Does ketchup go bad?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “does ketchup go bad?”. We will also discuss in detail, the shelf life, and storage methods of ketchup.

Does ketchup go bad?

Yes, it does go bad. On the label of every bottle of ketchup is a “best by” or “best before” date. This date shows you how long the product should hold its freshness at the very least.

How long does it last?

Natural preservatives like vinegar, sugar and salt are commonly used to preserve ketchup’s natural freshness. Additionally, the food’s acidic tomato paste or concentrate assists in preserving the food for a long period.

Ketchup contains components that will keep a bottle unopened for six months or longer if it has not been opened.

Whether you refrigerate it or not affects how long the ketchup lasts.

Your homemade ketchup’s shelf life is about two to three months. The time frame varies with the components, so get your recipe and see what the recommended time is.

When stored at ambient temperature, the product will last for a month. Stored in the refrigerator, the product can keep for months or even a year.

Please keep in mind that all of the dates listed below are only estimates for the best quality.

Ketchup (unopened)Best by + 6 – 12 months 
Ketchup (opened)1 month6 – 12 months

How to tell if ketchup is safe to consume?

Look for the following if you want to determine whether your ketchup is still edible:

Mold’s presence

Because vinegar is present, mould development is rare, although it is conceivable. Not just the top, but also the bottle’s surface must be examined.

The odor of vinegar or yeast. 

When ketchup starts to smell sour, it has started to go bad.

When you open it, you could hear a hissing sound or a burst of gas from a swollen bottle. This might happen if the bottle has been left sitting for a long period or if one of these two conditions is present.

There are two conditions which are mistakenly considered as spoilage.


• The mixture of vinegar and other liquids in ketchup separate from the tomato paste as the condiment aged. Squeezing out some ketchup gives you a squirt, the early phases of which you might have experienced.

Getting darker

• The color of ketchup will darken as it ages. A few other condiments, such as BBQ sauce and Tabasco, behave similarly.

• Pay close attention to the quality of your ketchup when it darkens (e.g., give it a taste before splashing it on a hot dog).

Other FAQs about Ketchup which you may be interested in.

Does ketchup have sugar?

How long does ketchup last after opening?

Can you use ketchup for spaghetti?

How to store ketchup?

Use proper storage methods to prevent bottled ketchup from being damaged. Area unopened bottles of ketchup in a cold, dark place away from heat and sunlight.

The shelf life of an opened bottle can be extended by refrigerating it. In general, it is okay to leave it at room temperature, although its shelf life will be reduced to only one month instead of six to twelve months.

Keep homemade ketchup in a firmly sealed jar in the refrigerator, too.

To keep mold development to a minimum, ensure sure the bottle top is thoroughly cleaned. For an added measure of safety, it is best to simply wipe off any residue from the cap, and make sure the bottle is completely dry before reinstalling it on the bottle.

The shelf life of ketchup is extended if it is stored upside down.

Can you freeze your ketchup?

You can indeed freeze ketchup, though it is not usually necessary. Take a time to consider it. It should last at least six months after you open it, providing you enough time to drink the entire bottle.

Be sure to freeze the ketchup in advance if you intend to store it for an extended time.

The best approach is probably to freeze the condiment in an ice cube tray. It is a good idea to defrost only a few cubes at a time and to store the remainder of the cubes in the freezer until you need them.

Recipe for homemade ketchup.


  •  6 oz. tomato paste can
  •  1/4 cup honey
  • half-cup of white vinegar
  •  1 cup of water
  •  1 teaspoon of sugar
  •  3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon powdered garlic


1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together all of the ingredients until smooth.

2. When the mixture reaches a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

4. Chill and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.


In this brief article, we answered the question, “does ketchup go bad?”. We also discussed in detail, the shelf life and storage methods of ketchup.


What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.