How long is tomato sauce good for? (+5 Ways to use)

In this article, we will answer the question “How long is tomato sauce good for?”, and how to tell If the tomato sauce has gone bad?

How long is tomato sauce good for?

An unopened can of tomato juice, If stored correctly,  will retain its freshness for 18-24 months. An opened can of tomato sauce remains good quality for 3 days in the refrigerator but remains safe beyond that time.

Always store the can in a cool and dark place to prevent it from going bad. If storing it in the refrigerator, keep it at 50-70F and makes sure the temperature is steady.

How to tell If tomato sauce is bad?

Check for the following signs to check If your tomato sauce has gone bad or not. If you are unsure about any of the following signs, you should consider discarding the sauce because safety comes first.

  1. If the surface of the tomato sauce looks cloudy or foamy, it is a sure sign of spoilage, throw it away. Green patches over the surface also indicate mold growth.
  1. If the sauce smells foul, discard the sauce.
  1. If an unopened can of tomato sauce shows signs of bulging, toss it in the bin because it is the gas produced by the clostridium bacteria.
  1. If the can is leaking, do not consume it.

What is in canned tomato sauce?

Canned tomato sauce consists of diced tomatoes cooked and sauteed with onion and garlic and submerged in a liquid typically stoke/broth or wine. Salt is added to improve taste and preservation. 

Tomato skin and seeds have been removed for visual appeal and desirable mushy texture, respectively. Herbs like parsley and oregano, seasonings like chili and pepper can also be added as an optional ingredient.

How to use canned tomato sauce?

  • Tomato sauce can be used to make soups. It acts as a thickening agent meanwhile adding flavor to your soup.
  • Make poached eggs in tomato sauce and serve with your favorite vegetables. This makes for a delicious and nutritious breakfast.
  • Cook your pasta in tomato sauce. Add it to your curries and noodles.
  • Use it to make sauces like enchilada sauce, puttanesca sauce, or the classic Italian tomato sauce.
  • Use it to make a dip for your tortilla chips.

What is the difference between tomato sauce and tomato paste?

Canned tomato sauce is essentially tomato puree that has been cooked just until the tomatoes are soft and have a chunky texture. Tomato paste is obtained by cooking the tomato puree until smooth and concentrated.

Tomato paste has a smooth and thick texture and concentrated flavor. 1 tablespoon of tomato paste is enough to replace one tomato. Using tomato paste in your recipes saves you a lot of cooking time. If the paste tastes too sweet, neutralize the sweetness with some vinegar.

Check our Ragu vs Prego review.

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

How long does Pasta Sauce last in the fridge?

How to open a pasta sauce jar?

How to tell If tomato sauce is bad?

The biggest quality threat to canned products

The biggest threat to canned products is the botulinum toxin produced by an anaerobic bacteria Clostridium botulinum. Botulinum contamination results as a result of improperly processed canned food that is prevalent in homecooked canned foods.

Low ph or acidic food like tomato sauce and fruits inhibit the growth of clostridium so vegetables and meat are highly susceptible to contamination by clostridium.

Food poisoning due to clostridium causes fatigue, dizziness dry mouth, and can even lead to death. 

How to make tomato sauce?


  • 1 medium-sized onion (peeled and quartered)
  • 2 stalks of celery (cleaned, cut into chunks)
  • 2 medium-sized carrots (peeled, cut into chunks)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 56 oz. crushed tomatoes (four 14oz/400g cans or two 28oz cans)
  • A handful of fresh flatleaf parsley chopped
  • A handful of fresh basil (chopped)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Then finely chop the onions, carrots, and celery in a food processor. 
  2. In a large saucepan, add some olive oil. On medium heat, saute the onion, carrot, and celery mixture. Heat until dry completely dry and soft.
  3. Poke a hole in the center of the softened vegetables, add the rest of the olive oil followed by garlic. Heat the garlic until fragrant.
  4. Then add tomatoes and all the herbs followed by seasoning.
  5. Let the tomatoes come to a rolling boil. Then lower the heat and let the tomatoes simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.
  6. If you like your sauce to have a thinner or runny consistency, blend the tomatoes in a food processor before adding them to the saucepan. If you like it to be thick and chunky, skip this step.


In this article, we answered the question “How long is tomato sauce good for?”, and how to tell If the tomato sauce has gone bad?


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.