Kitchen Tips & Ideas

Shelf Life of Opened Condiments

While cleaning out my fridge recently and dealing with the jumble of condiment bottles and jars on my refrigerator door, I realized I didn’t know how long bottles and jars lasted once opened. Several were two or three months old. The point when I usually start throwing stuff out. Needing a break from the cleaning job, I decided to do some research to see if I really needed to discard of some of them.

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How long does mayonnaise stay good? -

I stumbled upon Still Tasty, a handy website that tells how long foods last. I only listed times for opened containers for the condiments I am most likely to use, but the website also has time periods for many more, plus times for unopened condiments. They have other food categories too, so be sure to check them out.

The following list shows how long you can keep opened containers of common condiments in your refrigerator. These are commercially produced products, sold unrefrigerated, found on your grocer’s shelves. I’m sure you already know that homemade condiments generally only last a few days to a couple of weeks.

Shelf Life of Opened Condiments

Printable list

  • BBQ Sauce: 6-9 months
  • Chili Sauce: 6-9 months
  • Chocolate Syrup: 12-18 months
  • Cocktail Sauce: 6-9 months
  • Dip – Bean: 3 -4 days
  • Dip – Cheese: 2-3 weeks
  • Dip – French Onion: 7-10 days
  • Horseradish (prepared): 3-4 months
  • Hot Sauce: 5 years
  • Ice Cream Topping/Syrup: 12-18 months
  • Jam and Jelly: 1 year
  • Ketchup: 9-12 months
  • Maple Syrup (100% pure): 1 year
  • Mayonnaise: 2-3 months after the “Use by” or “Best by” date
  • Mustard (all types): 1 year
  • Olives: 1 year, 2-3 months (from the deli)
  • Pickles: 1 year
  • Relish: 1 year
  • Salad Dressing: 6-9 months (if sold unrefrigerated), 6 months or date on package (if sold refrigerated)
  • Salsa:1 month (if sold unrefrigerated), 5-7 days (if sold refrigerated)
  • Soy Sauce: 2 years
  • Steak Sauce: 2 years
  • Sweet & Sour Sauce: 1 year
  • Syrup (artificial flavored): 12-18 months
  • Taco Sauce: 1 month
  • Tartar Sauce: 6 months
  • Teriyaki Sauce: 1 year
  • Worcestershire Sauce: 2 years

Now, seriously, I doubt we have many condiments last that long, but it’s good to know that I don’t need to throw out half-full bottles after only 2 or 3 months.

Condiment Packets

What about those little fast food condiment packets? When we get take-out or drive-thru food, we ask for 1 or 2 packets of our favorite sauce or condiment, but invariably they will throw a handful in the sack. I never know what to do with the extras. The trash always comes to mind, but I can’t bring myself to throw them out. So I end up with a container full. I always try to keep them organized to use them first in, first out. But when the containers started overflowing, I would pitch them all in the trash, determined not to accept any more than exact the number of packets we ask for. Unfortunately, that hasn’t worked too well for me.

Well, my intentions are good anyway…..

Then for another dilemma, do they go in the fridge or is it okay to put them in the cabinet. They are under the counter in fast food restaurants, but they probably hand out hundreds of packets a day, so unlikely they ever get near their expiration date. I finally researched it and found out they are shelf stable, so they are perfectly safe keeping in the cabinet.

The folks over at The Outdoor Herbivore did all the research, including checking with manufacturers’ about their”best by” dates, to determine how long those little fast food condiment packets will last. Before using, make sure the packages are not damaged and that the product looks and smells good. Any questionable packages should be thrown out.

  • BBQ Sauce, Cocktail Sauce, Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Nut Butters, Salad Dressings, Tartar Sauce: 1 year for best flavor.
  • Jelly/Preserves, Mustard, Soy Sauce, Parmesan Cheese, Taco Sauce: 1-2 years for best flavor.
  • Pepper, Tabasco Sauce, Vinegar: 3-4 years.
  • Honey, Salt, Sugar: Indefinitely.

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Shelf Life of Opened Condiments -

Instead of putting the date on the bottle or jar of when I open them, I think I’m going to start putting an “use by” date based on this list. That way I don’t have to do the math when I see the opening date.

Hope this handy list is helpful for you!



21 thoughts on “Shelf Life of Opened Condiments

  1. Great info, and I did not know the little packets were shelf stable! I normally go through my fridge in early Spring and discard anything past its expiry. Unfortunately, there’s always a bunch that get thrown out because I’ll buy something for a certain recipe and then it gets used once, maybe twice before it expires. Bummer.

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    1. Thank you! Ditto here. Most of what I threw out were salad dressings and mayo, because I was always nervous they weren’t safe. I think from now on when I open a condiment for a specific recipe, I’ll figure out a way to use the rest relatively soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I ran an inn for many years, and got into the practice of dating EVERYTHING in the refrigerator. It is really helpful. I have a marker I keep next to the refrigerator and I use it on any condiment. It takes the guesswork out of it. I also printed out a chart similar to the one above that I taped up so that if I was in doubt, the answer was just a glance away.

    Liked by 2 people

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