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How Long Does Hummus Last? (How To Tell It’s Bad)

A huge portion of the population loves hummus, but how long does hummus last? There’s nothing worse than buying something like hummus only to forget about it in the back of a cupboard or refrigerator.

Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about that once you read this article! Here, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about hummus. This includes how long it will keep for, what spoiled hummus looks like, and how to properly store it! 

By the end of this article, you will be a certified hummus pro! Let’s dive in.

How Long Does Hummus Last

How Long Does Hummus Last?

So, the shelf life of hummus varies greatly depending on the type of hummus and even the brand. This product is made from a mix of perishable ingredients, so it will always go bad eventually. Generally, however, you can expect the following:

  • Store bought refrigerated hummus – usually 2-3 weeks, but numbers can vary depending on brand and the added ingredients.
  • Shelf-stable or canned hummus – several months, but the product will go bad soon after opening it (typically less than a week). 
  • Homemade hummus – without all the additives and preservatives, homemade hummus is doomed to go bad after just a few days. 

These are just general times, but they can vary a lot. Based on ingredients and preservatives, companies with the same product will have different shelf lives for their products.

Because of this, there will never be one answer – it changes with every brand, so just check the dates printed on the food before buying it. 

With that being said, even those dates aren’t the be all and end all! We will talk about that a little later on, so stay tuned.

Does Hummus Actually Go Bad?

Yes, hummus can definitely spoil. Sometimes the signs are pretty obvious, and sometimes they aren’t. Again, this might vary from brand to brand, but there are always a few things to look out for. We’ll cover those in the section below. 

How Can You Tell if Your Hummus Has Gone Bad?

If you’re on the lookout for spoiled hummus, there are five things to keep in mind when examining your hummus:

  • It smells sour or “funny” – if you notice a lemony or acidic smell coming from your hummus, it has gone off. Good hummus will smell pretty neutral unless it’s flavored, so any sign of unusual smells is a good indication that it’s gone bad. 
  • It had mold on it – notice any fuzzy spots on top of your hummus? You can throw it away.
  • It doesn’t taste right – off hummus might taste sour, bitter, or just generally not right.
  • There’s discoloration – if there’s discoloration that looks out of place, you can throw it away, Hummus is typically uniform in terms of color.
  • You’ve had it for too long – think back to when you actually bought it… if refrigerated hummus has been sitting there for over a week, chances are it’s no longer edible.

While all of the above points are true, you might notice something else that’s off about your hummus. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so if you have suspicions, just throw it away.

What Does It Mean If Your Hummus Separates?

Separation is normal for hummus! You can simply give it a stir before using it. 

Hummus will separate if it’s made with “clean” ingredients – so homemade hummus will separate after a few days. If the hummus has binders and stabilizers, it probably won’t separate. 

With that being said, if you notice your hummus is badly separated and looks like unopened peanut butter, you may want to throw it out. That is, lots of oil on the top and just a thick paste at the bottom. Always be safe, because food poisoning is no joke! 

How Long Can You Expect Hummus To Last?

  • Unopened hummus (refrigerated) – up to 7 days past the “use by” date.
  • Opened hummus (refrigerated) – consume within 4-7 days
  • Unopened canned hummus (non-refrigerated) – up to 2 months last the “best by” date
  • Opened canned hummus (refrigerated) – consume within 4-7 days
  • Homemade hummus (refrigerated) – consume within 3-4 days

Some brands like to use HPP (High Pressure Processing) technology to increase the shelf life of their products. In these cases, products can last for 3 months or more. Things like UHT and aseptic packaging can also possibly extend the shelf life.

NOTE: things like the type of packaging can impact how long unopened hummus will last. The recommended storage times for these products also differ greatly from brand to brand, so check to see what the brand suggests. 

Should Hummus Always Be Refrigerated?

Once any kind of hummus has been opened, it should be kept in the refrigerator for safety. The only time a hummus doesn’t require refrigeration would be when it’s canned and unopened. All other types require refrigeration for safety. 

If a hummus that should be refrigerated was left out for more than two hours, you may need to consider throwing it away, especially if it was opened.

Leaving your hummus out for a few hours in a cold house might not be the end of the world. However, the warmer the temperature, the sooner you will need to toss it out. Remember – bacteria love warmth!

The way a product is treated and made impacts how it keeps and how long the shelf life will be. However, it’s important to note that there will always be brands that choose to do things differently.

You shouldn’t assume that all canned hummus options should be treated the same, as not all of them have a lot of preservatives. Similarly, refrigerated hummus might have loads of preservatives, or none at all! Read the label before making a decision. 

How Long Can You Leave Hummus Sitting Out For?

Generally, hummus really shouldn’t be sitting out on the counter for any more than two hours. If it’s hot then, one hour is even pushing it. Any temperature above 90 °F (32 °C) puts food at risk because it’s the perfect temperature for bacteria growth. 

This rule isn’t only for things like hummus, but all perishable foods. Of course, the temperature plays a key role.

So, if It’s pretty cold, there’s a good chance that your hummus will be just fine if it’s left out a little longer. You can view the two-hour rule as more of a guideline, but one that you should always consider. 

Safety is key, and you really shouldn’t put yourself at any unnecessary risk. 

If you have an unopened container of hummus sitting on the counter, it might still be fine. Up to a point, anyway.

If it’s been out for about three hours, don’t worry too much. However, if it has been sitting on the counter overnight, throw it away immediately. It’s not worth it. 

With that being said, there is an exception to this rule. Yep – unopened, called (shelf-stable) hummus!

This stuff doesn’t get refrigerated until it’s open anyway, so it doesn’t matter where it’s left. Anything other than canned hummus should really be refrigerated as soon as possible. 

Makes you think how humans ever survived without these wonderful devices, doesn’t it?

What You Should Know About Store Bought Hummus

What About Homemade Hummus

Store bought hummus will usually only last up to one week once it’s opened, but this may vary depending on the brand. As such, you should always see what the label says about storage recommendations. 

If you won’t be able to finish the hummus within the week (or less, depending on the label), you should freeze it.

It’s typically best not to push it past the 4-day mark, as you risk food poisoning. At that point, you should keep a careful eye out for any signs of spoilage and be safe.

What About Homemade Hummus?

Homemade hummus will likely last for a maximum of 4 days in the refrigerator. This is because there are no additives in there to extend its life. Like with store bought hummus, if you’re worried about not finishing it by then, you should freeze the product. 

Fresh, homemade hummus is susceptible to turning quickly, though some recipes state that their hummus can sit for up to 7 days.

While these aren’t necessarily wrong, it’s not worth the risk. It isn’t always obvious when the product first starts to spoil. Freezing is the way to go.

Everything You Need To Know About “Expired” Hummus

Every kind of hummus you buy will have either a “best before” or “use by” date. The first is found on canned options, while the latter is on refrigerated hummus. It’s important to note that neither of these dates is actually an expiration date

These dates refer to the quality of the food, not their safety level! As such, you don’t have to worry about throwing any kind of item away just because it’s passed that date. All those dates tell you is the estimation of how long the hummus will keep its quality.

The vast majority of hummus will be perfectly fine past that date. Of course, exercise caution with this, as some hummus may no longer be safe to eat! Take a look at the previously mentioned things to look out for before making your final decision. 

If you have canned hummus, you can still use it if it’s a few months after It’s passed the best before date.

Only if you’re comfortable doing that, though – it always comes down to personal choice! These kinds of products are usually the safest, but you still shouldn’t feel forced to consume it if you aren’t completely comfortable. 

Refrigerated hummus can be a little more tricky. You should take into consideration the overall shelf life of the product.

Depending on where you got it from (e.g. the supermarket or a homemade-type from a small vendor), you may change the rules.

Homemade styles should really be eaten before the date, but extending it by a maximum of two days might be okay. If it’s from the grocery store, adding three days should be fine. 

Something with a 3-month storage limit can easily be extended by up to 10 days is probably fine. If it has a 2-week storage recommendation, then between 5-7 days might be okay.

Again, you should definitely make sure it looks good, smells good, and tastes good. Double check for any flunky business before digging in.

How To Properly Store Hummus

If you’ve read up to this point, you should have a pretty good idea of how to store your hummus. However, we’ll summarize it below to make things a little easier for everyone:

  • Store bought refrigerated hummus –  always refrigerate
  • Homemade hummus – always refrigerate
  • Unopened canned hummus – no need to refrigerate
  • Opened canned hummus – always refrigerate

A few other things to remember about proper hummus storage are as follows:

  • Keep it in a sealed container – covering it isn’t enough. You should transfer leftover hummus into an airtight container or resealable plastic bag if you can’t properly close the original container it came in. Once transferred, keep it in the fridge.
  • Always practice food hygiene – only use clean utensils when transferring your hummus from one container to another, and make sure the container is clean. You also shouldn’t dip directly into the hummus pot/container. Instead, scoop as much as you need out.

Can You Freeze Your Hummus?

Yes! We’ve briefly mentioned freezing hummus in the above sections, and it’s even recommended by sellers. This is actually one of the few dips that everyone agrees is perfectly okay to freeze.

If you’re concerned about not being able to finish your hummus, be sure to freeze it before its time is up. 

Follow the below steps to freeze hummus:

  1. Portion it if you have a lot. You probably won’t finish a big tub in one go *that’s why you’re freezing it, after all!). Divide it into how much you will need.
  2. Place the divided hummus into airtight containers or plastic bags and write the date on it.
  3. Freeze it! It’s that simple. 

There’s nothing special when it comes to freezing hummus. When the time comes to defrost it, just leave it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Stir it, and get dipping!

A Summary

So, hummus is great and all, but you need to know how to store it and when to know when to let go. The general rules are as follows:

  • Keep all hummus refrigerated, unless it’s unopened, canned hummus. 
  • At the first sign of spoiling (discoloration, bad smell, looks weird, etc.), throw it away!
  • Never leave refrigerated hummus on the counter for more than 2 hours. Throw it away after that point.
  • The “best by” and “use by” dates are NOT expiration dates, do use your common sense when choosing to throw it out or not. These are guidelines to bear in mind, but not a hard and fast rule for hummus storage.

Now that you know all you need to know about hummus, enjoy dipping!

Jess Smith