Does Mustard Ever Go Bad? Can It Expire? (Here’s How To Tell)

image of how long does mustard last - its shelf life

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 sauce is still safe to use despite it lying around the kitchen for months now. 

Does mustard ever go bad? And can you still 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, expiration and how to store it well.

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.

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:

ProductPantry (Unopened)Refrigerator (Opened)
Past Best By DatePast Best By Date
American Mustard lasts 1 to 2 Years1 Year
Chinese Mustard lasts2 to 3 Years1 Year
Dijon Mustard lasts2 to 3 Years1 Year
Honey Mustard lasts2 to 3 Years1 to 2 Years
Dry Mustard lasts for1 to 2 Years——
Homemade Mustard lasts for1 Day1 week – 1 year

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 your sauce 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 sitting in your fridge for over a year now? Before you use it on your dishes, here are the signs to tell if it 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 sauce 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. 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 sauce

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 Long Does Mustard Last?

  • The great news: The sauce 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, honey, 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.

How to Store Mustard Properly

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

  • Use clean utensils as you scoop out from the bottle. Don’t use dirty utensils or double-dip! Doing so will increase bacteria in the sauce, causing foodborne illnesses and quick spoilage.
  • You can store 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 sauce away from any heat and moisture to keep it from growing bacteria or mold.
  • Never leave it 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.

Learn more:

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:

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 mustard‘s shelf life, expiration and storage tips!

Now that you know when your sauce spoils, make sure you store properly and check it now and then for signs that it expired.

Up Next: Your Common Food Ingredient’s Shelf Life – A Comprehensive Guide By Groups

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top