Did you know that Tabasco was once considered a luxury item (because 1 bottle costs $17)? (*) Now, you can buy the same bottle for only $4!
But while it has now become highly affordable, spicy lovers still treat it like a gem since it’s one of the best-tasting hot sauces out there.
If you are one of these people, the most important thing you need to know is where is the best place to store the condiment.
With that said, you may wonder: does tabasco sauce need to be refrigerated?
Does Tabasco Sauce Need To Be Refrigerated?
No. According to the sauce’s manufacturer, Tabasco sauce does not have to be refrigerated even after being opened.
Like most hot sauces, the original Tabasco sauce has a long shelf-life and can last long, even when stored at room temperature. This is due to these two reasons:
Tabasco sauce’s main ingredients are salt, vinegar, and Tabasco peppers.
Tabasco peppers contain Capsicum or Capsaicin, which can prevent antimicrobial growth and delay the sauce’s spoiling process.
Not only that, the presence of vinegar creates a highly acidic environment, preventing bacteria growth and contamination.
That’s not all. The high amounts of salt in the sauce reduce its water activity which, in turn, prohibits bacterial growth and unwanted chemical reactions.
Aside from the ingredients, the sauce’s manufacturing process plays a huge role in its stability. You see, Tabasco undergoes the fermentation process, giving it a distinct fermented taste.
But more than that, the fermentation process also produces carbon dioxide, lactic acid, and ethanol, which are all substances that can increase the shelf life and longevity of different food items. (*)
However, it’s still important to remember that some Tabasco sauce variants may contain ingredients that will spoil quickly.
Because of this, certain Tabasco sauce flavors would require refrigeration after opening, so check the storage instructions first.
Not only that, some would also go bad faster than others. For example, the milder ones (like Sweet and Spicy and Green Japaleño) will lose their flavor much quicker than the original recipe.
That’s why you must always monitor the sauces’ quality and printed dates.
What Happens When You Store Opened Tabasco Sauce at Room Temperature?
While opened Tabasco sauce can last long at room temperature, there are still a few potential changes that you can expect.
The biggest one of which is Tabasco browning. You see, the sauce gets exposed to air and heat upon opening. This exposure facilitates the oxidation process, which causes the fermented chili peppers to darken over time.
As a result, the sauce may take on a dark shade of brown instead of its usual bright orange-red color.
The good news is you can still safely consume Tabasco even if it has already browned or darkened. But, of course, it wouldn’t look as enticing and tasty as its original bright red-orange shade.
Learn more: Does tabasco go bad?
But Can You Store Tabasco Sauce in the Refrigerator?
Yes, you can refrigerate Tabasco sauce. While the manufacturer says that you do not need to refrigerate Tabasco sauce, you can store it in the refrigerator if you want to.
In fact, refrigeration is one of the best ways to prevent the sauce’s color from changing. This is because the cold and dry environment inside the refrigerator protects the sauce from heat and oxygen exposure and slows down the sauce’s oxidation process.
What are the Do’s and Don’ts of Storing Tabasco After Opening?
An unopened Tabasco sauce is easy to store and handle. You can simply place it in a cool, dark, and dry place, which can already last for years.
Unfortunately, handing and storing opened Tabasco sauce is an entirely different story since you’ll have to protect it from air, heat, and potential contamination. With that said, here are some of the do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when storing it after opening:
Do Keep The Cap Tightly Sealed.
Whether in the refrigerator or pantry, the best way to protect the sauce from the air is to keep it tightly sealed. That’s why you should check the cap’s seal before putting it back in storage.
Don’t Store It Near Heat Sources.
To protect it from heat, store it in the fridge or place it in a cupboard or kitchen cabinet far from your stove, oven, or any opened kitchen windows.
Do Clean The Cap After Every Use.
If you don’t clean the cap or the bottle opening after every use, the dried-up sauce will cause the crust to form at the bottle’s neck.
If you won’t clean or wipe it off, the buildup will put the sauce at risk of contamination. Not only that, it will also prevent the cap from closing fully.
Don’t Freeze It.
Can you freeze Tabasco sauce? Yes, you can, but we advise against it because there is no proof doing so can increase its shelf life.
Since the sauce is already shelf-stable on its own, it can last long without being frozen. Also, the glass bottle will break at the freezing point, so you’ll have to transfer the sauce to a freezer-safe container which can be quite a hassle.
The Bottom Line
Does Tabasco sauce need to be refrigerated? You don’t need to refrigerate Tabasco sauce, but you can if you want to.
In fact, refrigeration might be your best option if you can’t be able to finish the sauce within a few months and you want to prevent it from browning.
And if you plan to store it at room temperature, place it in a cool, dark, and dry place—exactly what the manufacturer prescribed.