What happens If you eat expired ketchup? (+3 Tips)

In this article, we will answer the question “What happens If you eat expired ketchup?’. And how to tell If the ketchup has gone bad?

What happens If you eat expired ketchup?

Eating expired ketchup won’t make you sick but precaution is better than cure. Some people might experience mild symptoms of food poisoning. Ketchup comes with a ‘Best-by’ or ‘Use-by’ date on its label. This date is an indication of the quality and not safety. Ketchup that is past this date won’t be of prime quality but remain safe for consumption. 

How to store ketchup?

Unopened bottles of ketchup should be kept in a cool and dry place away from direct heat sources like the sunlight and stovetop. The pantry or a kitchen cabinet is a good place to start. 

After opening the bottle, the ketchup bottle should remain refrigerated at all times to make it last 6-12 months. An opened bottle of ketchup kept at room temperature will hardly last a month.

Keep the contamination of the ketchup minimized by wiping the cap before putting it on the bottle after use. Make sure it is completely dry as well. If you keep the bottle in an upended position, the quality will last longer. 

Can you freeze ketchup?

An opened bottle of ketchup will last a year in the fridge. Then why freeze it? However, If you are determined to freeze it, do it the right way. The right way to freeze ketchup is to pour it into an ice cube tray. This way you can defrost as much ketchup as you want at a time. 

How to tell If the ketchup has gone bad?

  • Ketchup doesn’t grow mold due to the presence of vinegar unless you help it. To check for the presence of mold, inspect the surface of the ketchup and the area around the cap.
  • If the bottle has been sitting in storage for too long and the cap looks blotted or you hear a popping sound when you remove the cap, It has gone bad. This happens due to the accumulation of gas produced by microbes.
  • An off-flavor like a bitter aftertaste, unlike the usual sweet and sour taste of ketchup, is an obvious sign of spoilage. If the ketchup gives off off-odors like a strong sour smell, It has gone bad.

If the ketchup has been sitting for too long, you would have noticed a separation between vinegar and tomato paste. This is completely normal. In case of excessive separation that cannot be shaken back to the normal consistency, discard the ketchup.

The darkening of ketchup is another common factor of extended storage. It can be seen in other condiments as well like bbq sauce and Tabasco. If the ketchup tastes and smells fine, you can use or else you can throw it for quality purposes.

Other FAQs about Ketchup which you may be interested in.

Does ketchup go bad?

How long does ketchup last?

An unopened bottle of ketchup will last up to a year more than the printed best by date. An opened bottle will stay good for months or even a year depending upon its storage conditions. 

An unopened bottle has quite a long shelf-life because of the ingredients such as vinegar, sugar, and the acidity of the tomatoes that have preservative action. 

These conditions only apply to store-bought ketchup that contains preservatives. Ketchup made at a small-scale industry with organic ingredients will only stay good for a couple of months.  

The shelf-life of homemade ketchup depends on its ingredients. 

The most perishable ingredient in the homemade ketchup will decide the shelf-life of this condiment. Typically, It will last about 2-3 months in the fridge.

Popular condiments and their shelf-life 

The following are estimated shelf-life of different types of condiments. If the condiments are to be stored in the pantry, make sure they are ais cool, dry, and the surrounding temperature is below 85℉. 

If the condiment is instructed to be refrigerated after opening, make sure the temperature is maintained below 40℉.

In the pantry In the fridge 
Barbeque sauce 12 months (unopened)1 month (opened)4 months (opened)
Ketchup, Cocktail, or Chili sauce12 months (unopened)1 month (opened)6 months (opened)
Chutney 12 months (unopened)1-2 months (opened)
Horseradish in jar12 months (unopened)3-4 months (opened)
Mayonnaise 2-3 months (unopened)2 months (opened)
Mustard 12 months (unopened)1 month (opened)12 months (opened)
Olives (Black and Green)12-18 months (unopened)2 weeks (opened)
Pickles 12 months (unopened)1-2 weeks (opened)
Salad dressings10-12 months (unopened)3 months (opened)
Salsa, Picante, and taco sauces12 months (unopened)1 month (opened)


In this article, we answered the question “What happens If you eat expired ketchup?’. And how to tell If the ketchup has gone bad?



Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.