Does Horseradish Go Bad? Can It Really Expire?

Quick summary: Horseradish will go off eventually, but it will most likely be very safe for consumption even months after its expiry date. Provided it was correctly stored, of course. 

Horseradish can be a very striking spice to dishes and will certainly add that special touch, but for some reason, it has not become established in everyday cooking for most people. Many use it only for Easter and maybe two or three times during the year. We rarely come across passionate lovers of horseradish who consume it regularly.

For this reason, it very often happens that you buy a jar of horseradish for the holidays, and then it sits in the fridge for months until you throw it away for the sake of order. You’re not even sure if it’s spoiled, but it feels right to discard it because of its age. Here’s whether you should do it and how long you can stretch one jar of horseradish.

How Long Does Horseradish Last?

If you have ever tried horseradish, you know very well that it is a spice with a pungent taste. This strength, in most cases, means that the seasoning is resistant to spoilage for a long time, and this is the same with horseradish. 

You will likely discard it after staying in the fridge for a long time because it has become slightly pale and not because it’s spoiled. Here’s how long you can expect horseradish to last.

Unopened horseradish

The best guide will be the date written on the product packaging. Each manufacturer has a slightly distinct recipe, and some have different ingredients, so the product will have a marked deadline by which the quality is at its best. And now that you have seen that date, feel free to add at least a few more months to it. And we mean at least three or four months extra, if not significantly longer.

Opened horseradish

Due to the presence of vinegar and the spiciness, opening the jar does not affect spoilage much. It may speed it up slightly, but it is by no means something significant. So you can count on almost the same periods for opened horseradish as for unopened ones. Of course, always check the quality of the content, just in case.

Can Horseradish Go Bad?

It is unlikely that horseradish will spoil in the classical sense, and especially it should not be the cause of any digestive disorders. This applies to all horseradish kept in decent conditions. However, certain external influences could, in rare cases, cause deterioration. Here are some signs to look for. 

Sign 1: Smell is off

The smell of horseradish is strong, but rotten horseradish will have a more sour and unpleasant odor. If you feel it, throw everything in the trash.

Sign 2: Mold appeared

The same rule applies to horseradish as it does to any other sauces or spices. Use clean spoons, and do not dip food directly into the jar. The presence of other organic matter will allow the development of bacteria despite the fact that horseradish is quite resistant.

Sign 3: Taste is dull 

A pale and bland taste can appear after the product stands for a very long time after opening. This does not necessarily mean that the condiment is spoiled, but the flavor quality is impaired, so the food seasoned with it will not taste pleasing. You better open a new jar.

If you have noticed any of the above signs and need a sauce for the dish you are preparing, try to find brown mustard in the fridge. Many recommend it as an alternative to horseradish. In that case, also read our mustard shelf life guidelines.

Which is the Best Way to Store Horseradish?

Keeping horseradish is one of the more straightforward tasks in the kitchen. It really does not require any overly demanding conditions and will last a long time with excellent quality. Here’s what you need to do.

Tip 1: Keep at a suitable temperature

Before opening the jar, you can keep the horseradish at a comfortable room temperature. It is important that it is not too warm and that the place is darker. A pantry or kitchen cabinet away from the heat source will be a perfectly decent location.

Tip 2: Keep in the refrigerator after opening

After opening, it is necessary to keep the jar of horseradish in the refrigerator. This will preserve the quality and good taste until the expiration date and even a little longer.

Tip 3: Maintain hygiene and seal well

It is important to ensure that other organic substances and dirt do not get into the jar of horseradish. Use clean spoons, do not dip food directly into the pot, and be sure to close the lid well after use.


How can you tell if horseradish is bad?

You may feel an unpleasant and sour smell or notice visible signs of mold. In both cases, discard the product.

How long can you keep opened horseradish?

You can use the horseradish sauce up to the expiration date written on the jar, and probably a few months longer than that.

Can horseradish give you food poisoning?

You can feel bad after consuming horseradish if mold is present in the product. In other cases, rotten horseradish will taste bad but should not cause serious digestive problems.


Horseradish sauce is an excellent addition to certain dishes, and in some parts of the world, it is an essential addition to boiled ham for Easter. However, horseradish is rarely used, and usually, one jar spends a very long time in the refrigerator. 

The good thing is that this sauce is very durable and will hardly go bad until after its suggested shelf life. Be sure to keep the jar in the refrigerator after opening and pay attention to product hygiene.

*image by aberheide/depositphotos

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