Does Hummus Go Bad: How Long Does Hummus Last?

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What is there not to love about hummus? It is delicious, it’s packed with nutrition, and you can pair it with nearly everything!

You can stuff your face full of it without feeling a shred of guilt, and it is enjoyable all year round. 

If you live in a home of hummus lovers, then you may find yourself buying in bulk on occasion. The big question for you is, ‘does hummus go bad?’

Well, sorry to break your heart but yes it does. Unrefrigerated hummus has a very short shelf life. Fresh hummus can become spoiled hummus quickly if not refrigerated.

However, if you properly store it then you will find it to last you long enough for you to eat plenty of it before it starts to lose its freshness. 

We know you are worried about your hummus, its great, so we will give you all the information you need today.

Giving you the information on how long hummus is safe for consumption when opened, when closed, when refrigerated or not, and even if it is a homemade taste bud tingling delight. 

Does unopened Hummus expire?

Of course, it is like most things that you put in a fridge, hummus will expire even if unopened. 

Commercially produced hummus has preservatives and if often pasteurized as well. It may be packaged and sealed in a sterile environment which will future protect your blessed hummus from contamination by bacteria. 

However, the copious amounts of moisture that is found inside hummus, does mean that no matter how well packaged, bacteria will eventually form and once this happened, your hummus is ruined! 

Does Hummus need to be refrigerated?

Though it is a rare find, there are a few companies out there that make shelf-stable hummus, which means that even after opening, the hummus does not require refrigeration. 

If you find hummus in a store that is not in a refrigerated section, at least one that hasn’t just been randomly misplaced by a lazy shopper, then it is a good sign that it does not need to be refrigerated, although, it still has an expiry date. Even when it is shelf stable, it is not like a tin of baked beans tinned corn.

A majority of the time though, the hummus that you are likely to find will require refrigeration even prior to opening, and especially if you find it in the refrigerated section of the store. 

Similarly, homemade hummus should also be stored in a refrigerator in an airtight container to prevent bacteria and mold building from air exposure. 

How long can Hummus sit out for? 

Sometimes you may over-anticipate how much hummus you are going to want, and so you want to store your hummus. If you are going to do this, you should leave your hummus out for as short a time as possible.

If you are going to eat it though, you can enjoy it over a leisurely hour or so without being concerned about the quality. 

However, if you are outside, or if you are in a very warm area, you should try to minimize your snacking window, without feeling a rush to gulp down the hummus like a pasty soup. 

This is because bacteria can sneak their way into your hummus at any time that it is open, or at room temperature. If you are eating it immediately then bacteria will not survive you digesting it, and it will be totally safe to eat. 

But, if your hummus becomes contaminated and then returns to the fridge, then it gives the bacteria time to grow and multiply, after this it will develop into a mold, which is not just highly gross, but also has the potential of making you sick too. 

This is why it is always good to serve up what you find to be a suitable amount and then store the rest in your refrigerator, and if you want more, go back for more. 

Also be sure that you always serve with a clean utensil as well, to avoid cross contamination. 

How long does Hummus last?

It depends on the hummus. It can last anywhere from several days to a full week, depending on its storage of course.

There can be a very considerable variation in the shelf-life of the hummus, the main factors of this depend on how the hummus was made. 

Commercially produced hummus will likely have preservatives in it that are designed to extend the life of your hummus, but it is not always guaranteed, hence it is always a good shout to check the life expectancy information on the individual packaging. 

Always check your container for a best-before/ use-by date that will give you a general idea, it will also often tell you how many days it should be good for once opened. This is commonplace on all packaged foods, especially dip-style products.

What is the life expectancy of refrigerated Hummus?

Hummus should always be stored in the refrigerator, if it is opened, or not. As we know already shelf-life is a varying concept, it is something that depends on whether or not the hummus was commercially produced, or if it was homemade.

It is also dependent on what ingredients and additives were added into it. 

However, a majority of hummus will usually have a lifespan of 4 days, though this is the general minimum. 

Once opened, how long do I have to consume my Hummus? 

If your hummus is store bought, it should be consumed within a week of opening. As the longer that it is open the higher a chance it has of being exposed to contamination, either from being taken in and out of the refrigerator, or from the utensils that are being used to serve it. 

Once opened, you may notice that your hummus may go a bit watery, or a bit dry, or sometimes both in a weird consistency at the same time. This is because the liquid will begin to separate from the fat content, and it will pool at the bottom of the container. It leaves the spread a bit dry in comparison to the first day it was opened. 

You can easily mix the hummus together to get a desired consistency back, however if you do so, it is better to eat all the hummus that you have mixed, instead of returning it to the fridge post mixing. 

How long can my Hummus last unopened?

Unopened and store bought hummus should last a week at minimum in your refrigerator. Many brands will often stay fresh for at least ten days until opening. There are even the odd occasions when you can enjoy hummus safely after finding it in your fridge even a month after the purchase. 

As long as there are no signs that it has spoiled, and the package has not been opened or damaged, hummus is known to last beyond its best before date by quite a lot, unless opened. 

Be aware that as you push these limits, you are taking responsibility for what you consume, as well as your own health and your taste buds alike. 

Life expectancy of homemade Hummus

Homemade hummus often lacks the preservatives and additives that give commercial hummus its longer life expectancy. Not only that, but as clean as your kitchen may indeed be, it is not considered to be a completely sterile environment.

Therefore, for these reasons homemade hummus will not last as long as the hummus you can buy in the store. Although it may taste better and fresher. 

Should you make your own hummus, you should try to eat it within 4-5 days at best. You should also keep it well-sealed at all times, unless you have separated out a serving for instant devouring. 

Can You Freeze Hummus? 

You wouldn’t think you could freeze it, would you? But, yes, you can. You can freeze it, and you can do so effectively.

Hummus is typically made of chickpea, garbanzo beans, olive oil, and a little lemon juice. Leftover hummus can be frozen so that the flavor is fine and the ingredient list still flow together in the recipe.

If you buy hummus in bulk for you and your hummus adoring family, then you can put a container of hummus nearly immediately in the freezer, but you should probably do a few steps first. 

First of all, you want to write the date of purchase on the container, while this might seem futile, it is useful. You do this because when you thaw it, you can then judge how long it will stay fresh in your friend for by comparing the best before date and then date you have frozen it. 

You should also break the seal on the hummus, just a tiny bit. Most refrigerated hummus containers are not pressure sealed, but hummus will usually expand as it freezes, so breaking the seal gives it room to expand like this without the lid popping off from the pressure of this growth.

It also prevents you from having a potential hummus covered freezer, not that it is something that is likely to happen, you probably still want to avoid any potential messes. 

Things you should consider about expired Hummus?

While so many of us assume that the best before date is when we should eat our hummus by we do not realize that the best before date is nothing more than… well, the best before date.

It is only the date where it stops being its best, its still consumable after that, it might just not be as good. It is not an official expiry date. 

The best before date means that the manufacturer is confident that their product would be fresh up until the date they have stated, but probably won’t be at its tip-top quality after that. 

Hummus like many other foods won’t instantly deteriorate or go bad the very next day, it’s not clockwork like that. It just means that once this day has passed the quality will slowly start to drop. The longer you keep it after its best before date, the worse the quality will get. 

There’s nothing to say that you can’t eat hummus after it has expired either, it is not like chicken, or eggs, where eating it after its expiry can be dangerous or mind-numbingly gross.

But if you do want to take a crack at some expired hummus, you may want to do a quick once over for any signs that it may have gone bad before you start devouring it. 

Here are a few tips, and some useful factors for you about expired hummus.  

How can you tell Hummus is bad? 

There will be some obvious signs if your hummus has gone off. One of the most poignant ones will be visual. When hummus has gone bad it will often grow mold or start fermenting. In some cases it will do both, throw it out if it does, this will look horrific. 

If you look at your humus, and it looks oily, watery, or dry, it is no sure fire sign that it has gone bad, it may just need a good old mix, like we mentioned before. So, these are not signs of bad hummus. 

However, it is possible that the oil in your humus has gone rancid, but that will generally take a bit longer to happen that it takes for mold to develop and kick in. 

So, while you may worry about the possibilities of rancid oil, it is very unlikely that this will be the reason you have to say goodbye to your beloved hummus and throw it out. 

Next, use your nose. If you open up your container, and you notice a smell, often a sour one, or otherwise unusual in its stench, often coupled with a suspicious looking wateriness, it’s a sign.

This hummus, is a no-fly zone. You should probably say your goodbyes and throw it out, then start a new container. If your hummus smells sour and unpleasant then this is a sign that it is beginning to ferment. And you don’t want to put fermenting hummus in your mouth. 

Other signs you can be aware of are color changes, you know how your hummus should look. Sliminess as well, or fuzzy growths, these are often a sure fire sign of mold. Run for the hills! 

Moldy Hummus

Mold on anything is gross. Mold on hummus is deeply unappetizing and if you see it on there, you should fling it in the trash as quick as you can.

Some people may scoop out the affected area, but its not like bread. If the hummus has mold in it, its probably got some bacteria lingering in there, and by doing so, you are taking a risk. 

It is not like a hard cheese, or bread, mold is able to go deeper into the humus than you can see with the naked eye, once it starts to form, you may be able to see it on the surface, but that does not mean that it is not beyond the surface, digging deeper into your hummus with the bacteria. 

We get it, hummus is amazing, but moldy hummus, just don’t take the risk. You don’t want to get a gross mouthful and ruin hummus for yourself, do you? 

If the hummus is old enough to start growing fuzz, or going black with mold, its probably fermenting too and this, won’t taste good. It could ruin hummus for you forever, you don’t want that, do you? We certainly don’t.

Even if you do not directly eat the moldy hummus, the hummus will be sour and tangy, and not in the way it would if you added a spritz of lemon to it. Sour and tangy in a foul way, that will make your stomach turn. 

Eating mold that has gone bad with age is also really not good for your health, it can be harmful, make you sick, and it won’t taste good either. It will taste foul. None of these things are what we want from our beloved hummus. Don’t take the risk, please. 

Food poisoning… from Hummus? 

While we are used to hearing that we can get food poisoning from foods such as meats, diaries and other similar foods, you don’t expect to be able to get food poisoning from something as healthy, and innocent as hummus. But, it is possible. 

However, food poisoning from hummus, is more often than not, a cause of cross-contamination from other foods, and it is less likely for it to be thanks to natural spoiling. Although, it still is not worth risking the nausea you’ll probably get from eating fermenting hummus. 

There have at some points been hummus recalls in Europe and in North America. T

his was after the discovery that a batch of hummus was actually contaminated in the production facility, the contamination happened with either listeria, or salmonella. This is not a regular, or likely thing to happen, so it should not be a cause for panic at all.

And, frankly, this type of problem can realistically happen with any type of processed and commercial food selling. 

In order to keep your humus safe in your home, you need to ensure that you keep it stored and sealed in an air-tight container in your fridge, and never ever keep it sitting next to uncooked meat.

In fact, the top shelf of your fridge should have your butters and dairy products, and beneath that should be your meat, this can be a smooth way to prevent non-washable food types from any risk of cross-contamination by drippings from uncooked meats. 

Remember that any hummus that has gone back will probably turn your stomach, but you won’t get seriously unwell from it. 

The Hummus chart!

To give you a more visual representation of how long hummus will last unopened, opened, or homemade, in both the fridge and freezer, we have put together a chart for you. 

You can use this for reference when you buy a hummus and do not know how long it is likely to last you. 

Type of Humus Refrigerator Freezer
Unopened hummus from the store Can last for up to 10 days Can stay frozen for up to a year.
Opened hummus from the store Can last for up to 1 week Can stay frozen for up to a year.
Homemade hummus Can last for up to 5 days Can stay frozen for up to a year. 


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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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