Can you freeze peanut butter? While peanut butter naturally has a long shelf life, there might be times when you can consider freezing it.

If you’re leaving the country for a few months and there’s a half empty jar of peanut butter in the fridge, freezing seems like a good idea.

If you make your own peanut butter and would prefer to make a larger batch, freezing some of it is an obvious choice.

Or maybe you’re trying out a different diet that doesn’t allow you to eat peanut butter. If that’s the case, I suggest you toss out the peanut butter for the sake of your diet. But not everyone can afford to do that, so freezing comes up as a solution.

Can You Freeze Peanut Butter?

Store-bought closed peanut butter has a shelf life of 18 months if stored at room temperature. Once it’s opened, it should be fine for at least 3 to 5 months. Natural peanut butter should be fine for about half a year if stored in the fridge. That means peanut butter is among the products with a really long shelf life. But if you need even more time, freezing is an option.

Freezing for a few weeks won’t change much in terms of taste or consistency. But if you freeze peanut butter the long term, like more than half a year, it will slowly deteriorate in taste. In other words, the shorter it is in the freezer, the better.

Peanut butter

Image used under Creative Commons from Meal Makeover Moms

How to Freeze Peanut Butter?

There are no multi-step processes for freezing peanut butter. The process is as straightforward as it gets. In short, transfer peanut butter into the freezer and keep it in there for how long it is needed.

If your jar of peanut butter is almost full, you can just chuck it into the freezer. If it’s half empty or less, consider transferring the peanut butter into a smaller freezer-safe container or freezer bags. Usually they take less space in the freezer. Go with what’s most convenient for your needs.

Three tips for freezing. First, if you’re using a bag or container make sure to label it with a name and current date for future reference. Second, make sure that the jar, container, or freezer bag is tightly sealed before tossing it into the freezer. Third, if you’re using a freezer bag, remember to squeeze out all air before sealing it.

Another options is to freeze foods that contain peanut butter, like cookies or sandwiches. Many companies make frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. There are also many desserts that are made to be frozen. Or you can make a bunch of sandwiches ahead of time and thaw them as needed.

That’s about it when it comes to freezing peanut butter. In theory you can keep it in the freezer indefinitely, as frozen products don’t go bad. But please remember the longer it’s in the freezer, the worse it will be when thawed.

How to Thaw Peanut Butter?

As the peanut butter gets cold, it will firm up and become more difficult (or impossible) to spread. Because of that you will need to warm it up before using it.

When it comes to thawing, you can thaw it on the counter. There’s no benefit in thawing the fridge as opposed to many other products. Please note that thawing (or warming up) can take up to 24 hours, so plan accordingly. To speed up the process, you can toss the container or bag into warm water, but it won’t make that big of a difference.

In some cases, depending on the ingredients of your peanut butter, some of the oil might separate once thawed. This will affect the appearance and the texture of the peanut butter, but it is still safe to eat. To fix this problem stir it vigorously. This will reconstitute the peanut butter.

Even though some people say you can freeze and thaw peanut butter multiple times, don’t do that. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you thaw something, you either eat it or discard it. No refreezing. Refreezing significantly increases the risk of food poisoning so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Summary
In most cases it is not necessary to freeze peanut butter. It has a long enough shelf life so in almost all cases you should be able to eat it in time. If that’s not the case, freezing is an option. If you decide to freeze peanut butter, remember to thaw it ahead of time. Taking it from the freezer and spreading on a sandwich right away isn’t going to work out.