Have you ever seen hummus at a buffet all day and wonder How Long Can Hummus Sit Out at room temperature?
Hummus is one of the most popular dips to serve at parties which means it gets left out, shared by many people and cross contaminated with other ingredients.
At the end of the party do you save this delicious dip or should you throw it away? How do you know if the hummus has gone bad? Is it still safe to eat? Can I freeze it? These are all questions people ask themselves on a daily basis in regards to hummus food safety.
In this blog post I’m going to cover:
- How long hummus can sit out
- How can you tell hummus is bad
- How long dos hummus last after it’s been opened
- How long is hummus good for past the expiration date
- What to dip into hummus
- How to make hummus last longer at room temperature
- How to make hummus last longer in the fridge
How Long Can Hummus Sit Out
According to the FDA standard hummus can sit out for 4 hours at room temperature. Once hummus is left out at ambient temperature it becomes increasingly prone to spoilage, mold and bacteria growth. Some sources say that hummus should only be left out for 2 hours!
The length of time depends on the expiration date, types of hummus, whether or not it’s shelf-stable hummus, if it is unopened hummus and if its stored at a low temperature. Even the ingredients it’s made with can influence how long it will last.
I’ve let hummus sit out for up to two hours. In my experience hummus is perfectly fine when left out for the first two hours. By hour three and four it’s texture starts to harden and the color darkens which are both signs of spoilage.
If hummus is shelf stable and unopened it can sit out for up to 1 month.
How Can You Tell Hummus Is Bad
Perishable foods from the grocery store spoil so hummus will go bad eventually too!
Here are the four ways you can tell if hummus is spoiled.
- Mold Growth: If mold or any type of bacterial growth is present on the hummus it has gone bad. Mold starts with spores and spreads. It’s commonly found on fruits and vegetables, but mold can grow on any fresh surface. Mold can grow in hidden locations so make sure you check the bottom of the hummus container.
- Change In Hummus Texture: If hummus starts to separate or get crusty its a sure sign that it’s time to chuck it in the garbage bin. Slime is one of the biggest signs that food has gone bad so if the hummus looks slimy get rid of it!
- Change In Color of Hummus: If the hummus’ color gets darker or hardens it has gone bad.
- Sour Taste: Spoiled food tastes bitter, sour or fermented. If your hummus tastes sour its a good indication that it has gone bad. Make sure to spit it out immediately so that you don’t get food poisoning.
- Distinct Sour Smell – Fresh hummus doesn’t have a smell unless seasoning has been added to it. If it smells sour its best to be on the safe side and throw it out.
How Long Is Hummus Good Past the “Best Used By” Date
Hummus has a “best used by” date instead of an “expiration date”. A “best used” by date is different than an expiration date. Once a food has reached it’s expiration date it’s no longer consumable. Which is different than a “best used by” date which means that a food is freshest if it’s used by the date on the label, but it isn’t expired, so it’s still edible. So you won’t find expired hummus just hummus that is about to go bad.
But exactly how long is hummus edible after the “best used by” date has come and gone? The answer depends on what type of hummus it is. Commercially produced hummus has varying degrees of freshness based on the ingredients it is made with and how it is packaged.
Typically opened container of hummus will last 4-6 days past it’s expiration date in the fridge and for 3 months in the freezer (eatbydate.com).
Unopened packaged hummus will last 3-10 days in the refrigerator and for 6-8 months in the freezer.
How Long Does Hummus Last After You Open It?
How long hummus lasts after it has been opened depends on what type of hummus it is.
- Homemade hummus simply goes bad after 4-5 days in the refrigerator because it doesn’t have preservatives like commercial hummus.
- Hummus bought in the refrigerated section of the grocery store will last for 5-7 days after it has been opened.
- Unrefrigerated Hummus has a long shelf life. It can last up to 1 month in the pantry if it is kept in a cool dark place. If it’s been exposed to direct sunlight or if the pantry is hot it won’t last as long. It will last up to 1 week in the refrigerator after it has been opened.
Can You Freeze Hummus
Yes, you can freeze hummus! Freezing hummus is the best way to prevent various bacteria and mold from ruining it. Hummus can last up to 8 months in the freezer if the container hasn’t been opened. Opened hummus will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
The best way to freeze fresh hummus is to store it in a freezer-safe container and to wrap it with plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.
One of my favorite tricks is to freeze individual portions of hummus in an ice cube tray!
How To Make Hummus Last Longer at Room Temperature
According to the FDA standard hummus be left out for 4 hours at room temperature. Once hummus is left out at ambient temperature it becomes increasingly prone to spoilage, mold and bacteria growth. Hummus is one of the most popular dips to serve at parties where it will be left out. If you plan on leaving this perishable food item out at a party here are tips to keep it fresher longer.
- Only use clean utensils to scoop hummus out of the container instead of dipping food directly into it. This will prevent cross-contamination which speeds up spoilage.
- Serve small portions of hummus at a time in a small bowl. If you serve a lot of hummus at once it wont get eaten as quickly. Once it’s been used up you can get more from the refrigerator.
- Place the hummus container in a bowl of ice to keep it cold.
- Cover the hummus with plastic wrap.
How to Make Hummus Last Longer Once Opened
Once you open hummus the countdown to when it will spoil begins. Here are a few ways to make hummus for last longer periods of time once you’ve opened the container.
- Always use clean utensils to scoop out hummus. Never dip food or your fingers directly into the hummus container.
- Keep hummus in the refrigerator at all times. Scoop out small portions to use immediately and put it right back in the refrigerator
- A great way to make it last longer is to store hummus in an airtight container.
- If you know you won’t be using opened hummus within a week freeze it.
- Drizzle a little olive oil onto the hummus before you seal it in an air-tight container.
- Lemon juice is a natural preservative, squeeze some into the hummus and give it a good stir!
- The refrigerator temperature should be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. If the fridge is any hotter than that your food will be in the temperature danger zone which is 41-135 degrees Fahrenheit. When food is in the danger zone harmful bacteria can grow.
Answers to Commonly Asked Questions
Yes eating hummus that has gone bad can cause food poisoning. Foodborne illnesses that can be caused by hummus from various bacteria include listeria and salmonella. In 2022 there was a recall on hummus in the United States for listeria and one in the UK for salmonella, (Iwaspoisoned). Common symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting often resulting in temporary weight loss.
No! the FDA states that hummus can be left out for 4 hours before it goes bad. Many other sources claim that hummus will spoil after only two hours.
This depends on whether or not the hummus is shelf-stable at room temperature. If you bought hummus that is shelf stable at room temperature then it will stay good for up to two months. The hummus must be stored in a cool and dark place. If it’s exposed to sunlight or heat it will spoil much faster. If the hummus was purchased from the refrigerated section then it will only last 4 hours.