How do you know when hummus went bad?

Quick answers

Here are some quick ways to tell if your hummus has gone bad:

  • Check the expiration or use-by date – if this date has passed, the hummus is likely bad
  • Look for mold or fuzz on the surface of the hummus
  • Smell the hummus – if it smells sour or rancid, it’s gone bad
  • Taste the hummus – if it tastes bitter, sour, or off in any way, it should be discarded
  • Check the texture – if the hummus is overly thick, dry, or separated, it may be spoiled

Expiration date

One of the easiest ways to tell if hummus is still good is to check the expiration or use-by date printed on the packaging. This date tells you how long the manufacturer guarantees the unopened hummus will stay fresh. Once this date has passed, the hummus should be discarded.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, commercially prepared hummus will stay safe to eat for up to 7-10 days past its printed date, as long as it was properly stored in the refrigerator. However, the quality will start to degrade, so it’s best to use hummus by its expiration date for optimal freshness and flavor.

If your hummus does not have an expiration date for some reason, it should be safe to eat for around 5-7 days after opening if stored properly in the fridge. Keep in mind that homemade hummus has a shorter shelf life of just 3-5 days in the fridge.

How to store hummus to extend its shelf life

Proper storage is important for preserving hummus and keeping it safe to eat for as long as possible. Here are some storage tips:

  • Keep unopened hummus in a cool, dry place like the pantry.
  • Once opened, transfer hummus to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
  • Make sure hummus is stored in the refrigerator within 2 hours of opening.
  • Check that the lid or cover is sealed tightly to prevent air exposure.
  • Store hummus towards the back of the fridge, away from the door.
  • Eat refrigerated hummus within 5-7 days for best quality.
  • Do not freeze hummus, as this will negatively impact the texture.

Proper refrigeration at 40°F or below helps slow the growth of bacteria and molds to keep hummus fresher for longer.

Signs of spoiled hummus

There are a few key signs that indicate your hummus has spoiled and should be thrown out:


  • Mold: One obvious sign is mold growing on the surface of the hummus. Mold may appear fuzzy or dry and can be white, green, or black. This indicates spoilage.
  • Separation: As hummus ages, you may see separation with water or clear liquid pooling on top of the dip. Separation by itself doesn’t necessarily mean the hummus is spoiled, but it is a sign it is past its prime freshness.
  • Dry texture: Spoiled hummus may become very dry or thick, almost paste-like.
  • Discoloration: Fresh hummus should be a light tan, beige, or pale yellow color. Greyish, brown, or dark discoloration could be a bad sign.


  • Sliminess: Rotten hummus may develop a slimy texture or film on top as bacteria grow.
  • Chunkiness: Spoiled hummus can become grainy or watery, with the ingredients separating.


  • Rancid odor: Bad hummus gives off a rancid, rotten, or sour smell.
  • Yeasty smell: Hummus may smell yeasty or fermented if mold is present.
  • Unpleasant sour aroma: Spoiled hummus has an unpleasant acidic or vinegary smell.


  • Bitter flavor: Rancid hummus often tastes bitter or unpleasant.
  • Sour taste: Bad hummus usually tastes sour or tangy.
  • Metallic flavor: A metallic taste could indicate spoiled ingredients.

If your hummus exhibits any of these signs, it’s best to discard it. Consuming spoiled hummus can potentially lead to food poisoning.

What causes hummus to spoil?

There are a few different factors that can lead to hummus spoilage:

Microbial growth

Like many perishable foods, hummus can grow harmful bacteria, yeasts, and molds if not handled properly. Here are some potential microbes that contribute to hummus spoilage:

  • Salmonella – This bacteria is sometimes found in raw chickpeas used to make hummus. Proper cooking kills salmonella, but cross-contamination after cooking can reintroduce it.
  • Listeria – Another dangerous bacteria that can infect raw vegetables and get into hummus.
  • Bacillus cereus – A spore-forming bacteria that lives in soil and can contaminate kitchen surfaces.
  • Mold – Environmental molds can grow on the surface of hummus when exposed to air.
  • Yeasts – Yeasts naturally present on ingredients may ferment sugars and carbohydrates in hummus over time.

Given the right conditions like moisture, air exposure, and warmer temperatures, these microbes can multiply quickly in hummus leading to spoilage.


Chemical oxidation also contributes to hummus spoilage. The fats in hummus can go rancid when exposed to oxygen in the air over time. This causes hummus to develop an unpleasant, bitter, metallic taste and smell.

pH changes

The ingredients in hummus all have an optimal pH for freshness. As hummus ages, chemical reactions occur that shift the pH, making it more acidic. Increased acidity gives spoiled hummus a tangy, sour taste.

Loss of nutrients

Vitamins, healthy fats, proteins, and other nutrients degrade in hummus over time. The loss of these nutrients impairs flavor.

Tips to keep hummus fresh longer

Follow these best practices to extend the shelf life of your hummus:

  • Purchase hummus with distant sell-by or use-by dates.
  • Avoid opening hummus until ready to eat.
  • Store unopened hummus in a cool, dry pantry.
  • Check for damaged or swollen packaging.
  • Once open, transfer hummus to a sealed container.
  • Press plastic wrap directly on the surface before sealing to prevent air exposure.
  • Refrigerate opened hummus right away.
  • Use clean utensils each time you scoop hummus to avoid introducing bacteria.
  • Keep hummus towards the back of the fridge, not the door.
  • Avoid frequent temperature changes by limiting how often you take hummus in and out of the fridge.
  • Consume refrigerated hummus within 5-7 days.
  • Don’t let hummus sit out at room temperature more than 2 hours.
  • Freeze leftover hummus in recipe-size portions if you won’t eat it all within 5-7 days.
  • Look for signs of spoilage before eating like smell, texture, and appearance changes.

Following proper storage, handling, and food safety practices helps keep hummus fresh and retardation spoilage. Discard hummus immediately if there are any doubts about its safety or quality.

Frequently asked questions

How long does hummus last after opening?

Properly stored, refrigerated hummus lasts for 5-7 days after opening. The printed use-by date assumes the hummus is continuously refrigerated once opened.

Can you freeze hummus?

Freezing is not recommended for store-bought hummus, as the texture tends to suffer. However, you can freeze homemade hummus in recipe-sized portions for 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

What happens if you eat bad hummus?

Consuming spoiled hummus can potentially lead to food poisoning. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, and headaches. Seek medical treatment if food poisoning symptoms persist or worsen.

Can you get sick from hummus?

Hummus is not an inherently hazardous food, but it can make you sick if contaminated or allowed to spoil. Proper handling, refrigeration, and hygiene practices minimize the risk of illness from hummus.

How can you tell if hummus has salmonella?

You cannot tell if hummus is contaminated with salmonella just by looking. The only way to confirm salmonella is through laboratory testing. That’s why it’s important to discard hummus if you see any signs of spoilage.

What color should hummus be?

Fresh hummus is typically light beige, tan, or pale yellow in color. Darker brown or grey hues may indicate spoilage. Separation of ingredients can also make hummus look streaky.


Here are the key takeaways on how to tell if your hummus has gone bad:

  • Check the expiration or use-by date and look for other signs like mold, smell, taste, and texture changes.
  • Spoiled hummus may smell or taste rancid, tangy, bitter, or unpleasant.
  • Discard hummus if the surface appears moldy, slimy, or shows separation.
  • Refrigerate opened hummus in an airtight container and use within 5-7 days.
  • Avoid leaving hummus at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Freezing can extend the shelf life of homemade hummus for 2-3 months.
  • Consuming bad hummus can potentially cause foodborne illness.
  • Use safe handling and hygiene practices to prevent hummus spoilage and contamination.

Always inspect hummus carefully before eating and discard any that you suspect has spoiled. When in doubt, throw it out. Following basic food safety measures helps ensure you can enjoy the great taste of fresh hummus without the risk of food poisoning.

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