Can You Freeze Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter is the food of the gods.

The holy grail for vegans and bodybuilders alike, peanut butter is the perfect way to incorporate healthy fats and protein into your diet. 

Peanut butter has a long shelf life, so you don’t need to freeze it, but you can. 

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the foundation of America. The shelf life of an opened jar of peanut butter is around 5 months, which freezing will extend slightly.

The frozen peanut butter will last up to 9 months in the freezer, although longer than this and you may notice the flavor deteriorating.

How to freeze peanut butter

As all peanut butters are made differently and will freeze differently, we recommend doing a test freeze before you freeze large quantities.

Place a small amount of peanut butter on a plate in the freezer and leave overnight. Check in the morning to see the freeze quality and to judge whether to freeze a whole jar.

If your peanut butter is in a plastic jar, you can simply pop it in the freezer with no concerns. We recommend transferring peanut butter from a glass jar into a freezer-safe container. A full jar will likely take around 6 hours to freeze solid. 

You should leave about an inch of space at the top of the container. If you have more space than this, we recommend covering the exposed surface of the peanut butter with a layer of plastic wrap to help keep the moisture in as it freezes.

You can also freeze peanut butter in a ziplock freezer bag if you are short on space in your freezer. If you do this, ensure you label it clearly with the date and contents of the bag. YOu should also press out as much air as possible prior to freezing, as too much air can cause freezer burn. 

If you want to freeze peanut butter in smaller serving sizes, we recommend freezing it in an ice cube tray. A standard cube size is 2 tablespoons in volume. Place the filled ice cube trays into the freezer and leave for 2 hours to freeze solid. 

Once frozen, pop the peanut butter cubes out of the ice cube tray and place into a ziplock freezer bag. Ensure you have labeled the bag clearly with the contents and date. This is the perfect way to ensure a consistent serving size with no measuring!

Some people recommend freezing thin squares of peanut butter for sandwiches, but we have an even better tip for you. You can save time even further by making and freezing whole peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in advance.

The sandwich and its constituent parts all hold up well to freezing, and this makes for hassle-free lunches. Just ensure you wrap it well in a heavy-duty freezer bag to protect the bread from freezer burn.

How to defrost peanut butter

Thawing peanut butter is incredibly simple. Just remove from the freezer and leave on your countertop to defrost. This works better with smaller portions of peanut butter.

If you have a full container of peanut butter, we recommend putting it on a plate and leaving it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw completely. 

If you are defrosting peanut butter made of 100% peanuts, the oil will separate from the nuts when it is frozen. You will have to churn it well after it has thawed to re-mix the peanut butter. The colder the temperature remains, the less the peanut butter will split. 

You can also place the container of peanut butter in a bowl of warm water to help the thawing process speed up a little. This will not have that great an effect on how quickly it thaws though. 

We do not recommend thawing your peanut butter in the microwave as the high fat content can cause it to heat up very quickly. This can in some cases cause your peanut butter to burn, which no one wants. 

To defrost peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, simply remove from the freezer the night before you want to eat and place in your refrigerator. Place in your kid’s lunchbox in the morning for a mess-free kitchen.

Factors to consider before freezing peanut butter

If the peanut butter is in a glass jar keep an eye on it for the first 24 hours. This is because as the peanut butter freezes it will expand. If there is not sufficient space in the jar, the pressure can build and this can cause the jar to shatter.

Pure, natural peanut butter will probably freeze better than those with added oil and salt. Smooth peanut butter will also freeze better than crunchy due to the more consistent texture. 

You cannot refreeze thawed peanut butter though, so ensure if you take out an entire container that you will be able to eat it all. This is why we recommend freezing in smaller portion sizes.

Summary

Most of the time, there is not much point in freezing peanut butter due to its naturally long shelf life. If you do decide to freeze it, this can extend the shelf life a little.

We recommend freezing it in individual portions where possible, such as in an ice cube tray. This will reduce your food waste and mean you never have to waste time measuring out portions in the morning! You can place small cubes onto your oats to melt and cool the oats down to a comfortable temperature to eat.

We also recommend freezing thin discs of peanut butter on a lined baking sheet for 30 minutes before placing between 2 layers of cookie dough. Once baked, this will give you a chocolate chip cookie with a surprise melting inside that everyone will love.

Do not worry if your peanut butter splits when thawed, after a few minutes of stirring it will re-emulsify and the original texture will be restored. These tips will work with both storebought and homemade peanut butter.

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Hi there! My name is Caroline Stevens, and I am an American mom of three wonderful children. I started this blog to help everyday families be more sustainable and save money by preventing food waste. I currently live in Wisconsin, and enjoy crafting, cooking at home, and traveling. I have a degree in art and previously worked in the restaurant business.