Can I use unopened expired barbecue sauce?

In this article, we answer the following question: Can I use unopened expired barbecue sauce? We talk about how to store the barbecue sauce correctly, tell if it has gone bad, the expiration date on the label means, and the dangers of consuming expired food. 

Can I use unopened expired barbecue sauce?

You can safely use unopened expired barbecue sauce up to 6 months after the expiration date has passed. Once opened, the barbecue sauce should be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 year. 

Choosing expiration dates on food labels is not easy. Expressions such as “preferably to be consumed before” date are not even the products’ expiration date. The producers put them there to let you know that the quality of the food could start to decline after this date. 

So you may see a change in texture or color, but the food is still perfectly edible. Keep the barbecue sauce long enough and it will turn brown – the burger will not be as colorful, but it will be edible!

Does unopened barbecue sauce go bad? 

Not really, unless you notice clear signs of spoilage. Unopened barbecue sauce has a shelf life of approximately 1 year as recommended by most manufacturers. However, it is usually safe to consume even after this period provided the sauce hasn’t been opened. Once a sauce past its expiration date is opened, it should be consumed as soon as possible.

How long does barbecue sauce take to expire? 

An unopened bottle of barbecue sauce can last for more than a year in the pantry. Once opened, it can last another 6 – 12 months in the refrigerator. Remember that it is not recommended to store barbecue sauce in the pantry once it has been opened.

How to tell if BBQ sauce has expired? 

The best way to tell if the Barbeque sauce has expired or not is by checking the consistency and color. Barbecue sauce gets thicker and dark when its quality degrades and it goes bad. Also, check for any sign of moldy growth in the sauce.

How to tell if barbecue sauce is bad, rotten, or spoiled

When a barbecue sauce is bad, rotten, or spoiled it has a very peculiar smell. It is not the usual barbecue smell, it is different, I could describe it as “sour.” If your smell is not so good and you prefer another type of test, take a good look at its appearance. Appearance is essential and can give you signs of the condition it is in.

Commonly, if a sauce is in bad condition, it will have mold, little green dots with some white hairs, if your sauce has this … THROW IT OUT! It is no longer good, and it is much better if you throw it away. 

Another way to know if a sauce is bad by its appearance is if it has small bubbles … DO NOT EAT IT! It is a sign that it is decomposing and, to avoid diseases, throw it away.

If it has been under the sun, stored poorly, or its preservation process was done wrong, it may spoil quickly, but if you made sure to keep it in the right place, it would indeed remain in good condition.

How to store barbecue sauce to extend its shelf life

To extend the barbecue sauce’s shelf life, you can keep it up to 6 months in the pantry (unopened) and up to 1 year in the refrigerator (opened). 

As a general rule, practically none of the sauces that are purchased prepackaged require a refrigerator before opening. But when in doubt, you just have to look at where they were in the store and do the same. It is also a good idea to check if the label advises something in this regard.

Something that should never be done is to spread anything that will accompany the sauce directly on the pot or put the cutlery that is being used because they could contaminate the sauces. Nor, of course, add the sauce that has not been used and that has been in contact with other foods. 

How long is barbecue sauce good for when prepared in a dish?

When prepared in a dish, BBQ sauce is good to consume in the first four days, if the plate was kept in the refrigerator. Otherwise, you should discard the leftovers as soon as possible.  The important thing is never to wait more than two or three days to consume the sauce because it can develop harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. 

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

Does oregano go in spaghetti sauce?

Does sauce thicken with the lid on or off?

The expiration label explained

The label showing expiration dates serves 3 purposes. Tell retailers how long to display the product on store shelves for marketing purposes, the date the manufacturer believes the food will peak in freshness or flavor, and inform the consumer of the product’s shelf life. 

These labels depend on the manufacturer, and according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the only food that has expiration dates required by the federal government is infant formula.

Beware of perishable foods.  Products such as meat, dairy, eggs, or fruits must be treated with great care. Bacteria and disease are involved here. Now, if you wonder why blue cheese mold does not hurt us, this note is for you.

What about canned goods, sauces, sugar, grains, or pasta? The Food Safety and Inspection Service notes that many expired foods may be safe to eat, but could lose properties. Foods are eaten as soon as possible after purchase often taste better than older ones, but it doesn’t mean they are unhealthy.

“Better before” dates are NOT about safety. It’s about quality and future deterioration warnings rather than contamination. Stable products will last even longer if well-sealed and kept in a cool, dark place. 


In this article, we answered the following question: Can I use unopened expired barbecue sauce? We talked about storing the barbecue sauce correctly, telling if it has gone bad, the expiration date on the label means, and the dangers of consuming expired food. 

We remind you that unopened expired barbecue sauce is safe to consume up to 6 months if it was kept in the dark and cool place such as in a pantry or in the refrigerator. After opening it, make sure you keep it in the fridge for up to one year. 

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