Does Nutella go bad?

In this brief guide, we will be answering the question, “Does Nutella go bad.” as well as other questions like how long can nutella last and what are the uses and ideal storage practices to prolong the shelf life of your nutella.

Does Nutella go bad?

Nutella can go bad, as any food product. Like other spreads, it has a long shelf life and it can go bad fastly, depending on the storage conditions, especially if it has been contaminated. 

What is the shelf life of Nutella?

The shelf life of Nutella is as indicated in the packaging. Nutella is considered a shelf-stable product, that means, if kept unopened, it will be stable for an indefinite period of time, unless it is contaminated (1). 

This is because Nutella contains a high amount of sugar and oil, which reduces the water available for microbial growth and prevents spoilage through microbial action (4).

A shelf-stable product can safely be used after the expiration date, as the expiration date refers to its quality and not its safety. Products that display an expiration date, while still safe, may not be of acceptable quality after the expiration date. 

In the case of Nutella, it can mean the appearance of rancid odors and flavors and separation of the oil and water phases.

What are the factors that affect the shelf life of Nutella? 

The factors that affect the shelf life of Nutella are the temperature of storage, the exposure to oxygen, light and moisture (3):

  • The higher the temperature, the shorter the shelf life
  • The exposure to humidity, oxygen, light and metal ions trigger lipid oxidation reactions

The high amount of sugar acts as a preservative agent, but oil and milk limit the shelf life. Store bought nutella can be used for over several months as it contains some additives and preservatives that aids in having a bit longer shelf life than a homemade one. Emulsifiers may be added to avoid oil separation (3).

However, the high lipid content with a large proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids, in addition to thermal stress caused by possible use of roasted nuts, these products are particularly prone to lipid oxidation. 

This leads to formation of hydroperoxides that further degrade into secondary oxidation products such as ketones, aldehydes, and other molecules. The release in the head-space of these secondary oxidation compounds is associated with changes in the odor of the product, resulting in rancidity (2).

The shelf life of Nutella depends on the way it is stored. Peanut butter and other nut butter products are usually regarded as microbiologically stable and safe for consumption owing to the inherent low water activity between 0.22–0.30 as it cannot support the growth and proliferation of bacterial pathogens (4).

How to store nutella? 

To store Nutella, keep it in a cool and dark place. The shelf life of nutella depends on the way it is processed and stored. If stored improperly, the overall flavor and texture of nutella will be altered. Just like peanut butter, nutella is shelf stable and can be stored at room temperature. 

Studies on the storage temperature of peanut spreads showed that, differently from homemade products, commercial products have high stability when stored at room temperature after opening and showed little changes in moisture, oxidation and oil separation (4).

  • The nutella should be stored away from light, in a dark and dry area. Storing the unopened nutella next to a heat source can shorten its shelf life as fat in nutella get rancid. Lipid oxidation is initiated by compounds known as sensitizers which include heat, light and metal ions (3).
  •  In order to ensure maximum shelf-life, make sure your nutella is isolated in an airtight container. In the presence of oxygen, oxidative reactions are usually of the greatest importance and hence, the storage life is then limited by the development of oxidative rancidity of fat in the food product (3). 
  • After opening your jar, ensure that you keep the lid tightly closed.
  • Avoid the contamination by using clean utensils every time to scoop nutella.  

Can you freeze Nutella?

Yes, you can also freeze Nutella. There is a clear effect of temperature on storage life, with lower temperatures resulting in extended storage (5). 

When you do, it will freeze solid without losing any of its flavor. It is not advised to store the nutella in the jar as during freezing it might expand and break. Freeze-thawing of emulsions may change their texture. Freezing can have a significant effect on product appearance and quality of food (5). 

Other FAQs about Nutella which you may be interested in.

What happens If you eat expired Nutella?

Can you get sick from eating expired Nutella?

Does Nutella expire?

How to tell if your nutella has gone bad?

To tell if Nutella has gone bad, you should identify the signs of lipid deterioration. Oxidation of lipids results in the generation of secondary oxidation products such as ketones and aldehydes, which characterize off-odors.

Oil/ water separation indicates the rupture of the emulsion, which is identified through an oily layer on the surface of the product. This results in the loss of quality and may accelerate the oxidation process.

In addition, Nutella is not free from the risk of being contaminated during production or by its manufacturing ingredients. In the case of Salmonella contaminated products, the bacteria may survive in the nut spread. 

In a study, the survival rate of Salmonella in inoculated peanut butter is greater in commercial peanut butter than the natural’s at all storage temperatures due to the presence of added corn syrup solids, soy protein and nutrient supplements which helps in retaining viability of Salmonella (4).


In this brief guide, we will be answering the question, “Does nutella go bad.” as well as other questions like how long can nutella last and what are the uses and ideal storage practices to prolong the shelf life of your nutella.


  1. Shelf stable food safety. United States Department of Agriculture.
  2. Shakerardekani, Ahmad, et al. Textural, rheological and sensory properties and oxidative stability of nut spreads—a review. Int j mol sci, 2013, 14, 4223-4241.
  3. Cevoli, Chiara, et al. Storage time of nut spreads using flash gas chromatography E-nose combined with multivariate data analysis. LWT, 2022, 159, 113217.
  4. Mohd Rozalli, N. H., et al. Quality changes of stabilizer-free natural peanut butter during storage. J food sci technol, 2016, 53, 694-702.
  5. Evans, Judith A., ed. Frozen food science and technology. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.