How Long Do Hazelnuts Last?

Now sure how long do hazelnuts last or if refrigerating them is necessary? Or maybe you don’t have enough space in the fridge or freezer and need to know how long they keep at room temperature.

Either way, we’ve got you covered.

For info on shelf life, storage options, and signs that you should get rid of your hazelnuts, read on.

Two hazelnuts side by side
Two hazelnuts side by side

How Long Do Hazelnuts Last?

Like with all other nuts, the shelf life depends heavily on how and where you store your hazelnuts.

If you need them to last as long as possible, go with cold storage. Both in-shell and shelled hazelnuts last a year or even more in the fridge, and keep quality for about two years in the freezer (UOC).

I don’t know about you, but my fridge is usually quite full of other food products, and there’s no place for an extra pack of hazelnuts (or filberts). Therefore, room temperature is what I’m left with.

Thankfully, hazelnuts last quite a long time in the kitchen or pantry, especially the unshelled ones.

Each year I get a medium bag of hazelnuts from our small orchard. It takes my wife and me anywhere between a couple of months and a year to go through them. And they keep quality quite well.

Sure, after more than half a year of storage there’s more bad hazelnuts than usual, but most of them are fine. Of course, we keep the nuts in-shell and crack them as needed.

Bunch of hazelnuts in a mesh bag
Bunch of hazelnuts in a mesh bag

For shelled hazelnuts, I’d say they should last at least a couple of months if you store them properly.

Long story short, at room temp in-shell hazelnuts should last at least 6 to 9 months, while shelled ones about 3 to 4 months.

For packages of hazelnuts, check the label and use the date that’s there as a starting point. And if you need the nuts to last longer, refrigerate or freeze them to get a couple more months.

Last but not least, for an in-shell hazelnut, you can only learn if one is okay after cracking it. Don’t be deceived by the fine-looking shell.

Shelled and unshelled hazelnuts in a glass bowl
Shelled and unshelled hazelnuts in a glass bowl

How to Store Hazelnuts

The usual storage options for nuts are the fridge, the freezer, and pantry/kitchen. And, as you already know, all three are viable for hazelnuts.

As we covered above, to maximize shelf life, refrigeration (AAS), or even freezing, is in order. For either, use a resealable container or a freezer bag, and seal it tightly before putting it into storage.

If you go with room temperature storage, as I do, keep the nuts in a cool and dry area (AAS). That means away from any sources of heat and direct sunlight, preferably in a dark cabinet.

When it comes to packaging, shelled hazelnuts should be tightly sealed in a container or resealable bag (AAS). If yours come in a resealable pouch, you’re already covered. For in-shell hazelnuts, I leave them in a well-ventilated bag, and that works beautifully.

Single hazelnut closeup
Single hazelnut closeup

How To Tell If Hazelnuts Have Gone Bad?

For starters, if your hazelnuts are still unshelled, you need to crack them open. As mentioned, even if the shell looks alright, the kernel inside might be spoiled.

Spotting bad hazelnut kernels isn’t rocket science. The signs are quite obvious, and you’re probably familiar with them already. Those include:

  • mold on the kernel
  • dried out kernels
  • rancid nuts
Hazelnuts in a pink measuring spoon
Hazelnuts in a pink measuring spoon

Not sure how do you know if the hazelnut is rancid? Well, that’s quite simple. Most often, they have an unpleasant bitter taste. If the flavor turned harsh instead of mild and earthy, that’s it. Less often, you can tell hazelnuts are rancid by the chemical, paint-like smell.

If either of the signs is present, discard the hazelnuts. Sure, eating a couple of rancid nuts won’t kill you (right away, at least), but they aren’t healthy and should be avoided (HL).

If you have an ancient pack of shelled hazelnuts, and they smell alright, eat a few. If most of them turn out bitter, you’re out of luck, and the whole thing should end up in the trash can. But if they taste alright and only a bit stale, you can give their flavor a boost.

Shelled and unshelled hazelnuts in a glass bowl
Shelled and unshelled hazelnuts in a glass bowl

How To Freshen Hazelnuts

If your hazelnuts taste a bit stale and have lost their crunch, you can fix some of those issues by roasting them.

Please remember that prolonged exposure to high temperatures might oxidize the fats, and you don’t want that (HL). Because of that, you shouldn’t go willy-nilly about the process. Fortunately, hazelnuts do not oxidize as readily as, e.g., walnuts (HL, so even if you mess up a bit, you shouldn’t do to much damage.

Hazelnuts in a textile bag
Hazelnuts in a textile bag

When it comes to roasting without damaging the fats and losing nutrients, here’s what Healthline recommends (HL):

  • shell the nuts if they already aren’t, and put onto a cookie sheet in a single layer
  • preheat the oven to about 284°F (140°C)
  • roast the hazelnuts for about 15 minutes
  • let them cool before eating

If you need to remove the skins, which isn’t necessary but some recipes call for it, here’s a neat trick. Grab a rough cloth or a kitchen towel, and rub the roasted hazelnuts while they are still warm. This way, you should quickly remove most of the skins.


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