mustard go bad

Does Mustard Go Bad? Shelf Life and Storage Tips

Quick summary: Yes, mustard can go bad, but its shelf life is relatively long. Signs of spoilage include changes in color, texture, and the presence of mold. While mustard won’t exactly “spoil” in a dangerous sense due to its high salt and low pH, it can lose its intended flavor and potency over time.

Not sure if mustard can last longer than the printed date? And what if you have an open glass jar in the fridge for a long time? We bring all the answers.     

If you are not a big fan of mustard, you probably keep one jar in the fridge for a long time. Ever wondered how long you can stretch that bond? Well, many ask the same. Since it’s not likely to be buying new supplies each month, the question of durability is quite normal. You know it is a bitter, salty compound and not a very desirable place for bacteria. So how long can mustard last then?  

Good news for all of you indifferent to this condiment, the shelf life is long enough to consume that little bottle you keep. Although there are different versions of this product, the shelf life is generally around two to three years when unopened and will last a whole year after you open it. It is just essential that you store it properly. If you want to know more about everything, read on.  

How Long Does Mustard Last?

Although the decay time will not occur so quickly, it still exists. And yes, mustard can be spoiled. That is, better to say, it loses its flavor and thus its purpose. Here are guidelines you can rely on for unopened and for opened mustard packaging.    

Duration of unopened mustard 

It is important to note that there are numerous versions of this condiment, and according to their composition, the shelf life also varies. However, it generally lasts for at least a year if it is kept unopened on the shelf. More often, this period is up to 3 years. Manufacturers generally put the best by guidelines because the expiration date does not mean that the product is spoiled immediately, but the quality and taste may decline.

Since the share of other flavors in mustard is becoming more and more diverse, pay special attention if the percentage of mustard seeds is lower in the product. You have different versions like honey mustard, chili, pepper, fruit, and so on. Their shelf life may be somewhat shorter due to the presence of other ingredients.  

Duration of opened mustard 

Once you have opened your yellow mustard pack, it is advisable to keep it in the fridge. In which case, the durability will probably be a full year. So if you want to add tiny drops of this spice to your food, you have more than enough time to use it completely. 

All of these guidelines do not apply to homemade mustard that you make yourself. Its shelf life is concise, and it is advisable to keep it in the refrigerator and consume it within a couple of weeks. 

Can Mustard Go Bad? 

It is more likely that the product will be left without the taste rather than spoil in the classical sense. But, certain phenomena are dangerous to health, such as mold. Here’s how you can most easily spot that something is wrong with your mustard jar.      

Sign 1: It looks wrong 

Color will be the first indicator that will lead you to buy a new package. It is usual for slightly darker parts to appear on the surface due to oxidation. This is perfectly fine. But if the mustard has changed significantly in color, become darker, or completely pale, bacteria have probably settled in it, and you want to throw such a product in the trash.      

Sign 2: It smells or tastes funky 

With your nose and tongue, you can’t go wrong. First, smell the product. If it has a sour, unpleasant odor, it is a sign of spoilage. If the scent is okay, but when you put the product in your mouth, it has a strong, rancid taste, the mustard is spoiled.    

Sign 3: It has mold on it    

Yes, mold can appear on mustard, and it is a sure sign to throw everything in the trash. Some have a habit of just scraping the moldy part and eating the rest. But you must know that if you see mold spores on the surface, there are almost certainly those you don’t see through the rest of the product. Do not risk your health and throw all the contents in the garbage.   

Which is the Best Way to Store Mustard? 

The usual tips for proper food storage will help you extend the shelf life of mustard long after the label date. Also, it will help to preserve its taste and aroma, which is very important. Tips will apply for classic yellow mustard and all the variety of spicy brown mustards.  

Tip 1: Keep it in cool and dry place 

Keep mustard in a cool, dark place, away from the sun and possible heat sources, until it is opened. After that, it is best to keep it in the refrigerator to preserve the quality.      

Tip 2: Seal well  

Every time you use this spice, close it well as soon as possible. Do not keep it open for a long time as this promotes the potential development of bacteria.    

Tip 3: Use clean spoon  

It is very important to use a clean spoon when scooping the mustard from the jar. What most often causes spoilage is precisely the presence of other foods inside. Especially if you like to put mustard on raw meat, don’t put the same spoon back in the jar a couple of times.      


Is it bad to eat expired mustard?

No, you are unlikely to get sick from eating expired mustard as long as there are no signs of spoilage.

How can you tell if mustard has gone bad?

You can tell if mustard has gone bad by checking for any off smells, changes in color, texture, or the presence of mold. If the mustard looks and smells normal, it’s likely safe to use even if it’s past its expiration date.

How long after the expiration date can you eat mustard?

It may even be a year or two after the recommended shelf life if properly stored.

Does mustard have to be refrigerated?

Mustard doesn’t need to be refrigerated, but storing it in the refrigerator can help maintain its quality and extend its shelf life. If kept in a cool, dry place, unopened mustard can last for a long time, while opened mustard might benefit from refrigeration to preserve its flavor and potency.

How long does mustard last once opened?

Once opened, mustard can last for several months to a year or more if stored in the refrigerator. While it may remain safe to consume beyond that time, its flavor and quality might gradually decline over an extended period.


Mustard is one of the classic and almost inevitable spices when cooking, especially for meat dishes. But if you’re not too much of a fan and don’t spend large amounts, you don’t need to fear. Mustard will be perfectly fine a year or more after you open it. Just keep it in the refrigerator and pay attention to hygiene when handling.

Although this sauce has many versions, from the classic with a smooth texture to whole grain mustard, the durability is very similar. You only need to be careful if your mustard contains some additives that are more perishable. Then the mustard’s shelf life could certainly be reduced.

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