How Long Does Soy Sauce Last?

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Soy sauce is a ubiquitous and versatile condiment we are all familiar with. Primarily, soy sauce is used in very minute quantities in recipes so that you may have had a bottle at home for a few years! Ever wondered how long does soy sauce even last? Let’s discover the same! 

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last?

Soy sauce is a fermented condiment, which means it has a much longer shelf life than many others. An unopened bottle of soy sauce can last for 2-3 years, whereas an opened bottle can also easily last up to one year. 

This condiment is made with soybeans; one of the processes it goes through is fermentation. This process is known to improve and extend the shelf life of any food item, just like soy sauce. 

However, quite a few things need to be clarified about the shelf life of soy sauce and how to store it properly to ensure it stays good for an extended period. This blog post will discuss how long soy sauce will last, how to keep it properly, and how to tell if it has gone wrong. So, let’s get right into it! 

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last? 

Soy Sauce
Unopened Bottle2-3 years2-3 years
Opened BottleOne year1-2 years

As you can see, soy sauce kept in the refrigerator, especially an opened bottle, lasts a little longer. However, the refrigeration process mainly preserves the flavor of soy sauce and does not stop it from going bad.

In most cases, soy sauce can easily last at room temperature since it is fermented. The fermentation process creates a barrier that stops the growth of harmful microorganisms that could harm the overall quality of soy sauce. 

But, that being said, if soy sauce is not stored in optimal conditions, it can go rancid, despite the fermentation process. So, these little things are something that you should surely be aware of. 

Do You Need To Refrigerate Soy Sauce? 

Wherever you visit an Asian restaurant or get takeout, you may have noticed that soy sauce is never served cold. It is always at room temperature. That might make you wonder if there is a need to refrigerate soy sauce because it is a fermented condiment. 

Technically, there is no need to refrigerate soy sauce. The reason behind this is simply the fact that soy sauce will go well if stored at room temperature.

Making soy sauce is long, and the liquid is brewed many times. This process makes it perfect to be held at room temperature. 

However, refrigerating soy sauce is a good idea too. Unopened bottles surely don’t need refrigeration. But, once you open a bottle and if you want it to stay fresh for more than a year, then refrigerating it is pretty helpful. 

Can Soy Sauce Be Used Past Its Expiration Date? 

Yes, soy sauce, like every other food item, has an expiration date. Although it is not a perishable product, there are a few things that one has to be careful about. But, many products can be used past the expiration date. So, is it the same with soy sauce? 

Definitely! Soy sauce can be used past its expiration date. You may have noticed soy sauce bottles have a “best before” date rather than a “use by” date. This means that the best flavor you will get from the soy sauce is before the date given on the bottle. 

Unlike a “use by” date, soy sauce technically does not go bad after the expiration date. However, the quality and flavor do deteriorate a little. Moreover, if not stored properly after the “best before” date, the soy sauce is also likely to go bad. 

How To Tell If Soy Sauce Has Gone Bad? 

soy sauce

Although the chances of soy sauce going bad are minimal, it can still happen. A few signs can help you determine if your soy sauce is okay to consume or needs to be trashed. 

1. Appearance

Soy sauce is dark, so it can be hard to point out issues in its appearance. You may also see your soy sauce a little discolored, which could result from oxidation. However, if you see mold or floating particles in the sauce, it is best not to consume it. 

2. Smell

This can also be a slightly tricky indicator, as soy sauce already has a very pungent smell due to fermentation. But if soy sauce smells putrid, then it has gone wrong. 

3. Taste 

Sometimes, smell and appearance cannot indicate whether soy sauce is good enough. You could taste it slightly if you have doubts after checking the smell and appearance. It should taste salty, and if it is bitter, the soy sauce has gone bad. 

4. Texture

The texture of soy sauce should be slightly runny but not too watery or thick. If you pour some 

soy sauce and the consistency seems off compared to a fresh bottle, it is best to throw it out. 

How To Store Soy Sauce Properly

Soy Sauce

Storing soy sauce is an effortless task. You must keep a few things in mind; in most cases, your soy sauce will be good for a long time. Here, I have mentioned two ways to store soy sauce properly. Yes, this also includes refrigeration, although there isn’t a need to do so. 

1. At Room Temperature

It is the best way to store open and unopened soy sauce bottles. Soy sauce stays fine at room temperature if stored in a cool and dark place. Ensure the bottle does not interact with direct sunlight or any other heat source. 

Moreover, once the bottle is opened, be careful and permanently close it properly. If not sealed properly, the soy sauce can oxidize and get rancid. 

2. In The Refrigerator

I recommend this storage method only if you intend to store an opened bottle of soy sauce for over a year. Here as well, make sure that the bottle is closed correctly so that there are no chances of oxidation. 

Can You Freeze Soy Sauce? 

Freezing food is one of the best ways to preserve it for a long time. Soy sauce does not need to be refrigerated. However, is freezing possible to keep it suitable for a long time? 

No, you cannot freeze soy sauce. There are two reasons behind this. Firstly, freezing does nothing to improve the shelf life of soy sauce, so it is pointless to do so. Moreover, soy sauce is loaded with salt, making it difficult to freeze. So, it is not necessary. 


Soy sauce is one of the most used condiments in the world. Although soy sauce goes suitable for a long time, it can taste rancid if not stored properly. So, holding it right is as essential a task as anything else. 

Other than that, soy sauce and a fuss-free condiment are also effortless to store. So, you luckily would not have to worry about it for a while once you open a bottle! Just be careful about the signs that show if it has gone rancid, and you are good to go! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does soy sauce last? 

An opened bottle of soy sauce can last for one year at room temperature, and an unopened bottle can last for 2-3 years. 

Does soy sauce expire? 

Soy sauce does expire, but since it has a “best before” expiration date, it can also be used beyond it. 

Do you need to refrigerate soy sauce? 

No, there is no need to refrigerate soy sauce. You can do so with an opened bottle if you want it to last longer than one year. 

Can you freeze soy sauce? 

No, freezing soy sauce is practically impossible since it has a lot of salt, which will prevent it from freezing. 

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