Worcestershire Sauce’s Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad or Expire?

You probably already have a bottle of Worcestershire sauce sitting in your fridge. But do you know how long it’s been there and if it’s meant to last long?

It may leave you wondering, does Worcestershire sauce go bad, or can I still use it even past its best-by date?

Short Answer:

Yes, it does go bad, similar to all types of food items. However, the expiration date will depend on various factors.

Read on as we show you more about Worcestershire sauce and how to help it last longer.

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

  • What is it sauce made of?
  • Can Worcestershire Sauce Go Bad or Expire?
  • How Long Does It Last?
  • How Can You Tell if It Is Bad?
  • How Do You Store It Correctly?
  • And other frequently asked questions about This Sauce!

If you’re ready, let’s get started!

What is Worcestershire sauce made of?

Worcestershire sauce is a common kitchen staple, having a distinct flavor many people love. This is a fermented condiment made of essential ingredients and flavors such as vinegar, cloves, hoisin sauce, and molasses. (*)

You can use Worcestershire sauce to enhance both food and drink recipes, including deviled eggs, salads, smoked meats, and the like. In terms of flavor, expect a bit of tanginess, salty, and savory taste and a twinge of sweetness for balance.

Over time, the quality and flavors of Worcestershire sauce will slowly degrade.

Some of the ingredients the Worcestershire sauce contains are natural preservatives, including salt and sugar. But because of its natural preservatives, it’s unlikely that bacteria or microbes can live and grow in it.

Does Worcestershire Sauce Go Bad?

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That said, we assure you that Worcestershire sauce won’t get spoiled quickly given the fact that its main ingredients are vinegar and molasses, which are known to last long. While it eventually becomes spoiled, it can last and still be used a few years after the best-by date.

How Long Does Worcestershire Sauce Last?

Several factors shorten or lengthen the shelf life of Worcestershire sauce. So how long does Worcestershire sauce last, exactly?

In general, unopened Worcestershire sauce bottles can last for up to five years in the pantry or even indefinitely when refrigerated.

The best-by date would most likely state it is best consumed until 18 months to three years past the production date.  However, it can still retain its quality for another two years after the best-by date, based on FoodSafety.gov.

For an opened bottle of Worcestershire sauce, it can last for about one year if stored in your kitchen pantry.

If you place it in the refrigerator and store it well, it can last for up to three years. Once the bottle is opened, the Worcestershire sauce begins to slowly lose its quality, having a flattened taste in the dishes you eat when used.

We want you to take note that the quality and flavors of this sauce last longer than unopened Worcestershire bottles. Furthermore, the mentioned shelf lives of Worcestershire sauce are only estimates based on the best quality brands.

The exact shelf life of Worcestershire sauce is challenging to determine since there will be other factors to consider, such as the brand name and ingredient list.

Is it okay to use expired Worcestershire sauce?

It really depends. If the sauce is only a few days expired, it should be fine. However, if it is several months or years expired, it is probably best to throw it out. Ultimately, you should use your best judgment. If the sauce smells bad or looks funky, don’t use it.

How To Tell if Worcestershire Sauce Is Bad?

Even if it takes a few years for Worcestershire sauce to go bad, it’s also possible to taste funky or be deemed unusable before that.

Sometimes, it can be from the poor-quality sauce or from not storing it properly. Homemade Worcestershire sauce may also lose its quality quicker, depending on the ingredients added.

Whatever the reason, it’s best to watch for signs that your Worcestershire sauce is bad to prevent ruining a dish. We recommend watching out for these signs:

  • The sauce has an unpleasant smell, particularly sour, funny, or just way different from its smell when it was new.
  • If you see any signs of mold in the bottle. Mold growth is an immediate sign that your sauce is way past its expiration date.
  • You can do a tiny taste test to see if the Worcestershire sauce tastes off, though avoid consuming a lot and only enough to sense its flavor.
  • You notice a gas buildup. In plastic bottles, you can see that the liquid looks puffy. The lid would make a loud pop in either glass or plastic bottles upon opening it, releasing pressure from the gas buildup.

If ever you notice any of these signs, dispose of the bottle immediately rather than try to use the sauce on your drinks or dishes!

If you see a layer of sediment at the bottom of your Worcestershire sauce bottle, don’t throw it out yet. This is normal, and you need to shake the bottle for it to dissolve. If there is a layer of sediment and you notice any of the signs above, you will need to discard it.

How to Store Worcestershire Sauce

Now that you know all about the shelf life of Worcestershire sauce, how can you store it properly so your Worcestershire sauce will last for a long time?

We suggest these tips:

  • Store Worcestershire sauce as you would with any other high-sodium sauce like soy sauce. Please keep it in a cool, dry, and dark place, away from sunlight. This means your kitchen pantry or cabinet, is sealed tightly to prevent moisture from coming in.
  • You may want to keep opened Worcestershire sauce bottles in the refrigerator to lengthen its shelf life and quality. This is recommended if you don’t plan on finishing the bottle within a year or so.
  • Keep the Worcestershire sauce at a constant temperature, away from hot appliances like the dishwasher or stove. Avoid moving it from the fridge to the pantry and keep it indefinitely in one area.
  •  If you want to transfer the Worcestershire sauce, keep it in a clean airtight container or bottle, following the storage options above.

Some people claim that freezing Worcestershire sauce can help keep it fresh, but there are no official studies or reports to confirm it. In fact, you may not benefit from this since Worcestershire sauce has a long shelf life, whether in the pantry or fridge.

It also contains salt molecules, so it would be difficult for the sauce to freeze, having an extremely low freezing point.

Do you have to refrigerate Worcestershire sauce?

No, you don’t have to refrigerate Worcestershire sauce. It’s actually a fermented condiment, so it will be fine sitting out on your countertop. Just make sure to keep it in a cool, dark place so that the flavor doesn’t deteriorate.

Wrapping It Up

Worcestershire sauce is one of the longest-lasting sauces, with the ability to taste great and maintain ins quality even up to 5 years.

Some reports even say it has an indefinite shelf life, as long as it’s stored properly in a dry place.

If you have a bottle of Worcestershire sauce at home, be sure to keep it appropriately and check if your sauce has gone bad before using it.

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