Hummus is a portion of delicious, versatile food that tastes great regardless of whether you choose to eat it by itself or as a dip with fruits, vegetables, and bread.
Made out of chickpeas and tahini, it seems as though hummus would last indefinitely. Unfortunately, however, it does have a bit of shelf life when it comes to when it is still deemed safe to eat.
You might be wondering, “does hummus need to be refrigerated?”
The short answer to this is that yes, in most cases, it does – but not all the time. Here’s what you need to know.
Refrigerating Homemade vs. Store Bought Hummus
Homemade hummus needs to be refrigerated just as store-bought hummus would. In fact, homemade hummus might not last as storebought hummus, even when it is refrigerated. This is because store-bought hummus frequently contains preservatives that help to extend its shelf life.
This is irrespective of the brand, too. It doesn’t matter whether you’re eating name-brand hummus or store-brand hummus. You need to check the date on the hummus. Most hummus, when refrigerated, can last around a month, and this is consistent among most brands.
How Long Can You Leave Hummus Dip Unrefrigerated?
While unopened hummus that contains separate chickpea and tahini ingredients can be left at room temperature for quite some time, that’s not the case with refrigerated varieties – or with any kind of opened hummus at all.
According to the DA standard, hummus can only be left out for about four hours at room temperature as the likelihood of bacteria and other microbes occurring in the dip is much higher. It will start to go bad and could make you sick – plus, it won’t taste as good.
If you plan on keeping some of your unused hummus for consumption, later on, get it back into the refrigerator as quickly as possible – and try to keep it free of any potential contaminants.
Can You Eat Hummus if Left Out Overnight?
If you’re wondering whether hummus that has been left out overnight is safe to eat, the answer to this is, “it depends.”
How warm was it where the hummus was left out? Chances are, you left it out on the kitchen counter – and chances are, your kitchen is relatively warm – at least 65 degrees. If that’s the case, it’s probably time to toss the hummus. If your kitchen was cool, you might still be okay to eat the hummus.
The same applies when you consider whether the hummus was opened or not. It’s more likely to be safe to eat if it was unopened. If it was open, you’re going to watch to toss it.
Storing Hummus at Room Temperature
Like other dips, such as pesto, hummus is sold in both refrigerated and unrefrigerated option. Usually, hummus that can be stored at room temperature has separated ingredients like chickpea puree and tahini. They aren’t sold premixed (as they are with refrigerated versions) so you stir them together when you use them.
Sometimes, you can buy canned hummus, which is also meant to be stored at room temperature.
A good way to tell if your hummus needs to be refrigerated is to consider how it was stored when you bought it at the grocery store. Was it sold in the refrigerated section? Then it needs to stay refrigerated. Was it sold in the pantry or dry food section, or otherwise not kept cold? Then you’re good to keep at room temperature as long as you don’t leave it in direct sunlight or the pathway of any heat.
Does Hummus Go Bad?
Hummus does go bad, but how long it takes hummus to go bad will depend on whether you purchased a refrigerated or unrefrigerated variety.
If you buy an unrefrigerated type of hummus, you’ll know when it goes bad by checking the best-by date. This basically tells you the shelf life of hummus.
This will tell you how long it will stay fresh, but keep in mind that you can usually add another month on to that date as long as the hummus remains unopened.
As soon as you open the container, you need to finish it up within a week (the fewer preservatives, the shorter your window, though – aim for four days).
When you are considering when refrigerated hummus goes bad, again, you’ll have a date – but this one is usually a use-by date. It might last a few days past the date indicated on the package, but again, nothing like what you would find with a nonrefrigerated version. Try to use it up within four to five days after opening it and don’t keep it longer than a week or so in the refrigerator.
Usually, you’ll be able to tell if hummus has gone bad by giving a quick eye- and sniff-test. If your hummus has gone bad, it will have a strong, sour aroma, while fresh hummus will still smell quite delicious (it may have a strong aroma if powerful herbs like cilantro or garlic were added).
If you sniff your hummus and it smells sour, it’s probably going to taste sour, too. You don’t need to taste it – just throw it in the trash. It’s going to start developing mold pretty soon and it’s not a good idea to eat it.
Once the hummus has mold, it’s definitely not safe to eat. There are lots of health risks associated with eating spoiled food – but especially with eating mold – so don’t risk it.
Unopened hummus can last anywhere between five days and two months, depending on the brand. Usually, it will be closer to the latter, especially if kept in ideal refrigerated conditions.
Even if you keep your hummus unopened in the refrigerator, it’s still going to go bad eventually. However, keeping your hummus sealed can help to dramatically increase its shelf life, so don’t open it until you’re ready to use it.
You can heat cold or previously frozen hummus up by putting it in the microwave. However, heating it up on the stovetop will improve its taste and texture more than a microwave will. Just make sure you don’t overheat it, as this can cause separation of the ingredients in the hummus, and make sure you use a microwave-safe dish, too.
Yes. You can freeze hummus, but you may notice that the texture changes. It can last in the freezer for up to four months. It will actually be safe to eat after that, but you’ll notice that the quality will considerably decline at that point.
To eat frozen hummus, give it a few hours to thaw. Store it in small batches before putting it in the freezer, and be sure to mark the date so you know when it needs to be eaten up by.
Unopened hummus, if left at room temperature, can remain out of the refrigerator for anywhere between a few hours and a few weeks. It depends on whether the hummus was sold with the ingredients combined or separated. If the ingredients were separated out and are meant to be stirred upon consumption, it will last much longer than if they are premixed.
You can defrost frozen hummus by thawing it in the refrigerator overnight, or putting it in warm water for a few hours at room temperature.
*Photo by studioM/depositphotos