You’ve got an old bottle of Soy sauce lying around that you want to use but are not sure whether you should. Does it expire, when should it be used by? With these questions in mind, I spent some time researching this delicious condiment and everything regarding its expiry. Here is what you need to know.
So, does Soy sauce expire? Soy sauce does not come with an expiration date, instead, it has a best-before date. Over time, soy sauce will degrade in quality and will begin to lose its consistency and change in flavor. This is generally between 2-3 years if stored correctly and appropriately – in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight.
That’s 2-3 years following purchase, by the way.
And that’s assuming that it’s a relatively new bottle on the store shelf.
Nevertheless, checking the bottle should always be your first port of call.
Generally, that’s where you can find such information regarding dates.
But that will likely be a best before date.
Take this with a pinch of salt, but be fully aware that any time beyond this can result in a Soy sauce that just isn’t quite as good.
Let us now take a closer look at how to store this salty fermented condiment properly to ensure it lasts as long as possible.
We will also be covering other important aspects of expiration so be sure to stick around!
How Should You Store Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is best stored at room temperature. So, a cupboard, or even a slightly cool pantry is advised.
One thing for sure is that you do not need to refrigerate Soy sauce.
You can, and it may even extend and preserve the sauce’s flavor for a little longer.
But, a dry, cool place is all that is generally required.
Besides, it is actually fermented at room temperature – and due to its high sodium content, refrigeration is certainly not a necessity.
One thing that is, however, is keeping it away from heat and direct sunlight.
So, it’s not a good idea to leave it on the window sill.
Otherwise, you may find it degrading a lot faster!
How Can You Tell If Soy Sauce Has Gone Bad?
The main ways to tell that Soy sauce has gone bad are through the smell, color, and consistency. Furthermore, you will likely be able to taste it when this sauce is past its best.
In regards to smell, you will likely notice it becoming even more pungent when it’s gone off. And most of this smell will arise as you take the lid off.
In regards to color, you want to look out for any transparency in the sauce. Soy sauce should be dark and non-see-through. However, when it’s past its best you will likely see some discoloration or even be able to look through the bottle.
For consistency, you want to look out for any lost thickness. Soy sauce is naturally quite thick, but appears to separate and even water down when it has turned bad.
If you are brave enough to taste it, you will likely notice that bad Soy sauce is overly salty and somewhat bitter. It just will not taste right.
Soy sauce may be okay to consume up to 6 months to 2 years after the expiration date. So long as you do not notice any changes to the color, consistency, smell, or taste.
How you store your Soy sauce will largely dictate how long it lasts beyond its expiration date.
And whether or not it is opened, or still concealed does have a big impact here.
Generally, an open bottle of Soy sauce will not be as good for as long.
Some well stored, concealed bottles of Soy sauce can even last several years beyond the two.
Nevertheless, before you proceed to use it – it’s essential that you closely check it.
It is very unlikely that expired Soy sauce will make you sick; it will only do so if it has been contaminated by bacteria from other foods that it may have come into contact with.
Thankfully, the ingredients of Soy sauce mean that it is unlikely to make you sick; even if it is consumed when it has gone bad.
The four basic ingredients in Soy sauce are soybeans, wheat, salt, and a fermenting agent – like yeast.
And one of these is likely to make you particularly unwell, even if they are long past their best before date.
And taking one step further, as Soy sauce is fermented and heavy in salt, it does actually preserve well well.
Soy sauce does not technically expire; although there are times when you certainly do not want to consume it.
And while it is very unlikely to make you sick, if in doubt – throw your Soy sauce away and get a new one.
Besides, it’s not too expensive and relatively easy to replace.
That being said, so long as you store this sauce properly and appropriately – there is no reason why you cannot look to keep this condiment for several years.
Hi there. I’m Jeremy – a passionate food technologist with several decades in the food industry. With a love for sauces, food, and nutrition, I decided to create WeWantTheSauce. Here I share my experience, knowledge, and recommendations; from ingredients and recipes to storage all the way through to nutrition for every sauce imaginable.