ketchup go bad

Does Ketchup Go Bad? Shelf Life and Storage Guidelines

Quick summary: Yes, ketchup can go bad over time. Signs of spoiled ketchup include a sour smell, the presence of mold, or an off-taste. While expired ketchup might still be safe to consume if it appears and smells normal, it’s important to inspect it for any signs of spoilage before eating.

Not many people are such big fans of ketchup to eat it every day. They exist, of course, and they don’t have to worry about sauce lasting long enough until they eat it.

The rest of us simply use ketchup sporadically, maybe a couple of times a month, if that much. For all those who fall into the second category, the issue of expiration is very interesting. Luckily this is a product with a pretty long shelf life.

An open bottle of ketchup often stays in the fridge for half a year. Then you mostly throw it away because it seems like the time, not because you noticed it is spoiled. So here’s real information that can help you determine if it’s time to toss a tomato pack or if it can wait for another pizza or sandwich.

How Long Does Ketchup Last?

Due to the significant presence of sugar, but also due to the acidity of tomatoes and vinegar, ketchup is a product with a significantly long shelf life.

Although it seems to you that you may need to throw away unopened bottles that you found in the pantry if no more than a couple of years have passed since the expiry date, feel free to return them to service.

Unopened ketchup

If you haven’t opened the ketchup bottle, you can keep it on the kitchen shelf at room temperature. Best by date written on the package is a good guide but only to decide how much more after that you can use the product. Unopened bottle of ketchup will often be perfectly correct even a year after its expiration date, sometimes even longer.

Opened ketchup

Once you’ve opened a ketchup bottle, keep it in the fridge to preserve quality. The product should be good for six months, and sometimes significantly longer than that, up to a year. But be certain always to make sure everything is in order, for such a long period of storage.

Please distinguish store bought ketchup from homemade ketchup regarding durability. If you made a tomato spice yourself, keep it refrigerated and use it for three weeks max. For longer keeping, you can freeze ketchup.

Can Ketchup Go Bad?

After a significant lapse of time, ketchup will spoil as well. Although it is very durable, it has a certain shelf life like any other food. As we said, it may be a year or two after the expiration date, but the end will come one day. Here’s how you can most easily recognize spoiled ketchup.

Sign 1: Smell is wrong

The smell will become a bit sour and pungent once the ketchup expires. Be sure to smell the contents first if the opened bottle stays in the refrigerator for a long time. That should be a pretty accurate indicator.

Sign 2: Mold is present

Mold can occur if the product has been left open, and it often accumulates on the bottle’s cap. This is because sometimes dirt or remnants of other food accidentally get on the lid. If you see mold, be sure to throw everything in the trash.

Sign 3: Taste is unusual

The last indicator will be the taste. It must be spoiled if the ketchup seems too sour and astringent to you. Such a product will not be tasty for consumption, which is the primary task of ketchup. In this case, replace the product with fresh stock.

What Is The Best Way To Store Ketchup?

Proper food storage is always the key to product longevity. While unopened ketchup is less exposed to the possibility of spoilage, even then, it is good not to expose it to the sun or heat. Here are some basic guidelines.

Tip 1: Keep in the fridge after opening

Always keep ketchup in the refrigerator after opening it. You can also leave it at room temperature, but in that case, it will not be good for more than a month. It will last in the refrigerator for the next half a year without any problems and probably even longer.

Tip 2: Avoid heat

Whether it is open or not, try to avoid the sun, warm rooms, or any heat sources near the ketchup. Heat will certainly adversely affect stability and may accelerate deterioration.

Tip 3: Keep the cap clean

It is always important to keep the lid clean to prevent possible mold. It would help to wipe off the remnants of ketchup that may have spilled on the cover while pouring the product on a pizza or sandwich. There must be no leftover food or dirt.


How can you tell if ketchup is bad?

You can determine if ketchup is bad by examining its color, texture, and smell. If it develops an off-putting odor, changes in color, or an unusual consistency, it might have gone bad and should be discarded.

Is it okay to eat expired ketchup?

Yes, it’s usually okay to eat expired ketchup if it appears and smells normal, but always use your discretion and inspect it for any signs of spoilage before consuming.

Can old ketchup make you sick?

No, old ketchup that appears normal and hasn’t spoiled is unlikely to make you sick.

Can you eat 1 year old ketchup?

You can eat 1 year old ketchup if it has been stored properly in the fridge and shows no signs of spoilage. However, the quality and flavor may decline over time.


Without ketchup, we can hardly imagine a good pizza. Some like it in sandwiches, with favorite french fries, or as an addition to other dishes. However, most people use ketchup on rare occasions, and usually, one bottle lasts for several months in the refrigerator.

If you are a fan of more extensive stocks, you are free to buy more ketchup bottles. They will be good even a few months to a year after expiration. So you have enough time to spend all your supplies.

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*image by maria.uspen/depositphotos

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