You bought a can of chili paste to use in that amazing recipe you discovered on an Asian food blog, and after that delicious meal, the chili paste was soon forgotten until a craving for that meal made you reach out for it again as you wondered – Is the chili paste still safe to eat?
The answer to that question depends on your storage conditions, we have the answer for that in this article! While also helping you answer questions like – how to know for how long will the chili paste stay fresh and edible? And what are the best ways to store chili paste?
How Long Does Chili Paste Last?
You can easily make chili paste at home but as chili paste contains wet ingredients, hence it is advisable to consume it at the earliest.
As there are no nasty preservatives added to homemade chili paste, it has a shorter shelf life than a store-bought chili paste but you can always make your homemade chili paste last longer by freezing it! ( more on that in the below sections!)
The table below tells you how long chili paste will remain in usable condition!
|Homemade chili paste||Immediate consumption advised
2- 3 hours
|One week||2-3 month|
|Store-bought chili paste(unopened)||1-2 years||5 years||5 years|
|Store-bought chili paste(opened)||Immediate consumption advised
|One week||2-3 months|
These are general estimates of how long your chili paste will last stored under the specified conditions.
How To Tell If Your Chili Paste Has Gone Bad?
If you cannot remember when you last used the chili paste you are currently holding, and it is way past its use-by date. It will be good to check for these signs to determine if your chili paste is still fit to be eaten –
For an unopened pack,
- If you can see rust near the sealed lid or small holes in the container, you are better off throwing it in the bin.
For opened packs and homemade chili paste-
- You can see signs of Mould
If the top layer of your chili paste has changed color and you can see signs of mold (a dirty grey color), it can also make it seem slimy and a bit thicker. Don’t consume it and discard it immediately.
Mould is a type of fungi that reacts with the chili paste to create a change of color which usually accumulates at the top.
- The chili paste smells funny
Another way to determine if your paste is still safe to consume is- by smelling it. If your chili paste has a funny, pungent smell, it’s best not to eat it
- It tastes weird
If you notice any of the signs mentioned above, you should not eat the chili paste, but if you still are unconvinced and think it might be good, you can taste a small amount of it.
If your chili paste has a bitter and weird taste, you need to chuck it into the bin as it has rotten, and consuming it now may lead to serious health issues.
- Sometimes chili paste may develop a white yeast called Kahm on its surface. This is safe and does not harm the edibility of the chili paste. You can scrape it off and use your paste but to be on the safer side, taste the chili paste. If it tastes normal, then go ahead and use it. Chili paste may also develop harmless air pockets of co2.
What Happens If I Use The Chili Paste After Its Use-By Date?
To be frank, nothing.
If you have stored your chili paste in the right conditions, you may use it after the use-by date without causing any health issues.
Remember the use by the date mentioned on the backs of commercial packets is the manufacturer’s estimate for how long the chili paste will remain in the best condition.
When using the chili paste after the use-by date, check for the conditions mentioned above, like mold formation, because eating moldy products may harm your health.
The body cannot digest mold, leading to stomach aches and vomiting issues. If the situation worsens, you are advised to seek medical help.
Can I Freeze Chili Paste?
Yes, You can freeze chili paste.
Freezing chili paste is a good idea as it will help it retain its quality for a long time and stay edible even after the use-by date is way gone.
If you make homemade chili paste, freezing might be godsent for you.
It will help you preserve and use the chili paste for longer than you would have been able to when stored in the pantry.
How to freeze chili paste?
Transfer the chili paste into an airtight container and store it in your freezer! Make sure you tightly close the container’s lid to prevent freeze burns or moisture exposure.
You can also divide the chili paste into small batches and put them into different vacuum-sealed bags. This way, you can easily remove a batch when you need it while the others remain frozen and safe!
Pour the chili paste into an ice tray, transfer it into an airtight container, and tuck it into the freezer. Doing so will create easy-to-use chili paste cubes, which you can take out as per your usage!
How to thaw the chili paste?
Place the container of frozen chili paste into the fridge a few hours before you want to use it or place the container on your kitchen table at room temperature to help it thaw.
Refrigerated Vs Shelf Stable
Chili paste is a condiment that gets spoilt easily hence it should be stored in a refrigerator to keep it edible for upto a week. Chili paste should not be kept at room temperature for more than two hours or it will get spoilt.
Refrigeration helps keep food fresher and in top condition for long periods.
When you keep your chili paste on the shelf table, apart from you, there are various microorganisms, bacteria, and fungi eyeing the spicy condiment.
These organisms multiply fastest when you keep your chili paste in temperatures ranging from 40 °F and 140 °F. This is known as the danger zone.
To escape the danger zone, you should either store your chili paste at a temperature above 140 or below 40 or freeze it
Refrigeration is the easiest and should be your preferred way of storing.
Storing your chili paste at room temperature is not advisable as it may come in contact with moisture and quickly develop mold.
If necessary, you can store your chili paste in an airtight container to reduce air exposure and store it in a clean, dry, and dark place!
Pro tip: If you have an unopened can of store-bought chili paste and you still have some time before using it, keep it in the container to help it stay fresh for long.
If you have homemade chili paste, you should use it at the earliest, and if you have to store it, you should either refrigerate or freeze it to make it stay longer.
Pro tip– when leaving the container of chili paste on your kitchen counter, always keep the lid tightly shut to prevent contamination.
now let’s look at ways you can store chili paste to keep it fresh for long-.
What Is The Best Way To Store Chili Paste?
The best ways to store your chili paste so that it stays for longer are-
If storing in the pantry-
Store it in a clean, cool, dark, and dry place.
The cabinet in your pantry will work fine.
Pro tip- do not open the container until it’s time to use it.
Transfer the contents into an airtight sterilized container and close the lid tightly. Then, Store it in a cool, dark, dry place away from the sunlight. Use the pressure canning method to make your chili paste last up to two years!
Remember- refrigeration is advised for prolonged usability.
For homemade chili paste-
Store it in an airtight container and keep it in a clean, dark, and dry place.
Remember to eat it as soon as possible as the quality will start decreasing rapidly at room temperature.
- Add a layer of vegetable oil (about one cm in depth), refrigerate in an airtight container, and add + 1 week to your chili paste.
- Add lime juice to your homemade chili paste to increase its acidity level, and add a water bath to keep it fresher for longer.
- Transfer the contents into an airtight sterilized container or a vacuum-sealed bag and store it in a clean place in your fridge
Q.Can I store chili paste in a plastic container?
Yes! You can store chili paste in a plastic container but make sure that it’s airtight; also, if possible, prefer glass containers over plastic containers as they are non-toxic and less porous than plastic containers.
Q. Are Chili paste and Chili sauce the same?
No, though chili paste and chili sauce share one same ingredient – chilies, their other ingredients are different. You can also differentiate them by looking at their consistency, chili paste will be thicker, and chili sauce will have a thin, runny texture.
The Bottom Line
Chili paste though a shelf staple can have a low shelf life.
With that, you now know that you should not keep chili paste on the countertop for more than two hours, and freezing it is the best way to make it stay good for a long time!
Mold and a rotten smell are giveaways that your chili paste is way past usability, and you know the best ways to store chili paste!
Let us know in the comments which method you found to be the most useful!
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Michael A. Antoine is a Sr. Chef at one of the leading chains of restaurants in the USA. He might raise hell in his kitchen, but his deep and practical knowledge about food and recipes helps us give you the best and tastiest recipes.