Does peanut butter and jelly need to be refrigerated?

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question “does peanut butter and jelly need to be refrigerated?” We will also discuss how long they last and the best storage methods for them.

No, peanut butter and jelly does not need to be refrigerated although it does survive longer in the refrigerator. However, if it’s a low-sugar or sugar-free jelly, an open jar would likely keep best in the fridge. 

Jelly containing a lot of sugar can be kept at room temperature in a firmly sealed jar in a dark and cold place.

Jellies without sugar should be kept refrigerated because they will spoil rapidly since it has nothing to keep their moisture level stable.

On the other hand, jellies and jams that are rich in water content and have a pH of around 3, don’t need to be refrigerated. They don’t have enough moisture to sustain bacteria and are also excessively acidic.

Peanut butter also stays fresh for up to three months in the pantry if its jar is opened. After that, it’s best to keep the peanut butter in the fridge for another 3-4 months to retain its quality. Oil separation can happen if you don’t refrigerate.

However, natural peanut butter can occasionally grow rancid when exposed to heat, light, and air. It will be safe if you keep it in the cupboard, far away from the heat.

How long does peanut butter last?

An unopened bottle of peanut butter can last for 6-9 months without the need for refrigeration.

Peanut butter has a long shelf life when compared to other spreads.

This is due to the high-fat content and low moisture level of peanut butter, which creates adverse circumstances for bacterial development.

Other important elements also affect the shelf life of peanut butter.

Stabilizers and preservatives are added to processed peanut butter to extend its shelf life, that’s why it’s acceptable to store it in a cool, dry pantry once opened. Preservatives inhibit microbial development while stabilizers help prevent oil separation and enhance texture and appearance.

Processed peanut butter can survive 6–24 months in the pantry if unopened, or 2–3 months if opened, due to the use of stabilizers and preservatives. Its shelf life can be extended by storing it in the refrigerator.

Its shelf life can be extended by storing it in the refrigerator. natural peanut butter, on the other hand, must contain at least 90% peanuts.

Because they lack preservatives and stabilizers, they have a shorter shelf life. Some natural peanut butter, on the other hand, may include stabilizers to avoid oil separation.

The National Peanut Board estimates that opened jars of commercially processed peanut butter kept in this manner will survive two to three months.

After that, they recommend keeping jars in the refrigerator for three to four months to increase their shelf life. Unopened jars will keep in the pantry for six to nine months, but you should check the expiration date to be sure. 

How to tell if peanut butter has gone bad?

Visual inspection and smell are the best ways to detect whether your peanut butter has gone rancid.

Spoiled peanut butter has a hard and dry feel, whereas fresh peanut butter is naturally smooth and creamy. 

It’s also likely to have gone bad if it smells harsh, soapy, or unpleasant.

Furthermore, if your peanut butter tastes somewhat sour rather than nutty, it may go bad.

Oil separation is common in natural peanut butter due to the absence of stabilizers. It’s not an indication that the peanut butter is spoiled.

How to properly store peanut butter?

Storing peanut butter properly will ensure that it will last long.

It doesn’t need to be refrigerated, but if you don’t want to keep your peanut butter in the fridge, put it in a cold, dark spot like the pantry.

It’s also crucial to keep peanut butter properly closed at all times. When peanut butter is exposed to air for an extended period of time, it can quickly become rancid.

How long does jelly last in the fridge?

It doesn’t make a big difference if you store jelly in the refrigerator or not. 

Store-bought jelly will keep for a long time in a cold, dry pantry if the lid is kept on.

In the fridge, an opened jar of jelly can survive for up to 12 months or longer.

Sugar-free jelly has a shelf life of 6 to 9 months in the refrigerator. The shelf life of jelly with reduced sugar content is slightly longer. It will stay in the fridge for 8 to 9 months.

Other FAQs about Peanut Butter that you may be interested in.

Does PB2 go bad?

Can you eat peanut butter on paleo?

Can you freeze peanut butter?


In this brief article, we answered the question “does peanut butter and jelly need to be refrigerated?” We also discussed how long they last and the best storage methods for them.