Does soy sauce go bad? (+ How to spot)

In this brief guide, we will address the question, “does soy sauce go bad” as well as other related questions pertaining to the subject at hand like how much time does soy sauce take to go bad or what are some of the storage practices needed to prolong the shelf life of soy sauce. 

Does soy sauce go bad? 

For the most part, no, soy sauce does not go bad. It simply loses its flavour over the course of time. Soy sauce contains a huge amount of sodium which does not allow any microbe to survive and multiply. 

Items like soy sauce are used in small amounts while cooking, therefore such questions are very common and people often wonder if it goes bad or not. Well, you have your answer now. 

As a matter of fact, soy sauce often lasts longer than its expiry date, simply because of the high sodium content. Sodium is a natural preservative that does not allow the growth of microorganisms. 

It will also retain its freshness and flavor after the expiry date for a good period of time before it starts to lose its efficacy and flavour. Keep in mind that it is still safe to consume. The only change you’re going to experience is a darker color and stronger aroma due to the oxidation process.

How long does soy sauce last? 

Depending on the brand manufacturer and whether the bottle has been opened or not, soy sauce can last from 6 months to about 3 years (or even more in ideal storage practices). 

Reading the label is always the first option that you should be referring to when dealing with food products. Having said this, there is no guarantee that the sauce is determined to go bad right after its expiration date as mentioned before. 

An important factor to prolong the shelf life of soy sauce is storing it in the refrigerator. With proper sealing, even an opened bottle of soy sauce can last much longer than usual if stored appropriately. 

For an exact estimate, you can visit the link here

Shelf life of soy sauce. (How to increase it?) 

To increase the shelf life of your soy sauce, the best way is to store it in a cool and dry place. Obviously, the best practice is not to open the sauce without the intention of using it. In this way, your soy sauce will last upto 3 years. 

There is a possibility where you open the soy sauce and now you are wondering where you should store it? Well, there is no hard and fast rule as to where it should necessarily be stored. All you need to do is make sure it is sealed properly in a cool, dry place and it will retain its best flavour and texture for upto 6 months. 

Do you have to refrigerate soy sauce? 

Like already mentioned, soy sauce contains a huge amount of sodium that naturally prevents it from going bad. However, storing it in the refrigerator will definitely help in maintaining the optimal flavour and shelf life. 

Just tightly seal the cap and put soy sauce in the fridge for the next time you want to use it. Storing it in the refrigerator is an ideal storage condition when optimal results are desired. 

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

How long does spaghetti meat sauce last in the fridge

Does Worcestershire sauce go bad?

How to tell if soy sauce has gone bad?

Being a fermented beverage, it is highly unlikely that soy sauce will spoil in a traditional sense. It can only go bad if proper hygiene and safety measures are not ensured. 

Unlike other soy products such as milk that can make you seriously ill if consumed expired, soy sauce does not have similar results. This fermented product will not affect your health even after its expiry date. 

There are few exceptions to this case because fermentation does not guarantee neutralizing the outside contaminants. If your soy sauce was kept in the refrigerator without a lid, then there are chances that a mould or any other unfavourable particle can enter the sauce. 

To check this, you can take out the soy sauce in an open container and do a visual and sensory analysis of the sauce. 

Look closely to see if there are any unwanted particles floating at the top. You can also take a whiff to identify strange odors. If so, then something has clearly caused your soy sauce to turn rancid. 


After all that we have discussed, it is safe to say that soy sauce can go bad. I mean, any food item will go bad if you are not storing it properly. In case of soy sauce, the chances are highly unlikely because there is no special method involved. 


In this brief guide, we addressed the question, “does soy sauce go bad” as well as other related questions pertaining to the subject at hand like how much time does soy sauce take to go bad or what are some of the storage practices needed to prolong the shelf life of soy sauce. 


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.