Does hot sauce have to be refrigerated?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “does hot sauce have to be refrigerated” with an in-depth analysis of when and which hot sauces should be kept in the fridge. Moreover, we are going to discuss whether or not hot sauce can be kept at room temperature and what its shelf life is.

Whether or not the hot sauce should be refrigerated has been a frequent inquiry and also a controversial topic with the groups being divided into the ones that are in the favor of refrigeration of the hot sauce while the others that do not find it necessary to keep the hot sauce in the fridge. If you are also confused between the two, you need not worry as we will give you a thorough analysis that will rectify your confusion of “does hot sauce have to be refrigerated”.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Does hot sauce have to be refrigerated?

So let me get this straight, the hot sauce does not have to be refrigerated as long as it contains vinegar and salt both of which acts as preservatives. The chemical composition of hot sauces varies from one manufacturer to another and no two bottles of hot sauces from different companies will have the same composition. Therefore if you should or should not refrigerate your hot sauce depends on the ingredients that make the whole formulation of the sauce. 

One thing to keep in mind is that there is no doubt that refrigeration significantly decreases the rate of oxidation reaction and thus increases the shelf life of the hot sauce. 

When can hot sauce be refrigerated?

So following are some of the scenarios in which you can put your hot sauce in the refrigerator. 

  1. Locally manufactured sauces should consistently be refrigerated except if you know about food safety and preservation.
  2. It is best practice to refrigerate chile oils, natural product-based chutneys, tomato-based salsas, and sauces with low vinegar content as they are chances of mold formation or development of off-flavor in these.

Which hot sauces need to be refrigerated?

As the hot sauces are made with a lot of variances therefore they differ in their need for refrigeration.

Homemade hot sauce

In the case of homemade sauces, we recommend you refrigerate them no matter if they contain vinegar or not as these sauces have not gone through any rigorous food testing and safety procedures.

Hot sauce with a fruit base

If the hot sauce has tomato or any other fruit like mango, pineapple as its base or contains bits of them then it may deteriorate faster than the vinegar-based hot sauces and therefore we recommend you to refrigerate them.

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

How long does alfredo sauce last in the fridge?

How long does homemade tomato sauce last in the fridge?

Can hot sauce survive at room temperature?

Hot sauce has a very sizable amount of vinegar (that has acetic acid in it which is best known for its preservation properties) to shield it from ruining outside of the refrigerator, and the strength of the peppers will remain more blazing at room temperature. Except if the bottle says something else, it is safe to keep hot sauce in any cabinet or shelf of your kitchen.

Most hot sauces won’t degrade at room temperature even for several months, and many will be stable for two or three years. Others will change flavor gradually over the long run at room temperature, however not really in a negative way as some of the sauces are intentionally “matured” or aged at room temperature for periods from seven days to quite a while, and in some cases, these cycles will keep on changing the item even after it is packaged. 

Thus, it is safe to put your hot sauce out of the refrigerator.

How long does hot sauce last?

Various types of hot sauce will ruin at altogether different rates. By and large, any hot sauce will have a fair timeframe of realistic usability. That is because most contain vinegar and cayenne pepper as basic condiments. Thus owing to the preservative properties of both it is safe to estimate that the vinegar-based hot sauce can last three-to-five years if refrigerated, and an unopened hot sauce can last considerably more than that. 

You may definitely realize that vinegar has a long shelf life and it can even sit in a cabinet at room temperature for years to come without getting stale. So it bodes well that its consideration in a hot sauce would delay its life. Yet, the capsaicin in cayenne peppers keeps microbes under control, which implies hot sauce will be rack stable for quite long.

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In this brief guide, we answered the question “does hot sauce have to be refrigerated” with an in-depth analysis of when and which hot sauces should be kept in the fridge. Moreover, we discussed whether or not hot sauce can be kept at room temperature and what its shelf life is.