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How long can hummus sit out


It is common to buy a big tub of hummus to enjoy and have some leftovers later. It is also a common mistake to leave hummus on the countertop overnight. You are now wondering: how long can hummus sit out? is your hummus still safe to eat? 

When you allow hummus to sit out, it is prone to cross-contamination. Cross-contamination can transfer harmful bacteria from an object or person to your hummus. Toxins, molds, and other dangerous contaminants are common pathogens you can find in your hummus. 

Homemade and store-bought commercial hummus have a different lifespan. Let’s dig deeper to learn more about hummus proper storing and food safety tips.

large plate with fresh sliced vegetables and dish with hummus

What is Hummus

Hummus is a dip or spread made from chickpeas, lemon, tahini (roasted sesame seeds made into a sesame paste), olive oil, and spices. Hummus is famous in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, but it is also widely available in grocery stores in the U.S. You can also easily make homemade hummus

Chickpeas (garbanzos beans) are the main ingredient of traditional hummus and they are responsible for the prominent flavor of hummus. They are broken down and blended into a soft paste to achieve a creamy and smooth dip.

Hummus is a perfect dip for your hot flatbreads, pitas, pretzels, and raw sliced vegetables. It is also a good spread for your sandwiches. It is a rich source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

You can buy hummus plain or with added flavors (roasted seeds, garlic, white bean, roasted red bell pepper, even chocolate-flavored). 

How Long can Humus Sit Out?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standard on how long hummus can sit out at room temperature is four hours. 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that perishable food items, such as hummus, should not be kept at room temperature longer than two hours or one hour at temperatures over 90 degrees. 

Letting it sit longer at room temperature might expose your hummus to various microbes and bacteria that can cause spoilage once open and unrefrigerated, 

If you are serving Hummus in a buffet, place your bowl of Hummus on top of a bowl with some ice cubes to keep it cool longer. Doing this can allow your Hummus to sit for four hours.

Hummus Shelf Life

A tub of hummus sold in grocery stores will always have a “best use by date” printed on the label. The shelf life of hummus depends on temperature, the type of hummus (homemade or commercial), and your storage methods. 

The shelf life of hummus also depends on whether it is “opened” or “unopened.” There is a big difference in shelf life between opened and unopened hummus, depending on where and how you store it. 

Hummus comes in paste form and contains a considerable amount of liquid. Bacteria breeds better in moist environments.

  • Hummus, therefore, will spoil fast when it is open and left at room temperature.  
  • Homemade hummus has a shorter shelf life because it does not contain preservatives.
  • Hummus in jars may spoil faster if stored in a hot and humid area.

Extending Hummus Shelf Life

Hummus is a perishable food item that is prone to spoilage. All food items have a shorter shelf-life when not stored properly. The “best before date” or “expiration date” on the label is the manufacturer’s recommendation for the best quality of the product and not for safety. 

  • If you are planning on serving hummus at a party or gathering, the best way to keep it fresh is to store it in the refrigerator until just before you plan on eating it.
  • To extend the shelf life of hummus cover it with plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container.
  • You can make your hummus stay fresh longer by storing it in your fridge or freezer. 
  • Make sure to store hummus away from direct sunlight or any heat sources.
  • It would be best to store any leftovers in the fridge in their original packaging. If that is not possible, pour the dip into a tightly-sealed container. 
  • Glass containers work better than plastic containers when storing leftover Hummus in the fridge. It would help if you ensured that the container had an airtight seal. It would also help set your fridge temperature to below 40 0F. 
  • There is some evidence to suggest that adding lemon juice to hummus can help extend its shelf life. This is because the acidic properties of lemon juice have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause spoilage. To take advantage of these potential benefits, simply stir a few tablespoons of lemon juice into your hummus before storing it.

If you opened a jar of hummus, store leftovers in the fridge or freezer. Regardless of how long your hummus sits out, be sure to throw away any leftovers left unrefrigerated as soon as possible to avoid foodborne illness.

Storing Hummus In the Fridge

All food items will have a longer shelf life when kept in the fridge. The same rules apply to storing hummus.

If you opened several jars of hummus and did not consume everything in one sitting, you can keep them in the fridge. They can remain fresh in the refrigerator for between 3 and 5 days. 

Unopened tubs of hummus should be stored in the refrigerator for about 4-7 days.

Storing Hummus In the Freezer

Your hummus will have a longer shelf life when kept in the freezer. Bacteria cannot thrive at low temperatures which leads to reduced bacterial growth. 

Your opened jar or tubs of hummus will remain good in the freezer for 2 – 3 months. 

You can store unopened tubs of hummus in the freezer for up to 6 months or sometimes even longer.

However, the maximum time hummus should be in the freezer before going bad is eight months. 

storing hummus in the freezer Steps

  1. Transfer your leftover hummus into a clean glass airtight container safe for freezing.
  2. Do not fill your glass container to the brim. You should leave a space between the hummus and the container’s lid because your hummus will expand when frozen. 
  3. Sprinkle a little olive oil over the top of your hummus. 
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap between your container and the lid to ensure a better seal.
  5. Put your glass container into the freezer. 

Defrosting Frozen Hummus Tips

You need to defrost frozen hummus before serving.

  1. Transfer your glass container to the fridge and allow it to defrost for 12-24 hours. Placing your hummus into the fridge allows it to defrost slowly. It will taste better and also have a better texture. 
  2. Take your hummus out of the fridge 30 minutes before consuming it. Leaving it at room temperature will allow you to get a better flavor. 
  3. Since freezing can make the solid part and oil of the hummus separate, stir your hummus before consuming it. 

Your hummus may lose some a little zing if it has stayed in the freezer for a long time. Perk it up by adding some ground spices ( cumin, smoked paprika). You can also add some finely minced garlic, diced onions or shallots, or roasted bell pepper. 

You should never re-freeze hummus. So, it is best to place it in the freezer in small portions so you only thaw what you need. 

You can freeze your hummus for up to 4 – 6 months. However, the less time it stays in the freezer, the better. 

Can Hummus Spoil? 

Yes. Your Hummus will spoil when not stored properly. Leftover hummus should always be refrigerated using an air-tight container.  

Signs of Spoiled Hummus

If hummus containers have been stored for quite some time in the fridge or freezer, check for some signs of spoilage before consuming them. 

You can consider your hummus spoiled if you notice any of these signs:

  • Foul Smell. Your hummus having an unpleasant odor is a sure sign that it has turned bad. Spoiled hummus will have a sour smell. 
  • Off Taste. Your Hummus will taste different from its regular flavor when it is spoiled. However, you should smell your Hummus first before tasting it.
  • Different Color. Your hummus will look darker than its original colors. Your hummus having two different colors indicates it has turned sour. Bubbles may also tend to appear on the surface of the hummus, too.
  • Poor Texture. Your hummus completely separating into different layers (its oil on the top surface and paste at the bottom) also means it is time to throw it away. 
  • Mold. Try to check for any molds in your hummus. Mold will grow in your spoiled hummus. The molds can either be black or white fungi.

You should always check your hummus for any sign that it is spoiled before consuming it. Eating spoiled hummus can cause food poisoning. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does hummus last?

Store-bought hummus in jars or any shelf-safe packaging and unopened can last in your pantry for several months.  

If you bought refrigerated hummus, it would remain safe in your freezer one week after its expiration date as printed on the package. 

How long does hummus last after opening? 

Jars of Hummus and refrigerator-packaged Hummus kept in the fridge will last for about 3-4 days after opening. They will last approximately 5-7 days after opening when kept in the freezer. 

Remember to store your Hummus in an airtight glass container when storing it in the fridge or freezer.

Does hummus need to be refrigerated? 

If you bought refrigerated-packaged hummus, it should be refrigerated even if it is unopened. Once the tub is open, store it in the air-tight container in the fridge.

Final Thoughts

Hummus is a highly perishable food item. If you bought your Hummus in the grocery store’s refrigerated section, you can store unopened hummus in the original container in your fridge for several months.

When serving hummus, it would help if you allowed it to sit out for only 2 hours or 4 hours at room temperature. Always store any leftover hummus in the fridge.

Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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