Does Soy Sauce Expire or Go Bad?

by Charlie
Published: Last Updated on
Does Soy Sauce Expire

Soy sauce is a delicious addition to a lot of different foods. You might be really craving it, but wondering if it’s a good idea to use that old bottle at the back of your counter.

Does soy sauce expire? Soy sauce does expire, but it doesn’t really get rotten like other foods might. An unopened bottle of soy sauce should last up to 3 years. When soy sauce expires, it basically just deteriorates in quality, and this makes it taste a lot less fresh.

The rest of this article will teach you all you need to know about soy sauce, including how long it lasts, how to properly store it, and how to tell when it’s bad. 

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last?

Every soy sauce has an expiration date on the bottle, but it will most likely last a lot longer than said date. This is because soy sauce has a ton of sodium, which helps preserve the sauce and makes it harder for bacteria to grow.

An unopened bottle of soy sauce will probably last about 3 years past the printed expiration date and still be good, granted it’s stored properly. An opened bottle will usually last 1 to 2 years after being opened before losing its quality.

However you put it, soy sauce lasts a very long time. Even if you wait longer than 2 or 3 years, your soy sauce will most likely still be safe to consume. The problem with old soy sauce is the fact that it loses its flavor and freshness, and this is the reason that people will often throw it out. 

How Should You Store Soy Sauce?

Storing your soy sauce is pretty straightforward and shouldn’t cause you too much trouble. Keeping it in its original container is the easiest and there really isn’t a reason to transfer it out. However, if you do put it in a different glass jar, just make sure that it seals tightly so that nothing in the air contaminates the sauce.

Your soy sauce should be stored somewhere cool and dry. This means you can put it in the pantry or in the fridge. Most people tend to store their unopened sauce in the pantry then transfer it to the fridge once it’s opened. This is a great method that works very well to keep your sauce fresh.

You could also store it in the fridge from the get go, or keep it in the pantry the whole time. Just know that keeping your soy sauce in the fridge will help it stay fresh for longer. Opened soy sauce stored in the pantry can sometimes lose its freshness after 6 months, whereas it would stay fresh for about 2 years in the fridge.

It’s really up to you on what you want to do, and if you know you’ll use your soy sauce quickly there is nothing wrong with storing it in the pantry. But if you’re looking to get some extra life out of it, using the fridge is definitely going to be helpful.

How Do You Tell If Soy Sauce is Still Good?

It’s not super obvious when soy sauce has gone bad unless there is mold growing on it (which is very rare). Usually, bad soy sauce will just taste a little bit different and old, and it won’t be considered up to most people’s standards.

Soy sauce that tastes lower in quality or just a bit off is not going to hurt you. However, it is technically bad when it gets to this point, and most people will throw it out because of the poor taste. 

If soy sauce has a really strong smell or taste that is way different than its original one, you should be suspicious of this. If it’s super off, it’s probably a good idea to just toss it out since it won’t be enjoyable anyway.

Furthermore, soy sauce can occasionally grow mold. This really only happens if it isn’t sealed up properly and has been left out for a really long time. But it is a possibility, and if you are suspicious of your soy sauce it might be smart to pour it into a separate glass and check for mold, just in case.

If you find any mold or notice really strong smells or tastes, it’s best to just throw out your soy sauce and get a new one. 

Can You Eat Expired Soy Sauce?

If your soy sauce is expired but it looks and tastes good, it is still safe to eat. This is because soy sauce has a lot of sodium in it, which is a preservative that makes it very hard for the sauce to spoil. If your soy sauce has gone bad enough to make you sick, it will be pretty obvious.

Even soy sauce that tastes a little old or stale is probably still okay to eat. This being said, you probably won’t enjoy eating stale soy sauce, so throwing it out is still a viable option. Fresh soy sauce will always taste better, but if you don’t mind eating some lower quality sauce then you can definitely eat it even if it’s expired.

The only reason you wouldn’t want to eat expired soy sauce is if it was showing signs of mold or had an extremely different taste or smell. You would have to leave the soy sauce sitting around for a long time for this to happen, but it is possible and you don’t want to eat this as it could cause you to get sick.

Exercise caution when eating expired soy sauce and use your best judgment. 9 times out of 10, the soy sauce will be just fine and won’t cause you any harm.

Final Thoughts

Soy sauce lasts for a very long time, and when it “goes bad” it really just loses its freshness and quality. Soy sauce is probably one of the most trustworthy foods because it’s really hard for it to spoil.

So whether or not you decide to eat that old soy sauce sitting in the back of your pantry, we hope that this article helped you come to a conclusion and that you learned more about soy sauce in the process.

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