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Does Worcestershire Sauce Go Bad? (How Long Does It Last Once Opened?)

Worcestershire sauce is an umami-flavored, classic British sauce that pairs well with a variety of different meals.

However, while tasty, it is definitely not the most popular sauce to use while cooking. That means it can sometimes be left in the kitchen collecting dust for months on end.

Once rediscovered, many people are left wondering if their Worcestershire sauce is safe to use, what the date on the bottle means, and how to tell if it has gone bad. If you’re one of those people, then you’ve come to the right place!

Does Worcestershire Sauce Go Bad? (How Long Does It Last Once Opened?)

This article will answer all of your Worcestershire sauce-related questions, so you can cook your meals with ease. 

What is Worcestershire Sauce? 

Worcestershire sauce is primarily made up of distilled white vinegar, soy sauce, multiple aged spices, and molasses. It will create a rich, savory base flavor thanks to its umami ingredients.

It works well in red meat-based dishes, with cheese, or with tomatoes. However, it is best used sparingly while cooking, not afterward as a table condiment. 

How Long Does Worcestershire Sauce Last?

If Worcestershire sauce is properly stored, then it can last for an indefinite amount of time while unopened. Once opened, Worcestershire sauce can last anywhere between 18 months to 4 years.

The main ingredient of Worcestershire sauce is a preservative, which is why it has such a long shelf life! It is unlikely that any kind of bacteria will live and grow in that type of environment.

Sometimes, Worcestershire sauce will develop a layer of sediment. This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. Simply shake the bottle to dissolve the sediment, and use the sauce freely! 

What is the Difference Between a Best Before Date and a Use-By Date? 

Worcestershire sauce usually has a best before date, as opposed to a use-by or expiration date. But what’s the difference? 

It all depends on the product. 

The use-by date usually relates to food safety.

You cannot eat, cook, or freeze food once the use-by date has passed, even if it looks or smells fine. This is because you cannot see or smell the bacteria that cause food poisoning. Foods must be stored correctly for the use-by date to be accurate.

The best before date normally relates to food quality. If your food, or in this case, Worcestershire sauce, has a best-before (BBE) date, then it is safe to eat once this date has passed.

However, the quality of the sauce beyond this date may be reduced in terms of flavor and texture. Please note that the best before date is only accurate if the food in question is stored correctly.  

How Can You Tell If Worcestershire Sauce Is Rotten or Spoiled?

Because Worcestershire sauce can last anywhere from 18 months to 4 years and features a best before date as opposed to a use-by date, it is generally safe to eat long after purchasing. 

Remember: Always check the date on the bottle and do not use it if you are unsure. Following the correct, standard hygiene practices and food safety techniques will help to prevent food-borne illnesses.

This does not mean to say your Worcestershire sauce cannot go bad. If any mold develops in your Worcestershire sauce, or if it develops a strange, unpleasant smell, please do not use and dispose of the sauce safely. 

The sauce may change in both flavor and color but it should not be harmful to use. 

Additionally, if you open the Worcestershire sauce after a prolonged period and it tastes bad, it is usually better to dispose of it. Bad-tasting Worcestershire sauce does not necessarily mean it has expired, but it may mean that your meal will taste bad, and nobody wants that!

Does Worcestershire Sauce Go Bad? (How Long Does It Last Once Opened?)

How Should I Store Worcestershire Sauce? 

Following the correct storage, recommendations can help to extend the shelf life of food, as well as help to reduce waste and cut down on food costs.

Worcestershire sauce is best stored in its original container provided it is air-tight. Place the air-tight container in the pantry. Alternatively, once your Worcestershire sauce is opened it may be best stored in the refrigerator. 

Feel free to choose either of these options! However, please ensure you stick to your chosen option, as it is best to keep the Worcestershire sauce at a constant temperature.

How Long Is Worcestershire Sauce Safe to Eat When Prepared in a Dish?

Because of its long shelf-life, Worcestershire sauce will generally be the ingredient that will last the longest in any dish.

However, it can only be as good as the other ingredients – so you cannot eat the dish past the time it takes for the quickest expiring ingredient to go bad.

A Word of Caution

While the shelf life of Worcestershire sauce is long, we cannot always guarantee the reliability of the given date, and consequently, we cannot always guarantee that the sauce is safe to eat.

Please note that individual cases may vary, and any advice given should be taken as a guideline. If any other information is given to you by a doctor or other health care professional, please follow that advice. 

Does Worcestershire Sauce Go Bad? (How Long Does It Last Once Opened?)

Final Thoughts 

Worcestershire sauce is a classic British condiment, though it is sometimes forgotten and left to sit in the kitchen for months on end.

However, thanks to its preservative ingredients Worcestershire sauce has a long shelf life and can be enjoyed beyond its best before date. However, this is only possible if it has been stored correctly, and even then, you should expect potential color and flavor changes.

It is important to note that if your Worcestershire sauce contains mold, or gives off a strange and unpleasant smell, it is not safe to eat and must be discarded safely. Please remember to eat responsibly and always follow the recommendations of health care professionals. 

With all of this in mind, you can now go and enjoy endless Worcestershire sauce meals!

Jess Smith

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Tuesday 20th of September 2022


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