Does Ketchup Go Bad?

Ketchup is one of the most popular condiments, but have you ever wondered how long ketchup can last? Although condiments seem as they have an indefinite shelf life, ketchup actually can go bad. Like all other foods, ketchup goes bad after a certain amount of time.

In this article we will tell you something more about ketchup and its shelf life. We will tell you how to store ketchup properly and how to extend its shelf life.

We will also show you how to determine if your ketchup has gone bad. If you also like ketchup and if you use it in your diet, this article may be interesting for you.

More about Ketchup

Ketchup is a table sauce that is made of tomatoes, sugar and vinegar. Also, there are many seasonings and spices in the ketchup, such as onions, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, etc.

Ketchup is usually used as a condiment with different dishes, but sometimes it is also used as an ingredient for preparing other sauces or dressings. Below you will see how long your favorite condiment can last and how you should store it properly.

What Is the Shelf Life of Ketchup?

Although ketchup is an acidic product, it spoils after a certain period of time. But, we can say that the shelf life of ketchup is quite long. Ketchup usually has a best by date and it doesn’t have an expiration date. Because of that, you can safely use ketchup even after the best by date has lapsed. A best by date is usually 15 months from the date of the ketchup production.

If ketchup is unopened, it can last 1 or 2 years beyond a date stamp, if you provide proper storage conditions. But, when you open the bottle of ketchup, it can last at room temperature for about a month, but sometimes it lasts only a couple of days. If you store opened bottle of ketchup in the pantry it will last about two or three months.

If you keep it in the fridge its shelf life will be much longer. If opened bottle of ketchup is refrigerated, it can last for up to half a year, if it is stored properly.

As you can see, it is always better to store ketchup in a cooler place.

How to Store Ketchup Properly?

Proper storage is the most important if you want your ketchup to stay fresh as long as possible. It is important to store ketchup in a dry and cool place, away from moisture, heat and direct sunlight.

One of the most common questions is whether ketchup has to be refrigerated or not. Well, it depends. If you have unopened bottle of ketchup, you can store it at room temperature or in the pantry because there’s no possibility that any bacteria or mold gets into the ketchup and spoils it. But, fridge is always a better option. If you opened a bottle of ketchup then it is necessary to store it in the fridge. If you don’t store it in the fridge, microorganisms can get into the bottle and spoil your ketchup. It is not recommended to freeze ketchup, because freezing will change the texture of the ketchup and make it gummy.

Also, there’s no need to freeze ketchup because its shelf life is quite long.

How To Tell if Ketchup Has Gone Bad?

Although ketchup can last pretty long, it can spoil, so you should check for the signs of spoilage before using the ketchup. It won’t be hard to tell if your ketchup has gone bad. A watery liquid in the ketchup will separate from thicker liquid over time, but the ketchup will still be safe to consume. You can simply shake the bottle and everything will be fine. But, if the liquid separates out too much from the tomato paste it is a sign that your ketchup is spoiled.

Also, if you notice that the taste of your ketchup is different it means that it has gone bad. If spoiled, ketchup will also change in color and it won’t have a bright red color anymore. It will probably become dark brown. It is also possible that your ketchup smells sour and this is one more sign that your ketchup has spoiled. Also, you may notice that mold started to grow in your favorite condiment or on the cap of the bottle. If you notice any of these changes, you should discard the ketchup immediately.

Also, it is possible that the bottle of ketchup appears bloated, which indicates spoilage. Remember that spoiled foods can lead to many health problems.


You could see in this article that ketchup can last very long if it is stored properly. If you don’t provide proper storage conditions, it will last for a shorter period of time. For example, if you store ketchup at room temperature it won’t last that long. It is better to store it in the pantry, but the best choice is storing it in the fridge.

Storing ketchup in the refrigerator will slow the growth of microorganisms, so the ketchup will have a longer shelf life. It will be easy to determine if your ketchup has gone bad. If ketchup is spoiled, it will change in texture, smell and flavor, so you should discard it. As you should know by now, spoiled foods are related to many health risks and you should throw them away.