Does BBQ Sauce Go Bad? – How Long It Lasts, How to Store, and More

Does BBQ Sauce Go Bad?

Finding an old bottle of BBQ sauce can be pretty exciting, especially if you love to cook with chicken and meat. But wait, is the bottle laded with dust? Did you check the manufacturing date? What about its best-by date?

Such questions might come to your mind while dealing with an old BBQ sauce. While it can go bad after a certain time frame, you might still be able to use it.

Confused? You won’t be by the end of this article as we will provide the necessary details for using and storing BBQ sauces and several other information.

How Long Does BBQ Sauce Last?

BBQ Sauce comes with a long shelf life of one-two year, as mentioned earlier. Fortunately, you can use the sauce a couple of months extra after the printed use-by date. But, after opening the seal of the bottle, it needs continuous refrigeration. It will help keep it fresh and flavorsome for the other four-five months.

How long does BBQ Sauce last once opened?

If you have leftover BBQ Sauce, know that it will last for up to 9 months. But you can extend its shelf life by refrigerating it. The leftover sauce must be poured into a shallow container and cooled down for one to two hours before refrigerating it. If you don’t consume the sauce in those three-four days, freeze it immediately. It will help extend the shelf life by another two to three months.

How long does BBQ Sauce last unopened?

The unopened BBQ Sauce stays aromatic and fresh for 12-18 months, provided that it is properly stored. If the bottle is stored at room temperature and is not broken or leaking, it is safe to use it after the best-by date. However, you must look at the texture, smell, and taste before using it.


How long does BBQ Sauce last at room temperature?

Any food should not sit outside the fridge after opening for more than two hours. If the temperature is above 90-degree Fahrenheit, it must not sit outside the refrigerator for more than one hour.

How long does BBQ Sauce last in the refrigerator? 

Storing BBQ sauce in the refrigerator can help retain its quality, taste, and consistency for 6-9 months.

It is not a hard rule by any means, but many brands prescribe following it. There are different outliers on all the ends of the spectrum. Thereby, you must not be surprised by seeing the label that says the sauce lasts for 365 days after opening or finish it within a week after opening.


Product Pantry Fridge
BBQ Sauce Unopened Use-By Date Plus Six Months
BBQ Sauce Opened One-Four Weeks Four-Five Months
Homemade BBQ Sauce Seven-Fourteen Days
Homemade BBQ Sauce Canned Nine-Twelve Months

Pro Tips: Read the labels of the BBQ Sauce as the rules mentioned above work only for selected brands, and the guideline is just the estimate. Some selected BBQ Sauces suggest a shorter storage time compared to four months.


How Can You Tell if BBQ Sauce Sauce Is Bad?

How to Tell if BBQ Sauce Has Gone Bad

Suppose you have both opened and unopened store-bought BBQ Sauces; you must better know when the sauce has gone bad. BBQ Sauce can go off, and you must know the signs to identify when it is not edible and harmful for consumption.


  • Bacterial and Mold Growth

If you notice any nebulous actions on its surface, neck of the can or bottle, and cap, it indicates bacterial growth and needs to be discarded. The mold growth is also a sign that condiment has gone off, and it is time to toss.


  • Foul Smell

When the sauce starts releasing a fermented, moldy, or foul smell, you must understand that the BBQ Sauce has gone bad instead of the sweet aroma. As the sauce goes off, it releases a stale, sour, and funky aroma.


  • Texture Changes

Minor separations in the sauce are natural, especially in the homemade BBQ Sauce. But, if you notice a dense watery, or liquidy layer on the surface or bottom, it is better to discard the sauce. It is not necessarily a sign of spoilage, but consumption of such sauce may result in serious consequences.


  • Off Taste

If your BBQ Sauce shows none of these signs of spoilage, the last thing you have to do is to taste it. If the flavor is good and tasty, congratulations, the sauce is edible. If the taste is not like a fresh sauce, toss it as it has gone bad.


Pro Tips: BBQ Sauce changes color and gets darker post prolonged storage. Until it tastes and smells okay, the sauce is fine to consume.


Refrigerated Vs. Shelf Stable


Refrigerating the BBQ Sauce after opening is necessary. However, in most cases, it stays safe and edible when kept at room temperature. But, storing the sauce at room temperature will minimize its ability to sustain its original flavor and taste.

It can only sustain its quality and flavor for a couple of weeks when kept at room temperature. So, refrigeration is always the best option. But, if you finish the sauce a week after opening, then refrigeration is not necessary. It is safe to store in your kitchen cupboard at room temperature.


Shelf Stable

BBQ Sauce is prepared using the same major ingredients as tomato, salt, sugar, vinegar, and ketchup. The pH level of the commercially prepared BBQ Sauce is below 3.92, as per sources. Since sauces with low pH level than 4.5 are highly acidic, it prevents the growth of spoilage bacteria. Therefore, storing your BBQ Sauce at room temperature in the pantry or kitchen cabinet is safe. Based on this fact, BBQ Sauce can be considered a shelf-stable sauce that can be stored at room temperature away from heat sources.


Is it okay to use expired BBQ Sauce?

What Happens When You Eat BBQ Sauce After Expiry

Even if the texture of your BBQ Sauce is changing perceptibly, it is edible and safe for consumption. But it is safe to discard the sauce because it will not taste as good as it used to when bought from the store. If it tastes good and okay, feel free to consume it.

BBQ Sauce is safe for consumption after the best-by date if proper storage protocols are followed. Ensure that the bottle is not damaged or leaking and that there is no mold growth on the surface before consumption.

Like any other expired sauce, BBQ Sauce can also make you sick, especially when consumed after expiry. When you eat the bad BBQ Sauce, you may experience frequent vomiting, stomach upset and cramping, and nausea, as per sources.


Can You Freeze BBQ Sauce?

Yes, BBQ Sauce can be stored in the freezer. Unfortunately, the quality and flavor may vary after it is thawed. So, proper freezing methods must be followed to freeze your BBQ Sauce to sustain its quality and taste after thawing.

Freezing your BBQ Sauce is a good way to keep your sauce fresh longer. But, you must pour the sauce into the freezer-safe and airtight container before freezing. BBQ Sauce is best for freezing for up to three months. After that, the taste and flavor will start reducing.


Pro Tips to Freeze BBQ Sauce

  • Bring your BBQ Sauce at room temperature and pour it into a freezer-safe container or bag and seal the bag. Ensure to remove excess air from the freezing bag.
  • Professionals suggest freezing the BBQ Sauce in separate portions. So, when required, you can thaw the necessary amount only, rather than melting the entire BBQ Sauce.
  • Avoid storing the BBQ Sauce at the top of the freezer because it tends to expand and may cause the container to burst.

How to Store BBQ Sauce

How to Store BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce comes in different varieties, but the storage method remains the same for all brands. So, here are a few easy tips on how to store your BBQ Sauce.


Store-Bought Unopened BBQ Sauce

The store-bought unopened BBQ Sauce lasts up to one year in a kitchen cabinet or pantry. It is safe to continue storing the BBQ Sauce until opening, especially if it appears acceptable and edible after one year.

But, it is important to store the unopened bottle in cool, dark, and dry places away from heat sources to prevent oxidation or exposure. But, if you have prepared homemade BBQ Sauce, store it in an airtight container in your refrigerator right from the beginning.

However, home-canned BBQ Sauce needs no refrigeration.


Store-Bought Opened BBQ Sauce

After the bottle of BBQ Sauce is opened, it must be stored in a fridge. By refrigerating the BBQ Sauce after opening, you ensure that the mouth-leaking aromas and flavors of the sauce remain intact until you open the bottle next serving.

Ensure specific moisture level and temperature is maintained when refrigerating the BBQ Sauce. It helps sustain the integrity of the ingredients without signs of spoilage. Refrigeration increases the lifespan of the sauce by another six to twelve months.

But, ensure to check the texture, appearance, and smell before consuming.


Pro Tips for Storage

  • The homemade BBQ Sauce needs refrigeration right from the start.
  • If you have cooked the BBQ Sauce at home, ensure to cool it at room temperature before storing it.
  • Store the sauce in an airtight container and maintain a stable temperature and moisture level to sustain its aromas longer.

What happens if you eat expired BBQ Sauce? 

Nobody is tempted to use expired BBQ sauce. However, you might find yourself in certain circumstances that might prompt you to use an expired BBA sauce.

But should you?

As long as the BBQ sauce is not covered with molds, it should be safe to consume. Also, check for any foul smell or taste. If the sauce tastes fine, it should be consumable.

But the ones laded with mold should be thrown immediately. Consuming such sauce will lead to several types of health issues like nausea, diarrhea, constipation, etc.

What are the Alternatives to BBQ Sauce if it has gone bad? 

Try the following alternatives of BBQ sauce in case your bottle is way, way beyond its expiration date and you can see molds in it:

  • Seafood Sauce
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Plum Sauce
  • Mustard Sauce
  • Hoisin Sauce

Frequently Asked Questions

Does BBQ sauce need to be refrigerated after opening?

The store-bought BBQ Sauce is shelf-stable, and it is safe to store your sauce in your kitchen cabinet or pantry at room temperature. It won’t go bad. But, to enjoy its flavor, freshness, and taste longer, refrigeration is always prescribed.

Can You Eat BBQ Sauce After the Expiration Date?

Unless you notice any drastic changes in taste, consistency, and texture, you can consume BBQ sauce after its expiration date. It is best to toss it out if you notice any mold or bacterial growth, as such a sauce can make you sick.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, all the key things you are searching for in BBQ Sauce have been covered here.

If you have a large bottle of BBQ Sauce that won’t get finished in one serving, you can store it for later in your kitchen cabinets, fridge, and pantry.

The shelf-life of BBQ Sauce depends on the ingredients, storage conditions, and use-by date mentioned on the label.

It is wise to buy BBQ Sauce in small quantities so that you don’t have huge leftovers to refrigerate, which affects the quality and taste of the sauce over time. If you prefer having it for later servings, the guide is all you need.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.