Chili Garlic Sauce’s Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad? How To Tell

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Imagine this: you finally got off early from work and were able to pass by your favorite Chinese takeout place. Luckily, your favorite noodle soup is available, and you can’t wait to go home and enjoy it.

You’re finally home and ready to eat. But that’s when you noticed the waiter forgot to include a garlic chili sauce in your takeout.

So what are you going to do now that there’s no chili garlic sauce? Oh wait, you remember having a bottle of chili sauce at the back of your pantry, so you went ahead and searched for it.

And there it is, that old Bottle of chili sauce. It’s so old that it’s already full of dust, so you went ahead and wiped off the dust and took a look at the printed date.

News flash: the printed date was over a few months ago!

But maybe, you can still give it a try. Garlic chili sauce lasts forever, right? Or can it go bad?

Don’t be ashamed. We’ve all been there.

That’s why we’ll put you out of your misery—so you can finally enjoy that noodle soup waiting for you at your dinner table.

The simple answer is:

Yes, chili garlic sauce can go bad, and its shelf life can vary depending on its ingredients and how it’s stored.

Do you want to know if it’s still safe to consume that chili sauce in your pantry? Then, this is the article to read!

In this article, we’ll also answer the following questions:

  • How long does chili garlic sauce last?
  • How to tell if the chili garlic sauce has already gone bad?
  • How to store garlic chili sauce?
  • And other frequently asked questions!

If you’re ready, let’s get down to business!

Does Chili Garlic Sauce Go Bad?

Yes, it can. But here’s some good news: Chili garlic sauce has a pretty decent shelf life. You can enjoy it for months as long as it’s properly stored.

Its long shelf life is due to its two essential ingredients—vinegar and chili peppers.

Vinegar is a widely known preservative and can sit in the pantry for a good few years without spoiling. On the other hand, the capsaicin content of cayenne pepper has antimicrobial properties and can inhibit bacterial growth that causes food poisoning.

How Long Will Chili Garlic Sauce Last?

So what is the shelf life of chili garlic sauce? How long does opened chili last in the refrigerator?

The precise answer depends on how it’s stored (room temperature or refrigerated), its type (commercially bottled or homemade hot sauce), and its condition before it was stored (unopened or opened chili sauce).

Let’s talk about homemade chili sauce first. Since this doesn’t contain any artificial preservatives often found in commercially bottled garlic sauce, its shelf life is a lot shorter—around 3 to 6 months when refrigerated continuously.

It will vary depending on the ingredients that the recipe calls for. To be on the safe side, it’s always best that you check out the shelf life details of the recipe that you wish to follow.

On the other hand, store-bought chili garlic will generally stay at best for this long:

  • An opened bottle of chili sauce lasts only 1 month at room temperature.
  • Opened Bottle of chili sauce that has been continuously refrigerated with lasts for 6 to 9 months.
  • Unopened Bottle of chili: follow the Best by date

Here’s some exciting news for you: The printed date on the unopened Bottle of chili garlic oil is not an expiration date, so it’s not a safety date– but more on a quality date.

This means that beyond the said date, you can’t expect the quality of the sauce to stay the same. Instead, its texture and flavor might change over time.

However, it’s still considered safe for consumption as long as it’s stored properly, and continuously refrigerated, and there are no signs of spoilage.

How Can You Tell if the Chili Garlic Sauce Has Already Gone Bad?

While you can expect chili garlic sauce to last for a long time, it can go bad quickly if the proper food preparation or storage guidelines haven’t been followed.

With that said, what are the telltale signs that the sauce has already gone bad? Here are the signs of spoilage that you should watch out for:

1. Mold Growth

Once mold appears either on the surface of the sauce or around the Bottle’s cap, discard the sauce right away. When mold appears, it’s usually a telltale sign that the chili garlic sauce has already gone bad.

Some people would just remove the molds and still use the sauce. However, we don’t recommend that you do this to avoid potential food poisoning issues.

2. Bad Odor

The sniff test is often a reliable test for spoilage. Upon opening the Bottle, you can immediately have a whiff of the sauce, and you must pay attention to any unwanted odors.

If it still smells garlicky, it’s still good to go. But if the chili sauce develops a sour or weird smell, throw it out right away.

3. Weird Taste

Even if the sauce has no molds or a bad odor, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Instead of using the sauce right away, try to taste a small amount of it first.

If the chili sauce develops a sour taste or you notice a difference from its original taste, don’t use the sauce and throw it away instead.

How to Store Garlic Chili Sauce?

If you want the chili sauce to stay of the best quality when stored properly. That’s why we would like to share some of the best storage tips for chili sauce. Here they are:

1. Store hot sauce in a cool place with a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

This temperature keeps bacteria and other microorganisms at bay since these organisms thrive at temperatures higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, refrigerator chili sauce lasts longer.

That’s why it’s recommended that you keep your chili sauce chilled and continuously refrigerated. And even though an unopened bottle of chili oil and most hot sauces are considered shelf-stable, it’s still a great idea to keep them in the refrigerator if you wish to extend their shelf life.

Learn more:

2. When preparing the homemade sauce, keep the pH level as low as possible.

Same with temperature, microorganisms thrive when the pH is high. To prevent this, make sure to prepare your homemade sauce so that its pH will be as low as possible.

You can do this by adding acidic ingredients to your recipe. Some great examples are lime, lemon extract, or lemon juice.

3. Make sure all utensils are sterilized.

All the utensils you will use in making the sauce—lid, container, saucepan, container, and knife—must be sterilized to avoid contamination. If you don’t have a sterilizer at home, you can wash them instead before using them.

4. Store sauce in an airtight container.

This is important in preventing the air from entering the Bottle, which causes oxidation and may hasten the spoilage of the sauce.

5. Get rid of the crusty junk at the cap of the Bottle.

It may encourage the growth of microorganisms and increase the risk of spoilage. To address this, always thoroughly clean and rinse the Bottle’s cap after every use.

Frequently Asked Questions

In Summary

So it all adds up to this: chili garlic sauce can go bad, and it will get bad fast if you don’t store it properly.

And if you want to extend the shelf life of your favorite garlic chili sauce, all you have to do is follow all the storage and preparation tips that we’ve mentioned in this article.

It’s as simple as that.

We have already done the research for you. Now it’s your turn. Store that chili sauce properly so you can enjoy it for longer.

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