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Does Hot Sauce Go Bad? Here Is What You Need To Know

Updated: Feb 12

Does Hot Sauce Go Bad? Here Is What You Need To Know

Hot sauce is a staple for many people, and for good reason. It's been around for centuries and it adds that extra flavor to any dish. It can make even the most boring meal exciting. Today we're not going to be talking about the many different types of hot sauce and how to use them though, but rather answer a very simple question... Does hot sauce go bad? In a word, yes.

Almost all food spoils eventually (The rare and weird exception to this is honey which can last for thousands of years), so it’s important to know how to store your hot sauce correctly to keep it fresh! After all, you want it to last for as long as possible.

Here's what you need to know about the shelf life of hot sauce.

Does Hot Sauce Expire?

Yes, hot sauce does expire. How long it lasts depends on a few factors though, such as its ingredients and how you store it.

hot sauce with mold in it from bad storage

The shelf life of most types of commercial hot sauce is between 1-2 years when unopened according to the USDA. However, after opening it, it will normally last for several months up to a year depending on the type, how it was made, and how it was stored.

Now with that being said, some hot sauce enthusiasts might argue that hot sauces can last even longer, such as 3-5 years. But ultimately it all just depends.

Storage Tips

Storing your hot sauce in the right way is crucial to its shelf life. The better you do this, the longer it will last.

pantry with hot sauce stored inside

Always make sure that the lid or cap is tightly sealed after each use, this will prevent air from entering the bottle and causing spoilage.

It’s also best to store your hot sauce away from direct sunlight and heat sources (like stoves or ovens), which can speed up spoilage and cause bacteria growth on the bottle.

When storing unopened bottles of commercial or craft hot sauce in cupboards or pantries, make sure that they are not exposed to too much heat or humidity, both of which can shorten their shelf life significantly.

You can also refrigerate your hot sauce, keep the cap clean, and reduce the bottle's contact with food as much as possible. These are all things that can contribute to the lifespan of your hot sauce.

How Do You Know When Your Hot Sauce Is Bad

The best way to tell if your hot sauce has gone bad is to smell it. If you notice a sour, rancid odor coming from the bottle, chances are that it’s time to throw it out and get a new one. You can also check for mold or other growth on the outside of the bottle or inside near the cap.

craft hot sauce gone bad

Another telltale sign is the color of the hot sauce. Now, it's perfectly normal to see a slightly darker color over time, as chile peppers can become darker with time. BUT if you see just dark spots or bubbles in the bottle, rather than the whole sauce being slightly darker, then this is a sign that there is bacteria growing and your hot sauce has gone bad.

If you still aren’t sure and want to be extra cautious, give the sauce a taste before using it, if it doesn’t taste right, we recommend tossing it! You're always better off being safe rather than sorry. Food poisoning is no joke.

Lastly, check the expiration date. This is obvious, but it can also help you determine if it's past due and not edible anymore.

Hot Sauce Recap

Yes, hot sauce does expire but with proper storage methods, you can extend its shelf life significantly. You are almost always better off keeping your opened bottles in the fridge. When it comes to knowing when your hot sauce has gone bad, always check for signs of spoilage. The lifespan of hot sauce ultimately comes down to how the hot sauce was made, the type of hot sauce, how it's used, and how it's stored.

Hot sauces are great condiments that can be used in many dishes to add flavor and spice things up a bit! However, like most other foods out there, they do expire eventually.

Hopefully, this article was able to answer your questions about the lifespan of your hot sauce. If we didn't, let us know by leaving a comment down below and we'll answer it for you!

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