Every semester I buy a jar of peanut butter as it will last me the whole semester, but once in a while I have wondered "Does peanut butter expire?" I know that back home I have had a jar of peanut butter last me a ridiculous amount of time, but I always assumed it was an industrial food.

If an apocalypse were to break out, I know I could count on peanut butter to survive. Apparently though, peanut butter does have a shelf life. According to the National Peanut Board, peanut butter has different shelf lives for different types of peanut butter and the different ways it is stored:

Unopened Peanut Butter

Izzi Clark

If you are stocking up on peanut butter, an unopened jar will last you 6-9 months in the pantry.

Opened Peanut Butter

peanut butter, chocolate, sweet, milk, cream, butter, dairy product, cake, candy, peanut
Jocelyn Hsu

If the jar is opened, the peanut butter will last 2-3 months in the pantry. If you put the peanut butter in the fridge though, it will last you 6-9 months. This was earth shattering knowledge to me as I thought people were crazy for putting PB in the fridge.

Unopened Natural Peanut Butter

peanut butter, peanut, butter, chocolate
Jaclyn Alderman

An unopened jar of the natural PB will only last 2-3 months in the pantry, but 3-6 months if you refrigerate it.

Opened Natural Peanut Butter

coffee, cream, milk, sweet, chocolate, pudding, dairy product, cappuccino, espresso
Alexandra Tringali

Once the PB is opened you can only refrigerate the natural stuff and it will last you 5-6 months in the fridge.

The question of "does peanut butter go bad" has now been answered. If you are nearing the end of the shelf life and can't tell if your peanut butter has bit the dust, check to see if the texture has changed. Peanut butter should be spreadable and creamy, but if has become hard it is time to throw it out. To extend its life and to avoid peanut butter from becoming hard, throw it in the fridge. Now that you understand the science of peanut butter's shelf life, go join Team Refrigerated Peanut Butter.