What happens If you eat expired tomato sauce?

In this article, we will answer the question “What happens If you eat expired tomato sauce?”, and what is the shelf-life of tomato sauce?

What happens If you eat expired tomato sauce?

Expired tomato sauce is safe to eat If:

  • it does not show any signs of spoilage like mold growth, off-smell, off-color, etc
  • the tomato sauce can is not damaged in some way like bulging, leaking, or rusting

Tomato sauce comes with a best-by or use-by date instead of an expiration date. The best-by or use-by date tells you how long the product will remain in its peak quality. It is, by no means, an indicator of safety. Tomato sauce, past its best-by date, won’t taste the same but It can be safely consumed.

What happens If you eat bad tomato sauce?

Eating bad tomato sauce will cause food poisoning or Botulism. Botulism is a very common food-borne illness that results when the tomato sauce is improperly canned or incorrectly stored. 

Symptoms appear after 18-36 hours of consuming bad tomato sauce. Most common symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. 

Moreover, symptoms like difficulty swallowing, muscle weakness, double vision, drooping eyelids, blurry vision, slurred speech, and difficulty breathing may also be observed. Botulism can be fatal If not treated. 

The shelf-life of the tomato sauce 

Type In the pantry (unopened)In the fridge (opened)In the freezer (opened)
Can or glass jar Up to 2 years 5-7 days Up to 18 months 
Homemade (canned properly)Up to 1 year 3-4 days 4-6 months 

Spaghetti Sauce Expiration Date

Product In the pantry(unopened)In the refrigerator(opened)
Tomato-based pasta sauce1 year5-10 days
Cream-based pasta sauce6-8 months7 days
Oil-based pasta sauce1 year2 weeks
Dry-package pasta sauce6-12 months7-10 days(If prepared)

Tomato-based pasta sauces will generally keep for longer due to the acidity of the tomatoes.  If the tomato-based sauce contains meat, consume it within 2-3 days of refrigeration as the meat will spoil quicker than the tomato sauce. 

How long does tomato sauce last unopened?

Shelf-life of tomato sauce out of the fridge 

The most common problem of storing unopened tomato sauce out of the fridge is the temperature fluctuations. 

A pantry or a kitchen cabinet is a good storage place for tomato sauce unless the temperature is not consistent or the overall climate is hot in your country. If you store tomato sauce outside the fridge, It won’t last long after opening.

Shelf-life of tomato sauce in the fridge 

If you live in a country with a warm climate especially in tropical countries, keeping the unopened sauces including the tomato sauce unrefrigerated is a bad idea. 

The heat and temperature fluctuations will degrade the quality of the sauce rapidly. Even If the weather is nice and cold, refrigerating the sauce or storing it in the root cellar will inevitably extend its shelf-life.

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

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How long will tomato sauce last in the jar?

The shelf-life of tomato sauce in plastic jars is short because of the degradation of the plastic over time. Glass jars like mason jars are the best candidates for storage and ensure a longer shelf-life of the tomato sauce. 

The shelf-life of tomato sauce is approximately 25% lesser in the plastic container as compared to the glass jars.

How long does tomato sauce last once opened?

Once opened, the degradation of the tomato sauce speeds up even If the sauce is kept in the fridge after opening. However, you can get the longest out of the shelf-life of tomato sauce through good storage practices. 

Homemade tomato sauce does not have preservatives added. Therefore, It will only last for a few days in the fridge. The store-bought tomato sauce due to added preservatives will last a couple of weeks in the fridge.

How long does tomato sauce last in the freezer?

Tomato sauce stored in the freezer will last indefinitely If stored correctly. Make sure to transfer the sauce to a high-quality leak-proof container before freezing. 

Once thawed, do not refreeze your tomato sauce. It is recommended to consume thawed tomato sauce within 4-5 days.

How to tell If tomato sauce has gone bad?

  • If the tomato sauce gives off a too acidic or sour smell, It has gone bad
  • If the tomato sauce separates, develops a thin watery consistency, and tastes bitter, discard it immediately
  • If the sauce becomes darker in color accompanied by other spoilage signs, It has gone bad


In this article, we answered the question “What happens If you eat expired tomato sauce?”, and what is the shelf-life of tomato sauce?