Does soy sauce go bad? We investigate.


When you reached up for that soy sauce bottle, and noticed it was a bit hard to pour out? The bottle is dripping and feels strangely warm, too. That’s no good! It happens to us all from time to time. You might ask yourself “does soy sauce go bad?” or “why is my soy sauce gushing out of this bottle?!”

Does Soy Sauce Go Bad?

Soy Sauce
Soy Sauce

If you’ve ever wondered, “Can soy sauce go bad?” the answer is yes.

Most of us have been using soy sauce for years without giving it much thought — until we realize that we have a bottle of it in our fridge that has been there for months or even years.

Soy sauce is a fermented condiment made from soybeans, water and salt. It’s an East Asian staple that’s used in almost every dish imaginable.

The shelf life of soy sauce is influenced by the type of soy sauce. Typically, most soy sauces have a shelf life of one year. However, some types can last up to three years if stored properly.

Does Soy Sauce Need to be Refrigerated?

soy sauce refrigerated
soy sauce refrigerated

The best way to store soy sauce is in the pantry. Unlike many other sauces, soy sauce does not need to be refrigerated. It can be stored at room temperature for up to two years.

However, we don’t recommend storing it in the refrigerator since it can lose some of its flavor and aroma if it’s not kept at room temperature.

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last?

The shelf life of soy sauce in the unopened state is 1 to 2 years, but after opening, it is placed in a kitchen with a higher room temperature, or even next to a gas stove. The ambient temperature is high and it is easy to deteriorate. Therefore, vegetable oil, soy sauce, and vinegar can only be stored for 2-3 months after opening, while sauces such as peanut butter, salad dressing, and tomato sauce can only be stored for 1-3 months after opening. It is recommended to store infrequently used condiments in the refrigerator to help extend the shelf life.

How can you tell if soy sauce is bad?

It’s hard to tell when a bottle of soy sauce has gone bad. It will never go bad in the sense that it will suddenly start to smell bad or have an off taste, but it will begin to lose its flavor over time. The thing about soy sauce is that it’s made from fermented beans and grains, so you need to pay attention to its expiration date.

If you’re wondering whether your soy sauce is still good, here are some signs that you should throw it out:

It smells bad

If you can’t stand the smell of your soy sauce anymore, then that’s a good sign that it needs to be thrown away. Soy sauce has a very strong odor when it’s fresh and in good condition, but when it starts smelling stale or rotten, there’s no way around throwing away the entire bottle.

It looks cloudy or thickened

The color of your soy sauce changes over time as well as its consistency becomes thicker or more cloudy. If this happens, then there’s no reason why you should continue using the product since its flavor will be affected as well by these changes in appearance and texture.

When should you throw out soy sauce?

throw out soy sauce/image from

Let’s start with the obvious. If your soy sauce bottle is past its expiration date, then it’s time to toss it in the trash.

So, what constitutes an expired bottle of soy sauce? Typically, the date on a soy sauce label will be either “best by” or “use by.” These dates indicate when a product is at its peak quality: They are not safety dates .

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that manufacturers place a use-by date on products like soy sauce because they have a specific shelf life and can become contaminated after that point. Soy sauce lasts for about two years once opened, but it’s best to use it within six months for optimal flavor and freshness.

If you’re still unsure about whether or not you should throw out your bottle of soy sauce, here are some guidelines:

If there are visible signs of mold or yeast growth on top of the liquid or inside the bottle (such as bubbles or chunks), throw it out immediately. Yeast growth can cause foodborne illness if ingested by humans; therefore, consuming this type of soy sauce could be extremely dangerous.

The best way to tell whether your sauce has gone bad is by smell and taste. If it smells funky, toss it out! If the flavor seems off or just doesn’t taste like your favorite sauce, then I’d say toss it too.

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