How Long Does Peanut Butter Last?

How long does peanut butter last? The shelf life of peanut butter depends on a variety of factors, such as the best before date, the preparation method and how it was stored. Fresh peanut butter is made of peanuts, that's it! But manufacturers will add oil, salt, sugar and/or other preservatives to their jars. Peanut butter is naturally high in fat which raises the "good" cholesterol levels, just beware of any added trans fats on the nutrition label of your specific brand. Because it has a creamy texture, high protein value and relatively low cost, it is no wonder why it's popular with kids and adults alike.

You may ask, does peanut butter go bad? The answer is - Yes! So, then how long does peanut butter last? When properly stored, the shelf life of peanut butter beyond its best before date is approximately...

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Peanut Butter Expiration Date

(Unopened) Pantry Refrigerator
Past Printed Date Past Printed Date
Smooth Peanut Butter lasts for 1 Year 1 Year
Crunchy Peanut Butter lasts for 1 Year 1 Year
Natural Peanut Butter lasts for 2-3 Months 3-6 Months
(Opened) Pantry Refrigerator
Homemade Peanut Butter lasts for -- 3-6 Months
Natural Peanut Butter lasts for -- 5-6 Months
Smooth Peanut Butter lasts for 3-4 Months 6-8 Months
Crunchy Peanut Butter lasts for 3-4 Months 6-8 Months

Of course, all foods last for a shorter period of time if they are not stored properly. While most Proteins usually have a sell by date, these containers usually carry a best by date, which is simply the last date a manufacturer will guarantee their product quality - not its safety. Because of this distinction, you may safely use it to satisfy your hunger even after the best before date has lapsed. That is, if it was stored properly.

How to tell if Peanut Butter is bad, rotten or spoiled?

Practicing proper hygiene and food safety techniques will help prevent foodborne illness.

Sight is usually the most reliable way to tell if your peanut butter has gone bad. A common trait of bad peanut butter is a change in texture from soft and creamy to hard and dry. The color of the spread may also become darker and the pleasant aroma disappears. If the peanut butter begins to smell rancid, toss it.

A natural separation of oil is natural, especially in the natural peanut butters that do not contain additional fats as stabilizers. You can tell how long the jar of natural peanut butter has been sitting on the shelf by the amount of oil on top. This oil can be stirred back into the peanut butter if desired, but we prefer to pour most of it into a frying pan and use it for pan frying something for dinner. The resulting peanut butter is thicker and doesn't gush right out of your sandwich. On the other hand, if oil begins to separate from processed peanut butter (Peter Pan, Jif, etc.) that is an indication that the peanut butter will soon be going bad.

There are, of course, certain health risks associated with spoiled foods so always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your foods before their shelf life has expired!

How to store Peanut Butter to extend its shelf life?

You can help peanut butter keep fresh longer by storing it in your fridge immediately after use, although processed peanut butter will be fine on the shelf as well. Once prepared (if homemade) or opened from the jar, it should be stored in a tightly closed container. The original container works great to keep moisture and other contaminants from touching the peanut butter.

Homemade and natural peanut butter should be kept in the refrigerator to last longer as they lack preservatives. Always use a clean utensil when using the product in order to avoid cross contamination.

Some benefits of proper food storage include eating healthier, cutting food costs and helping the environment by avoiding waste.

Interesting facts about Peanut Butter:

  • It's a law in the United States that any product labeled "peanut butter" must contain at least 90% peanuts.
  • It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar.
  • There is a name for the fear of having peanut butter stick to the roof of your mouth - arachibutyrophobia!
  • If you remember Mr Ed the talking horse (from TV), they gave the horse peanut butter to make his mouth move as if he was talking.
  • How long is Peanut Butter good for when prepared in a dish?

    How long does peanut butter last? That depends. How long does bread last? In general, peanut butter will be one of the last ingredients to spoil in your dish.

    What are our shelf life resources?

    In determining how long Peanut Butter lasts, our content incorporates research from multiple resources, including the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Food & Drug Administration. In addition, we scoured the web for informative articles and reports related to food safety, food storage and the shelf life of Peanut Butter.

    *An important note about expiration dates...

    Although the Peanut Butter shelf life information on Eat By Date is generally reliable, please remember that individual cases will vary and that our advice should only be taken as an opinion and not a replacement for your health care professional. Please eat responsibly!

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    With oven-safe glass and water-tight lids, these food storage containers are ready for action! Not a Prime Member? Try a 30-day free trial today!


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