How to Tell If Hummus Is Bad? (3 Easy Ways to Check)


Different factors affect how long hummus lasts in the fridge, including the expiration date, the method of preparation, and the storage conditions.

Hummus, a spread or dip originally from Greece, is made primarily of chickpeas and other seasonings. It is rich in protein, vitamins, and fiber, which have led to its global popularity.

It is also reasonably inexpensive, low in fat, low in cholesterol, and low in maintenance. Considering its nutritional value, many of you might have the question, how to tell if hummus is bad?  

If the hummus has gone bad, you can usually tell by the odor. If the hummus has a sour taste or smell, it has likely gone bad. Mold can also grow in hummus if it is left out for too long. The aroma of freshly made hummus is very subtle. 

In this article, we will discuss the different ways you can tell if the hummus is bad or fresh, what spoiled hummus looks like, its expiration, and other factors. 


Different Ways to Tell If Hummus Is Bad? 

There are different ways to identify whether the hummus has gone bad and to ensure that you only use the hummus till it’s fresh.  

1. Sour Odor  

When opening a jar of hummus, if you detect a sour odor, it is best to toss the entire contents into the trash.

Bacteria have multiplied, and the hummus is now ruined and should be thrown out. There isn’t much of a smell to hummus. 

Adding new flavors and spices will alter the fragrance, but a sour odor is a sure sign that the food has gone bad.

Whatever aroma compliments the flavor you’ve paid for is fine, whether it’s sweet, garlicky, or smokey.

2. Appearance

The hummus spread is really smooth and creamy. Although the color can change depending on the type of hummus, mold is the most reliable indicator that the food has gone bad. It’s a blatant warning that says you should immediately stop eating it.  

It’s possible that your container will become infested with a fussy mold of various colors, including white, grey, and black. Not storing hummus properly or waiting too long to utilize it are the most common causes of this.    

3. Best Before Use

The dates on hummus packaging are not expiration dates, but rather “best if used by” dates. This is because it will taste best if consumed before the mentioned date.

As long as it was stored properly and wasn’t opened until that day or the next, it should be good. If you check the hummus and it’s still OK, you can use it up to five days after the best-if-used-by date.

Also check: Does Tahini Need To Be Refrigerated?

What Does Spoiled Hummus Look Like? 

When produced at home or purchased from a store, hummus is one of those quality ingredients with a short shelf life.

To prevent food poisoning or other foodborne illnesses, it is crucial to check that it is still fresh before eating it.  

You’ll note that hummus manufacturers list “best if used by” dates rather than “expiration” dates on their packaging. The reason for this is because they advise you to eat it by this date for the optimum quality. 

For this reason, as long as it was properly packed and stored and you haven’t opened it until that day or the day after, you are fine.

The hue of stale hummus changes. Sometimes a coating of dark yellow color forms on top. Never decide to try it, just toss it right away. If you see mold forming on the hummus, in any color, it is time to throw it away.

If kept for several days in the fridge, the top of the hummus will harden and become similar to cement. If this happens, you know it’s time to get rid of it.

A visible presence of black or green specks on the surface of the hummus indicates the presence of bacteria.


How Long Does Hummus Last in the Fridge?

Hummus can spoil really quickly after it’s opened. Therefore, it shouldn’t sit out of the fridge for more than one or two hours.

The packaged hummus can be safely stored there without fear of spoilage for quite some time. Once opened, however, it should be stored in the fridge at a cool temperature and used within three to five days.

If you store your hummus in the fridge, it will be good for another week or so after the expiration date even if you open the container. However, after five days of opening, this food should not be consumed.

Also check: How To Tell If Spinach Is Bad?

Does Hummus Go Bad out of the Fridge?   

The maximum amount of time hummus can be left out before spoiling is four hours at room temperature, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The dip will rot if left out of the fridge for too long since it will be exposed to a wide variety of bacteria and microorganisms.

You should aim to keep it clean and refrigerated for as little time as possible if you plan on saving it for subsequent consumption.  

Even though preservatives added to commercially produced hummus help ensure that it stays fresh for a longer period of time, it’s still a good idea to double-check the expiration date printed on the package just to be safe.

For a rough estimate, look at the “best-before” or “use-by” date printed on the packaging; this date may also indicate how long the product will keep once opened. This is standard practice for any packaged food, but it’s especially prevalent with dips.

Does Hummus Expire If Unopened?

The lasting capacity of an unopened hummus package mainly depends on the storage conditions of the same.

Hummus should be stored in the refrigerator at all times to extend its shelf life. Assuming it has been refrigerated the entire time, hummus can be used up to about a week after the expiration date printed on the packaging.

Freezing hummus is a great way to keep it fresh for longer: Put hummus in containers with tight lids or large freezer bags to keep it fresh for as long as possible.

Hummus can be safely stored in the freezer for up to four months without losing quality. The recommended freezing period is for peak freshness only; hummus stored eternally at 0 degrees Fahrenheit will be perfectly fine to eat.

What Does Bad Hummus Taste Like?  

You can tell when your hummus has gone bad because of its sour flavor. The sour flavor of hummus is distinct from the occasional lemony or cilantro flavor it has. 

When you try it, you will immediately recognize the sour flavor. Toss the hummus and start over if you detect this. Expired hummus is not worth the potential health risks it may pose.

As you may know, hummus is available in a wide variety of flavors, each of which may have a notably diverse taste profile.

However, sour does not belong in the flavor family, and if you detect an unpleasant aroma or flavor, you should not consume it. 

What Would Happen If You Accidentally Consumed Expired Hummus?  

Even with all the information given above at your disposal, it is possible to accidentally consume hummus that has expired.

You could even be fed it without your knowledge and only figure out the spoilage after a couple of bites.

It could be that the product has simply gone beyond its expiry date or worse still developed some bacterial or fungal growth.   

If it’s the former, that is, the hummus has expired but there seems to be no signs of spoilage, you can let out a sigh of relief.

Most food items are safe to consume for a short period after their prescribed ‘Best Before’ date (granted that they have been stored properly).

The hummus may suffer from a lack of nutritional quality and have an off-putting taste but is not harmful. However, it’s still advisable to be on the lookout for any adverse symptoms. 

In case the latter happens, that is, the hummus has developed some kind of growth, you need not panic.

Several food items, such as blue cheese, derive their specific taste profiles from fungal growth. Our immune systems are efficient enough to take most contaminants on. 

However, that does not mean that one becomes complacent. Be mindful of symptoms of food poisoning.

If you start to experience shortness of breath, nausea, or diarrhea, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

It is also advisable to retain a sample of the spoiled food item so that your doctor can test it to ascertain exactly what strain of pathogen they’re dealing with. 

Some molds are extremely toxic to humans and their ingestion can cause allergic reactions as well as respiratory issues. Therefore it is best to exercise caution

How to Store Hummus Properly

Packaged hummus has a longer shelf life as compared to the others, but it still needs to be consumed before it goes bad.

Once opened, this can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days (depending on the brand of hummus) provided it is kept at the appropriate temperature.

Your remaining hummus should be stored in an airtight container if you have already opened the hummus packaging.

Store hummus in the pantry at room temperature until the “best if used by” or expiration date. However, to extend its shelf life, shade and cool temperatures should be provided.

After opening, refrigerate it adequately to keep it fresh for another 7-10 days. There are different ways you can store the hummus appropriately 

How to Freeze Hummus Properly

Hummus can be best frozen for a maximum of four months, though it’s best eaten within the first three.

You can store hummus in the freezer until you are ready to use it if you buy it sealed and don’t open it. To get the best results while freezing hummus, you should follow the correct process. 

You shouldn’t fill your containers all the way to the top because hummus expands somewhat when frozen. It’s best to give it some breathing room.

Moreover, to prevent the growth of bacteria, it is good to coat the surface of the hummus with a thin layer of olive oil or lemon juice.

You may also use plastic wrap to cover the hummus completely, then cover it with an airtight lid.

Miniature hummus can be frozen for later use. Frozen hummus will freeze and defrost more quickly and evenly if you divide it into individual servings.

Avoid defrosting a huge quantity of hummus only to refreeze it in smaller portions. Using a container that can withstand the freezer’s temperatures will also help prevent freezer burn.

Freezer-Safe Airtight Container 

When storing humus in the refrigerator, use a container that can withstand the cold and has an airtight seal.

Flavors stored in a freezer are susceptible to contamination by outside scents if there is even a little air leak.

You can then dip as per your wish in the container, but remember to leave some head space in case it expands when frozen.

If you want your food to defrost quickly and evenly from the freezer to the fridge, freeze it in portions no larger than 12 ounces.  


Get it out of the freezer and into the fridge a day before eating it. It is not recommended to freeze hummus in large quantities as it takes a long time to defrost before it becomes appropriate for eating, possibly longer depending on how much is frozen in the container.

Tips To Make Hummus Last Longer 

Although hummus has a specific shelf life within which it can remain fresh and can be eaten, however, there are certain tips you can follow to keep your hummus fresh for a long time. 

Do Not Leave Hummus out Where It Can Be Exposed to Air   

The freshness will diminish as the product is exposed to room temperature and air. How long does hummus last if you have some sitting around? That is highly dependent on the current weather and temperature.

However, a common rule of thumb for unrefrigerated hummus is that it has about 3-4 hours before hazardous bacteria begin to grow.

Take out the Quantity You Need and Put the Rest Back in the Fridge 

It’s better to only release small portions at a time, and replenish supplies as needed. Don’t serve hummus from enormous containers at a gathering.

Put out less at a time and monitor consumption. That way, you won’t feel bad about throwing away any hummus that didn’t get eaten. 

The best way to keep hummus cold while serving it at a party, especially when it’s hot outside, is to place the smaller serving bowl of hummus within a little bigger bowl that has been filled with ice cubes or a frozen layer of ice.

It’s Recommended That You Use Clean Cutlery 

Bacteria may multiply rapidly, and there are many different kinds of microorganisms floating around in the air.

Reusing a tool that has been out in the open for even a short time increases the possibility that bacteria will be transferred to your hummus. Hummus’s longevity in the fridge will be shortened as a result. 


The smell and taste of hummus substantially alter after its expiration date, making it easy to determine if it is still safe to eat.

However, symptoms of food poisoning such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may follow the consumption of stale hummus.

The severity of the effects will vary with the amount of hummus consumed and the severity of the disease.

Although Listeriosis infections from consuming hummus are extremely uncommon, they do occur.

Flu-like symptoms, including high body temperature, dizziness, neck pain, and fits, are all possible.

The difficulty is that these symptoms don’t always show up until a few weeks after eating tainted food, making accurate diagnosis tricky at times.

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