Does Mustard Go Bad?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “does mustard go bad?” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like how long does mustard take before going bad and how to store mustard to ensure optimum shelf life.

Does mustard go bad?

Yes, mustard does go bad, but it requires its fair share of time before going so. Mustard does degrade in quality over time. It won’t just go bad in an instant or over the course of a few days. 

Unopened mustard has a good shelf life of about 2 years. On the contrary – open, refrigerated mustard can last upto 1 year.

Mustard can go bad if you do not store it properly or use it after the expiry date.

How To Store Mustard

Mustard should be stored similarly to how you store mayonnaise i.e. it should sit in a cool and dark place, away from sources of heat and sunlight. You can store an unopened jar or bottle at room temperature, which means a pantry or a kitchen cabinet are the top choices.

Once you open the mustard, there are a few things to remember. First off, keep it always sealed tightly when not in use. If the jar isn’t sealed well, the mustard might dry out. 

If your mustard dries out, add a tablespoon or two of vinegar and give it a stir. It should be usable again. Second, always use clean utensils when scooping the mustard. Scooping the condiment with utensils already used for other purposes will likely transfer bacteria and contaminants to the mustard.

If you plan on using the whole jar or bottle within a month or two, it’s okay to store it at room temperature. Otherwise, it’s best to keep it in the fridge, where it retains good quality for much longer. 

Mustard, if stored for a long time, tends to separate and this is quite normal. It does not mean the mustard is spoiled. To get it back to its original state you can stir it using a spoon or a butter knife.

How Long Does Mustard Last

There are many types of mustard available. Mustards with a higher amount of acid, such as Dijon mustard will last longer than milder varieties, like honey mustard. 

All mustards come with a “best-by” date which informs you of how long the mustard should retain freshness. Some mustards may retain quality for a longer or a shorter period, depending on the ingredients used. Always check the label of the product you’re using. Of course, since mustard is a pretty acidic condiment, it will easily last for a few months past that date.

But over time, mustard degrades in quality. It loses hotness and the texture does not stay uniform and creamy for ages. That means that at a certain point it won’t be good enough to use anymore.

As already mentioned in the storage section, where you store mustard after opening is an essential factor in how long the mustard stays fresh. The fridge is a much better environment than a cabinet in the kitchen so the mustard can sit there for much longer. At room temperature, the opened mustard will keep its quality for about 1 to 2 months, while refrigerated it should stay in good shape for about a year. Unopened mustard can last or 1-2 years at room temperature.

Other FAQs about Mustard which you may be interested in.

What happens If you eat expired mustard?

Can you get sick from eating expired mustard?

How To Tell If Mustard Is Bad?

Like many other condiments, mustard can go bad, but that’s a quite rare occurrence. Check for the following signs that indicate unusable mustard:

Texture: One of the signs that indicate unusable mustard is the texture as it loses its texture over time. If there are any noticeable lumps below the container, then it is a sign that your mustard has gone bad.

Mold: Growing of mold inside the container is another sign that indicates unusable mustard.

Taste: Taste is another sign that can indicate unusable mustard. When stored for a very long time, mustard usually loses its original flavours. If you notice any changes with its taste, then it is time to discard it.

Smell: The most common way to tell if mustard has gone bad is its smell. Any unpleasant or sour smell indicates that the mustard has one bad.

If the mustard seems fine but is already past the best by date for like 2 or 3 years, it’s time to discard it, just to be safe.


In nutshell, mustard usually tends to stay fresh longer. However, the quality of your mustard cannot sustain forever. As mustard degrades in quality over time, it is quite possible that you will discard the condiment for quality purposes, not because it has spoiled. If there aren’t any signs of it going bad, give it a taste. If the flavour is good enough to use, feel free to continue using it. Otherwise, throw it out.


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.