Should You Store Tahini In The Pantry Or Refrigerator?

Tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds, is a delicious and versatile ingredient. It's what gives hummus its richness and nuttiness, and it works just as well as a base for other sauces. You'll find it as a key part of many Middle Eastern dishes, and it has a lot of nutritional benefits as well, containing calcium, iron, and potassium — so it's no wonder that it's an increasingly popular condiment to keep on hand.

An unopened jar or can of tahini also has an impressive shelf life: It can last up to two years in your pantry. But it's a bit unclear to many tahini fans exactly how long it lasts after the lid comes off. Is it like peanut butter, which can sit in a cabinet for months after it's opened? Or does it need special treatment to prevent it from spoiling? Many recommend refrigerating or freezing nuts to preserve them because the fats in nuts can lead them to go bad. Handling tahini, which is also high in fat, is a bit more complicated. It doesn't actually need to go in the fridge, but it's okay to put it in there, too — with a minor caveat.

Tahini likes cool and dark places

If you do opt to put tahini in the refrigerator, note that its consistency will change slightly. It can be a bit harder to work with because it becomes a thicker liquid when chilled, although some people may prefer their tahini this way. In any case, it should still last for several months in the fridge.

Tahini will also be perfectly fine in your pantry. The paste dates back to ancient times, long before the era of refrigeration, so there's no need to fear if your fridge is just too packed for one more container. But you will want to be careful about where you decide to store it, as it prefers to be away from heat and light. Exposure to too much heat or moisture may wreck your tahini. In the right environment, tahini will last six months in the pantry — so keep the lid of your container on tight.

How do you know if your tahini has gone bad? Give it the sniff test — rancid tahini will smell off. If you're using store-bought tahini, check the use-by date, because tahini is one product where you should really follow the date on the label. (Remember that it's normal to see the oils separating from the paste; you can just stir it to fix the tahini.) But as long as your container is secure, your newly opened tahini should be fine in either the fridge or the pantry for a few months to come.