Have you recently discovered a half-forgotten jar of spaghetti sauce lurking at the back of your fridge and felt annoyed with yourself for leaving it there too long? If so, you might be wondering whether it’s still okay to eat, or whether you need to throw it away and start again.
How long is spaghetti sauce good for in the fridge? It depends a bit on the ingredients used in the sauce, but many commercial pasta sauces will last between 5 and 10 days before they become unsafe to eat. Because tomato is quite acidic and commercial sauces have preservatives in them, pasta sauce usually lasts well, provided it is refrigerated promptly after opening.
How Long is Spaghetti Sauce Good For in the Fridge?
How long spaghetti sauce will last depends on the ingredients of the sauce. Vegetable-based sauces with no meat will likely last for longer than meat ones. Cream-based sauces will need to be used up much more quickly. However, most tomato spaghetti sauces should keep for at least 5 days in the fridge, and could last longer.
You should base your estimate on the ingredient with the shortest lifespan. For example, a standard tomato sauce with only vegetables in it should be fine for at least 5 days, but if the sauce contains something like shrimp or chicken, you might want to use it up more quickly.
Keeping the sauce cool will prolong its lifespan, so make sure you put it in the fridge promptly. You may wish to decant it into another container, especially if it is in a can. Tomatoes may react with the can and could take on a funny flavor, even if they are still safe to eat.
Transfer the sauce to a clean, airtight container, put the lid on, and put it in the fridge as soon as you have opened it. Leaving the sauce at room temperature will cause it to go bad much more quickly and could result in it becoming unsafe to eat within just a few days.
Sauce must be refrigerated within 2 hours, or less if the room is above 90 degrees F.
What Ingredients Make Spaghetti Sauce Go Bad More Quickly?
Sauces containing meat, cream, or cheese will not last as well as sauces that contain only vegetables. If the sauce has any of these ingredients in it, it should still be okay to eat after a couple of days of refrigeration, but aim to use it up within 3.
Avoid reheating the sauce repeatedly; this process of heating and cooling can encourage the growth of dangerous bacteria. Instead, only heat up what you need each time, and keep the rest chilled to prevent bacteria from growing in it.
How Long Will Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Last?
It’s important to be aware that homemade spaghetti sauce often lacks some of the preservatives found in commercial spaghetti sauce, and it will not last for nearly as long in the fridge. If you have made your own sauce, try to use it up within three to five days at the most.
Although tomatoes are acidic and will keep well, they will not usually be safe to store for longer than this in the fridge. As with commercial sauce, you should put homemade sauce in an airtight container and chill it as soon as possible, and minimize reheating and cooling.
Can You Freeze Spaghetti Sauce?
Most spaghetti sauces freeze well, so if you have a jar or can that you are not going to use up in time, decant it into an airtight container and place it in the freezer. However, be aware that sauces that contain dairy may not freeze as well because the freezer will ruin the dairy’s texture.
Both homemade and commercial spaghetti sauce can be kept in the freezer for months without any issue, so this is a great way to reduce waste if you frequently open the sauces but rarely use them all up. Simply decant the sauce that you aren’t going to use into a container and place it in the freezer with a lid on it.
To thaw spaghetti sauce, put it in the fridge overnight. If you need it to defrost more quickly, put it in some cold water and keep refreshing the water every half hour until the sauce has defrosted. You can also put it in the microwave, provided the container is microwave safe, and defrost it in there.
How Can You Tell If Spaghetti Sauce Has Gone Bad?
There are several things that will tell you if spaghetti sauce has gone bad: a strange scent, flecks of mold on the surface, or an odd flavor. Sauce that has separated badly may also be unsafe to eat, so be aware of this.
If you are in doubt about your spaghetti sauce, the best thing to do is to inspect it closely. Warm it up a little and smell it. Does it have a rancid or sour odor that you wouldn’t normally associate with tomatoes? If so, it’s not safe to eat anymore.
Equally, if you can see flecks of mold floating on the surface or on the edge of the container, the sauce is no longer safe to consume. It needs to be thrown away, even if the mold appears to be localized to one spot. Spores will have spread through the rest of the sauce.
You might only notice that the sauce has gone bad once you taste it. If you start eating sauce that has been stored in the fridge and find that it has a sour or unusual taste, you should throw it away. However, don’t depend on your sense of taste to alert you without checking the appearance and smell of the sauce first.
The lifespan of spaghetti sauce in the fridge may vary according to the ingredients, but in general, spaghetti sauce lasts well and could keep for up to ten days in the fridge.
As it approaches this time, make sure you check it thoroughly before consuming it, in case it has started to go bad. Any odd smell, taste, or visual appearance should warn you not to eat the sauce.