Does Almond Butter Need To Be Refrigerated?

Almond butter has become an increasingly popular alternative to peanut butter in recent years. Its delicious nutty flavor and impressive nutritional profile make it a favorite snack or spread for many health-conscious eaters.

Does Almond Butter Need To Be Refrigerated

But if you've just bought your first jar of almond butter, you may be wondering - does almond butter need to be refrigerated? The short answer is: it depends. Refrigeration is not strictly necessary for almond butter, but it can help extend the shelf life and prevent rancidity under certain circumstances.

We'll you walk through everything you need to know about proper almond butter storage, signs of spoiled almond butter, and how to keep it fresh as long as possible.

Storing Unopened Almond Butter

An unopened jar of almond butter has a shelf life of 12-24 months. For maximum freshness, store the unopened almond butter in a cool, dry pantry away from direct sunlight. Some ambient heat is fine, but avoid storing almond butter anywhere excessively hot like near the oven or in direct sunlight.

You do not need to refrigerate unopened almond butter. The jar should be shelf-stable at room temperature right up until you open it.

Once opened, the countdown to potential rancidity starts as the oils become exposed to oxygen. So make sure to tightly seal the lid after each use to limit air exposure.

Refrigerating After Opening - Pros vs. Cons

Once you open your first precious jar of almond butter, refrigeration is recommended for maximum freshness. But it's not strictly required. Here are the main pros and cons of refrigerating almond butter after opening:

Pros of Refrigerating

  • Extends shelf life - Refrigeration can extend the shelf life of opened almond butter from 2-3 months to 6-9 months. The cold temperature drastically slows rancidity.
  • Prevents oil separation - The chilled temperature helps keep the oils emulsified instead of separating to the top of the jar.
  • Slows oxidation - Similarly, the cool environment inhibits oxidation of the delicate oils.

Cons of Refrigerating

  • Changes texture - Refrigerated almond butter becomes quite firm and difficult to spread at cold temperatures. Let it sit at room temp for 10-15 minutes before using it to re-soften.
  • Condensation - Temperature changes from fridge to counter can cause condensation on the inside lid. Always wipe dry before re-sealing.

So in summary, refrigeration after opening is ideal for maximizing shelf life. But not strictly required if you plan to finish the jar quickly. Just store in a cool, dry pantry and watch for any signs of spoilage.

How to Store Almond Butter After Opening

To maximize the freshness of opened almond butter, follow these storage guidelines:

  • Refrigerate for 6-9 month shelf life - For best results, store opened almond butter in the fridge in an airtight container. Allow to sit at room temp 10-15 minutes before using to soften spreadability.
  • Alternatively, store in a cool pantry - If finishing quickly, a dark cool pantry is fine. Use within 2-3 months and watch closely for any signs of spoilage.
  • Always seal tightly - Limit air exposure by sealing the lid tightly after each use. Air and oxygen degrade the oils.
  • Store away from heat and light - Ensure the almond butter storage area is not excessively hot or exposed to direct sunlight.

With optimal storage conditions, an opened jar of almond butter should stay fresh for several months past its printed best-by date. But always inspect before eating and discard at first signs of rancidity.

How to Tell If Almond Butter Has Gone Bad

Almond butter is prone to rancidity since it's made purely of delicate oils. So it's important to check opened almond butter periodically for any signs of spoilage. Watch for these indicators that your almond butter has gone bad:

  • Change in texture - Hard, dry texture or excessive oil separation that won't stir back together.
  • Off smells - Rancid almond butter smells sour, bitter, or unpleasantly nutty. It may also smell like crayons, paint, or chemicals. Any bizarre scents mean toss it.
  • Mold - Look closely at the inner rim and bottom. Tiny spots of blue, green, or black mold are a sign of spoilage.
  • Taste - If it tastes sour, bitter, or just plain off, your almond butter has gone rancid.

When in doubt, throw it out. Rancid almond butter won't make you sick, but it won't taste good either. Don't risk eating almond butter that shows any of these signs of spoilage.

Natural vs. Regular Almond Butter

When shopping for almond butter, you'll notice two main varieties:

Natural almond butter - Contains just raw almonds and perhaps a touch of salt. No extra oils or preservatives are added. Requires refrigeration after opening.

Regular almond butter - Often contains added palm oil, sugar, salt, and preservatives for smoother texture and longer shelf life. Can be stored in the pantry after opening.

For maximum nutrition and simplicity, natural almond butter is typically recommended. But the regular stabilized varieties have a place for their convenience factor. Both natural and regular almond butter should be refrigerated after opening for maximum longevity.

Can You Freeze Almond Butter?

Freezing is an excellent option for preserving opened almond butter if you won't finish the jar quickly. Freezing prevents rancidity and extends shelf life indefinitely.

To freeze:

  • Make sure the lid is sealed tightly.
  • Store in an airtight freezer bag or container for extra protection.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator before using to retain smooth texture.

Just note that freezing can degrade texture slightly, especially in natural varieties. But it's ideal for long-term storage.

Signs of Rancid Almond Butter

Rancidity is the most common form of spoilage in opened almond butter. Here are the telltale signs your almond butter has gone rancid:

  • Strong bitter, sour, or chemical odor
  • The nutty yet unpleasant aroma
  • Mold growth
  • Hard, dry consistency
  • Excessive oil separation
  • Unusual color changes
  • Sour or bitter taste

Any signs of rancidity mean your almond butter has spoiled and should be discarded. Don't take chances with rancid foods. A new jar of almond butter is inexpensive for the health protections it provides.

Oil Separation in Almond Butter

Don't confuse rancidity with natural oil separation. Even high-quality almond butter will gradually separate as the oils rise to the top. This is perfectly normal for natural varieties without stabilizers.

To reincorporate separated almond butter, simply stir thoroughly with a clean spoon. The oils will smoothly blend back in. If the oils refuse to emulsify, your almond butter has gone rancid.

For easy stirring, bring your almond butter to room temperature before mixing. The warmer temperature loosens the emulsification. Then be sure to re-seal the lid tightly and refrigerate or freeze to prevent re-separation.


Does almond butter need to be refrigerated after opening?

Refrigeration is recommended but not required for opened almond butter. For maximum freshness, store in the fridge. But a cool pantry works too if eating quickly.

How long does almond butter last after opening?

In the pantry, opened almond butter lasts 2-3 months. In the fridge, it lasts 6-9 months. Always inspect before eating and discard at any signs of spoilage.

Can you freeze almond butter?

Yes, freezing preserves freshness and prevents rancidity in opened almond butter. Store in an airtight container and use within 6-12 months for best quality.

What if my almond butter smells bad?

A rancid, bitter, or chemical odor means your almond butter has spoiled. Discard immediately. Don't take chances with rancid foods.

Is it normal for oils to separate in almond butter?

Yes, oil separation is perfectly normal, especially in natural varieties. Gently stir the almond butter before using it to reincorporate. If it won't blend smoothly, it has likely gone rancid.


With its delicious nutty crunch and impressive nutrition stats, almond butter makes for a tasty sandwich spread or dip. Follow these storage tips to keep your precious jars fresh as long as possible:

  • Store unopened almond butter in a cool, dry pantry for up to 2 years.
  • Refrigerate opened almond butter in an airtight container for 6-9 months of shelf life.
  • Alternatively, store open in the pantry for 2-3 months if eating quickly.
  • Check regularly for any signs of rancidity like bad smells, tastes, mold, or poor texture.
  • Reincorporate separated oils with a quick stir before enjoying your smooth and delicious almond butter!
AGAH Productions
AGAH Productions