Does BBQ sauce have to be refrigerated?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Does BBQ sauce have to be refrigerated?”, discuss whether BBQ sauce goes bad after the expiry date, and list down some uses of BBQ sauce.

Does BBQ sauce have to be refrigerated?

Yes BBQ sauce has to be refrigerated once it has been opened. BBQ sauce has a long shelf life and can last for upto a year in the pantry if it is left unopened.

Opened bottle of BBQ sauce however, has to be kept refrigerated. Keeping it in the pantry or countertop will usually not spoil it but it will definitely lose its freshness and taste overtime. 

Pathogens are also very likely to grow in it if it’s not refrigerated because opened bottles come in contact with the environment and can get contaminated in the process.

Like the name suggests, it is usually eaten with barbecued meat. BBQ sauce has a tangy and sweet flavor. It has a thick consistency and is usually dark brown in color. 

BBQ sauce also has this slight smoky taste to it which is consistent with its name as barbecued food has smoky flavor to it.

Can BBQ sauce be used past its expiry date?

Condiments like ketchup, BBQ sauce and pickles have a long shelf life. They have preservatives added to them and unlike perishable items, they can be used past expiry date. 

They can be kept in a dry, cool place before they have been opened. After you have opened them, keep them in the fridge so that they do not spoil faster.

The ‘expiry date’, ‘best before date’, and ‘use by date’ are just dates provided by the manufacturer that tell us how long a product will remain in its best condition with optimum flavor. 

Food or condiments usually do not go bad past these dates. They may lose their taste or freshness. They also might change their texture but they are usually safe to eat.

If a certain product has gone bad, you will be able to tell by looking at its texture. You can also give it a sniff test for any bad smell. The taste will also tell you if it has spoiled. 

However it is best not to ignore the expiry date because it is better to have an idea about the time a product can go bad so as to avoid getting food poisoning.

Find more about the shelf lives of condiments here.

Uses of BBQ sauce

There are various ways to enjoy BBQ sauce. Let us list down some of them here.


Swap the tomato based pizza sauce with BBQ sauce to make BBQ chicken pizza. Add the rest of the ingredients like cheese, chicken, and vegetables as per the regular recipe.

Salad dressing

Use BBQ sauce as a salad dressing by mixing it with lemon juice and olive oil. You can also directly pour BBQ sauce over salad as it is.


You can use BBQ sauce as one of the ingredients of marinade. Cover chicken with this marinade and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. Fry this chicken or barbecue it the next day.


BBQ sauce goes great with barbecued ribs or chops. Brush the ribs with BBQ while still on the grill or pour it over them once they have been cooked. Either way, it will give great results.


BBQ sauce can be used in combination with other sauces or on its own in a sandwich especially a smoked chicken sandwich. It just greatly enhances the flavor of any sandwich that it is added to.


Use BBQ sauce as a filling for quesadillas for an extra smoky kick. Mix it with whichever protein you are using for the quesadilla and enjoy it.

Use it as a dip

You can simply use it as a dip for your potato chips or fries. It can also be used as one of the toppings for loaded fries.

Other FAQs about Sauce that you may be interested in. 

What can I use instead of cocktail sauce?

How long is fish sauce good for?

What can I use Instead of Heavy Cream for Alfredo Sauce

How long does chimichurri last in the fridge?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “Does BBQ sauce have to be refrigerated?”, discussed whether BBQ sauce goes bad after the expiry date, and listed down some uses of BBQ sauce.