Can barbeque sauce go bad?

This article will answer the question “Can barbeque sauce go bad?”, and how to identify a bad BBQ sauce?

Can barbeque sauce go bad?

Yes, BBQ sauce can go bad. The quality degradation is even fats if the sauce is stored incorrectly. 

BBQ sauce that is past its best-by date may not necessarily be bad unless you notice mold growth. But the flavor won’t remain the same. 

Read on if you want to prolong the shelf-life of your BBQ sauce. This article also provides a brief guide on the estimated shelf-life of BBQ sauce.

How to store BBQ sauce?


The storage guidelines for all the condiments including the BBQ sauce are pretty much the same. When unopened, BBQ sauce should sit in a cool and dry place away from sources of heat like direct sunlight or the stovetop. 

The pantry or a kitchen cabinet are perfect storage places in this regard. Temperature fluctuations are the enemy of any food commodity. 

Make sure you do not store the BBQ sauce in an area that undergoes frequent or extreme temperature fluctuations. Storing the unopened BBQ sauce in the fridge won’t have a significant impact on its shelf-life. 


Once the BBQ sauce bottle is opened, it is meant to be stored in the fridge. Prefer not to keep it in the fridge door because of the frequent temperature fluctuations that occur when the fridge door is opened and closed repeatedly. 

  1. Keep the bottle of the BBQ sauce tightly closed when not in use. 
  1. Clean the area around the rim when you notice the sauce drying and flaking up there. 
  1. Avoid dipping dirty or used spoons in the sauce. This is a direct introduction of spoilage bacteria into the sauce. 
  1. Similarly, avoid dipping the food in the sauce. Pour out as much sauce as you need. 
  1. Refrain from returning the leftover BBQ sauce to the bottle. 


Last but not the least, homemade BBQ sauce should always be refrigerated. Freezing BBQ sauce is not recommended as the thawing process negatively impacts the quality of the sauce. However, thawed BBQ sauce works fine for cooked dishes. 

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

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Does fish sauce have MSG in it?

How long does BBQ sauce last?


A correctly stored opened bottle of BBQ sauce will last up to a year in the fridge. However, it is recommended to consume it within 4-6 months of opening to enjoy it while it is in its prime quality. 

The best-by date printed on the label is not an indicator of safety. It is an estimated time during which the product can be enjoyed in its peak quality. Of course, this applies only if the product was stored correctly.


An unopened bottle of BBQ sauce will easily last 6-12 months past the printed date under the right storage conditions. 

The shelf-stability of the BBQ sauce is ascribed to its high sugar and vinegar content combined with the addition of artificial preservatives and heat treatment. 


Unlike the commercially bottled BBQ sauce, homemade BBQ sauce does not undergo any heat treatment i.e pasteurization. This reduces its shelf life to a week or a few days more in the fridge.

In the pantry In the fridge 
BBQ sauce (unopened)Best by + 6 months 
BBQ sauce (opened)4-6 months 
Homemade BBQ sauce7-10 days 

How to tell If BBQ sauce is bad?

Off-putting smell: The first warning is an off-putting smell. Normally, the BBQ sauce gives off a sweet and sour plus smoky smell. BBQ sauce with a funky or pungent smell belongs in the bin.

Changes in appearance 

Color: If the BBQ sauce develops a very deep color, it is probably gone bad. A deep color occurs due to oxidation and is common in a sauce that’s been sitting for too long. Such sauce may not necessarily be unsafe but it won’t quite hit the spot either.

Mold: This is a safety threat. If you notice any kind of funky organic growth over the sauce or around the bottle, it is time to get rid of the sauce.

Liquid separation: Separation is natural. It is commonly observed in any sauce that is reaching its expiration. In most cases, the liquid can be mixed back by shaking. 

However, if this sign is accompanied by other spoilage signs, you better not take the risk and throw it in the bin immediately.

Altered texture: If the BBQ sauce develops a clumpy, thick, or slimy texture, it has gone bad. Ideally, the BBQ sauce should feel viscous instead of thick and spreadable/smooth instead of lumpy.


This article answered the question “Can barbeque sauce go bad?”, and how to identify a bad BBQ sauce?


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