Does Balsamic Vinegar Go Bad?

Does balsamic vinegar go bad or not? And if yes, how long does it last? Here's a simple guide that will explain how long balsamic vinegar will last.

So, you’ve got some balsamic vinegar. Full of fermented grape juice and complex flavors, balsamic vinegar makes for a tasty dressing, marinade, and sauce.

But your bottle of balsamic vinegar is open, and you’ve found yourself worrying: does balsamic vinegar go bad?

What’s the bottom line? The bad news is the taste of balsamic vinegar does deteriorate over time, and it can go bad.

The good news is that you can find out if your balsamic vinegar is edible, as well as how to store it so it doesn’t go bad, below.

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How To Tell If Balsamic Vinegar Has Gone Bad

balsamic vinegar in a bowl

Is your balsamic vinegar off? It’s not hard to tell. The signs are:

  • Taste. If you can taste any harshness in the balsamic vinegar or acidity, it’s time to bin it.
  • Mold. See any mold on the spout or in the bottle and your vinegar is ready to get chucked.

You might be wondering: what’s that white stuff in my balsamic vinegar? This will probably look like clumps, and it’s nothing to worry about.

These are caused by harmless vinegar bacteria, which are aptly named mother of vinegar.

How To Store Balsamic Vinegar

balsamic vinegar in a bottle

To protect your balsamic vinegar’s shelf life once opened, make sure you store it properly. There are two options.

If you’re going to be making sauces or marinades with your balsamic vinegar, we recommend putting it in a cupboard or pantry, or any other dark and cool place, away from heat and humidity.

Treat heat and humidity as your balsamic vinegar’s natural sworn enemy. Not only will they disrupt your vinegar’s natural flavor, they can also encourage mold growth.

Otherwise, putting your balsamic vinegar in the fridge may be beneficial, especially if you mainly use it as a salad dressing and want to keep it chilled.

If you’re ever in doubt, you can’t go wrong with simply putting your balsamic vinegar in the refrigerator. A cool temperature will allow your balsamic vinegar to maintain its texture and delicious taste.

How Long Balsamic Vinegar Lasts

balsamic vinegar in a jug

You might be asking yourself: does the type of balsamic vinegar affect how I should store it?

Thankfully, storing balsamic vinegar is simple, and you should follow the same basic principles, no matter the type of balsamic vinegar.

Whilst some may say that traditional balsamic vinegar lasts longer than condiment-grade vinegar or commercial-grade vinegar, they actually all last approximately 3 years.

There is a common misconception that traditional balsamic vinegar lasts longer due to its age, with the average bottle being 12-18 years old.

Condiment-grade balsamic vinegar is usually aged 12 years and under, and commercial- grade is very quickly produced and has the lowest grade of the three.

Remember: always check the best before and expiry dates. Follow the instructions on the packaging first and foremost.

The Verdict On Balsamic Vinegar

Unfortunately, balsamic vinegar does go bad.

However, there are plenty of ways to extend how long your balsamic vinegar lasts, including storing it in a cool, dark area, such as a cupboard or a fridge. If you do this, your balsamic vinegar can last for 3 years or more, all while maintaining its complex flavor!

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Alisa Shimoyama

Alisa eats her way around the world on her travels and likes to have good food ready and waiting for her when she gets back.