Here’s How Long Condiments Really Last

We know you have a collection of condiments in your fridge or pantry, but here's how long you can safely use them.

Set of different sauces: mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise. Top viewYulia Furman/Shutterstock

Whether it’s the ketchup you only pull out for summer barbeques or some fancy dressing you used six months ago to make a dip for your friend’s party, there are bound to be a few half-used bottles of condiments clogging up the shelves in your fridge. You might think it’s a good idea to keep them around to reduce your food waste, but a lot of condiments have a shorter shelf life than people realize.

Yes, condiments are going to last you a lot longer than a bag of chips or fresh fruit, but you should still pay attention to the “use by” date. Condiments are shelf-stable foods and can be stored unopened in the pantry for long periods of time. Optimal storage is in a dry, cool area below 85 degrees Fahrenheit, or in the fridge (if the condiment should be refrigerated after being opened) with a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Make sure you never eat these 13 foods past their expiration date.

The Food Marketing Institute recommends that you follow these guidelines and always read package labels before consuming the food.

Barbeque sauce

  • Unopened in pantry: 12 months
  • Refrigerator after opening: 4 months
  • In pantry after opening: 1 month

Ketchup, Cocktail, or Chili sauce

  • Unopened in pantry: 12 months
  • Refrigerator after opening: 6 months
  • In pantry after opening: 1 month

Chutney

  • Unopened in pantry: 12 months
  • Refrigerator after opening: 1-2 months

Horseradish in jar

  • Unopened in pantry: 12 months
  • Refrigerator after opening: 3-4 months

Mayonnaise

  • Unopened in pantry: 2-3 months
  • Refrigerator after opening: 2 months

Mustard

  • Unopened in pantry: 12 months
  • Refrigerator after opening: 12 months
  • In pantry after opening: 1 month

Olives (black and green)

  • Unopened in pantry: 12-18 months
  • Refrigerator after opening: 2 weeks

Pickles

  • Unopened in pantry: 12 months
  • Refrigerator after opening: 1-2 weeks

Salad Dressings

  • Unopened in pantry: 10-12 months
  • Refrigerator after opening: 3 months

Salsa, Picante, and taco sauces

  • Unopened in pantry: 12 months
  • Refrigerator after opening: 1 month

While you’re looking through your pantry for expirations dates, store these foods that should never be kept in the pantry elsewhere.

Popular Videos

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is an Associate Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She writes for rd.com, helps lead the editorial relationship with our partners, manages our year-round interns, and keeps the hundreds of pieces of content our team produces every month organized. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.