How to tell if almonds are bad? (3 ways how)

In this article, we will answer the question “How to tell if almonds are bad?”, and how to safely store almonds?

How to tell if almonds are bad?

You can tell if almonds have gone bad by observing the signs of spoilage mentioned below.

  1. Rancid nuts develop an off-flavor that smells like paint, nail polish, or old plastic containers. Give the almonds a whiff and if they taste anything like it, throw them away. 
  2. If you are unsure about the smell, taste a small piece of almond and if they taste sour or bitter, it is a clear indication of spoilage. 
  3. Taste a few almond snacks to check if they are palatable or not. If you do not like the flavor, discard them.

Do almonds go bad? 

Almonds most certainly do go bad if they are stored improperly. Improper storage conditions include exposure to heat, light, and oxygen. Under such circumstances, almonds will produce oil that makes them go bad.

Why do almonds go bad?

Almonds go bad because they are prone to rancidity. This is because of the high level of unsaturated fats present in the almonds. The auto-oxidants present in almonds oxidize these fats when exposed to moisture, light, heat, or oxygen. Rancid almonds end up tasting sour or bitter and can make you sick when ingested.

How long do almonds last?

Raw almonds will stay fresh for at least a year and up to 2 years maximum. Unopened snack almonds will preserve their quality for at least a week past the best-by date. Once opened, the deterioration speeds up so it is better to not store it for extended periods of time.

In the fridge and pantry, opened snack almonds will be good for 4 weeks and 2 weeks, respectively.

Raw natural Packaging Shelf-life 
In-shellAmbient/Bag36 months
Sliced/Diced/mealAmbient/carton/poly carton18 months
Raw blanchedPackaging Shelf-life 
Whole/silvered/Sliced/diced/mealAmbient/poly carton18 months
Oil roasted(canola or safflower)Packaging Shelf-life
Whole naturalNitrogen flushed18 months
SmokehouseNitrogen flushed18 months
Honey roasted wholeNitrogen flushed18 months
Diced naturalNitrogen flushed12 months
Dry roastedPackaging Shelf-life
Whole naturalNitrogen flushed24 months
Diced naturalNitrogen flushed12 months

Roasted almonds usually last longer because the roasting temperatures lower the mixture levels of the nuts. Moreover, the application of chocolate, BHT, or tocopherol coating extends the shelf-life of the almonds. BHT is a synthetic anti-oxidant while tocopherol is a powerful natural anti-oxidant.

On the other hand, raw almonds especially those that have gone through some kind of size reduction have a reduced shelf-life due to increased moisture and surface area.

How to store almonds?

Almonds like any other nuts like walnuts and peanuts should be stored at low temperatures. Almonds contain a rich amount of fats and they will go rancid if exposed to warm temperatures, extreme temperature fluctuations, and moisture.

It is best to store the almonds in the fridge or freezer. However, the humid environment of the fridge or freezer might spoil the nuts. Therefore, it is recommended to store almonds in a freezer bag. Keep the almonds in the original packaging if it is thick and sturdy enough to block moisture and prevent the almonds from picking up any unwanted odors. 

If you have to store seasoned snack almonds for longer periods, follow the instructions provided on their label. While raw and roasted almonds are best stored in the fridge or freezer.

On the other hand, in-shell almonds will stay fresh for years when stored in a well-ventilated place in the pantry. If you want to cold store in-shell almonds, follow the same guidelines as mentioned above. When in the pantry, keep away from direct sunlight.

How to buy the best almonds?

When buying in-shell almonds, shake the almond. If you can hear the nut rattling inside the shell, it means the nut is old and is probably shrunken. When buying shelled almonds, look for the ones that have solid white-creamy colors all over. If the shelled almonds appear yellowish upon slicing or have a honeycomb pattern, it means the almonds are rancid. 

What type of almonds are poisonous?

Bitter almonds have a poisonous compound called glycoside amygdalin. This toxin is broken down into Hydrogen cyanide during digestion which can lead to death if consumed in sufficient amounts.

6-10 bitter almonds is all it takes to poison a healthy adult. Ingesting more than 50 bitter almonds can lead to death. However, there are ways you can consume bitter almonds safely.

When bitter almonds are subjected to heat treatments like baking, microwaving, roasting, or boiling, the cyanide content of the bitter almonds is reduced up to 98%. However, there aren’t enough studies to ensure the safety of thermally processed bitter almonds.


In this article, we answered the question “How to tell if almonds are bad?”, and how to safely store almonds?


Do Almonds Go Bad?