Did you know that Tabasco takes a lot longer to make than wine?
Check this out: Wine only takes 4 weeks to be ready for consumption, while you have to wait 5 years before you can consume your favorite Tabasco sauce! (*)
Can this be true? You bet it is!
But here’s the best part:
The sauce’s complex flavor comes only from three ingredients.– mashed Tabasco peppers, salt, and vinegar.
That’s right. There’s no secret ingredient. The magic formula is only time.
Amazing, isn’t it?
But it kind of makes you wonder: Does this mean the longer you store your Tabasco sauce, the more flavorful it becomes? Or can tabasco sauce go bad?
The truth is, Tabasco will go bad, but you can enjoy it for a very long time because it has a long shelf life.
If you still have lots of questions, we suggest you keep reading!
In this article, we’ll also discover the answer to these questions:
- Does Tabasco sauce go bad?
- How long does Tabasco sauce last?
- How to tell if Tabasco sauce has gone bad?
- How to Store Tabasco sauce properly?
If you’re excited to know more about your favorite hot sauce, let’s jump right in!
Can Tabasco Go Bad?
As mentioned, Tabasco can go bad, but it doesn’t get bad quickly.
But here’s one fact you didn’t know:
For the most part, Tabasco going bad doesn’t necessarily mean that it will spoil or become unsafe for use—it will just lose flavor and quality over time.
This is because the mashed peppers are aged in wooden barrels containing salt and vinegar, both powerful natural preservatives. As a result, you end up with a highly acidic sauce that can resist bacteria growth and spoilage., so it can last for a very long time when stored properly.
How Long Does Tabasco Sauce Last?
With that said, how long can you enjoy your Tabasco sauce? The shelf life of Tabasco sauce may vary depending on the type (homemade, original Tabasco sauce, and flavored Tabasco sauce) and its storage conditions.
To determine the shelf life, you need to check out its printed date. Note: The printed date is not an expiration date. It’s a best by the date that states when you can expect the Tabasco sauce to be at its best quality.
That being the case, the sauce can still be safe for consumption months past the best by date, but it may have lower quality or lesser flavor by then.
To help you determine when you can safely consume your Tabasco sauce, here are the guidelines you need to know:
- Homemade Tabasco Sauce: 1 week (pantry), 2 to 3 months (refrigerated)
- Unopened Tabasco Original: 5 to 10 years from production date (pantry)
- Opened Tabasco Original: 1 to 2 weeks (pantry), 5 years (refrigerated)
- Unopened Tabasco Flavored: 2 years from production date (pantry)
- Opened Tabasco Flavored: 1 week (pantry), 1.5 to 2 years (refrigerated)
When it comes to flavored sauces, the shelf life may vary depending on the flavors.
For example, the mild flavors like Sweet and Spicy and Green Jalapeño will lose flavor faster than the stronger flavors like the original Red Pepper.
How to Tell if Tabasco Sauce Has Gone Bad
The shelf life of Tabasco sauce that we’ve mentioned applies only to properly stored Tabasco sauce. If it weren’t stored the right way, it would spoil.
To be on the safe side, it’s always best to watch out for signs of bad Tabasco sauce before consuming an old Tabasco sauce. These are as follows:
1. Contaminated Bottle
Inspect the cap of the opened or unopened bottle of Tabasco sauce for any signs of contamination. Check to see if air, bugs, or moisture has gotten into the bottle, which may cause spoilage.
This is the least common but is the most obvious sign of spoilage. If you noticed a fuzzy growth with a white to green color, throw your Tabasco sauce right away.
3. Off Smell
If you noticed a weird or sour scent upon opening the bottle, it means that the Tabasco sauce has already spoiled, so you should discard it immediately.
4. Weird Taste
If you didn’t notice any of the signs of spoilage mentioned, it’s still best that you err on the side of caution by tasting a small amount of the sauce. Throw out the sauce once it already has a weird or sour taste.
How to Store Tabasco Sauce Properly
To preserve the flavor and quality of Tabasco sauces, here are some of the storage tips that you should follow:
1. Place an unopened bottle of Tabasco in a cool and dark place.
A pantry or kitchen cabinet is the best storage place for an unopened Tabasco sauce bottle.
You don’t need to refrigerate it, but you need to ensure that it’s stored far away from heat sources like your oven or stove. To minimize light exposure, store it away from direct sunlight.
2. Seal the opened bottle of Tabasco tightly.
Once you’ve opened the Tabasco bottle, you should seal it as tightly as possible after you use it to avoid contamination.
3. The store opened Tabasco in the refrigerator for longer shelf life.
You can store the tabasco in the pantry too. However, the refrigerator is the best storage place to extend its life span.
4. Make sure that homemade Tabasco has a low pH to avoid spoilage.
If you want to create a self-preserving homemade Tabasco, make sure it has low pH. You can do this by adding sugar or vinegar.
Additionally, homemade Tabasco should be refrigerated at all times.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Here is a few more information you need to know about your favorite hot sauce:
1. What types of food are Tabasco sauces great with?
The answer will depend on the type of flavored Tabasco you’ll use. Take a look at our list of food that goes well with the different flavors:
- Original Red Pepper Sauce: Spaghetti Bolognese and Chili con Carne
- Green Jalapeño Sauce: Salads and Tacos
- Chipotle Pepper Sauce: Grilled marinated meats, Dips, Puddings, and Cocktails
2. Should you refrigerate Tabasco sauce?
You don’t need to refrigerate an unopened bottle of Tabasco. But when it comes to storing opened sauces, refrigeration is the best way to go.
3. Is it safe to consume dark Tabasco?
After some time, you’ll notice that your Tabasco will become darker. The excellent news is Tabasco sauce with a darker color is safe for consumption.
Darkening is perfectly normal since oxidation will cause the fermented chili peppers to darken as time goes by. The good news is it doesn’t affect the taste and texture.
This usually happens when the sauce is exposed to higher temperatures. That’s why you should keep it away from heat sources if you wish to retain the sauce’s natural color.
Can Tabasco sauce go bad?
Let’s recap. Tabasco can go bad, but it has a relatively long lifespan. When stored properly, it can last for 2 years (opened) to 5 years (unopened).
But here’s the catch: The sauce might get spoiled and unsafe for consumption if not stored properly.
So what does all this mean?
It means if you want to make your favorite hot sauce last longer, you need to follow the storage tips that we’ve mentioned. It’s also crucial that you inspect the sauce for any signs of spoilage before you consume it to avoid food poisoning.