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How Quickly Do Nuts Go Rancid?

how quickly do nuts go rancid

Nuts are healthy fruits that contain beneficial vitamin E, proteins, unsaturated fats, and fiber.

When eaten in moderate amounts, nuts can prevent heart disease by lowering harmful cholesterol levels.

But the question is: how quickly do nuts go rancid?

How quickly nuts go rancid depends on the best by date, type of nut, and storage method, but the maximum shelf life of nuts is about two to three years.

The unsaturated fats in nuts once oxidized after exposure to light, heat, and air, make nuts go rancid fast.

Nuts taste great, whether roasted or raw and have a way of pleasing your taste buds.

Nonetheless, the qualities that make nuts so healthy also make them rancid fast despite having a long shelf life. In this article, we will have a breakdown of rancidity in nuts.

Nuts are nutrient-dense foods with a high oil percentage and hence are more susceptible to becoming rancid in warm and moist environments.

Nuts can be well-stored at room temperature for up to a month, but afterward, they should be canned in airtight containers and refrigerated.

When properly stored, their shelf life can increase up to a year or two.

How Can You Tell if Nuts Are Rancid?

How Can You Tell if Nuts Are Rancid

It is quite challenging to find a snack that is so healthy yet binge-worthy.

Nuts are no one’s idea of a good time when they go rancid.

You can tell when nuts go rancid from their unpleasant smell or taste.

When nuts go rancid, they not only taste awful but also undergo chemical changes to contain hazardous organisms, like salmonella or E. coli, that could affect your health if eaten regularly.

It is hard to see or taste some of these chemicals. However, it is not difficult to tell if a nut is rancid or not.


Although not always accurate, your nose is one of the best ways to know if your nuts have become rancid.

You can tell that nuts have become rancid if you smell an odor akin to nail polish, play dough, paint, or ancient plastic containers after opening a nut container.

The smell may be masked by spices or a crunchy coating but usually not entirely.

If you find yourself wondering: ‘do these nuts smell normal?’ then, without a doubt, your nuts have gone rancid.


If you have sensed a foul odor from the nuts but are still unsure whether you sniffed rancidity or it is something awkward in how the nuts are seasoned, you can try tasting one.

If a nut is rancid, it will have a disgusting taste.

However, avoid swallowing the nut, rinse your mouth, and discard the other nuts for your safety. We would encourage you to try quality nuts from Amazon, Nature’s Garden Omega-3 Deluxe Nuts.

They are fresh, natural, and have a delicious taste.


Mold is a powdery coating that’s often easy to recognize. It is common in fresh, unprocessed nuts and less prevalent in commercially packed varieties.

If you buy seasoned nuts that come with a powdery coating, it can be a bit harder to notice, but you can still sniff to tell if there is a distinctively sharp smell.

Avoid tasting nuts that are moldy because they contain toxic substances.

Stale vs. Rancid Nuts

Rancidity, in simple terms, is the oxidation of fats. Rancid nuts taste sour or bitter and have a terrible smell.

The nut tends to feel too greasy or feature a strange color. They are not precisely harmful and may not affect your health once you eat them, but it is always better to be safe.

However, there are long-term health risks linked to rancid foods.

On the other hand, stale nuts are okay to eat, although they have to be processed to make them edible again.

Toasting them in a dry pan is enough to revive them, but they can also go into any recipe that needs nuts. We would recommend getting the Amazon Brand Deluxe Mixed Nuts from Amazon.

These nuts have a unique great taste and have a long shelf life.

How Do You Revive Stale Nuts?

How Do You Revive Stale Nuts

Nuts in their shells are long-storage items.

Most nuts have a shelf life of up to two years at room temperature, but the shelf-life varies widely depending on storage method and ingredients. Unless properly stored, some nuts may quickly become rancid or stale.

Fortunately, stale nuts are easy to revive with a little baking, roasting, or spicing.


The easiest way to make your nuts delicious again is by dry roasting or toasting in a pan or oven. Roasting on medium or low heat does not take long.

In fact, in about 10 minutes, your nuts will taste as good as a fresh pack or maybe better.

These are the steps that you should follow:

  1. Shell as many nuts as you require.
  2. Pick over the shelled nuts, discarding any visibly moldy, shriveled, or have a foul scent.
  3. Preheat the oven to about 350℉ (176.7°C).
  4. Spread the nuts over a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes while shaking and turning the pan during the process.
  6. Remove the nuts and allow some time for them to cool.

Bonus Tip: You can soak the shelled nuts in milk mixed with an equal amount of water through the night if they have absorbed unwanted flavors or odors from other foods.

After twelve hours, rinse the nuts, dry or roast them in an oven as indicated in the process above.

For the best taste, the refreshed nuts ought to be used immediately.

If you have to, you can store them in an airtight package in a refrigerator for about a week or two before using or eating them.

Adding Spices

Roasting is a straightforward method. However, adding a little oil, salt-for unsalted nuts, spices, and sweeteners can revive nuts that would only have been fit for consumption by birds.

Any spice would be okay, from cumin, paprika, cayenne, and you can also add some sweeteners, like maple syrup, depending on your preference.

Can Rancid Nuts Make You Sick?

Can Rancid Nuts Make You Sick

So, if you are wondering,

“Is it dangerous to eat rancid nuts?”

Often, the harmful effect of eating stale nuts is usually an awful taste in the mouth.

You won’t experience stomach upsets, terminal liver damage, or dire health consequences for eating rancid nuts once or twice.

However, continually eating rancid nuts is a whole different thing in the long run.

In some instances, rancid nuts may lead to irritation of your inner stomach lining or intestines, and you may experience nausea or diarrhea.

Moreover, rancid foods have diminished nutritional value because oxidation destroys all the good fat.

Therefore, in as much as eating rancid nuts may not make you sick, regular consumption will sooner or later trigger digestive issues.

It can also cause the development of cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases or even certain cancers.

How To Prevent Nuts From Becoming Rancid

How To Prevent Nuts From Becoming Rancid

Nuts are often best when stored in a refrigerator because it is a cool and dry environment that extends the nuts’ shelf life.

This works especially with walnuts, cashew nuts, and pecans that tend to become rancid quickly in warmer temperatures.

Before refrigeration, you should keep the nuts in airtight containers to keep moisture and other contaminants away.

The most perishable nuts are pistachio and pine. Opened packages also have a shorter shelf life than the ones indicated in the packaging.

Also, keep in mind that nuts will absorb odors around them if they are not stored in well-sealed containers.

However, with time, all foods and nuts that have fats become rancid, but you can avoid wastage in the following ways:

  • Buy reasonable quantities, and preferably, store where there is easy product turnover.
  • Check the dates well, including the expiry, best before, and manufacturing dates.
  • Store in sealable containers, unlike thin paper or plastic bags.
  • Make sure containers are closed after use.

Some pros of good food storage are a healthy lifestyle, lower food costs, and wastage prevention.

An important thing to note about best-by dates is that they are generally reliable, but individual cases may be unique.

Thus, it is essential to seek professional advice from medical personnel.

Generally, nuts only last as long as the fastest expiring ingredient is included.

You could also watch this YouTube video that demonstrates how to prevent your nuts from becoming rancid:

Final Thoughts

Usually, nuts are still consumable six months after the printed expiry date, a year after the printed date if they are refrigerated, and two years if they are stored in a freezer.

However, you cannot entirely prevent nuts from becoming rancid.

Most importantly, you have the information you need to revive stale nuts if it happens without your knowledge.

You should also be conscious of what you eat to avoid contracting food-related diseases that are easily preventable.

Therefore, you should discard nuts if you suspect rancidity through a foul smell or taste.