Does hoisin sauce go bad?

In this article, we will answer the question “Does hoisin sauce go bad?”, what is the shelf-life of hoisin sauce,  how to tell if the hoisin sauce is bad, how to store hoisin sauce, and how to make hoisin sauce at home.

Does hoisin sauce go bad?

Yes, hoisin sauce goes bad even though the hoisin sauce contains some self-preservatory ingredients such as vinegar, salt, and capsaicin. This is because hoisin sauce contains sugar in some form such as molasses.

Bacteria and mold ferment sugar for growth. Moreover, high temperatures enable microbial growth. Therefore, you can prevent your hoisin sauce from going bad by storing it at the correct temperature. 

What is the shelf-life of hoisin sauce? 

An unopened jar of hoisin sauce lasts up to 3 years if stored correctly. The sauce remains safe to consume even after 3 years but the quality won’t be as good.

Once opened, hoisin sauce needs to be refrigerated. An opened jar of hoisin sauce that has been refrigerated continuously after opening will last up to 18 months. The acid, salt, and capsaicin contribute to the longer shelf-life of hoisin sauce even after breaking the vacuum seal.

Store-bought hoisin sauce will have a longer shelf-life than its homemade counterpart. Because the former contain preservatives like sodium benzoate. Some brands may use acetic acid instead of sodium benzoate as an acidity regulator and a preservative. 

How to tell if the hoisin sauce is bad? 

Smell: If your hoisin sauce gives off a sour or fermented odor, it is done for.

Consistency: Hoisin sauce, turning lumpy, rubbery, or hard is a sign that it has gone bad. Dehydrated hoisin sauce won’t taste the same as well. So, reconstituting it by adding some liquid won’t help.

Mold: Last but not the least, mold growth in the form of fuzzy colored patches on the surface of the sauce or around the rim of the bottle indicates spoilage. Moldy hoisin sauce should be discarded immediately.

How to store hoisin sauce? 

The general rule of thumb is to store the hoisin sauce somewhere cool, and dark away from direct or indirect sources of heat such as heat from the stovetop or sunlight. Heat is the worst enemy of the quality of hoisin sauce. 

If the sauce is unopened, it can sit in a cool pantry for years. Once the sauce is opened, your best bet is to place it in the fridge. 

Refrain from placing the sauce in the fridge door. Because the fridge door frequently experiences temperature fluctuations. 

Make sure that the container of the hoisin sauce is sealed tightly in between uses so that it is not exposed to moisture and air. Wipe around the rim of the jar or bottle after some time to ensure it does not turn into dried-out flakes. These flakes’ or bits of dried sauce may fall into the sauce and degrade its quality. They also promote spoilage.

Does unopened hoisin sauce expire? 

Condiments do not have an indefinite shelf-life. So we can safely say that unopened hoisin sauce does also expire. But the expired hoisin sauce may not necessarily be bad. If stored correctly, hoisin sauce lasts quite some time once it’s past the expiry date. 

The expiry or the best-by date printed on the container of the hoisin sauce is not an indicator of safety but rather quality. It informs us about how long the sauce will retain its peak quality. 

So, the expired hoisin sauce may be safe to eat but it may not be of the best quality. Inspect the sauce and the bottle for any damage before using expired hoisin sauce.

How to make hoisin sauce at home? 


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch


  1. Take a saucepan and add all the ingredients in it except the water and cornstarch. Stir it and heat over medium.
  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the water and cornstarch. Pour this mixture into the simmering sauce. Stir continuously to avoid lumps. 
  1. Heat the sauce until it reaches your desired consistency. Let it cool. Then transfer it to a jar or bottle.

Nutrition facts 

Serves 8

Calories 61 kcal
Carbohydrates 7g
Protein 2g
Fat 3g
Saturated fat 1g
Polyunsaturated fat 1g
Monounsaturated fat 1g
Sodium 453 mg
Potassium 156 mg
Fiber 1g
Sugar 6g
Vitamin A 2 IU
Vitamin C 1 mg
Calcium 20 mg
Iron 1 mg 

Other FAQs about Sauces that you may be interested in.

Can you overcook marinara sauce?

Can you overcook spaghetti sauce?

Can you put marinara sauce on spaghetti? 

Do you have to cook marinara sauce?


In this article, we answered the question “Does hoisin sauce go bad?”, what is the shelf-life of hoisin sauce,  how to tell if the hoisin sauce is bad, how to store hoisin sauce, and how to make hoisin sauce at home.


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