Hummus is a perishable product that only lasts for a certain amount of time in the fridge, once opened. Here's what you need to know about it's shelf-life, plus how to tell if your hummus has gone bad.
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hummus in bowl with herbs

Hummus is a healthy, creamy spread that's delicious scooped up with veggies, dolloped on top of a salad or spread on a piece of toast. Homemade hummus is easy enough to make but store-bought hummus is even easier and a great staple to have in your fridge. But exactly how long does hummus last in the fridge? Is it still safe to eat hummus past its expiration date? And how can you tell when hummus has gone bad? Read on to learn more.

How to properly store hummus

Refrigerated hummus, whether open or sealed and homemade versions, should be kept in the fridge under 40°F or below in an airtight container to minimize exposure to air.

Shelf-stable, unrefrigerated hummus, such as canned hummus, can stay at room temperature for extended periods as long as they remain unopened. It's best to keep them in a cool, dry place, like the pantry. However, once the can is opened, it should be transferred to an airtight container within two hours and stored in the fridge. 

How long can hummus sit out?

Regardless of homemade, shelf-stable or refrigerated varieties, hummus should not sit in the open air for more than two hours. To protect your remaining portions of hummus, it is best to spoon out the amount you need and store the rest. 

How long does hummus last after it's opened?

While store-bought hummus comes with an expiration or a best before date, these dates do not matter when the product is opened. According to Foodkeeper—a program developed by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service to help answer consumer's questions about food safety and storage—store-bought hummus can last in the fridge for up to 7 days after opening. 

Does store-bought hummus last longer than homemade?

Store-bought hummus may last longer than its homemade counterpart based on its preparation methods and the use of preservatives. Using a preservative will certainly lengthen its shelf time, but brands may vary in their best before and expiration dates, ranging from a few days to three months, according to Foodkeeper. The reason is that some brands may opt for high-pressure processing, a type of technology that preserves and pasteurizes the product, prolonging the shelf life. Nonetheless, these dates do not matter when the products are opened, as they will only stay fresh up to seven days.  

Can you freeze hummus?

You can freeze hummus, but freezing may change the ingredient's flavor, texture and consistency when thawed. Each manufacturer offers a different hummus product, so their flavor, texture and thickness varies as is, meaning the result of freezing and thawing will vary for each product. However, if you decide to freeze hummus, try freezing a small amount first (rather than the whole container) to see if the frozen, thawed hummus is what you intended.

How do I know if hummus is spoiled?

While opened and homemade hummus can last up to seven days, it does not mean it will. You will definitely notice that the hummus is spoiled when you see mold growing on it. The less obvious may be that the hummus offers an unpleasant, off-odor and sour smell. This hummus may also taste sour if you decide to try it. Our recommendation is: when in doubt, always throw the food out.

Sometimes, you may also notice some separation between the hummus and the oil, as if the product has spoiled, viewing with the naked eye. Separation is normal, and you can stir the two together to recreate the blended, emulsified spread. If the separation is too significant, you should go with your gut to discard the item.

How much does the expiration date matter?

Expiration dates matter to a certain extent only. These dates often refer to the highest standard quality of an unopened product guaranteed by the manufacturer. Once the container is open, you can store the hummus in the fridge for up to 7 days. This freshness period also applies to homemade hummus. 

Is there a risk of eating expired hummus?

With any expired products, there is a risk of becoming ill, and eating expired hummus is no exception. This is especially true for children younger than 5, people older than 65 and individuals with a weakened immune system may need to think twice before consuming expired hummus as any products that pass their due date pose the risk of food poisoning.

Bottom line

Store-bought hummus may have a longer shelf life than homemade, depending on how it is prepared. But both varieties should last up to 7 days in the refrigerator (for prepared hummus this applies once the container is opened). Like any food, hummus is perishable and is prone to spoilage. When the product no longer smells or tastes the same as it did when originally purchased or prepared, it is time to throw it out.