Can I eat expired peanut butter?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can I eat expired peanut butter?”. We will also talk about how to know if the peanut butter has gone bad, how to properly store peanut butter, and how long peanut butter lasts.

Can I eat expired peanut butter?

It is not really recommended to eat expired peanut butter. You should not eat expired peanut butter as the taste, smell, and texture of the peanut butter would have changed and gone rancid.

There are no health issues with eating expired peanut butter but some can experience mild symptoms of gastrointestinal distress such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and bloating.

Other than the gastro-related issues, there are no other health-related issues to worry about after eating expired peanut butter. The only issue is the smell and the taste of the expired peanut butter that can put you off from eating it.

In some instances, past the expiration date, the peanut butter if stored properly can last for a few more days or weeks, or months without going rancid. Since peanut butter is all fat and has no water content, bacterial and fungal contamination is very rare.

How long does peanut butter last? 

Peanut butter that is commercially produced has a long shelf life as they have stabilizers and preservatives added to them to keep them from going rancid. Peanut butter has a high-fat content as there is all fat and very low moisture which makes an unfavorable condition for fungal and bacterial growth.

Hydrogenated oils such as vegetable oils, or palm oils are used as stabilizers to prevent the peanut butter from separation and also to improve the texture. 

The preservatives such as sodium benzoate are also used to help extend the longevity of its shelf life as they help combat microbial growth. The added preservatives and stabilizers can keep the commercial-produced peanut butter for at least 24 months unopened and 2-3 months opened at room temperature.

Storing in the fridge can help extend the shelflife by a few weeks to months depending on how it has been stored.

Homemade peanut butter or organic natural peanut butter are prone to going rancid quickly as there are no stabilizers and preservatives or additives in them. These peanut butter can last for a few months in the pantry unopened and up to one month opened. It can be extended by a few more weeks or months if stored in the fridge.

How to know if the peanut butter has gone bad? 

Most peanut butter that is stored properly can be used and eaten well past its expiration date. The only thing to keep in mind is to check if it has gone bad or not. The creamy, gooey, and soft peanut butter is how it should be but if there are slight changes in the look, texture, smell, and taste, it means it has gone bad.

The taste test is the best way to figure out if the peanut butter has gone rancid. The peanut butter will start to lose its signature brown tan color and looks a bit pale, which will have a sour or rancid smell to it.

The creamy and soft peanut butter will have a hard and dry texture. It can also smell sharp, soapy, or bitter if it has gone rancid. 

The oil separation that happens in the jars of natural and organic peanut butter is not a sign of it going rancid, it is just the separation of fat and oil due to the absence of stabilizers and preservatives.

How to properly store peanut butter?

Peanut butter should be stored in a dark and cool place such as a cabinet or pantry whether opened or sealed. This will ensure its long shelf life. The peanut butter bottle or jar should be closed tightly to avoid any contact with oxygen and microbes which can make the peanut butter go rancid.

It is also important to use clean spoons to scoop out the peanut butter as the cross-contamination from using a used spoon can cause the unwanted bacteria to grow and spoil the peanut butter.

Peanut butter is not generally necessary to store in the fridge but the cooler temperatures in the fridge can help extend the shelf life by a few months. While in the fridge it is vital to seal the bottles or jar tightly so as no exposure to air is ensured as too much exposure to air can cause the peanut butter to go rancid quicker.


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Can I eat expired peanut butter?”. We also talked about how to know if the peanut butter has gone bad, how to properly store peanut butter, and how long peanut butter lasts.

I hope you find this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.


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