How to tell if almonds are bad?

In this article, we will answer the question “How to tell if almonds are bad?”, what is the shelf-life of almonds, how to store almonds, can you get Salmonella from bad almonds, and what causes rancidity in almonds.

How to tell if almonds are bad?

The following are the telltale signs that your almonds have gone bad. Toss the almonds if you notice any one of the following spoilage signs.

Pest infestation: If you observe even one live bug crawling in your almonds, or their larvae, eggs, or even dead bugs, get rid of the whole package.

Mold: Mold usually attacks when the almonds are exposed to moisture frequently. If you see green or black mold growing on the almonds, toss them right away.

Off-smell: The development of rancid, bitter, or paint-like odor is an obvious sign of quality deterioration. Though rancid or bitter almonds are not unsafe to eat, they are of no good use. Feel free to get rid of them on grounds of poor quality.

What is the shelf-life of almonds?

The shelf-life of the almonds depends on the storage conditions (temperature, humidity), and types of the almonds (shelled, in-shelled, roasted/seasoned). There are varying estimations about the shelf-life of almonds. 

Generally, almonds have a long shelf-life, as compared to other nuts, due to their high content of antioxidants. 

According to the USDA, the estimated shelf-life of in-shell almonds is as follows. The shelf-life of shelled almonds reduces to half of the following estimated periods.

Shelf life 
In-shell almonds stored at 0 °C (32 °F) last 20 months 
In-shell almonds stored at 10 °C (50 °F) last16 months 
In-shell almonds stored at 20 °C (68 °F) last8 months 

According to the FoodKeeper app, in-shell and shelled almonds stay fresh for the following approximate periods.

In the pantry In the fridge In the freezer 
In-shell almonds 6 months 16 months 20 months 
Shelled almonds 4 months 8 months 10 months 

How to store almonds?

Almonds can be stored in the fridge, freezer, or at room temperature, depending on how long you want them to last, and what is feasible for you.

At room temperature 

Skip the room temperature storage if you live in a warm climate. Otherwise, make sure the room temperature is cool, and the almonds are kept in a dark, and dry spot, away from sunlight or heat. 

Use a ventilated bag for room temperature storage of almonds. This ensures the almonds remain dry. Opt for an air-tight container or a freezer/resealable bag if pantry bugs are a consistent problem in your kitchen.

This method works best for storage for up to 6 months. Store roasted and seasoned almonds according to the package instructions. 

In the fridge 

If the almonds are shelled, you need to be very careful about the packaging. Go for an air-tight container or a freezer bag to protect the almonds from moisture and keep them from picking up undesirable odors.

If the almonds are in-shell, you don’t have to worry much about the packaging since the shell is thick enough to protect the kernels.

In the freezer

Freezing is recommended if you want your almonds to last years. The process of freezing almonds is as easy as it gets. 

All you have to do is bag the almonds, squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag to create a vacuum, label it, and chuck it into the freezer. Before munching, let the frozen almonds sit on the counter for 10 mins.

Can you get Salmonella from bad almonds?

It is not impossible but quite rare. Because salmonella usually infects poultry, eggs, meat, and their products. Food poisoning caused by salmonella, called Salmonellosis, is characterized by vomiting, headache, diarrhea, and stomach pain.

To eliminate the risk of Salmonella and other bacterial infection from the almonds, they are steamed or treated with propylene oxide during processing. Don’t worry! The nutrients of the almonds stay intact.

What causes rancidity in almonds?

The high omega-3 fatty acid content of the almonds makes them susceptible to rancidity. These monounsaturated fats get oxidized when exposed to air and produce compounds with a bad odor. Rancid almonds do not cause food poisoning upon consumption but they do not get along with your taste buds.


In this article, we answered the question “How to tell if almonds are bad?”, what is the shelf-life of almonds, how to store almonds, can you get Salmonella from bad almonds, and what causes rancidity in almonds.


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