Does Ketchup Go Bad?

Does ketchup go bad or not? How do you tell if ketchup has gone bad? Can you smell or taste it? Here's a short guide with all the answers highlighted.

Ketchup is everyone’s favorite condiment. When you need an extra something to enjoy your fries or just extra flavoring to a dish, ketchup is just what you need.

If you’ve been holding onto your ketchup a little longer than expected, you may ask yourself: Does ketchup go bad? How long does it last?

Here’s the deal: due to the high acidic and sugar content of ketchup, it has a pretty long shelf-life.

Unopened ketchup lasts 6-12 months after its best-by date. When it comes to opened ketchup, it can last up to 6-12 months if stored correctly.

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Signs That Ketchup Has Gone Bad

hotdog with ketchup

If you’d like to check whether your ketchup has gone bad, look out for these signs.

Inspect the appearance of your bottle of ketchup by checking for any discolorations, mold, or growth on the bottle or the surface of the ketchup.

Next, you’d want to take a whiff of your ketchup. If it has an off or sour smell, be sure to toss it out.

If everything seems okay, give it a taste and determine if it’s good to consume. If it tastes off, you may want to discard it because of the loss of quality.

How To Store Ketchup

ketchup brands

Store ketchup the same way you would any condiment. It should be stored in a cool and dry place when unopened. The pantry is the best option. If you want to store it in the fridge you can, but it’s not required.

Once you open your bottle, make sure to always seal it tightly. You can decide whether you want to refrigerate your ketchup after opening if you wish to keep it for longer than a month. However, storing your ketchup at room temperature is perfectly fine for a few weeks.

If you need to scoop out your ketchup, make sure to use clean cutlery. By doing so, outside contaminants can’t enter the bottle and possibly spoil the ketchup.

How Long Does Ketchup Last?

ketchup and burgers

Almost all bottles of ketchup have a best-by date on the label. This indicates how long the product will keep its best quality.

However, thanks to the high amount of preservatives in ketchup, it can last a long time after its best-by date. Unopened ketchup lasts between 6-12 months after its best-by date. An opened bottle of ketchup lasts 1 month in the pantry and 6-12 months in the fridge.

Although it lasts long, make sure not to keep your bottle of ketchup for too long.

The Verdict On Ketchup

The first recorded recipe for ketchup was a fish-based sauce from China. It is believed when the recipe made its way across the world, that Americans added tomatoes into the recipe. Thus, making an early form of the ketchup that is enjoyed today.

Ketchup has a long shelf-life due to its ingredients. It can last 6-12 months after its best best-by date and the same amount once it has been opened. However, don’t let it tempt you to keep the ketchup for longer than it should be.

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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.