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How Long Can Hummus Sit Out? A Guide To Enjoying It Safely

How Long Can Hummus Sit Out? A Guide To Enjoying It Safely

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Hummus is a type of food that is consumed by many people on various occasions. Because of that, it is often left out for some time. However, hummus is a perishable food that can not be left out for too long. 

But, exactly how long can hummus sit out? That really depends on a few important factors, the exact type of hummus, whether it has been opened or not, and, of course, storing conditions. 

So, if you want to know more about how those factors influence your hummus, it is best to scroll down. 

If you don’t have time to go into the details, here is the table that answers your question directly. 

Homemade2 Hours2 Hours
Store-Bought (Refrigerated)1 Hours2 Hours
Store-Bought (Shelf-Stable)1 Month2 Hours

How Long Can Hummus Sit Out If Made At Home?

As stated in the introduction part, the first factor that influences the shelf life of hummus at room temperature is the type of hummus. 

Here, I will start with homemade hummus because this type is the most sensitive. 

People tend to believe that hummus can last long and that it is not very perishable because its main ingredient is tahini, which is a quite shelf-stable food. 

However, there are some other ingredients that are not so shelf-stable, like chickpeas. 

Also, when you make your hummus at home, you won’t add any additives or preservatives that can make it last longer. 

Aside from that, in most cases, it will be transferred to the serving bowl directly where it will be exposed to air and other external factors. 

So, according to the FDA, any type of food that is made like this, including homemade hummus, shouldn’t be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. 

The main reason for this is the fact that room temperature falls in the so-called temperature danger zone (ranges from 40 to 140 degrees F) and it is estimated that harmful bacteria rapidly start to grow after two hours when food stays out at this temperature. 

On top of that, if you are in the middle of the summer when the temperatures tend to be over 90 degrees F, it is not advisable to leave your hummus at room temperature for more than 1 hour. 

How Long Does Store-Bought Hummus Last At Room Temperature?

hummus in a white plate on the table

Then we get another type of hummus, the store-bought version. However, there are two subtypes of store-bought hummus and their shelf lives are very different. So, let’s see how long store-bought hummus can sit out, starting with refrigerated hummus. 

Hummus From The Fridge Section

Unlike homemade hummus, hummus produced in a food factory does contain certain preservatives that can make it last longer. 

So, according to the FDA, store-bought hummus from the fridge section can be left out for up to 4 hours if the temperature is not over 90 degrees F. In that case, it shouldn’t be left outside for more than 2 hours. 

Once you open the container with hummus, it isn’t advisable to keep it at room temperature for more than 2 hours and, if the temperature is above 90 degrees F, for more than 1 hour, just like with homemade hummus. 

Shelf-Stable Hummus

Shelf-stable hummus is quite a different story. It has some special ingredients that can extend its shelf life and it is processed differently than refrigerated hummus. 

Namely, after all the ingredients (tahini, chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and spices) are blended, the mixture is transferred to an airtight container and heated to high temperatures to kill any bacteria or other microorganisms that could cause spoilage.

Aside from that, citric acid or sodium benzoate is also added. 

All of that is enough to make this type of hummus last in the pantry for up to 1 month, sometimes even longer, but that depends on the producer. 

However, once you open it, it is not recommended to leave it for more than 2 hours and you should always stick to that rule.

What About Expired Hummus?

When it comes to the “expiration date” or “best-by date” that you can find on the label of your store-bought hummus, in terms of leaving it outside, it can be relevant in some situations and not in others. 

Namely, if you buy a refrigerated type of hummus, it doesn’t matter what is stated on the label because you can not keep it at room temperature for more than 2-4 hours. 

It is a different story with shelf-stable hummus because it can last longer at room temperature. 

Since the “expiration date” is actually the “best-by date” (it tells you how long the hummus will retain its best quality), shelf-stable hummus can last up to 1 month in the pantry past that date. 

Of course, if you store it properly. And now we will see how to do that. 

Tips For Safely Storing Your Hummus

hummus in a wooden brown bowl

These tips are mainly related to shelf-stable hummus because it is the only type that can last longer at room temperature. However, some of these tips can be applied to other types of hummus in certain situations. So, let’s take a look. 

• Always look to store your hummus in a place where it is cold to some extent. Hummus likes lower temperatures because of the perishable ingredients that can produce harmful bacteria easily. 

• Also look for dark places where there is no direct sunlight that can quickly heat up your hummus and make it more vulnerable to spoilage. 

• Avoid leaving it close to any source of high heat, close to the oven, for example, for the same reason of quick heating that can accelerate spoilage. 

• If the hummus is served during a bigger occasion for a larger crowd, it is best to serve it in small portions so that you don’t risk the spoilage of a large batch. 

• Also, it is not out of hand to put your hummus in an airtight container to protect it from the air. If you don’t have an airtight container, you can also cover it with plastic wrap. 

Make sure that it is in a cold place, ideally put the container in the large bowl covered with ice cubes to prevent spoilage. 

• Finally, always use clean utensils to scoop the hummus instead of dipping food directly into it. Also, keep one utensil in the container and use that one only to avoid cross-contamination. 

Does Hummus Need To Be Refrigerated?

The answer to this question mainly depends on the type of hummus. Homemade and refrigerated shelf-stable hummus definitely needs to be stored in the fridge. 

Homemade hummus practically needs immediate refrigeration. When it comes to refrigerated store-bought hummus, it can stay at room temperature a  bit longer if not opened, but once you open it, it is best to store it immediately as well. 

Finally, when it comes to shelf-stable hummus, it doesn’t need refrigeration if not opened. 

However, once you open it, the same rules apply, i.e. it needs to be refrigerated within 2 hours. 

In order to store hummus properly in the fridge, you’ll need to put it in an airtight container and store it in the coldest place of the fridge, i.e. ideally on the bottom shelf or at the back of the fridge away from the door where the temperature is unstable. 

If stored properly, homemade hummus will last up to 1 week in the fridge. When it comes to store-bought hummus, it can last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge and 4-6 days past the best-by date. 

How To Tell If Hummus Is Bad?

the woman is eating hummus

If you followed these rules the right way, you shouldn’t have any problems. However, if you are still not sure that your hummus is 100 percent good for consumption, here are a few signs of spoiled hummus you need to know. 

• Appearance:  Fresh hummus is typically light brown in color. When it starts spoiling, it tends to get darker. Also, there can be dark spots or mold on the surface of hummus and those are clear signs of spoilage. 

• Texture: If you notice that the texture of your hummus is slimy, grainy, or gritty, toss it in the trash because it is bad. 

• Smell: Typically, fresh hummus doesn’t have any smell if some additional ingredients are not added (for example seasonings or lemon juice to preserve its freshness). 

However, if it is spoiled, it will have a distinct, sour smell that is quite unpleasant. 

• Taste: If you are not sure of these previous signs, you can always take a little bit of hummus and taste it yourself. If it has that typical combination of nutty, earthy, and slightly tangy flavors, you can freely continue eating it. 

But, if it tastes sour or has an off flavor, you should stop consuming it immediately because it is spoiled. 

Final Verdict

All in all, the exact answer to the question “How long can hummus sit out?” mainly depends on the type of hummus, whether or not it is opened, and what the storage conditions are. 

Homemade hummus can sit out for up to 2 hours.

Refrigerated store-bought hummus can stay at room temperature for up to 4 hours.

Shelf-stable hummus, if not opened, can be stored in the pantry for up to 1 month.

How Long Can Hummus Sit Out? A Guide To Enjoying It Safely