Does Tabasco Go Bad? – Full Analysis

Does Tabasco Go Bad? – Full Analysis

Does Tabasco go bad? Yes, Tabasco does go bad but not in a way that it will be unsafe to eat. It will just lose its quality over time and what that time frame is will depend on the variety you have. The reason that you can consume Tabasco past the production date is due to the capsaicin in chili peppers and vinegar, as they act as preservation agents to help prevent the growth of bacteria.

If it is the original Tabasco, it will keep its flavor and quality the longest.

How to Tell if Tabasco is Bad?

Tabasco, does not really go bad in the sense that other things do. As it gets older, the chili peppers do become darker and so does the mustard that is often found in the sauce. The only thing that goes “bad” for Tabasco is that the quality will diminish over time. Leaving it in direct sunlight will speed up the process of it turning darker.

When the quality deteriorates, the texture of Tabasco will start to become clumpier, it might lose some of its hotness, and the aroma will not be as fresh. Odd things can happen so if you notice an off smell, the taste is awful, or there is some type of organic growth inside of the bottle, throw it out. It is unlikely this will happen but it can.

How Long Does Tabasco Last? Shelf Life [Chart]

Tabasco can last for years, whether it is unopened or opened, refrigerated or unrefrigerated but the quality will not last. It will not become unsafe to use or spoil but will lose flavor. The time it will retain its quality will depend on the flavor. The original will hold its flavor for about five years and flavored will last about a year and a half to two years.

Tabasco Pantry/Cabinet Refrigerator
Original, unopened 5-10 years N/A
Original, opened N/A 5 years +
Flavored, unopened 18-24 months N/A
Flavored, opened N/A 18-24 months

How to Store Tabasco

Tabasco is stored pretty much the same way as you would do all unopened sauce. It should be stored in a pantry or some place that is away from direct light and is cool. After opening, it should go into the refrigerator. Some people, after opening Tabasco, will not store it in the refrigerator after opening and is okay for a couple of months. When storing an opened bottle in the refrigerator, it will maintain the color and flavor better.

With some of the fancier types of Tabasco, they might contain extra ingredients like mustard, fruits, vegetables and other condiments so they will need to go into the refrigerator after opening. It is advisable that you check the label to see if it needs to be refrigerated or not.

How to Store Homemade Tabasco

If you make homemade Tabasco you will need to keep it in the refrigerator if you want it to last more than a week. If you leave it on the counter or pantry at room temperature, there will be microorganisms starting to multiply rapidly. It will make the homemade Tabasco unsafe to eat. In the refrigerator it will last 2-4 months

In order to make the homemade Tabasco self-preserving, you must reach a low pH so during the preparation, you need to use sugar or vinegar to lower the pH. Bacteria can happen after storage if it is not decreased. That is why it must be refrigerated but even then, it does not have a long shelf life.

What is Tabasco?

This is a brand of hot sauce that is produced by Mcllhenny Company of Avery Island, southern Louisiana. It is made from salt, vinegar, and tabasco peppers. This brand also includes other varieties such as original e sauce, sirracha, habanero, and others. The company sells the product in more than 195 countries and is packaged in 25 languages.

Tabasco has a heat-acid-salt complex with an earthiness taste. It is a fermented hot sauce. It got its name from the peppers that are used to make the sauce and being hot, just a drop of two will be all that you need to spice up your dish. It is said that the peppers are left to ferment in a barrel for three years and then taken out to have other flavors and salt added.

Where Does Tabasco Come From and How Was it Created?

Like all dishes and foods in this world, Tabasco has an origin that goes back farther that you think. The first thing you should know about Tabasco sauce is that the peppers that the sauce is made from originated from South America.

Also, Tabasco was not the original name of the brand. The company that created Tabasco called the sauce Tabasco red pepper.

Because the creator of the sauce, McIlhenny, was familiar with the Deep South, he marketed the sauce mainly in New Orleans. Once he finally got a contract, he had to find an appropriate bottle to store the sauce and send it out into grocery stores and markets all over. This incident gave rise to the Tabasco sauce bottles strange shape. He had to use unused cologne bottles that were purchased from a New Orleans glass and bottle supplier.

Although it is unknown if the bottle’s strange shape has marketed the sauce, Tabasco became a popular hot sauce, nonetheless. Now it is a popular hot sauce brand found in most stores.

What Types of Food is Best for Tabasco?

Tabasco is known for its spicy and yet vinegary flavor. Its flavor is unique and distinctive, so it will take some deliberation to figure out which food it is suited for.

According to many sources on the internet, tabasco is a great ingredient for many types of chili. Since it has a vinegar flavor, many chefs and cooks decide to use it if a recipe calls for both a spicy flavor and a vinegar flavor. But that is not all tabasco is good for. Other foods that tabasco is suitable for are fried fish, most dishes and recipes from Mexico. Tabasco also works well as a condiment, because it adds a spicy flavor to the foods that require vinegar.

Tabasco also works great with the cuisine of the deep south. No matter what you make, creoles, gumbos, cocktail sauce, bisques, jambalayas, and other thick soups and stews, this watery sauce will pair well with all of these food’s spicy flavors.


  • A bottle of Tabasco can sit in your pantry unopened for months, sometimes years but the quality may not be as good.
  • Over time, around the very top of the bottle, you will need to clear it off once in a while because it is an area for the buildup of bacteria. Just use a dry paper towel to clean it off.
  • Tabasco is best suited for the many dishes that come from Mexico.
  • But it also does well with foods that originate from the deep south.
  • Before you use your bottle of Tabasco, make sure that you shake it up to help bring back the potency of particles and flavors that have sunk toward the bottom.
  • Check the label for how long it will retain its quality flavor.
  • You can consume Tabasco as long as you find the taste right
  • Although Tabasco has a long shelf life, you should replace it every five years.
  • If Tabasco would ever spoil or go bad, it would be due to some external contamination, you leave it unsealed for a long period of time or if the bottle is leaky.