Condiments You Absolutely CANNOT Eat After They Expire (2024)

Have you ever done a deep clean of your fridge and noticed that the shelf doors have essentially turned into time capsules stashing condiments way past their expiration dates?

Obviously, it’s time to toss the mystery mayo that’s leftover from a long-ago barbecue and the forgotten-about jar of salsa that’s turned into a science experiment. But there are all kinds of other scenarios that are more befuddling: Do you need to get rid of the sour cream that has a pool of liquid on top of it, but hasn’t reached its expiration date? (You’ve probably got a couple days, btw, but the end is nearing for your taco topping). And what about ketchup and mustard from last summer’s cookouts?

If you find yourself in a condiment conundrum, and you’re deciding what to toss and what to keep, there are a few general rules to be mindful of, says nutritionist Mary Sabat, MS, RDN, LD.

First things first: Is the bottle opened? Unopened condiments are generally going to have a longer shelf life compared to open ones since they haven’t been exposed to potential contaminants that can speed up bacteria growth, Sabat says.

“Once a bottle is opened, the shelf life can be significantly reduced due to increased exposure to bacteria,” Sabat says.

Proper storage is also a biggie. Many condiments need to be stored in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and heat, while refrigeration is necessary for things like mayo and creamy salad dressings that will otherwise spoil.

Expiration dates printed on the condiment bottles are really meant to tell you when the product is at its peak quality, Sabat says. Expired sauces, spreads, and dressings will likely lose their flavor over time, and, worst-case scenario, could make you sick.

With that info out of the way, here are 13 condiments you should never eat after their expiration dates (and in some cases, may even need to toss earlier).

Mayo Needs to Be Tossed Two Months After Opening

A safe rule of thumb is anything that contains mayonnaise should be tossed at the time of its expiration, especially if the jar has been opened, says dietitian Bess Berger, RDN, with the New Jersey-based company Nutrition by Bess.

Store-bought mayo usually contains acids which help prevent spoilage and kill off bacteria. But you may need to toss a half-full bottle of mayo before its expiration date if it’s been sitting out in the sun all day during a backyard barbecue, Berger says. Also, after it's opened, it should go in the fridge for up to two months, according to the USDA.

Condiments You Absolutely CANNOT Eat After They Expire (1)

Keep Close Tabs on Mayo-Based Dips, Too

From garlic aioli to remoulade and tartar sauces, there are all kinds of dipping sauces and spreads that contain mayo, and Berger says it’s best practice to toss them when they’re expired.

“Another general rule of thumb is if a dip or condiment tastes different from when you first open it, throw it out,” she says. “Same holds true if it's discolored or extra watery.”

Horseradish Loses Its Zing

“As soon as the jar of horseradish is exposed to air, that sharp, spicy flavor begins to fade,” says Jared Kent, a sous chef at Good Roots in Akron, Ohio. By the time it reaches the expiration date, it's better to opt for a fresh jar and get the whole experience, he says.

Sour Cream Is A Wild Card

Sour cream can spoil quicker than other dairy products, and the USDA says it can be kept in the fridge for one to three weeks. But if you start to see it separate and a pool of liquid build on the top, consider that your warning sign that you should use it up in the next couple of days, according to Eat By Date. (This isn’t a condiment that freezes well). Also, if you notice any mold forming, toss out the entire container.

Use Up Chutney Quickly After Opening

While you can keep chutney in your pantry for a year after buying it, you’ll want to move it to the fridge as soon as you break the seal on this savory Indian condiment that’s made from fruits or veggies with vinegar, sugar and spices. Once it moves to the fridge, you’ve got a month or two to polish it off, according to FoodSafety.Gov’s FoodKeeper App. The vinegar and acids from the fruit helps preserve it, but it can still eventually grow mold.

BBQ Sauce Can Get Moldy

Don’t sauce it, toss it if you’re noticing anything that’s off about your jar of barbecue sauce, like fuzzy mold, a change in texture or a funky smell. While most store-bought barbecue sauces have lots of preservatives in them, you’ve got about four months to use up an opened bottle of the good stuff, according to

Toss Your Ranch If It Changes Consistency

A popular choice for salads and dipping, Ranch dressing includes buttermilk, sour cream, and mayonnaise, which can all go bad over time, says Chef Jessica Randhawa of The Forked Spoon. “Eating expired ranch dressing could lead to foodborne illnesses, especially if the ranch has been improperly stored,” she says. It's important to discard this dressing if it's past its expiration date or if you notice changes in its smell, color, or consistency, Randhawa says.

If you need some inspiration to use up a bottle of the salad dressing, here are 55 genius ways to use up ranch.

Blue Cheese is a ‘breeding ground for bacteria’

Blue cheese dressing is made with blue cheese crumbles, mayonnaise, sour cream, and other dairy products, Randhawa says, and it’s another one of those creamy dressings that can spoil after its expiration date. Because there are so many dairy products in blue cheese, it can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, and potentially cause food poisoning, she says. “And the potent smell of the cheese can mask any off odors,” she says.

Spoiled Caesar Dressing Could Contain Salmonella

Caesar dressing often contains raw egg yolks, olive oil, and cheese, which can all become problematic if consumed past their expiration dates, Randhawa says. The raw egg yolks, though, are of particular concern because they can be a source of Salmonella, a bacteria that has potential to make you sick. “It’s essential to pay close attention to the shelf-life of Caesar dressing to ensure it's still safe to consume,” Randhawa says.

Don’t Eat Thousand Island Dressing If The Smell is Off

Other indicators that it’s time to toss the jar of Thousand Island is if you notice changes in the color or texture, Randhawa says. Thousand Island has a creamy mayo base and can spoil and potentially cause foodborne illness, she says.

Soy Sauce Can Become Stale

Although soy sauce has a long shelf life, it can still expire, says Nina Engle of Ping Pong Thai in Las Vegas. In fact, says soy sauce can hang out in your pantry for three years, but once you open it, you need to move it to the fridge and it’s only good for about a month.

When it’s past its prime, soy sauce can develop a stale or rancid flavor, making it unappetizing to use, she says.

Mustard Can Turn Rancid

Totally fine if you use the same bottle of mustard throughout the entire barbecue season. Mustard has some stamina. It’s good for a year after you open it so long as you keep it in the fridge, according to Quality, not safety, is the reason your mustard bottle says to pop it in the fridge after opening. If your mustard is expired, it will have a rancid taste.

Ketchup Can Go Sour

Just like its companion mustard, ketchup should get moved to the fridge after opening to help maintain its quality. But unlike mustard, ketchup is only good for about six months after opening and refrigerating, according to Afterwards, it can become sour or even moldy.

Condiments You Absolutely CANNOT Eat After They Expire (2024)


Condiments You Absolutely CANNOT Eat After They Expire? ›

Expiration dates printed on the condiment bottles are really meant to tell you when the product is at its peak quality, Sabat says. Expired sauces, spreads, and dressings will likely lose their flavor over time, and, worst-case scenario, could make you sick.

Can you eat expired condiments? ›

Expiration dates printed on the condiment bottles are really meant to tell you when the product is at its peak quality, Sabat says. Expired sauces, spreads, and dressings will likely lose their flavor over time, and, worst-case scenario, could make you sick.

Which condiment never goes bad? ›

Soy Sauce. "Soy sauce can last a really, really long time unopened in the pantry," says Gans. But while it can last indefinitely unopened, popping the top puts a three-year time limit on its freshness.

Can you eat expired mayonnaise? ›

For safety reasons, it's suggested not to eat mayonnaise after the expiration date on the jar. Unopened jars of mayo that have been sitting in the pantry should be thrown out once it is a week past their best-by date. Opened jars, when refrigerated, should be thrown out by the one-month mark past its best-by date.

What condiments have the longest shelf life? ›

  • Barbecue sauce: 1 year; 4 months (see note above on shelf-stable).
  • Chutney: 1 year; 1 to 2 months.
  • Hoisin: 18 to 24 months; 3 to 6 months.
  • Honey: Consume within 2 years (store in pantry).
  • Horseradish: 12 months when stored in refrigerator; 3 to 4 months refrigerated after opening.
Apr 13, 2020

Can I eat expired ketchup? ›

If your ketchup is unopened, it can be stored in the pantry for up to a year past its best before date. Once it's been opened, store it in the fridge and consume it within six months. Yellow mustard can be stored unopened for up to two years past its best before date, or for a year in the refrigerator after opening.

Does unopened mayo go bad? ›

Even if your mayo looks okay, check for any acidic, sour, or bitter tastes and smells to be sure it has not gone bad. Unopened mayonnaise is likely to last for up to three months after its "best by" date. Open mayonnaise can last in the fridge for about two months.

Can water expire? ›

It's important to understand that water itself doesn't go bad. Water is a simple molecule composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, and it doesn't have an expiration date. However, the water's storage container can impact its taste, quality, and safety over time.

Is 10 year old rice still good? ›

Shelf Life. When properly sealed and stored, polished white rice will store well for 25 to 30 years.

Can peanut butter go bad? ›

Does Peanut Butter Go Bad? Yes, peanut butter expires and goes bad, whether it's a commercial or natural type. Most people forget about the expiration date because this spread has a long shelf life. The commercial type can last quite a long time, whether in the pantry or the fridge.

Can I eat expired mustard? ›

Is it safe to use mustard after the expiration date? Mustard is basically ground up seeds, water, salt, vinegar. There's nothing to spoil. After several years it won't taste quite as fresh, that's all.

Does tartar sauce go bad? ›

Opened bottles of tartar sauce should remain good for up to six months as long as they're kept in the refrigerator. If you suspect your tartar sauce is going bad, check the bottle for an expiration date. If it has a strange odor or appears to have lost its texture, it's probably time for a new bottle.

Does Miracle Whip expire? ›

they're “best by” dates. If there is no visible mold and it smells and tastes good (we might disagree on whether Miracle Whip ever tastes good), it's fine to consume. If you're in doubt, it's a relatively cheap item to replace.

What foods will never expire? ›

  • 01 of 11. Bottled Water. imagenavi/Getty Images. ...
  • 02 of 11. Sugar. Sam Stowell/Getty Images. ...
  • 03 of 11. Low-Acid Canned Goods. VICUSCHKA/Getty Images. ...
  • 04 of 11. Soy Sauce. Claudia Totir/Getty Images. ...
  • 05 of 11. Rice and Dried Pasta. Getty Images. ...
  • 06 of 11. Dry Beans. Getty Images. ...
  • 07 of 11. Honey. Getty Images. ...
  • 08 of 11. Canola Oil.
Jan 11, 2023

Do unopened jars expire? ›

Anything that was air-tight sealed in a bottle, jar, or can can be safely eaten for years after the expiration date. The ingredients may lose quality after a long period of time, but it's almost impossible for them to “grow” anthing that could make you sick.

What condiments never go bad? ›

Soy Sauce. Just like fish sauce, soy sauce is fermented and does not need to be refrigerated unless you are keeping it for more than one year.

When should you throw out condiments? ›

After opening condiments, you can refrigerate them for the following times: ketchup, co*cktail or chili sauce 6 months. chutney, 1 to 2 months. horseradish, 3 to 4 months.

How long are packaged condiments good for? ›

Unopened, many condiments will last about one year in the pantry. 1 You can determine a more specific timeline by checking the "use by" or "best by" date on the packaging. Even then, the listed date will indicate when the quality of the item will decline, rather than its safety, says Kimberly Baker, Ph.

Do dry condiments expire? ›

A: Spices and dried herbs do not spoil, but eventually they do lose some of their flavor. Stored as recommended, you can usually count on seeds and whole spices (such as cumin and dill seeds, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks and peppercorns) staying fresh for three or four years.

Can condiments spoil? ›

Any condiment that has spoiled will smell different, taste odd, look wrong, or have mold or a cloudy film on top. Never eat anything that has spoiled, no matter how badly you need that relish for your hot dog. When in doubt, toss it out.

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