Do Nuts Go Bad

In short, Yes. But the answer is more complicated than that. Nuts are worth preserving because they are a convenient, delicious and versatile snack choice, and also have a high nutritional profile. But you’ve got a bit of research to do before you get all too hyped up with their health benefits and decide to purchase bulk orders of assorted nuts. First off, since nuts do spoil, how long does it take? Do different nuts have different shelf lives? There is a lot to learn before you can make nuts a long-term storage food that your family can depend on. 


Luckily we will also discuss how to extend the shelf life of nuts so that you can maximize your investment. 

Do Nuts Go Bad?

Of course, nuts do spoil and will eventually begin to smell foul. Nuts have a high oil content, and many of the fats found in nuts are unsaturated. This causes them to go bad especially quickly when they are exposed to heat, light and air. Thus, the kinds of nuts that contain a high oil content have greater risk of spoilage.

If you eat bad nuts, you will first notice that they don’t taste right. In terms of side effects, you may experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. But there are few emergency cases in which you may catch high fever, experience abdominal cramps, double vision, have muscle weakness and difficulty in speaking and swallowing. This is different than an allergy, this is food poisoning. If you end up with any of these symptoms while you are experimenting with long-term food storage for nuts, you should seek immediate medical attention.

How Long Do Nuts Last?

It largely depends on what kind of nuts, as well as other factors that come into play, like whether they are still in-shell or shelled, pre-packaged or homegrown, when they were picked, and how they have been stored.


Here are different kinds of nuts and their shelf life at best:


In pantry: 4 months

In fridge: 1 year


Brazil Nuts

In pantry: 6 to 9 months

In fridge: 1 year



In pantry: 6 months

In fridge: 1 year



In pantry: 6 months (in-shell) and 3 to 4 months (if shelled)

In fridge: 1 year (both in-shell and shelled)


Macadamia Nuts

In pantry: 5 to 6 months

In fridge: 1 year


In pantry: 6 months (in-shell); and 4 months (if shelled)

In fridge: 1 year (both in-shell and shelled)



In pantry: 3 months (in-shell); and 4 months (if shelled)

In fridge: 10 months (in-shell); and 1 year and 6 months (if shelled)


Pine Nuts

In pantry: 2 to 3 months

In fridge: 6 months



In pantry: 6 months (in-shell); and 5 months (if shelled)

In fridge: 1 year (both in-shell and shelled)



In pantry: 6 months (in-shell); and 3 months (if shelled)

In fridge: 1 year (in-shell); and 6 months (if shelled)

How Should You Store These Nuts?

As you can see above, storing nuts in the fridge extends their shelf life over storing them in a pantry. Refrigerating nuts will also help your nuts with maintaining their flavors. You should also remove them out of their original packaging and transfer them to airtight food containers, whether glass or plastic, since these will ensure proper moisture levels for your stored nuts.


If you choose to store them at a room temperature, like in a pantry, you must make sure to place them in a dry, cool and dark space without direct exposure to light, oxygen and heat. In this case you should also transfer them to airtight food containers. By doing so, nuts will preserve their freshness for at least 3 months in this type of storage.


If you plan for mid-to-long term storage, then simply store them in the fridge or freezer. Keep in mind to place them away from strong smelling food such as onions in the fridge, as nuts tend to absorb the smell of the foods around them. Storing them in the freezer will easily preserve their freshness for up to a year. You do not need to worry if they get frozen, it will have zero effect on the taste once defrosted.

Final Thoughts

Nuts are indeed a healthy snack choice and can be added to many different recipes in addition to being a portable source of protein. In order to prevent them from going bad too quickly, always keep in mind the safe handling and storage practices discussed here. Even if you only store nuts short-term, you want to preserve their freshness and enjoy them by the time you eat them. Long term storage is easier and will give you a great opportunity for a source of protein if you’re stuck bugging in. Whether on the move or stuck at home, properly stored nuts can be a valuable nutritional resource in a SHTF situation.