Sometimes, you’ll find a jar of Nutella in the pantry and try to remember how long ago you bought it, but since you can’t remember, you decide to check the expiration date. It’s not expired yet, but it will be soon. You wonder if the hazelnut spread is safe and ask the question: Does Nutella go bad?
The short answer is yes. Nutella can go bad. It can go bad pretty fast, depending on storing and handling conditions.
Nutella contains hazelnuts, skim milk, cocoa and sugar. Milk and hazelnuts go bad fast, which is worth remembering, especially if you store your Nutella at room temperature. To learn how to properly store Nutella, the warning signs you should look for, and other tips on how to best enjoy this delicious spread, read on!
How To Tell If Nutella Has Gone Bad
Nutella contains oil, which makes it prone to going rancid. To determine if your Nutella is still safe to eat, check its smell. If you detect an odd scent when you open the jar or notice the flavor is off, the safest thing might be to throw it in the trash.
Because Nutella has oil in it, it tends to separate into layers when stored for long periods. The separation is not a sign of rancidness but a natural occurrence. The same thing happens to peanut butter, mustard and sesame paste. If you notice your Nutella has separated into layers, all you need to do is mix it.
Aside from a weird smell, other signs that Nutella went bad are moldy growths, changes in texture, and material growth. You can determine if you should throw away your Nutella based on texture changes.
Although Nutella’s texture will degrade over time, it will not happen overnight. If you open a jar of Nutella and notice an unpleasant smell, if the flavor has changed, or if the texture has hardened, you will have to open a new jar.
How Long Does Nutella Last?
Nutella has a best-by date on its label. Keep in mind that the date is only an estimate for how long the product will stay fresh. Most products, Nutella included, will stay fresh past their best-by date, but their quality will still degrade. Storage and handling are also important.
If you store and handle your Nutella properly, it will remain fresh longer. For example, leaving the jar open for hours sitting in the sun, or sticking your fingers in the jar will reduce the shelf life of your Nutella.
Nutella will usually be safe to eat for a few months after the best-by date, which is likely several months after opening the jar. Its freshness will degrade over time, so a six-month-old Nutella jar will not be as good as a new one.
And if you have a jar of Nutella at home that has been there for over two years, definitely toss it for safety reasons.
How To Store Nutella
Store your Nutella as you would store peanut butter: place the jar in a cool, dark place, and keep it away from light and heat.
You can do two important things to keep Nutella fresh. Always close the cap tightly after you use it, and handle it properly. Resist the temptation to dip your finger in the jar, which will cause bacteria to grow in the spread.
Instead, make sure you always use clean utensils (a spoon or a knife) to scoop the spread and do not double-dip!
You do not need to refrigerate Nutella. Refrigerating Nutella will cause it to harden and make it harder to spread. It hardens because chilly temperatures trigger the separation of milk proteins and the oil from the nuts.
If you choose to keep your Nutella in the fridge and it becomes stiff, you can put it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it.
Another question people often have is “can I freeze my Nutella?” Like any other food, yes, you can freeze it, but it will forever alter the taste and texture of the spread. If you choose to freeze your Nutella, remember that it will harden, so you must thaw it completely before use.
One last thing about freezing: Nutella comes in a glass jar, which may shatter when exposed to cold temperatures, so transfer the Nutella to a freezer-safe container before freezing it, write down the date you froze it and stick it to the container.
You may also want to divide it up into portions so you only thaw what you are going to eat instead of a whole batch.
Uses for Nutella
Nutella is a versatile and delicious option for snacks and treats. Here are a few ideas if you would like to add Nutella to your day:
Nutella S’mores Pizza
Bake the pizza dough (store-bought is fine) for 15 minutes without toppings and set aside. After it cools, spread Nutella on it and add tiny marshmallows.
Put it back in the oven between two to five minutes. Heat it until the marshmallows melt, then remove it and take a bite!
Nutella and M&M’s Popcorn
Get the popcorn ready. Place a few tablespoons of Nutella in a bowl and microwave for 10–15 seconds. Stir and repeat until it is soft enough to lightly spread over the popcorn. Put some M&M’s on the spread and enjoy!
Melt the hazelnut spread, dip the strawberries in it, and put them on a tray to dry. Once they are dry, place them in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Nutella is a delicious spread that can add a lot of flavor to your day. So long as you store and handle your Nutella properly, a jar should last you for a long time—if you don’t eat it first, of course.