Mustard’s Shelf Life: Does It Go Bad or Expire? How To Tell?

Most of us can’t have hotdogs, burgers, roast chickens, or vegetable dishes without Mustard!

We love its strong taste, giving any dish a much-needed kick.

Being a condiment, you might wonder if your Mustard is still safe to use despite it lying around the kitchen for months now. Does Mustard go bad? And can you use it way after its expiration date?

Yes, It’s possible for it to go bad, but you can expect it to last long! Read on as we tackle the shelf life of Mustard and how to store it well.

How Long Does Mustard Last?

image of how long does mustard last - its shelf life

The great news: Mustard lasts even after its stated expiration date.

Bad news: It is still considered a perishable good, and it WILL go bad at one point.

Mustard is a condiment prepared from mustard seeds, usually made based on water and vinegar, alongside several spices. There are also other types of bases used to make Mustard, such as wine or balsamic vinegar!

That’s why there are many different types of mustards existing and with different colors or textures. There is Dijon mustard, honey mustard, and you can make your own Mustard with the right ingredients.

We love how Mustard goes well with food like salads, sandwiches, and the like.

So, does Mustard go bad?

Yes, but it will also depend on various factors, especially how you store it and its ingredients.

For instance, mustards with higher amounts of acid, like Dijon mustard, will last longer than less acidic Mustard, such as honey mustard. Furthermore, unopened mustard bottles or containers appropriately stored will last a lot longer compared to open jars.

We’ll talk more about the shelf life in the next section.

Can Mustard Go Bad?

image of Shelf Life of Mustard

When talking about store-bought Mustard, you can use it for 2-3 years past its best by date, as long as it’s stored correctly. (*)

To be a bit more exact, here are the shelf lives of different types of mustards:

American Mustard and Chinese Mustard will last for one to two years past their best by date if unopened in the pantry. Opened Mustard stored in the fridge; they can last for 1 year after its best by date.

Dijon Mustard and Honey Mustard will last for 2-3 years past their best by date if unopened in the pantry. Opened Mustard stored in the fridge; it can last for 1 year after its best by date.

Dry Mustard will last for one to two years past the date on the label if unopened in the pantry.

Homemade Mustard can last for 1 day if unopened in the pantry or 1 week to 12 months if opened refrigerated.

Why does it last for such a long time?

Because all varieties of mustards have acid-based liquid and other ingredients that don’t spoil very quickly but note that Mustard does become expired, losing its flavor over time, even less than 2-3 years. It mostly depends on how you store it.

How to Tell If Mustard Has Gone Bad

What if you’ve got a bottle of Mustard sitting in your fridge for over a year now? Before you use it on your dishes, here are the signs to tell if Mustard is bad:

1. Texture

Mustard dries out and separates over time, though this is normal. Simply stir your Mustard until it’s back to normal texture.

However, if you see dry lumps at the bottom of the container, dispose of the Mustard. Lumps indicate that the liquid is evaporating slowly, completely drying out soon.

If you see that the liquid is separated from its other ingredients, or if the solid parts are thicker and darker, toss it out. The Mustard would have an unpleasant flavor and smell, with the sold parts even resulting in mold growth.

2. Mold

Speaking of mold, you might find organic growth in the jar of Mustard. If that’s the case, we urge you to throw it out immediately. There’s no salvaging moldy mustard!

3. Smell

Mustard’s aroma would fade over time. If the smell seems off or sour, then it’s a sign to dispose of your Mustard.

4. The Expiration Date

Check the expiration date. If it’s only been less than a year after the expiration date, and it shows no signs of spoilage, it’s safe to use. If it’s been over a year or two, then it’s best to throw it.

How to Store Mustard Properly

If you store and handle it properly, your Mustard can last even longer. Here are a few helpful storage tips:

  • Use clean utensils as you scoop out from the bottle of Mustard. Don’t use dirty utensils or double-dip! Doing so will increase bacteria in the Mustard, causing foodborne illnesses and quick spoilage.
  • You can store your Mustard in the fridge or a cool, dry area at room temperature. Freezing Mustard is possible to have it last for an extra 3-4 months. (*)
  • Keep your Mustard away from any heat and moisture to keep it from growing bacteria or mold.
  • Never leave your Mustard unopened! Tighten its cover or transfer it to an airtight container to prevent contaminants from coming in. You won’t need to transfer Mustard to another container, though, unless something happened to its original container.

Frequently Asked Questions

There is more to learn when it comes to Mustard and its shelf life! We show you frequently asked questions from our readers:

1. Does Mustard need to be refrigerated?

You don’t need to refrigerate Mustard, but we recommend it to last longer and retain its flavor. Refrigerated Mustard would dry out slower compared to those stored in the pantry. It’s also best to refrigerate Mustard if it’s a particularly hot day, higher than room temperature.

In fact, wine and vinegar-based mustards are best stored in the refrigerator after use to retain their aroma and flavor. Homemade Mustard will require refrigeration as well to keep it away from moisture and contaminants.

2. Does unopened Mustard go bad?

Yes, unopened Mustard will still go bad, though it lasts longer compared to opened bottles of Mustard. Expect it to last 2-3 years after the best by date, provided you keep it in a cool and dry area at room temperature.

However, unopened homemade Mustard will last shorter than store-bought ones. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week or so. It’s best to taste test your homemade Mustard before using it to make sure it tastes fine on dishes.

3. What can I replace Mustard with?

If your Mustard ends up spoiling and you need to use it for a dish right away, you can use mayonnaise. It won’t taste exactly the same, but it has a similar consistency. You can also try fresh wasabi or horseradish.

A mixture of oil and vinegar may work for salads, though it isn’t an ideal suggestion for recipes with Mustard listed as its main ingredient.

How about ketchup?

No! We don’t recommend switching out these condiments since they have different ingredients. They taste very different and are best mixed, not replaced.

4. How long can Mustard sit out?

You can store Mustard on the kitchen counter or table, and it will still last reasonably long. As long as you cover it tightly, used Mustard will last for about 1-2 months. That said, we still recommend refrigerating it after opening.

Wrapping It Up

Mustard is such a versatile condiment you’ll want to add to your dishes and keep in the kitchen for future use.

We hope we answered all your questions about the shelf life of mustard and storage tips! Now that you know when Mustard spoils, make sure you store yours properly and check it now and then for signs that it expired.

image of its shelf life and mustard has gone bad

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