Does Hot Sauce Go Bad?

Hot sauce that is also known as pepper sauce or chili sauce is a spicy sauce condiment that is made from chili peppers and other ingredients. If you also enjoy eating hot sauce, you may be wondering whether hot sauce can go bad. The answer is yes. Hot sauce does go bad over time, but it depends on many factors. In this text we will tell you something more about hot sauce and its ingredients.

Also, you will find out what is the shelf life of hot sauce and how to store hot sauce properly.

More about Hot Sauce

The main ingredients in most hot sauces are vinegar and chili peppers which are known as preservatives. Vinegar is rich in acid, while chili peppers contain capsaicin. Thanks to such content, hot sauce can keep bacteria at bay. But, there are also some other ingredients in hot sauce that may spoil quickly. Hot sauce may contain pear, apricot or some other fruits or vegetables that can go bad after a certain time.

Also, common ingredient in hot sauce is a mustard, that can easily go bad, so you have to be careful. You can purchase a bottle of hot sauce in a store but you can also prepare it on your own.

What Is the Shelf Life of Hot Sauce?

Whether you prepared hot sauce your own or you have bought it in the supermarket, you have to be sure is it fresh or not. The shelf life of hot sauce depends on its ingredients and on the way of the storage.

If it is properly stored, hot sauce can last for about 3 years. It refers to opened bottles of hot sauce. If the bottle of hot sauce is unopened, it can last even longer. But, even though the sauce can still be safe to consume, it will certainly lose a lot of the quality over time. The taste of the sauce won’t be the same as when you opened it for the first time.

Over time the ingredients in hot sauce lose their flavor potency and the flavor of the sauce will also change. If you shake the bottle of hot sauce up, it may bring some flavors back to life, but the taste of the whole sauce will be different. It is possible that sauce become even hotter than before. Hot sauces often have a best by date on their bottles, but in most cases hot sauces can last even after that date.

How To Store Hot Sauce Properly?

It is very important to clean the cap of a bottle thoroughly, especially if you want to store the bottle of hot sauce for a few months. It may happen that crust appears on the cap of the bottle and it can be a great area for bacteria. Most hot sauces don’t have an expiration date on its bottles, but it is always mentioned if they need to be refrigerated. In that case you should keep hot sauce in the fridge.

If you have found in your pantry an opened bottle of the sauce that should be refrigerated, toss it out. If you refrigerate hot sauce after opening you will extend its shelf life. You should always check the bottle of hot sauce and see whether it needs to be refrigerated or not. You should always follow the instructions on how to store the bottle. If it is a homemade hot sauce, you should keep it in a dry and cool place, but it is best to keep it in the fridge.

How To Tell if Hot Sauce Has Gone Bad?

It will not be so easy to tell if hot sauce has gone bad. Hot sauce may change the color over time, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is spoiled. It is possible that chili peppers and some other ingredients darken over time. It is normal and it is not the sign of the spoilage.

Also, the taste of hot sauce can be different, as we have mentioned before. Although hot sauce changes in color, flavor or texture, it doesn’t mean that it has gone bad. But, if the sauce develops an off flavor or odor, it should be discarded for quality purposes. If you notice any mold in hot sauce, toss it out.


As you have seen, hot sauce can go bad after a certain time, especially if it is not stored properly. Remember that you should always refrigerate hot sauce after opening the bottle. This way you will certainly extend the shelf life of the sauce. Even though the sauce can change in appearance over time it doesn’t mean that it is spoiled. But, if hot sauce wasn’t stored properly, it will go bad and you should discard it.