary is to look at the surface, give the spread a good whiff, and eat a bit if everything else seems okay. That shouldn’t take longer than 5 seconds and gives better results than going with the printed date.

Finally, let’s tackle whether you should refrigerate almond butter or not.

Do You Refrigerate Almond Butter?

You don’t have to refrigerate almond butter, but it helps prevent it from separating and prolongs its storage time. On the flip side, storing the spread in the fridge makes it firmer and more difficult to spread.

Some brands, like MaraNatha, recommend refrigeration, while others, like Almondie, say a cool and dry place is enough.

Both options have pros and cons, so it’s not like one is better than the other. It’s up to you to choose what’s better for you.

Next, keep the jar tightly sealed, and avoid leaving it in direct sunlight (fat doesn’t like light).

Remember to give your almond butter a stir before returning it to the fridge or pantry. That will help it retain texture, especially if it’s one that doesn’t have any extra ingredients.

Last, always use clean spoons when scooping and never double dip. This way, you don’t contaminate the spread, and it’ll last you months before it goes rancid.

All the considerations above apply to similar spreads, like peanut butter or tahini, too.

Almond Butter Shelf Life and Spoilage Summary

Thanks for reading this primer on almond butter. Here are the takeaways:

  • Throw out almond butter that’s rancid, moldy, or has separated and you can’t fix it anymore. Rancid almond butter tastes bitter and harsh and might smell like oil paint or other chemicals.
  • Store-bought almond butter keeps for a couple of months beyond the printed date. After opening, it lasts about 3 months if stored at room temperature and 6 to 12 months if refrigerated. Homemade almond butter keeps for approximately a month in the pantry and three months in the fridge.
  • Refrigerating almond butter isn’t necessary, but it reduces separation and helps it retain quality for longer. The only downside is that refrigerated almond butter is firmer and might be difficult to spread. Choose your storage spot based on what’s more important to you.