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Ranking Condiments by How Long They Stay Good in Your Fridge

My ketchup is older than the Ten Commandments. Is it still chill?

The ketchup in my fridge might as well have been around since those chodes in the Bible were slamming miracle wine. It bears a crystalline crown of tomato plaster, but tastes fine… I think?

If I were a responsible adult, I probably would have replaced it — along with the rest of my condiment collection — long ago. But who keeps track of their condiments, and how long do condiments last after opening, anyway? I guess I should become a responsible adult and find out.

Before I get into recommendations, I should make a distinction between quality and safety. While the quality of condiments ultimately suffers after a certain amount of time, many remain safe to eat for a while longer if kept refrigerated (in general, condiments last longer in the fridge than in the pantry). To that end, if you decide to push the limits of your condiments, use common sense and pay attention to signs of spoilage, like rancid odors and mold.

Another tip: It may be too late for the condiments already in your fridge, but consider labeling future condiment containers with the date you opened them. Write on them with a permanent marker, slap on some tape — whatever works. This is the only reliable way to know exactly when your condiments should be replaced.

Now, the specifics: Below, you can find an array of condiments ranked by how long they stay fresh after being opened — from a long-ass time to no time at all. Note once again that these suggestions are based on how long condiments maintain their quality, not necessarily at which point you can no longer safely consume them. For that, follow your nose and use common sense. (These recommendations were collected from a conglomerate of government agencies.)

How Long Do Condiments Last in the Refrigerator?

  1. Hot Sauce: Four to five years.
  2. Worcestershire Sauce: Three years.
  3. Soy Sauce and Oyster Sauce: Two years.
  4. Mustard and Hoisin Sauce: 12 to 18 months.
  5. Relish: One year.
  6. Ketchup: Nine to 12 months.
  7. Barbecue Sauce, Thousand Island Dressing, Ranch and Chili Sauce: Six to nine months.
  8. Tartar Sauce: Six months.
  9. Horseradish: Three to four months.
  10. Mayonnaise: Two to three months.
  11. Salsa: One month.
  12. Pesto: One to two weeks.

How Long Do Condiments Last In the Pantry?

(Any condiments mentioned above that aren’t mentioned in this section shouldn’t be stored in the pantry for any amount of time after being opened. Remember, pantry mayo is bad mayo.)

  1. Hot Sauce and Soy Sauce: Six months.
  2. Mustard: One to two months.
  3. Ketchup, Barbecue Sauce and Chili Sauce: One month.

Huh, I can’t wait to find out what not-ancient ketchup tastes like.