Does salad dressing go bad if not refrigerated? (+5 tips)

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “does salad dressing go bad if not refrigerated” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not different salad dressings need to be refrigerated. Moreover, we are going to discuss the ways to spot bad salad dressing and the tips to properly store salad dressing.

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

Does salad dressing go bad if not refrigerated?

Whether or not the salad dressing goes bad if unrefrigerated depends upon a lot of things like the ingredients that were used to make it and the processing techniques that were used to make it. 

Oil-based dressings do not necessarily require refrigeration and can be stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry and the same is the case of vinegar-based dressings but to preserve the freshness and the flavor of salad dressing for a long time, it is recommended to keep it refrigerated. Moreover, USDA also directs to keep the salad dressing bottle refrigerated once opened.

So when it comes to the bottled salad dressings there are two varieties, the ones that are sold refrigerated while the others that are kept at the shelves on the store unrefrigerated. 

  1. The salad dressings that were kept in the refrigerator even in the stores, you should also store them in the fridge, as the temperature fluctuation will have a bad impact on the flavor and aroma of these dressings.
  2. On the other hand, the unopened bottles of salad dressings that are sold unrefrigerated can be stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry but once you open these salad dressings it is recommended to store them in the refrigerator.  

How long does salad dressing last at room temperature?

Unopened bottles of salad dressings last for about 2 months or even more in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

How long does bottled salad dressing last in the fridge?

The store-bought bottled ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, Caesar dressing, and thousand island dressing lasts for about 1-2 months in the fridge if stored properly at or below 40°F in an air-tight container or bottle.

Bottled balsamic vinaigrette and Italian dressing last for about 3-4 months in the fridge if stored properly at or below 40°F in an air-tight container or bottle.

What is the optimum temperature to store salad dressing in the fridge?

You should always store your salad dressing at 40°F or below in the fridge. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore it is always advised to store salad dressing at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality for a long time.

How long does homemade salad dressing last?

Different types of homemade salad dressings have different shelf lives depending upon the ingredients that were used in the formulation of these dressings. So when it comes to dressings, the general rule is that the more acidic the dressing is the longer will be its shelf life

  1. The salad dressings that have vinegar added to them will have a longer shelf life as compared to the ones that do not have vinegar in their formulation. Moreover, vinegar-based dressings can be stored in both your pantry and refrigerator.
  2. The homemade salad dressings that have some citrus fruit juice (lemon, lime, or orange juice) in their formulation instead of the vinegar have a shelf life of about 1 week in the fridge as the lemon juice undergoes oxidation that can change the flavors of the dressing. You should refrigerate these salad dressings.
  3. On the other hand, when it comes to the mayonnaise-based homemade salad dressings, then they have a shelf life of 1 week in the fridge. These dressings need to be refrigerated.
  4. Last but not least the dairy-based salad dressings like those made from yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream, etc, or the ones that have eggs added in them have the shortest shelf life and lasts for about 2-5 days in the fridge. These dressings should be refrigerated.

How to tell if the salad dressing has gone bad?

So the ways by which you can tell whether or not your salad dressing has gone bad varies with different types of dressings but the one way that you can use to spot the bad salad dressing every time is considering the color change.

So if the color of the dressing has changed from the time you bought it, then it means that your salad dressing has gone bad. 

Moreover, in the case of dairy-based salad dressings like ranch dressing, the separation of oil is an indication that it has gone bad. In the case of the oil-based salad dressing rancid smell is the indication that it has gone bad.

How to store salad dressing properly?

  1. In the case of the opened bottles of salad dressings, most of them need to be refrigerated once they have opened while for the others like Italian dressing or the vinegar-based dressings, it is up to you whether you want to store it in the refrigerator or the cool, and dark corner of your pantry.
  2. You should always store the salad dressing at or below 40°F in the refrigerator. It is recommended to store your salad dressing container on one of the shelves of the fridge rather than the door, as there is a lot of temperature fluctuation at the door of the fridge.
  3. Always store your salad dressing in an air-tight container or bottles to minimize its air exposure. 
  4. Do not leave the lid of the salad dressing bottle open for too long or else moisture will find its way to your salad dressing and will provide a suitable environment for bacteria to grow.
  5. It is always better to store the dressings the same way they were stored in the store as the temperature fluctuations can degrade the quality of the dressings.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “does salad dressing go bad if not refrigerated” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not different salad dressings need to be refrigerated. Moreover, we discussed the ways to spot bad salad dressing and the tips to properly store salad dressing.

Citations

https://www.canitgobad.net/can-salad-dressing-go-bad/

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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