Is it ok to eat expired peanut butter?

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question “is it ok to eat expired peanut butter?”. We will also discuss the shelf life of peanut butter.

Is it ok to eat expired peanut butter?

Yes, It is ok to eat expired peanut butter. It is harmless to your health. But as it will get rancid so it will eventually taste bad therefore you should not eat it after the expiry date. 

While rotten peanut butter may smell bad, it doesn’t pose a health risk. Professor of food science at Purdue University in Indiana, Maribeth Cousin, adds, “Eating it won’t harm you; it will simply taste horrible.” Based on their food preferences and taste buds, “some people really eat rotten food without recognizing it.”

To top it all off, peanut butter can sit out in the open for months without going bad, despite its sticky, delectable texture. Although the high oil level and low amount of moisture prevent this butter from spoiling quickly, you shouldn’t use it over its expiry date just yet. The flavor and texture of peanut butter might become bad after roughly a year.

Lydia Botham, the director of public affairs for Land O’Lakes Inc., says that despite its oily and sticky appearance, peanut butter has a moisture level of only around 2%. Most types of bacteria and fungi cannot thrive without constant access to water.

As luck would have it, peanut butter also contains a generous helping of the antioxidant vitamin E. This vitamin prevents oxidation and prolongs PB’s shelf life, says Richard Faulks of the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, England.

How to detect whether peanut butter has gone stale?

The shelf life of most jarred peanut butter is indicated by a “best if used by” or “expiration” date stamped on the container. Yet these labelings are not mandated by law and don’t guarantee the security of the item. That may indicate that your peanut butter is still fine to eat even after its “use-by” date has passed.

The appearance and aroma of the peanut butter are the best indicators of whether or not it has gone rancid. Rotten peanut butter may be dry and hard in contrast to the soft and smooth and creamy texture of fresh peanut butter. As an alternative to its typical light tan tint, it may instead seem dark brown.

More acrid, soapy, or unpleasant aromas indicate deterioration as well. Another sign that your peanut butter has gone bad is if it has a sour aftertaste rather than a nutty one. Remember that natural peanut butter often does not contain stabilizing chemicals, therefore oil separation is to be expected. 

That doesn’t mean the PB has gone bad; it just means it’s been opened. When it comes to powdered peanut butter, it might be more challenging to detect whether it has gone bad, but a change in scent, structure, or flavor are all strong clues.

To what extent is peanut butter perishable?

Peanut butter often has a longer shelf life than other kinds of spreads. It’s because the rich fat and low water content of peanut butter make it a poor medium for bacterial development. Peanut butter’s storage life can also be affected by several other critical elements.

Its durability, for starters, is heavily influenced by the manufacturing process. To maintain their freshness and prevent rancidity, commercial peanut butter typically include stabilizers like palm oil or hydrogenated vegetable oils and additives like sodium benzoate.

Stabilizers keep the oil from separating and boost the product’s visual appeal and texture, while preservatives such as sodium benzoate keep harmful bacteria at bay.

Natural peanut butter made with nothing but salt and peanut typically comes with the advice to “refrigerate after opening” to extend its shelf life. Instead of using a food processor to turn whole peanuts into peanut butter, a new trend involves crushing the nuts’ natural oils and grinding them into a powder to create powdered peanut butter. 

In general, unopened products have a shelf life of 10–12 months, while opened products have a shelf life of 4–6 months. When unopened and kept in a cold, dry, dark area like a pantry, powdered one may keep for a little longer than the expiration date indicates. This is due to its lower fat content, which makes it less reactive with oxygen.


In this brief article, we have answered the question “is it ok to eat expired peanut butter?”. We have also discussed the shelf life of peanut butter.


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