Should You Refrigerate Peanut Butter?

How quickly can you make it through your jar?

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An open jar of crunchy peanut butter with bread and a knife.


An open jar of crunchy peanut butter with bread and a knife.

Photo by: CaseyHillPhoto


Knowing when to refrigerate peanut butter can be a bit of a head-scratcher, especially if there aren’t any instructions on the jar’s label. So, does it go in the fridge or doesn’t it? The bottom line is: It depends.

Processed brands of peanut butter are made to have a long shelf life thanks to the addition of stabilizers like palm oil and hydrogenated oils, so once opened, they’re fine to store in a cool, dry cupboard. According to the National Peanut Board, opened jars of commercial processed peanut butter stored this way will last for two to three months. After that, they recommend storing jars in the refrigerator, which will extend their shelf life by another three to four months. Unopened jars will last six to nine months in the pantry, but be sure to check the jar’s expiration date, too.

If you buy all-natural peanut butter — these are the ones that are unrefined and likely made with just ground peanuts and salt — you’ll want to store jars in the fridge after opening, since the oils can go rancid very quickly. That said, if you go through jars quickly (within a few weeks), it’s fine to leave jars of all-natural peanut butter stored in a cool, dry place. If you’re not refrigerating your all-natural peanut butter, it’s important to never double-dip or introduce jelly-smeared knives to the jar; if you notice any mold or strange smells, toss the jar.

When it comes to peanuts (shelled or unshelled), the National Peanut Board says they’ll last in a bag or sealed container for a month or two. But because nuts have a high oil content, they tend to go rancid quicker if they’re not kept cool. Store nuts in the fridge to extend their shelf-life to four to six months.

Want to extend nuts’ shelf-life even further? Chef Carla Contreras, founder of the online cooking school Cook+Chop and a former personal chef, recommends freezing them. Since nuts have such low water content, they won’t freeze. “I am crazy about storing nuts and seeds in the freezer. It extends their shelf life,” Contreras explains. “I take out small amounts and store them in glass containers in the fridge and replenish as needed.”

Now that you know where to store your peanut butter, go nuts with some of our favorite sweet and savory peanut butter recipes.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Photo by: PACIFIC TV


Ree calls for smooth peanut butter to add a creamy richness and nutty flavor to the peanut dipping sauce that accompanies skewers of chicken satay.

Healthy Peanut Soba Noodles with Vegetable Salad

Food Network Kitchen’s Peanut Soba Noodles with Vegetable Salad for Healthy
Dishes Every Grown Up Needs to Know, as seen on Food Network.

Food Network Kitchen’s Peanut Soba Noodles with Vegetable Salad for Healthy Dishes Every Grown Up Needs to Know, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Creamy peanut butter lends a savory note and a protein punch to the sauce that coats soba noodles in this healthy noodle and veggie salad.

Power Balls

Trisha relies on extra-crunchy peanut butter to give these energy-boosting power balls a one-two punch of protein and texture.

Healthy No-Bake Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bars

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All rights Reserved

Peanuts do double duty in this healthy no-bake bar recipe: creamy peanut butter is folded with Greek yogurt and reduced-fat cream cheese to create a luscious filling, while a scattering of chopped, roasted peanuts add crunch.

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