The Ultimate Guide: Freezing Walnuts the Right Way

Can you freeze walnuts? – The right way

Walnuts are not only nutritious on their own, but they also add a satisfying crunch to desserts and savory dishes. While walnuts are typically harvested from August to November, finding them year-round can be a challenge. Refrigeration can keep walnuts fresh to some extent, but if you’re looking for a longer storage solution, freezing them is a great option. In this article, we will show you how to properly freeze walnuts to preserve their quality and flavor.

How to Freeze Walnuts

Freezing walnuts is incredibly easy, and with a few simple steps you can keep them fresh and prevent spoilage. Whether you have leftover walnuts from an open package or a new one, here’s what you need to do:

  1. For leftover walnuts, place them in a freezer container. You can use an airtight plastic freezer container or a sealable freezer bag. Both options work well to keep air and moisture out while preserving the nuts inside.
  2. Label the storage container with the freezing date before placing it in the freezer. That way, you’ll have an idea of when to use the walnuts.
  3. It is best not to freeze ground walnuts. If you plan to use ground walnuts, freeze them whole and grind them after thawing. This will ensure optimal flavor once the nuts are thawed.
  4. Avoid processing walnuts, such as chopping or grinding, until you’re ready to use them. This will help preserve their flavor and freshness.
  5. Walnuts tend to absorb odors from other foods in the freezer. Choose a storage container that will protect them from absorbing unwanted flavors.

Freezing Individual Packages

If you want to freeze a pack of walnuts but only use a few at a time, follow these steps to ensure they are easy to separate later:

  1. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet.
  2. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the walnuts are completely frozen.
  3. Transfer the frozen walnuts to an airtight container or storage bag. This will keep the walnuts from freezing together, making it convenient to remove a handful instead of thawing the entire batch.

Why you should freeze walnuts

Walnuts have a high oil content, which makes them susceptible to spoilage when exposed to warm temperatures. By refrigerating or freezing walnuts, you can dramatically extend their shelf life and prevent them from going rancid. Walnuts can become rancid due to prolonged exposure to warm temperatures, temperature changes, oxygen or moisture.
An unopened bag of shelled or unshelled walnuts stored in the pantry can stay fresh for up to three weeks. When stored in the refrigerator, walnuts can remain fresh for up to six months. However, freezing walnuts can keep them fresh for up to a year. Although walnuts are safe to eat after this time, their quality may deteriorate.
When storing walnuts, it is best to keep the bag unopened until you are ready to use them. This will help preserve their freshness and flavor for a longer period of time.

Thawing and Reheating Walnuts

Defrosting walnuts is as easy as freezing them. Here are the recommended methods:

  1. Transfer the walnuts directly from the freezer to the refrigerator and let them thaw for a few hours or overnight. This method is ideal if you plan to use the walnuts in their raw form.
  2. If you plan to cook with the walnuts, there’s no need to reheat them separately. Simply add the frozen walnuts directly to your dish and they will thaw during the cooking process.
  3. For a toasted flavor, you can toast the walnuts in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, spread the shelled walnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and toast for 5 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Alternatively, you can toast them on the stovetop in a skillet.

Shelled vs. Unshelled Walnuts

Unshelled walnuts have a longer shelf life than shelled walnuts because the shell acts as a protective barrier. It is best to store unshelled walnuts in a cool, dark place away from sunlight to maintain their quality. Although shelling walnuts can be time-consuming, it ensures that the nuts stay fresh for a longer period of time.
Shelled walnuts, on the other hand, tend to go rancid more quickly. To extend their shelf life, refrigerate or freeze them.
To determine if walnuts have gone bad, observe the following:

  1. For unshelled walnuts, look for signs of a shrunken and dried shell, which indicates an unhealthy appearance. If this occurs in shelled walnuts, look for a rancid odor or bitter taste.
  2. In either case, inspect the walnuts for signs of mold, discoloration, or a slimy texture. These are clear indicators that the walnuts are spoiled and should be discarded.

By following proper freezing and storage techniques, you can enjoy the freshness and crunch of walnuts all year long. Whether you use them in baking, cooking, or as a nutritious snack, freezing walnuts is a convenient way to preserve their flavor and nutritional value. So stock up on walnuts during their peak season and know that you can keep them fresh and ready when you need them.


Yes, walnuts can be frozen to extend their shelf life and keep them fresh.

How long can I keep walnuts in the freezer?

Walnuts can be stored in the freezer for up to a year without significant loss of quality.

Should I freeze walnuts in shell or shelled?

Both shelled and unshelled walnuts can be frozen. However, unshelled walnuts tend to have a longer shelf life due to the protective shell.

Can I freeze ground walnuts?

It is not recommended to freeze ground walnuts as they may lose their optimum flavour and texture. It’s best to freeze them whole and grind them when they thaw.

How do I store frozen walnuts?

It is advisable to store walnuts in airtight containers or sealable freezer bags to prevent air and moisture from affecting their quality. Label the container with the freezing date for reference.

How do I thaw frozen walnuts?

To thaw frozen walnuts, transfer them from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow them to defrost for several hours or overnight. They can also be added directly to dishes during cooking to thaw. For a toasted flavour, thawed walnuts can be toasted in the oven or on the stovetop.