Does Hot Sauce Go Bad? How Long Does Hot Sauce Last?


Does hot sauce go bad?

Yes, hot sauces will eventually go bad and spoil. Depending on the ingredients, the shelf life may be a few months or a few years. If a hot sauce has gone bad you may notice mold in the bottle, a foul odor, or an off-flavor taste. If you notice any of these characteristics, do not consume the hot sauce and dispose of it, because it has likely gone bad.

How long does hot sauce last, if unopened?

Generally, if a hot sauce is unopened, it can remain intact for up to two years. After two years, the hot sauce may still be safe to consume but the flavor can change and may not be as appetizing. Each hot sauce’s best buy date differs, depending on its ingredients. When in doubt, always check the manufacturer’s best buy date before consuming.

How long does hot sauce last when opened?

Hot sauces, when opened, last between a few months to a few years depending on ingredients and the method of storage. Hot sauces that have greater quantities of vinegar and salt tend to last longer than creamier sauces that may contain mayonnaise or eggs. When hot sauces are stored in the fridge, they can last twice to four times as long as when stored at room temperature.

How long does homemade hot sauce last?

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Homemade hot sauces tend not to last as long as professionally manufactured hot sauces, due to the lack of preservatives and the types of ingredients used. Most homemade hot sauces will last around 90 days depending on ingredients used. Fresh vegetables can reduce the duration of shelf life. You can increase the shelf life of your homemade hot sauce by using spice mixtures and granulated onion and garlic powders instead of fresh ingredients. You can also increase shelf life by increasing the vinegar and salt content of your hot sauce.

Always make sure to properly sterilize your containers before storing your hot sauce. To ensure safe storing, only use glassware containers and sterilize them in boiling hot water for about 10 to 16 minutes, depending on your location’s elevation, before adding your hot sauce.

How can you tell if hot sauce has gone bad?

To determine if a hot sauce has gone bad you need to inspect it by sight, smell, and taste. Like most foods, if your hot sauce has spoiled, it can be detected by using three of your five senses.

Three steps to determine if a hot sauce has gone bad:

  1. Sight – If you notice any mold in the neck of the hot sauce bottle, under the cap, or in the hot sauce, it has gone bad. No need to smell or taste it, just throw it out immediately.
  2. Smell – If the hot sauce has an off smell or foul odor that was not present the last time you lifted the bottle cap of the hot sauce, it has likely spoiled. If you are not quite sure if it smells off or not you can go to the next step, taste.
  3. Taste – So long as the hot sauce visibly looks fine and smells fine you can move on to the final check, tasting the hot sauce. When initially tasting the hot sauce to determine if it has spoiled or not, you only need to taste a small dab, no need to consume a spoonful. If you notice any odd or rancid taste, throw out your hot sauce, because it has expired. If it tastes fine, you are good to go, feel free to splash it over what ever you’re eating that needs a bit more spice.

Is it okay to eat expired hot sauce?

It is okay to eat hot sauce that is beyond its best buy date if it looks, smells, and tastes normal. If you notice any mold, foul or off-smelling odors, or rancid taste it is probably not safe to consume.

Personally, I am picky, so I prefer to throw out an unused hot sauce if it is beyond its best buy date on the bottle. And don’t forget to recycle the bottle!

Does hot sauce go bad if not refrigerated?

Some hot sauces do not go bad for years if left unrefrigerated. Hot sauces with high levels or vinegar and salt that do not use fresh ingredients have longer shelf lives after being opened. Hot sauces like Tapatío and Tabasco are well known for long, unrefrigerated shelf lives.

Other hot sauces that use fresh ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, onion, or fruits should be refrigerated after opening. These hot sauces generally have shorter shelf lives but can last longer if kept in the fridge. Refrigeration helps extend the life expectancy of the product as well as the flavor.

Does hot sauce need to be refrigerated?

Whether a hot sauce needs to be refrigerated or not depends on the ingredients of the hot sauce and the recommendations of the manufacturer. Typically, hot sauces with higher levels of salt and vinegar do not need to be refrigerated as these ingredients act as a preservative preventing spoilage.

Vinegar and salt have been used for thousands of years to help preserve foods. A fun related fact, food urns from around 3000 B.C. have been found in Egypt with trace amounts of vinegar, so ancestors have been using these ingredients to preserve food for years!

Vinegar’s higher level of acid, generally a 2.5 on the pH scale, kills many forms of bacteria and microbes. Salt also destroys some types of bacteria by sucking the water right out of them, causing the cell structures of the bacteria to collapse.

As mentioned previously, consult the hot sauce manufacturer to determine whether a hot sauce needs to be refrigerated or not. You can usually find those instructions on the bottle itself, or on the manufacturer’s website.

Below are a few examples of popular hot sauces in the U.S. and information on whether or not they need to be refrigerated.

Franks RedHot – Recommends their Sweet Chili Sauce should be refrigerated after opening but their other hot sauces do not require it. Frank’s does say refrigerating their hot sauces after opening keeps the product fresher for longer.

Sriracha – Huy Fong Sriracha does not need to be refrigerated: the instructions say to store in a cool, dry place. Refrigeration will help preserve the flavors for longer, so if you have a large bottle of the hot sauce which will take you a while to consume, it’s probably worth storing in your fridge.

Tabasco – McIlhenny Co., the manufacturer of Tabasco, recommends the sauce be stored in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Recommended places for storing the hot sauce include cupboards, pantries, or cabinets. It does not need to be refrigerated after opening. The hot sauce may change color after opening but that does not mean that it has spoiled.

Tapatío – The manufacturer states Tapatío does not need to be refrigerated after opening, but nothing will happen if you do choose to refrigerate the hot sauce. They do recommend consuming within two years of purchase.

Cholula – Cholula does not need to be refrigerated once opened; the manufacturer says it can be stored in a cool spot in a cabinet. The manufacturer recommends consuming the hot sauce within six months after opening.

Queen Majesty hot sauces – Queen Majesty recommends refrigerating their hot sauces after opening. Queen Majesty is known for using fresh, flavorful ingredients and no unnatural preservatives so their hot sauces require refrigeration to keep them fresh and unspoiled.

As you can see from the five examples listed above, many hot sauces do not need to be refrigerated after opening. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendation for storing which is usually located on the back of the bottle or on their websites.

If unsure, use your best judgement. Keep in mind that hot sauces with creamy consistencies or minimal salt and vinegar should probably be stored in the fridge once opened. Hot sauces with high vinegar and salt content will probably do fine in a cool, dry, dark place, like a kitchen cabinet.

How long can you keep hot sauce in the fridge?

Hot sauces can be left in the fridge for up to two years, depending on their ingredients. If a hot sauce has a high vinegar and salt content expect to get around 2 years of refrigerated shelf life. Hot sauces with fresher ingredients or lower vinegar and salt content have a shorter duration, around 3 – 6 months. Always inspect hot sauces for mold, foul odor, or rancid taste before consuming.

Can hot sauce get moldy?

Hot sauces can develop mold over time. If a hot sauce has been opened and exposed to oxygen, mold spores can get into the hot sauce and start growing. Mold on hot sauce can look fuzzy and have a white or green color. If you notice any mold in your hot sauce bottle, do not consume and throw it out immediately.

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