» Does Soy Sauce Go Bad?How Long Does It Last?

Does Soy Sauce Go Bad?How Long Does It Last?

Does Soy Sauce Go Bad How Long Does It Last
Image: Lucky Belly

Soy sauce is a popular East Asian condiment used to spice up dishes. It is typically used to give stir fry’s its unique flavor. You will find it on the shelves of most grocery stores.

As with all condiments, soy sauce will eventually go bad after a while. Here is everything you need to know about the expiration and storage of soy sauce.

Does Soy Sauce Go Bad?

Yes, eventually soy sauce will go bad, especially if it isn’t stored properly.

In general, soy sauce lasts for quite some time because of the way it’s prepared. It is a fermented condiment and the process of fermenting ensures that it lasts for several months.

Additionally, soy sauce has a high sodium content making it very hard for bacteria to grow.

However, this doesn’t give you the go ahead to sprinkle that three-year-old bottle of soy sauce over your rice, you will need to do a few checks (we will talk about that later) to make sure it hasn’t expired.

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last?

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last
Image: Lucky Belly

The length of time soy sauce lasts depends on how it’s stored.

If you open the bottle and leave it to sit in room temperature, don’t expect it to last too long. But if you put the bottle in the fridge as soon as you’ve opened it, soy sauce can last for more than a year.

It is also important to mention that there are different brands of soy sauce, some are more expensive than others. The bespoke kind will last longer than a cheaper brand.

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. According to Here is how long you can expect soy sauce to last:


          In the Fridge             In the Pantry
Soy Sauce Unopened          It won’t expire

          It won’t expire

Soy Sauce Opened

                  2-3 years

                  6 Months

It is also important to mention that once opened; soy sauce starts losing its flavor even if it’s stored in the fridge. Therefore, if you are looking for that strong soy sauce aroma and taste, you will need to add that little bit extra if you’ve had it for a while.

5 Tips to Tell if Soy Sauce has Gone Bad

5 Tips to Tell if Soy Sauce has Gone Bad
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As you’ve read, soy sauce will eventually go bad, this is especially true if it hasn’t been stored properly. Also, the expiration date written on soy sauce doesn’t necessarily mean you can no longer use it.

But if you find an ancient bottle of soy sauce at the back of your cupboard, it’s best you run a few checks before adding it to your ingredients:

  • Smell: Soy sauce has got a very strong smell, but it’s manageable. Once that smell becomes overpowering and literally knocks you out as soon as you open the bottle, take a trip to the store, and get yourself another bottle of soy sauce.
  • Taste: Unless you are using it as a sushi dip, most people don’t eat raw soy sauce. When cooking, people don’t tend to taste the soy sauce before sprinkling it onto the ingredients. However, if you’ve found an old bottle of soy sauce, giving it a taste test will let you know whether it’s gone bad or not. The only way to describe the taste of soy sauce is salty. But if there is a bitterness mixed in with that saltiness, it’s no longer good to use.
  • Mold: It is very rare that you will find mold in soy sauce, but this can happen if it’s been exposed to too much oxygen. Mold will manifest in the following ways, you will either see green and white blobs floating on the surface of the soy sauce, or you will see a mold-like substance around the rim of the bottle. If you desperately need to use your soy sauce, it can be tempting to wipe away or scoop out the mold. Not a good idea, once you see the slightest bit of mold, get rid of it.
  • Thickness: Soy sauce has a semi-thick consistency, it’s very similar to a syrup. But when it turns into a water-like consistency, it’s time to throw your soy sauce in the trash.
  • Color: Soy sauce is dark in color whether you’ve got a full flavor or light flavored bottle. When soy sauce starts losing its color and goes a bit see-through, throw the bottle in the trash.

5 Tips to Store Soy Sauce

5 Tips to Store Soy Sauce
Image: Lucky Belly

As with all any condiment, the way you store soy sauce will determine its longevity. Additionally, there are different types of soy sauce, that are all processed in their own unique ways.

For example, Tamari sauce and fermented Japanese Shoya sauce will lose their flavor before chemically processed soy sauces. Tamari and Shoyu will last for several months after opening when kept in a cool dark place at a constant temperature.

Here are five tips for storing soy sauce:

  1. Original Container: Soy sauce typically comes in a glass or plastic bottle, and some of these bottles are difficult to use. Therefore, you may be tempted to transfer the liquid into a more user-friendly container. To maintain the flavor and to ensure that it lasts as long as possible, don’t pour the contents into another bottle. Keep soy sauce in its original container no matter how awkward you find it.
  2. A Constant Temperature: Some people have a bad habit of storing their condiments on the kitchen counter next to appliances such as the cooker and dishwasher. When hot, these appliances can alter the temperature of soy sauce which leads to the soy sauce expiring before its time.
  3. Keep a Lid on it: Soy sauce bottles either come with a screw-top lid or a flip lid. If you have a screw-top lid, make sure it’s screwed on tightly; if you have a flip lid, make sure it’s pushed down properly. Whatever lid you have, just make sure it’s sealed properly before storing your soy sauce.
  4. In the Pantry: It’s best to store soy sauce in the pantry before it has been opened. Since it’s typically in a glass bottle, it’s best to keep it on the lowest shelf so that in the unfortunate event of it falling, the bottle won’t break.
  5. In the Fridge: Depending on the brand, some bottles will have, “Refrigerate after opening written on it.” Some people choose not to put their soy sauce in the fridge as they believe it diminishes the taste. So, whether you put your soy sauce in the fridge or not is down to personal preference. However, experts do suggest that soy sauce will remain fresh and maintain its flavor for longer when it’s stored in the fridge.

The Risk of Consuming Expired Soy Sauce

Eating any food expired is never a good idea.

You might get a little bit sick, but there don’t appear to be any reported cases of severe illness or death from adding a few drops of expired soy sauce to your dishes.

Depending on the strength of your stomach, in general, you may experience mild food poisoning symptoms which include:

  • Dizziness: You will feel lightheaded and unsteady on your feet. You won’t feel comfortable standing up and you will need to sit down.
  • Headache: No matter how much water you drink, you will have a pounding headache.
  • Stomach pains: You will experience cramp-like pains in your stomach.
  • Diarrhea: You will keep going to the toilet and eliminating runny stools.
  • Loss of appetite: Even if you haven’t eaten all day, you still won’t feel like eating.
  • Nausea: You will feel like throwing up.
  • Vomiting: You will throw up.
  • Fatigue: You will feel weak and tired even if you’ve been resting all day.

Mild food poisoning symptoms typically don’t last for more than three days. You can ease any discomfort with over-the-counter medication or home remedies.

However, if the above symptoms start getting worse and you are not getting any relief, it is advised that you book an appointment to see a healthcare professional.

Can you freeze Soy Sauce?

Can you freeze Soy Sauce
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First and foremost, there really isn’t any need to freeze soy sauce because it lasts so long anyway.

Nevertheless, in response to the question can you freeze soy sauce, the answer is no. The reason being is that it contains a lot of salt, and salt doesn’t freeze.

If you’ve ever wondered why local governments pour salt all over the roads when it snows, that’s why.

Not only because it melts ice, but as more snow falls, the chemical compounds present in salt won’t allow it to freeze below a certain temperature.

This is the reason why snowy roads that have had salt poured over them are always mushy.


Soy sauce is a delicious addition to most recipes. Get the most out of your soy sauce by storing it the right way and keeping it away from hot temperatures.

By following the advice set out in this article, you can expect to enjoy your bottle of soy sauce for a good couple of years.

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