Many of us grew up eating Nutella on toast for breakfast and I'm pretty sure we've all asked ourselves this question at some point in our lives. Does Nutella go bad? I don't know about you, but I could probably polish off an entire jar in one sitting if given the opportunity. However, as delicious as it is, I always worry that I might be eating something past its prime.
So does Nutella go bad, and how long does it last? Let's take a look and learn about Nutella's storage, shelf life, and expiration date, shall we?
But before we get into that, let's take a moment to explore what Nutella actually is.
What is Nutella?
According to the official website, Nutella is "a spread made from hazelnuts, skim milk, and cocoa." It was first created in the 1940s by Italian confectioner Pietro Ferrero.
Since its creation, Nutella has become a household name and a staple in many kitchens worldwide. Its creamy, chocolatey, hazelnutty flavor is hard to resist! It's most commonly eaten on toast or used as a dip for fruit, but there are endless possibilities for recipes that include Nutella.
And while it might be tempting to think of it as chocolate hazelnut butter, it's actually quite different.
Nutella contains less than 50% hazelnuts, while most chocolate hazelnut butter contains more than 70%. Nutella also has more sugar and less cocoa than your average chocolate hazelnut butter.
Chocolate hazelnut butter is typically made with roasted hazelnuts, while Nutella is made with roasted and ground hazelnuts. Spreadable or useable, the smoother, creamier texture makes it perfect for toast.
It's also worth noting that chocolate hazelnut butter is typically made with dark chocolate, while Nutella uses cocoa. The result is a sweeter taste that is reminiscent of milk chocolate.
The ease of storage and long shelf life are just two of the reasons why Nutella or even Ferrero Rocher has become so popular. But does that mean it doesn't go bad?
What are the 7 ingredients in Nutella?
Nutella is so addictive, and the answer lies in its ingredients. Nutella contains sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa powder, skim milk, lecithin, and vanillin.
Sugar is the first ingredient on the list, meaning there's more sugar than anything else in Nutella. Basically, there are 21 grams of sugar in two tablespoons of Nutella. That's more than a marshmallow!
2 Palm oil
The second ingredient, palm oil, is a type of vegetable oil derived from the fruit of palm trees. Their website says that "the palm oil they used is 100% sustainable palm oil traceable back to the mill and mainly originates from Malaysia and Indonesia." The palm oil in Nutella helps to keep the spread smooth and creamy.
Hazelnuts are the next ingredient on the list, and, as you might expect, they give Nutella its characteristic flavor. Its sweet, nutty flavor makes it ideal for baking. According to the website, Ferrero uses a unique process to roast their hazelnuts. By doing so, Nutella gets its unique flavor and brings out the natural sweetness of the nuts.
4 Cocoa powder
Cocoa powder is another key ingredient in Nutella. It's what gives the spread its chocolatey flavor. The cocoa used in Nutella comes from sustainably grown cacao beans, and it's Rainforest Alliance certified.
5 Skim milk
Skim milk is the next ingredient on the list. It's a type of milk that has had the fat removed—using skim milk thins out the spread's consistency. It's a common ingredient in many different foods, including Nutella.
In Nutella, lecithin is an emulsifier to prevent the ingredients from separating. It's often derived from soybeans but can also be derived from other sources, such as sunflower seeds.
The final ingredient on the list is vanillin. This flavoring is responsible for giving Nutella its unique taste.
In light of what Nutella is, let's get back to our original question.
Does Nutella go bad?
The answer is actually no, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. However, like any food product, Nutella can go stale, gradually lose its flavor, and become less creamy over time.
How is that?
The main reason why Nutella doesn't go bad is because of its ingredients. The sugar, palm oil, and cocoa powder act as preservatives and prevent the spread from going bad.
The high sugar content also makes it difficult for bacteria to grow, making Nutella more resistant to spoilage.
The hazelnuts in Nutella are also a natural preservative; they contain a high amount of oleic acid, which is a type of monounsaturated fat. This type of fat is known for its resistance to oxidation, which means it doesn't go rancid as easily as other fats. This helps to keep the Nutella fresh and extends its shelf life.
But over time, the fats in hazelnuts can go rancid, giving Nutella a stale taste. Heat or light can accelerate this process. Storing your Nutella in a cool, dry place will help it stay fresh. Once you've opened the jar, it's best to consume it within a few months to ensure the best flavor.
How long does Nutella last?
Nutella can last on the shelf for months or even years without opening. It provides an idea of how long the product will remain fresh and of what quality. If you look at the best-by date on the jar, you should be able to estimate how long the product will last. Nutella is still edible after the best-by date, but it might not taste as good as it did when it was fresh.
Once you open the jar, the clock starts ticking, and Nutella will only last for 12 months. A decline in quality and a change in flavor will occur after that. That means Nutella sitting in your pantry for two years is probably still safe to eat, but it won't taste as good as it did when you first opened it.
Of course, these are just general guidelines, and your Nutella may last longer or go bad sooner depending on several factors.
Their website specifies that Nutella has a 12-month shelf life after opening, and storage conditions should be cool and dry.
The storage conditions of Nutella
Where do you keep Nutella?
As with most foods, proper storage is key to keeping Nutella fresh and preventing it from going bad. The ideal storage conditions for Nutella are cool and dry. You should maintain a temperature of 18° and 20° C, or 64° and 68° F.
As a precaution against hazelnuts going rancid due to temperature fluctuations, it's best to avoid storing Nutella in a warm place. A kitchen pantry or cupboard away from heat sources, such as the stove or oven, is usually a good option. But if your pantry gets too warm, you can store Nutella in the fridge. Just be sure to bring it to room temperature before using it, as the cold can make it difficult to spread.
Can you freeze Nutella?
You can freeze Nutella, but it's not necessary. If you live in a hot climate or your pantry is prone to temperature fluctuations, freezing can help extend the shelf life of your Nutella. Just be sure to thaw it before using it, as the freezing process can change the texture and make it difficult to spread.
To freeze Nutella, simply place it in a freezer-safe container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before using.
Does Nutella need refrigeration?
As with most things in life, the answer is both yes and no. According to the official Nutella website, you don't need to refrigerate the product before or after opening it.
What happens to Nutella if you refrigerate it?
The main ingredient in Nutella is hazelnuts, which are naturally high in oils. These oils help keep the spread nice and smooth but also make it susceptible to going rancid.
Rancidity is when fats and oils break down and produce an unpleasant odor and flavor. The process accelerates in the presence of heat, light, and air. This is why Nutella comes in a dark jar with a tight-fitting lid.
So does that mean you can just leave it out on the counter?
Not necessarily. If you live in a hot climate, or if your pantry tends to get pretty warm, it's best to store the hazelnut spread in the fridge. While you don't need to refrigerate Nutella, keeping it in a cool, dry place is essential.
Just be sure to stir it before using, as the oils can separate and rise to the top while it's chilling in the fridge.
How long does Nutella last in the fridge?
So while you don't need to refrigerate Nutella, keeping it in a cool, dark place like your pantry is best. Refrigerating Nutella can cause it to harden and change in texture.
Why does Nutella harden when put in the fridge?
If you've accidentally left a peanut butter jar in the fridge, you know what I'm talking about. The answer has to do with those same oils we talked about earlier. Under cold temperatures, they tend to solidify, and it would be pretty tough to spread Nutella on your toast if it was all clumped together, wouldn't it?
So if you do decide to refrigerate your Nutella, be sure to take it out a few minutes before you plan on using it so that it has a chance to soften up. However, refrigeration may help keep the Nutella from going bad too quickly if you live in a sweltering and humid climate.
So, how long does it last if you're not refrigerating your Nutella?
The answer to that question depends on a few factors. First, let's take a look at the expiration date.
The "best by date" on a jar of Nutella is usually about two years from the date of manufacture. However, it's important to note that this is only an estimate, and the actual shelf life of the product may be different.
The date gives you an idea of how long the product will be at its peak quality. After the expiration date has passed, the Nutella may still be safe to eat, but it may not be as fresh or delicious as it once was.
Let's talk about how long Nutella lasts after it's been opened now that we've discussed its expiration date.
As we mentioned before, the main ingredient in Nutella is hazelnuts, which are high in oils. These oils can go rancid over time, especially if the Nutella is exposed to heat, light, or air.
To help prevent the Nutella from going bad, close the lid tightly after each use and store it in a cool, dark place like your pantry. If you do these things, your Nutella should be good for about six months or even a year after it's been opened. (source)
What are the signs that Nutella has gone bad?
Like most people, you probably think of Nutella as a delicious, chocolatey treat. It is, after all, made with hazelnuts and cocoa. But did you know that Nutella can actually go bad? Like most food products, Nutella has a shelf life. And once it expires, it may not be safe to eat.
Here are some signs to look for that indicate your Nutella has gone bad:
The most obvious sign that your Nutella has gone bad is the appearance. If the hazelnut spread has changed color or developed a strange texture, it's probably time to toss it.
What kind of texture changes am I talking about?
If your Nutella is starting to look grainy or has clumps in it, that's a sign that it's going bad. Another sign is if the color has changed from a deep brown to a lighter shade.
If you see any of these changes, it's best to play it safe and throw the Nutella away.
You can also detect bad Nutella by smelling it. Rancid hazelnuts have a strong, unpleasant odor. If your Nutella smells off, it's probably time to toss it. If the hazelnut spread has developed a sour or off odor, it's best to discard it.
What kind of smell?
Some say it smells like crayons or Play-Doh, while others compare it to aldehydes or wet cardboard. You should probably avoid tasting Nutella if the smell is nasty; to be on the safe side.
If the smell isn't enough to deter you, go ahead and take a taste. Rancid hazelnuts will make the Nutella taste bitter and sharp. If it tastes off, it's time to say goodbye to your beloved hazelnut spread. It's just not worth the risk.
The final way to tell if your Nutella has gone bad is to check the texture. If it has become lumpy or dry, it has most likely spoiled and should be thrown out. Once the oils in Nutella have gone bad, they will start to harden, making the texture of the spread change.
If you've ever left a jar of Nutella out in the sun, you may have noticed that it became grainy. This is because the heat causes the cocoa butter in the spread to separate from the hazelnut solids. While this doesn't necessarily mean that your Nutella has gone bad, it can affect the taste and texture. If you're not a fan of grainy Nutella, you can try putting the jar in the fridge, which will help to re-solidify the cocoa butter.
Does Nutella actually expire?
There is no expiration date for Nutella. The "best before" date on the jar is more of a guideline than anything else. That said, over time, the hazelnut spread's quality will degrade and eventually go bad. Once Nutella starts to turn, the texture and flavor will change, and it can even develop mold. So while you may not get sick from eating expired Nutella, it's definitely not going to taste as good as it once did.
If you want to extend the shelf life of your Nutella, make sure to store it in a cool, dry place. And once you open the jar, seal it tightly and use it within a few months for the best results.
Can I eat 1 year expired Nutella?
Consuming expired Nutella probably won't be the best idea. However, it won't hurt you either. The texture and flavor may have changed slightly, but it is still safe to eat.
Why is it still safe to eat expired Nutella?
Nutella's main ingredient is sugar, which does not go bad. Sugar is a preservative, so it doesn't spoil or rot like other foods preventing other things from going bad. Those reasons make it ideal for jams, jellies, and other food that can last for years.
The other ingredients in Nutella are cocoa, hazelnuts, milk, and vanilla. These ingredients are also shelf-stable and don't go bad quickly.
So, even though the expiration date on Nutella has passed, it is still safe to eat. The flavor and texture may have changed slightly, but it won't hurt you.
If you're unsure if your Nutella is still good, the best way to test it is to taste it. If it tastes off, or you're not sure, it's best to throw it out.
How long is Nutella good past the sell-by date?
The sell-by date is not an indicator of when the spread will spoil but rather help the stores know how long they can keep the product on their shelves or whether the store should no longer sell it.
Why is that? Because the food producers know that the food will still be good to eat after the sell-by date, it may not look as fresh or taste as good.
How long can you use Nutella after the expiration date?
The answer to this question is a little complicated. The shelf life of Nutella is very long if it's stored properly, but eventually, it will become rancid. The Nutella jar's expiration date is only an estimate of how long the product will stay fresh. Once you open the tub, the clock starts ticking, and Nutella begins to deteriorate.
So, how long or how many months or years can Nutella be used after the expiration date?
The answer is that it depends. If you store the Nutella in a cool, dry place, it will last much longer than if you keep it in a warm, humid place. Once you open the jar, it is best to use it within a few months. After that, the Nutella will start to lose its flavor and texture.