Cranberry sauce is quite simply delicious – when it is still fresh, flavorsome, and at its sweet best. But how long can you expect this particular sauce to last? Does it typically preserve well or is this the kind of sauce that soon needs replacing? Here is what you need to know.
So, how long does cranberry sauce last? Homemade cranberry sauce typically lasts for between 7-14 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Jarred or canned cranberry sauce, on the other hand, can last upwards of 1-2 years if unopened and stored appropriately, or 1-2 weeks if opened and kept in the fridge.
It has a lot to do with the type of cranberry sauce we are talking about here.
Homemade or store-bought.
It actually makes quite a lot of difference as you can see.
Besides, the ingredients and how much time the sauce has been exposed to air are two huge factors to consider here.
Nevertheless, let us now take a closer look at the proper way to store this sauce.
We’ll then be running through some other important questions.
So stick around.
The preservation of your sweet red sauce depends on it!
How Do You Store Leftover Cranberry Sauce?
The best way to store leftover cranberry sauce is in a sealed container in the fridge.
And you’re generally going to want to get the sauce into the fridge as soon as possible, ideally.
If the sauce has been left out overnight, it is probably a good idea to throw it away.
At the same time, if you have transferred some sauce from a store-bought jar onto a plate that you didn’t end up eating, again, it’s best to throw it away.
You don’t want to contaminate the rest of the sauce by transferring anything back along with it.
The only exception here is for homemade cranberry sauce.
In that instance, once you have finished using, and haven’t cross-contaminated with other foods, you can look to transfer to a glass or plastic container. Like a jar or Tupperware.
From there, stick it in the fridge.
For unopened store-bought jars – you can look to store them in any cool place.
Whether this is a pantry, cupboard, or drawer.
Just keep it out of sunlight.
And once opened up, then proceed to refrigerate after use.
That will keep it fresher, for longer.
What Happens If You Eat Expired Cranberry Sauce?
You should be fine to eat cranberry sauce beyond the date stated on the packaging. This is because this date is usually a ‘best-before’ date.
And this date is a manufacturer’s estimation.
It’s how long they predict their sauce to remain at its “best” – or in other words, peak quality.
It has nothing to do with the safety of the sauce.
Unless it were to be contaminated.
But with good hygiene practices, this is not a sauce that can really make you sick.
Instead, you will notice it degrades in time.
Even to the point of being highly unsatisfactory.
As we will now explore in the section below.
Does Jellied Cranberry Sauce Go Bad?
Jellied cranberry sauce does degrade in quality over time, or if stored incorrectly. You will likely notice the consistency, color, and flavor of the sauce changes from how it should be and best served.
This is something that will vary depending on your storage, brand, or recipe.
How long it takes for a cranberry sauce to go bad is also context-dependent.
- Do you leave your sauce out regularly?
- How big is the jar?
- What is the temperature of your fridge, home etc.
These are the kind of questions you need to ask yourself.
This will dictate the time it takes for this sauce to spoil.
And then there are your preferences too.
For some of you reading, you might believe the sauce is past its best long before someone else.
So you are going to need to be mindful here.
Look at the sauce closely.
Has it separated? Are there signs of discoloration?
Give it a smell.
And if those tests are passed, then you may want to proceed into trying a small bit.
But if in doubt, just throw it away.
Make some more or buy another jar.
It’s not worth it.
Cranberry sauce does not really last that long.
Especially if homemade, or once the store-bought jar has been opened.
But the fridge is your friend here.
So long as it is airtight, the sauce should last a little while yet.
And if you did want to extend the shelf life a little further – do consider freezing.
Again, you’ll need an airtight container (or perhaps a freezer bag).
But, this can help preserve the sauce for months.
If you keep it there, that is.
How Long Does Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce Last?
An open can of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce will typically last for 7-14 days if stored in the fridge. An unopened and sealed can last for up to 1-2 years if stored in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
Wondering how long other sauces typically last? Check out my other guides here:
Hello. I’m Jeremy – an experienced saucier who has worked in some of the top kitchens over the last few decades. With a love for sauces, food, and nutrition, I decided to create WeWantTheSauce. Here I share my knowledge and expertise; from ingredients and recipes to storage all the way through to recommendations for every sauce imaginable.