Can soy sauce go bad?

In this article, we will find out If soya sauce goes bad or not and what we can do to extend its shelf life and prevent spoilage.

Can soy sauce go bad?

The odds for soya sauce going bad are very high due to the high sodium content of the sauce unless the sauce was stored improperly. High sodium serves as an excellent preservative because microbes cannot survive in salty surroundings. This makes this salty condiment a shelf-stable product.

The shelf life of soya sauce

An unopened bottle of soya sauce has a pretty long shelf life. It will be great for as long as 3 years. After opening the bottle, the shelf life reduces but could still last approximately 6 months longer than its ‘Best by’ date If kept in the pantry. Once you open the bottle, the product is bound to lose its overall quality. You can only slow down the process of quality degradation by keeping it inappropriate storage conditions.

Keeping the sauce in the refrigerator after opening could prolong its shelf life by 2 years beyond its ‘Best by’ date.

Besides, these are rough estimates. Soya sauce could last months longer than expected If stored properly. The taste and flavor, however, deteriorates slowly over time regardless It is opened or not.

Make sure that the bottle in which the sauce is to be stored in airtight or sealed properly and is kept away from the sink or dishwasher. Keep it away from the stove to avoid temperature fluctuations. Better place it in a cabin If not a refrigerator.

Shelf Life of soya sauce with respect to its types

The shelf life of different types of soya sauce varies depending upon the processing methods (brewing, fermentation, pasteurization, stabilization, etc) and last but not least; the ingredients of the condiment.

You have to be careful with Shoyu and Tamari. These Japanese styles of soya sauce are naturally fermented and are easily spoiled If not handled with caution. Once opened, they retain their prime quality only as long as 3 months.

How to store?

The key is to always store the soya sauce in a dry and cool place. As long as you do not open the bottle, storing it in the pantry will be an appropriate choice. In case you have opened the bottle and you want it to retain its freshness for longer, putting it in the refrigerator is a safe option.

How to tell If the sauce has gone bad?

There may be 4 different ways to tell If your soya sauce has gone bad

1.     Pay attention to the color. Good quality soya sauce should appear reddish-brown or dark brown in color. The color varies with the type of sauce.

2.     Smell it. Different types of soya sauce have different aromas. When you sniff it you can tell If it smells any different than it should have. Discard it If you notice any off odor.

3.     Taste it. Put a drop or two on your tongue and see If you can sense any difference in the flavor of the sauce. Soya sauce develops a stronger flavor with time. While some people may consider this altered strong flavor desirable for tamari but it may not be the case with the regular type.

4.     If the soya sauce has been stored in the pantry or in the refrigerator without a lid on, you might want to make sure If it is safe to eat or not before consuming it. Pour the sauce into a glass plate and check to see If it is clear of any unwanted particles. If not, discard it. It probably has developed mold in it.

Note that soya sauce is unlikely of going bad very easily. So you can use it unless it is not unsafe or you can get rid of it for quality purposes because no one wants to compromise the taste of their food.

Does soya sauce have mold in it?

The answer is Yes. The desirable umami flavor of the soya sauce is due to the mold aspergillus. It is more commonly knows as koji. Soya beans are cooked and fermented with this white mold to develop the product.

Should you be worried If you ate expired soya sauce?

Don’t worry It won’t make you sick. Expired does not necessarily mean unsafe. It means that the sauce is past its prime quality. Now it’s up to you If you want to keep using it in your food or get rid of it because the sauce cannot deliver its peak flavor once it’s past its ‘Best by’ or ‘sell-by’ date.


In this article, we found If soya sauce goes bad or not and what we can do to extend its shelf life and prevent spoilage.


Sana Ameer

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.

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