Do Hazelnuts Go Bad? How Long Do Hazelnuts Last?



Quick Answer

How long hazelnuts stay good depends on whether they’re in their shell or not.  In-shell hazelnuts can go for six months to a year in the pantry or a cupboard, over a year in the refrigerator, and over two years in the freezer.  Hazelnut meats only last about three to four months in the pantry, one year in the fridge, and two years in the freezer.


Hazelnuts can last a long time, especially if you pick nuts that are heavy and seem full when you examine them.

Do Hazelnuts Go Bad? How Long Do Hazelnuts Last?

Here’s a handy little guide to how long your hazelnuts last, how to store them, and how to know when it’s time to toss them.

How Long Do Hazelnuts Last Outside?

The biggest defense hazelnuts have is their shell.  It prevents contaminants from getting in and keeps the meat inside protected.  A hazelnut in-shell can last six months to a year if you keep it in a cool, dry place.  Putting it in an air-tight container also helps, but it isn’t required.

Outside of its shell, a hazelnut can still be good after around three to four months.  Since it’s no longer protected by the shell, the nuts will last longer if they’re put in an air-tight container before you store them.

The best thing you can do when storing hazelnuts is to keep them out of direct sunlight.  Exposure to sunlight causes the oils inside the nuts to break down, giving you an awful taste.

How Long Do Hazelnuts Last in The Fridge?

Hazelnuts last longer in the refrigerator than they do in the pantry.  It might seem a little counter-intuitive since hazelnuts are stored on the shelf at the supermarkets, but the cold temperature slows down the process of going rancid.

A hazelnut can last over a year in the fridge if you keep its shell intact.  If you’re storing hazelnut meats, it will only last around a year.  In both cases, store your nuts in an air-tight container with as little exposure to air as possible.

The oils inside hazelnuts go rancid faster in warm temperatures.  Keep the nuts in the back of the fridge, away from the door, so there’s less exposure to warm air and they’ll last longer.

How Long Do Hazelnuts Last in The Freezer?

If you want to get the most amount of time from your hazelnuts, you want to store them in the freezer.  Freezing hazelnuts is different from putting them in a fridge or pantry because both in-shell hazelnuts and shelled hazelnuts can last at least two years, although the ones still in their shell can last slightly longer.

Improperly stored foods can get freezer burn and essentially dry out if they’re in the freezer too long, and hazelnuts are no exception.  Store them in a freezer-safe bag with the air squeezed out and the date they were frozen on the label, so you’ll know if they’ve been in there too long.

Hazelnuts can also absorb odors from other foods in the freezer, which affects the taste.  Keep them away from any smelly foods like onions and garlic.

All these dates aren’t exactly set in stone; the important thing to remember is to always check your hazelnuts before you use them for any sign that they’ve gone bad.

How To Tell If Hazelnuts Have Gone Bad/How To Know Hazelnuts Are Fresh?

Hazelnuts might be tough, but they don’t last forever.  Let’s look at how they can go bad.

  • Cracked shell: A crack in the shell means that the meat inside has been exposed to light, air, and airborne contaminants. Unless you’ve just cracked it, toss it.
  • Kernels are dried out: Does the hazelnut have its shell on? Try shaking it.  Hazelnuts dry out as they age, and if you shake one that’s been around a long time you can hear the meat rattling around in the shell.  When you open it up, does it look fresh?  Or does it look small and shriveled?
  • Mold: Hazelnut meats can get covered in a kind of fuzzy, white-colored mold. If you see any white spots or fuzziness, throw it out.
  • Taste/smell: When hazelnuts go rancid, their taste and smell change to a bitter flavor that’s reminiscent of paint or rancid butter. If you aren’t sure about the nuts, give it a whiff or a taste.
  • Expiration date: If you bought your hazelnuts in a package, there will be a “best by” date that tells you when the quality of the nuts can’t be assured. It’s not an exact date, but it will give you an idea at least.

How To Store Hazelnuts

Keeping your hazelnuts as long as possible means that you have to store them sensibly.

  • If you’re storing your nuts in the fridge, you want to keep the container at a constant temperature between 32 and 35 degrees.  This keeps them cold enough to stay good without being frozen
  • Hazelnuts that come in sealed-off packages from the supermarket have the advantage of being protected from moisture and going rancid, so they’ll be fresh longer.  Don’t open the package until you’re ready to eat or use the nuts
  • Pick fresh hazelnuts, since older nuts won’t last as long.  A fresh hazelnut is heavier than an older one and is a reddish-brown color, not faded or discolored.
  • Roasted hazelnuts can be stored in the fridge or freezer by putting them in an air-tight container or bag and keeping them in the back.  If you’re storing them in the freezer, make sure they’ve cooled down before you freeze them

Can You Freeze Hazelnuts?  How?

While freezing is the best idea for making hazelnuts last, there is some preparation to do before you do it.

  • First, check your hazelnuts for any sign of moisture or mold.  Moisture tends to attract mold even if you’ve taken precautions
  • While freezer-safe resealable bags keep the hazelnuts safe from freezer burn, an extra layer of protection is always a good idea.  You can wrap the hazelnuts in plastic wrap before putting them in the freezer
  • Other hazelnut products like hazelnut butter and hazelnut flour also do well in the freezer and can be stored like regular hazelnuts, in a freezer-safe container
  • Hazelnut milk can be poured into an ice cube tray and frozen until they’re solid, then moved into a freezer-safe bag.  It will separate when frozen, and its texture will change, but it will be safe enough to use in baking

How To Thaw Hazelnuts?

When you’re ready to eat or use hazelnuts, what is the best way to thaw them?

  • Hazelnuts don’t have to be thawed.  You can use them straight out of the freezer
  • If you must thaw them, put the nuts in the fridge either a few hours before you want to use them.  You can also put the nuts in the microwave on defrost for a few seconds

Frequently Asked Questions About Hazelnuts Shelf Life

Do roasted hazelnuts have the same shelf life as unroasted ones?

Roasted hazelnuts don’t last as long as regular hazelnuts, but they can last around a year in the freezer and up to six months in the fridge.  They need to be kept in an air-tight container or freezer bag, too.

Is there any difference in the shelf life between the different types of hazelnuts?

While there are many, many types of hazelnuts around the world and just as many hybrids, they all seem to have approximately the same shelf life.  When in doubt, check to see if it’s going bad.

Wrap Up

Hazelnuts are tough nuts to crack but storing them isn’t too tough.  The key is keeping them away from air, light, and heat.  If you can do that, you’ll have hazelnuts for a long time.

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