Does Almond Paste go Bad?

Does Almond Paste go Bad

You’ve baked up a storm, and you’ve got a tub of almond paste leftover. But now you’re wondering, “Can I save this for later, or will it go bad?” Almond paste is a delicious and versatile ingredient in everything from Moroccan pastries to Danish pastries to Italian cookies. But like all good things, it won’t last forever.

The real question is, how long can you hold onto that almond paste before it starts to turn? And what happens if you use almond paste that’s past its prime? Does it become a mushy, flavorless mess, or is it still safe to eat?

Don’t worry, we’ve got the answers! In this article, we’ll dive into the shelf life of almond paste, signs it has spoiled, and tips for making it last as long as possible. We’ll also cover whether you can still use expired almond paste (you might be surprised!). So grab a snack and get ready to become an almond paste expert!

Does Almond Paste go Bad?

Yes, almond paste does go bad over time. Like many food products, almond paste has a limited shelf life after which it will start to spoil and become unsafe or unappetizing to consume.

Shelf Life of Almond Paste

When it comes to how long almond paste lasts, there are two scenarios to consider – unopened and opened.

Unopened Almond Paste

If you’ve bought a can or tube of almond paste that’s still sealed up tight, you’re in luck. Unopened almond paste can last quite a while thanks to its shelf-stable ingredients and airtight packaging.

Typically, an unopened can or tube of almond paste will have a best-by date stamped on the label, usually 12-18 months after the manufacturing date. As long as it’s stored properly in a cool, dry place, unopened almond paste should easily last until that date and likely a few months beyond.

The packaging plays a big role here. Almond paste is made from ground almonds, sugar, egg whites, and flavorings. It has a fairly low moisture content, helping it stay fresh longer. But exposure to air will dry it out and allow bacteria growth. So that airtight seal is crucial.

Opened Almond Paste

Once you break that seal, the clock starts ticking. An opened package or can of almond paste should be used within 2-3 weeks when stored in the refrigerator.

Why the fridge? Two reasons – to extend shelf life and prevent almond paste from drying out. The cold temperatures slow down any bacterial growth or spoilage. And the moisture in the fridge prevents the almond paste from hardening into a brick.

For maximum freshness, you’ll want to tightly wrap any leftovers in plastic wrap or transfer them to an airtight container before refrigerating. This protects the almond paste from drying out and absorbing fridge odors.

No matter how you store it, almond paste won’t last forever after opening. Expect about 2-3 weeks in the fridge before quality starts to decline. But we’ll cover more on spotting signs of spoilage in the next section.

Signs of Spoilage

So how can you tell if your almond paste has spoiled and is no longer safe or good to use? There are several indicators to watch out for involving the appearance, smell, taste and texture.

Visual Cues

One of the first signs almond paste has gone bad is a change in appearance. Fresh almond paste should have a smooth, uniform light beige color. If you notice any spots of discoloration like darker brown or greenish areas, that can indicate mold growth and spoilage.

You’ll also want to check for any dried out or hardened areas. While it’s normal for the surface to develop a slight crust over time, severely hardened or excessively cracked and crumbly almond paste is a sign of advanced drying and degradation.

Smell and Taste

Using your senses of smell and taste are goodways to check if almond paste is still fresh. Almond paste should have a sweet, nutty aroma with perhaps hints of vanilla or other extract flavorings. Any sour, rancid, or off-putting smells are red flags that it has begun to turn.

If the smell seems okay, do a taste test with just a small amount. Spoiled almond paste will have an unpleasant sour or bitter flavor compared to its usual sweet richness when fresh. If it tastes off or stale, it’s time to toss it.

Texture Changes

Along with examining for visual signs, pay attention to the texture of the almond paste. When fresh, it should be smooth and slightly firm but still pliable and easy to knead or roll out. Crumbly, dried out, or hardened almond paste that easily breaks apart has lost moisture and gone stale.

On the flip side, if the almond paste develops a slimy or runny texture and loses its firm body, that can indicate bacterial spoilage has set in. Fresh almond paste may be soft but still holds its shape.

If you notice multiple signs of spoilage like an off smell, discoloration, hardening, andTextureChanges, it’s best to exercise caution and not consume the almond paste. When in doubt, toss it out to avoid potential foodborne illness. An unopened can may still be okay, but opened almond paste showing spoilage is not worth the risk.

Proper Storage Techniques

Knowing the signs of spoiled almond paste is important, but storing it correctly from the start is the best way to maximize freshness and shelf life. Proper storage methods can make a big difference in how long your almond paste lasts.

Unopened Almond Paste

For unopened cans or tubes of almond paste, the two main storage options are the pantry or the refrigerator. Room temperature in the pantry is perfectly fine for sealed almond paste.

The key is keeping it in a cool, dry area away from heat sources like the oven or window. High temperatures can cause the oils in the almond paste to go rancid more quickly. A dark cupboard works well to protect it from light exposure too.

That said, storing unopened almond paste in the fridge certainly won’t hurt. The cold temperatures will help it retain freshness for longer than room temp storage. Just know that refrigerating unopened almond paste may cause some hardening or drying out over an extended period.

Opened Almond Paste

Once you’ve cracked the seal on that can or tube, the fridge is a must for opened almond paste. Leaving it at room temp will quickly dry it out and allow bacteria growth that leads to spoilage.

For maximum freshness, take any leftover almond paste and tightly wrap it in plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container or zip-top bag. This protects it from drying out and absorbing fridge odors.

Be sure to use a container intended for food storage, as some plastics can absorb odors or flavors from the almond paste over time. Glass works very well too and is non-reactive.

No matter how well wrapped, opened almond paste will only last 2-3 weeks max in the fridge before starting to turn. So if you don’t plan to use it up within that timeframe, it’s best to freeze any remaining portions for longer storage.

For freezing, pre-portion the almond paste into airtight bags or containers. Flatten it into an even layer to help it thaw more quickly when needed. Frozen almond paste will keep for 6-12 months. Just be sure to thaw it in the fridge before using again.

By taking these proper storage steps – cool, dry, airtight packaging – you’ll keep your almond paste fresh and extend its shelf life as long as possible. This ensures you get maximum usage and don’t waste any of this tasty baking staple.

Using Expired Almond Paste

You did everything right – stored your almond paste properly in an airtight container in the fridge. But despite your best efforts, you didn’t use it up before that 2-3 week fresh window closed. So now you’re wondering, can you still use almond paste after the expiration date?

Safety Concerns

From a food safety standpoint, almond paste theoretically can still be okay to consume for a while after it “expires” or shows signs of spoiling. That’s because of its low moisture content – the thick, dense paste provides an inhospitable environment for pathogenic bacteria growth when stored cold.

However, that doesn’t mean you should eat almond paste once it develops mold, a bad smell, or other clear signs of spoilage. At that point, it’s better to be safe than sorry and discard it to avoid potential foodborne illness.

Impact on Flavor and Texture

While expired almond paste may still be technically safe for some time, the real concern is more about quality than safety. The flavor and texture will start to degrade and become unpalatable fairly quickly after those first signs of going off.

Stale, dry, crumbly, or hard almond paste that has lost its moisture simply won’t perform the same in recipes. It can impact everything from the taste to the structure and rise of baked goods. You may end up with something dense, dry, and bland rather than light and flavorful.

A sour or rancid off-flavor from spoilage can also really ruin the final product. There’s no saving that with extra sugar or extract!

Alternative Uses

If your almond paste is just starting to turn but hasn’t completely spoiled yet, you may still be able to use it for certain applications and get away with the declining quality. But expectations need to be adjusted.

For example, lightly stale almond paste could work okay folded into cake batter, bread dough, or other thick batters where texture isn’t as crucial. Or use it where it will be blended into a frosting or filling – the other ingredients can help mask any off-flavors or dryness.

However, don’t try using subpar almond paste for delicate pastries, cookies, or desserts where it’s a star ingredient. The flaws will really show through.

At the end of the day, expired almond paste that’s clearly spoiled is best reserved for the trash. But you may have a short window to use up just slightly stale almond paste before it’s a total lost cause. Just manage your expectations on the final quality.

Tips for Maximizing Shelf Life

Nobody wants to waste expensive almond paste and have it spoil before you can use it all up. While it does have a relatively long shelf life compared to some other baking ingredients, there are several tips and tricks to help maximize its freshness for as long as possible.

Buy in Smaller Quantities

One of the easiest ways to ensure you use up almond paste before it goes bad is to simply buy less of it at one time. Those large economy-sized cans or tubes may seem thrifty, but if you can’t realistically use all of that almond paste within a few months it will likely go to waste.

Instead, opt for the smaller 8 oz cans or 7-8 oz tubes of almond paste. This gives you just enough for most recipes that call for almond paste without having excessive leftovers that will spoil before you can use them.

Check Expiration Dates

It may seem obvious, but always check those expiration or best-by dates when purchasing almond paste. The older it is already, the shorter its remaining shelf life will be once you open it.

Try to buy almond paste that has plenty of time left on the date code – 6 months to a year is ideal for an unopened package. This gives you maximum freshness to work with before it expires.

You can usually find manufacture dates printed on cans or tubes as well. As a general rule with proper storage, you’ll want to use unopened almond paste within 12-18 months of that manufacture date.

Proper Storage Practices

Taking the right storage steps is crucial for stretching the longevity of almond paste, both before and after opening. Sticking to the proper storage methods outlined earlier can buy you lots of extra freshness.

For unopened almond paste, keep it in a cool, dry area away from heat and sunlight. The pantry is fine, or you can refrigerate for even longer-term storage before opening. Once opened, the fridge is a must along with wrapping tightly in plastic or an airtight container.

Consider Freezing

If you have a lot of leftover almond paste that you can’t foresee using within 2-3 weeks, freezing is a great option. Frozen almond paste keeps for 6 months to 1 year with no loss in quality when thawed.

The key is double wrapping or vacuum sealing to prevent freezer burn and drying out. Flatten into airtight bags and store frozen until needed. Then simply thaw in the fridge overnight before using.

With these storage tactics, along with buying properly dated packages in reasonable quantities, you can absolutely maximize the shelf life and freshness of almond paste. A little forethought goes a long way in avoiding prematurely spoiled or stale almond paste.


Can I still use almond paste if there is a little mold on it?

No, if you see any mold growth on your almond paste it should be discarded immediately. Mold is a serious sign of spoilage and contamination. Don’t try to cut off the moldy parts – get rid of the entire package.

Why did my almond paste dry out and get crumbly?

Almond paste can dry out and become hardened or crumbly if it’s not stored in an airtight container or if it’s exposed to air for too long after opening. Moisture loss is the main culprit. Proper airtight storage helps retain moisture.

Does the color of almond paste change as it goes bad?

Yes, one of the visual cues that almond paste is spoiling is a change in color from its usual pale tan/beige shade. You may notice darker brown spots or a dull grayish tint as it oxidizes and spoils.

Can I freeze almond paste to extend its shelf life?

Yes, freezing is an excellent way to prolong the shelf life of almond paste for 6-12 months. Wrap tightly in an airtight freezer bag or container with as little air exposure as possible to prevent freezer burn.

Is it safe to use almond paste after the best-by date?

Almond paste may still be safe to consume for a short window after the best-by date, but the quality will start to degrade quickly. Trust your senses – if it smells off, tastes sour, or looks discolored, it’s best to discard it.

How can I tell if opened almond paste has gone bad?

Some key signs of spoiled almond paste are an off or sour smell, discoloration, hardening/drying out, visible mold, and an unpleasant sour or bitter taste. If you notice multiple indicators, it’s best not to use it.


Almond paste is a delicious and versatile ingredient for baking, but it doesn’t last forever. With its relatively low moisture content, unopened almond paste can maintain quality for 12-18 months when stored properly. But that shelf life clock starts ticking as soon as you open it up.

The key things to watch out for with opened almond paste are signs of spoilage like discoloration, off odors, hardening or drying out, mold growth, and funky tastes. If you see multiple spoilage indicators, it’s best to discard it rather than risk potential foodborne illness.

By taking proper storage precautions like refrigerating opened almond paste in an airtight container, you can extend its freshness window to 2-3 weeks. And freezing is a great option for long-term almond paste storage up to 6-12 months.

With some care and handling know-how, you can absolutely maximize the shelf life of almond paste from purchase to finished product. Check those dates, store it well, and trust your senses. A little forethought goes a long way in avoiding dried out or spoiled almond paste that ruins your baked masterpieces.

So go forth confidently, bake up those delicious almond-flavored treats, and enjoy almond paste at its absolute freshest. Just be sure to use it up before that magic expiration window closes!

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