Do you need to refrigerate an open jar of peanut butter?

I've been keeping peanut butter in the pantry my whole life and have lived to tell about it. Also I believe that room-temperature peanut butter is better than cold peanut butter. But I am now hearing that most people keep it in the fridge? Is that what you're *supposed* to do? Please advise, thank you!

Brette Warshaw


cranberry August 4, 2018
We grew up refrigerating peanut butter (and I still do) due to some kind of carcinogenic mold that supposedly can grow on it if stored at room temperature. I have no idea if that is true.
BakerRB August 4, 2018
I think that's more of concern during peanut storage in silos prior to processing. (...if it's a concern at all.)
ChefJune August 3, 2018
I have never kept it in the fridge, and I don't see anything on the jar that says I should. Some people keep just about everything in the fridge. Like ketchup, which also does not need to be there!
Sam1148 August 1, 2018
Cold peanut butter is cracker killer when you try to spread it.
Stephanie G. August 1, 2018
I have often wondered about this. I make nut butter often. Some recipes say to refrigerate; some say the nut butter will last less than a month. With no other ingredients besides roasted nuts and salt, I don't see the need for refrigeration or the short life span. Does anyone have a scientific reason for the lifespan of nut butter?
ktr August 2, 2018
The oils in the nuts can go rancid. That can happen to the nuts as well if they are stored at room temperature. I personally have never had an issue with this and don't have the fridge space to store the fairly large variety of nuts and nut butters we keep around. I do however keep pine nuts in the freezer because I use them so infrequently that I was concerned they may go bad. I keep tahini in the fridge as well but again that's because I don't use it very often. I buy natural peanut butter in a large tub and have never had an issue with it going bad sitting in my pantry - but I've never had it last longer than 6 months.
Ttrockwood August 1, 2018
I’ve never put any nut butter in the fridge (nut oils, yes) and also have never had any go off.
Then again I LOVE nut butters and I don’t think any jar no latter how big has lived more than 2-3months.
I just use a chopstick and get in my upper body workout for the natural pb that separates
boulangere July 31, 2018
If it's the kind that has to be stirred together, hopefully without making too much of a mess, like tahini, then I do refrigerate it simply so I don't have to repeat the process e.v.e.r.y. time I open the jar. I'll even store it upside down. But that's probably just the OCD talking.

The stuff I cram into my dogs' Kong toys: no.

Voted the Best Reply!

dinner A. July 31, 2018
In addition to slowing oil separation in natural peanut butter, refrigeration also preserves the flavor of peanut butter for longer. If you go through a jar of peanut butter quickly it's not an issue, but if it takes months it will lose some flavor or even go rancid. Not an acute health concern, just one of enjoyment.
Smaug July 31, 2018
Emma L. July 31, 2018
Hm! I keep natural/unsweetened peanut butter in the fridge to avoid oil separation. But if it's standard/sweetened, def pantry.
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