How Long Does Fish Sauce Last?

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Have an opened bottle of fish sauce lying in the corner of your fridge? You might have bought it to make one dish and kept it there! But if you are planning to use it again after a long period and are wondering how long a fish sauce lasts without decay, I have the answer for you. 

Fish Sauce

Whether kept outside or in the refrigerator, an unopened bottle of fish sauce can last up to one year over its indicated expiration date. Fish sauce can only remain fresh in an unsealed bottle at room temperature for three to six months. A fish sauce bottle that has been opened will keep for a year in the refrigerator.

With its sweet, salty, and umami flavor, the fish sauce makes everything taste better. From making marinades to using them in salads, fish sauce has many uses in our kitchen. Since we use it almost every day, we often forget to check its expiry! 

However, since the fish sauce is processed, it is important to keep an eye on its expiry! Other than being expired, you should always check whether the fish sauce is fit for consumption as it is prone to decay.

So if you are confused about how long fish sauce lasts or are just curious to know whether your fish sauce has gone before its expiry date, give this article a thorough read!

How Long Does Fish Sauce Last?

fish sauce in a bowl
StorageUnopened Fish SauceOpened Fish Sauce
Pantry+1 year after the expiry3 to 6 months
Fridge1+ years after expiry12 months

Most fish sauces you buy from the market come with an expiry date. However, since the fish sauce is high in sodium, it usually stays fresh longer than the expected date. So many companies now are not printing their expiry date outside the bottles.

However, if you have an unopened bottle of fish sauce lying in your pantry for more than a year, then most probably, it is safe to consume. Just check its expiry date! You can have it even if it is 3 to 6 months past its expiry date. 

However, that’s not the case with an opened bottle. If you have an opened bottle of fish sauce lying at room temperature for more than 6 months, it’s good for nothing but to throw out!

Opened fish sauce kept outside the fridge should be used within 6 months of opening. But if you have an opened can of fish sauce lying in the fridge, you can use it for up to a year.  

Fish sauces, when compared to other food items, don’t go bad that easily. However, like most other sauces, it is perishable and prone to decay over time. So if you are someone who uses fish sauce sparingly, make sure to check it before using it!

How To Tell If Fish Sauce Has Gone Bad?

It is hard to tell whether a fish sauce has gone bad or not! However, here are some signs you should check for before pouring fish sauce into your favorite dish! You don’t want your whole dish to go bad, do you?

  • Presence of Molds – if you see the presence of any molds on the surface of the sauce or even on the cap, it’s a sign that your fish sauce has gone bad.
  • Bad Odour – Obviously, fish sauce smells fishy. However, that doesn’t mean fish sauce has a bad smell. If your fish sauce starts to sting rather than smell, don’t take the risk of having it again!
  • Taste Difference – The fish sauce has umami and salty taste to it. However, fish sauce develops a much stronger sour or bitter taste when gone bad.

Signs That Your Fish Sauce Isn’t Bad

Fish sauce

Many times people took the wrong cue and discarded fish sauce! Slight changes that you may observe on the fish sauce are not a sign of spoilage. Rather they are just part of the fish sauce. So if you find any of the below signs on your fish sauce pack, you can keep using them!

1. Presence Of Clear Crystals 

You often had a crystal deposition at the bottom of your fish sauce. These are nothing but sea salt. 

2. Cloudy Particles 

These cloudy particles you find on fish sauce are not mold but just protein precipitation. It’s a natural process and doesn’t in any way contaminate your food. 

3. Discoloration 

Most often, we take discoloration as a cue to spoilage. However, that is not the case with fish sauce. Some fish sauces turn darker over time.

So if your fish sauce just got a bit darker than its regular reddish brown color, use it without thinking much!

How To Store Fish Sauce?

Fish Sauce

If you have some fish sauce, make sure to use the best of it! The best way to keep them longer is to store them properly! So if you are wondering how to keep them safe, here are the tips 

If you have an unopened fish sauce, you can probably keep it inside or outside the fridge. Fish sauce has a high salt content; hence, it can be kept outside for a longer period.

However, if you are keeping it outside, keep it away from direct heat or sunlight to avoid any damage.

But if you have opened and used the bottle, keeping it in the fridge is best! Keeping the fish sauce in the fridge will help to improve its shelf life. However, if your fish sauce is near the expiration date, make sure to use it soon! 

There is no harm in using a fish sauce a month or two past its expiry date. However, if you find any spoilage, stop using it!

Health Benefits Of Fish Sauce 

Fish sauce has been used for a really long time. If you have never tried and are looking for a reason to try fish sauce, here are some health benefits you should know about fish sauce. 

  • Fish sauce has a high amount of amino acids. Amino acids are molecules that help build protein in our bodies.
  • It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to improve heart health.
  • The fish sauce also contains a high amount of iron, which is known for maintaining the haemoglobin level in our bodies.


Fish sauce is a great ingredient to add to your meals. Fish sauce has a very mild flavor to it. But when added to another dish. It just enhances its overall taste. So if you have a fish sauce bottle lying around, use the best of it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can you tell if fish sauce has gone bad?

Fish sauce when gone bad will have a strange smell and taste.

How long will fish sauce last once opened?

 Fish sauce can only remain fresh in an unsealed bottle at room temperature for three to six months. A fish sauce bottle that has been opened will keep for a year in the refrigerator.

Can bacteria grow in fish sauce?

Yes. Like most other food items, fish sauce is also prone to bacterial attack.

Is fish sauce healthy?

Yes. With an high amount of amino acids, fish sauce is a good ingredient to include in your food.

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