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How To Freeze Walnuts | The Best Way

To freeze walnuts, first, check whether they’re shelled or unshelled. For shelled walnuts, freeze them for 6 to 12 hours before storing them in airtight Ziploc bags in the freezer. As for unshelled walnuts, place small portions of the nuts in airtight Ziploc bags and let them freeze.

Let’s now break down the process for freezing shelled walnuts or unshelled.

Fresh walnuts on a rustic wooden table

How To Freeze Shelled Walnuts

To freeze shelled walnuts:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread the shelled walnuts on the sheets.
  3. Cover the walnuts with plastic wrap.
  4. Place the sheet in the freezer for 6 to 24 hours.
  5. Remove the walnuts from the baking sheet.
  6. Put the nuts into Ziploc bags or airtight containers.
  7. Label the bags or containers and store them in the freezer. 

How To Freeze Unshelled Walnuts

To freeze unshelled walnuts:

  1. Remove the walnuts from the packaging.
  2. Separate the walnuts into sizable portions.
  3. Place each portion in a Ziploc bag or airtight container.
  4. Ensure you remove air from the Ziploc bags if you choose to use them.
  5. Label the bags or containers with the freezing date.
  6. Place the bags or containers in the freezer.

If you choose not to freeze them, I recommend using an airtight container, like these found on Amazon.

Can I Freeze Raw Walnuts?

You can freeze raw walnuts to prevent them from becoming stale. Walnuts contain a lot of oil, so exposing them to warm temperatures will make them go bad quickly. However, storing them in the coldest portion of your refrigerator helps to retain their taste and nutrients.

Can I Freeze Walnut Pieces?

You can freeze walnut pieces. Put them in Ziploc bags or airtight containers in small portions since you won’t be using them all at the same time. Frequent thawing and refreezing can make your walnut pieces lose their taste and flavor.

With walnut pieces, you can add more flavor to your meals. They make great additions to breakfasts and desserts, such as yogurt, muesli, and more. You can also use walnut pieces for making cakes.

How Long Do Walnuts Last in the Freezer?

Walnuts can last up to one year in the freezer. They can only last up to 6 months when stored in a fridge. But walnuts left at room temperature will only stay fresh for 30 days. On the other hand, ground walnuts can last for about six months in the freezer and 30 days in the fridge.

How Do You Preserve Walnuts for a Long Time?

To preserve walnuts for a long time:

  1. Place them in a freezer bag or canister.
  2. Ensure the bag is airtight, then label with the date.
  3. Store the walnuts in the freezer, away from other foods with strong flavors.

Walnuts absorb odors from their environment, which could make them smell bad.

How To Tell if Shelled Walnuts Are Bad

These signs show that shelled walnuts are bad:

  • The shells look dry or shrunken.
  • A ring of rust forms on the shells.
  • The shells feel light.
  • You hear the shells’ nuts moving in them when you shake the shells.
  • When you break the shells, their nuts smell like used cooking oil.
  • The walnuts are bitter.
  • The walnuts have a foul smell or have lost their natural color.
  • The walnuts are rusty or dry.
  • You found mold on the walnuts.

Why Should You Freeze Walnuts?

Plastic container with walnuts and hazelnuts on a pantry shelf

You should freeze walnuts since they aren’t available all year round. If you don’t store the walnuts well, you won’t find them in stores when the season is over. Due to their high oil content, walnuts can quickly become rancid if kept at room temperature. Freezing them increases their shelf life.

How To Defrost Frozen Walnuts

To defrost frozen walnuts, move them to the fridge. You can leave them to thaw for about 6 to 24 hours before using them. You can also keep them on the kitchen countertop if you don’t have sufficient space in the fridge. However, don’t leave frozen walnuts out at room temperature for long.

Additionally, if you want to prepare a recipe with walnuts, simply add the frozen nuts. They’ll defrost in your pot. Be careful not to refreeze thawed walnuts, especially shelled nuts, because they could lose their taste and nutritional content. That’s why you have to separate them into small portions before freezing. 

If you plan to toast frozen walnuts, take them out of the freezer and heat them immediately. It takes about 5 minutes to get this done. Toasted walnuts have a distinct flavor.

How To Toast Shelled Walnuts in the Oven

To toast shelled walnuts in your oven:

  1. Set the oven to a temperature of 375°F (190.56°C) and allow it to preheat.
  2. Place a piece of parchment paper on your baking sheet.
  3. Spread the walnuts on the sheet and put them in the oven.
  4. Allow them to toast until they turn golden brown. 

How To Toast Shelled Walnuts on a Stove

To toast shelled walnuts on a stove:

  1. Set the stove on medium heat.
  2. Place a dry skillet on the stovetop.
  3. Place the walnuts in the skillet and stir frequently.
  4. Turn off the heat when the nuts turn brown.
Walnuts in pan for toasting

Can You Freeze Dry Roasted Nuts?

You can freeze dry roasted nuts, and they’ll still maintain their crispiness and fresh taste. After toasting the nuts, place them on a cooling rack until they’re at room temperature. Put them into Ziploc bags for storage in the freezer. They’ll last for about 30 days.  

Should You Freeze Ground Walnuts?

You can freeze ground walnuts in an airtight container, but they may form mold or lose their flavor when exposed to air. Instead, freeze whole walnuts for processing when you need them. Avoid processing frozen walnuts until you’re ready to use them so they can retain their flavor after thawing.

What Happens if You Eat Rancid Walnuts?

You could get sick if you eat rancid walnuts, although you don’t necessarily fall sick immediately. Rancid walnuts could also trigger diarrhea or vomiting. Long-term consumption of rancid walnuts will lead to inflammation because they contain toxic compounds.

Contact your doctor right away if you notice the following symptoms:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Severe vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Severe fever
  • Severe pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Dehydration

Note: If you’re dehydrated, drink enough water until you can get medical attention.

What Can You Do With Stale Walnuts?

You can toast stale walnuts in an oven or stove. But you must add some spices to make them taste delicious. You can also use them in recipes that require nuts. However, if they’re too bad that you can’t eat them, throw them away or add them to your compost.

How To Revive Stale Walnuts


  • Stale walnuts
  • A pinch of salt
  • A teaspoon of oil
  • Spices
  • Sweetener


  1. Heat a dry skillet on medium heat.
  2. Add the stale walnuts and toast for 5 minutes.
  3. Add salt, oil, and spices.
  4. Add your preferred sweetener, then mix properly.
  5. Allow the sweetener to caramelize the nuts.
  6. Stir again before setting them down on the skillet.
  7. Serve either warm or cool.


Walnuts are nutritious; you can eat them as snacks or use them for cooking. However, you’ll want to store them properly because they can pick up flavors from their surroundings and smell bad. Walnuts also contain a lot of oil and can quickly become rancid.

Since walnuts aren’t available all year round, it’s best to freeze them to make them last. You could freeze them in Ziploc bags or airtight containers. When ready to use them, you can thaw them in the fridge.

If your nuts are stale, consider toasting them on the stove or in the oven.

For more, don’t miss Do Nuts Expire? (And How to Extend Their Shelflife).