Does BBQ Sauce Go Bad? How Long Does BBQ Sauce Last?

BBQ Sauce is a baster, marinade, condiment, and often used to top meats cooked on the grill.  It is found in many refrigerators even if you are not currently a home cook or ever will be.  BBQ Sauce is widely used, making it vitally important to know when it is no longer any good for consumption.

Quick Answer

Yes, BBQ sauce can go bad.  Several signs will let you know if your BBQ Sauce is no longer any good.  You can tell BBQ Sauce is no good by its look, smell, taste, or how long it is stored.  The shelf life of BBQ Sauce greatly depends on how it is stored. Typically, BBQ sauce can last for up to 6 to 12 months past its end date.


Many households have BBQ Sauce as a condiment in their kitchens. It is important to know when to get rid of it and buy a new bottle.

Does BBQ Sauce Go Bad? How Long Does BBQ Sauce Last?

Yes, BBQ Sauce can go bad.   BBQ sauce can last up to 6-12 months past its end date, but this depends on how it is stored.

How Long Does BBQ Sauce Last In Pantry

Unopened: BBQ Sauce stored in the pantry can last up to 6 to 12 months after the end date if unopened.  Ensuring that the pantry is in a cool, dark place will help it maintain its color.  Too much heat can cause the ketchup to take on a different color.

Opened: Once opened, BBQ Sauce can last for a month if left at room temperature in a pantry or cabinet.  If the pantry or cabinet remains cool and dark and can last for a little longer.  BBQ Sauce should be refrigerated to sustain consistency and color once opened.

Homemade:  Homemade BBQ Sauce can remain out for only a couple of days because it’s not pasteurized. Leaving your homemade BBQ Sauce out on the counter is not the best way to maintain its quality.

How Long Does BBQ Sauce Last in the Fridge

Unopened:  Unopened BBQ Sauce does not need to be refrigerated.  It can remain in a cabinet or pantry until it is opened.  If you put an unopened BBQ sauce in the refrigerator can last up to a year or more beyond the end date. Please don’t throw it out until you check it for spoilage.

Opened:  Opened BBQ Sauce belongs in the refrigerator to maintain its quality.  An opened bottle of refrigerated BBQ sauce can last up to 6-9 months past the end date.  Refrigeration is the best method to preserving your BBQ Sauce.

Homemade: If you want to maintain your homemade BBQ Sauce past a couple of days, refrigeration is the key.  Refrigerated BBQ Sauce that is homemade can last for a week or a little more than a week.

How Long Does BBQ Sauce Last in the Freezer

Unopened:  There is no reason to place unopened BBQ Sauce in the freezer.  Freezing it does not help to preserve its quality any longer than the refrigerator.

Opened: Purchased BBQ Sauce does not need to be frozen to preserve its shelf life.  Simple refrigeration helps to extend its shelf life.

Homemade: The best way to preserve homemade BBQ Sauce beyond a week is to freeze it.  BBQ Sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months.

You can store your BBQ Sauce any way you choose. The best option to ensure it lasts past its end date is to keep it in the refrigerator. Homemade sauce will need to be frozen to help preserve it for longer than a week.

How to Tell If BBQ Sauce Has Gone Bad?

BBQ Sauce is made of sugars, vinegar, tomato, and spices to sustain its shelf life well.  There are several ways to tell if your BBQ Sauce is no longer suitable for consumption.

Length of Storage:  The longer you store the sauce, the more likely it can spoil.  If you have kept the BBQ Sauce for an extended time after its end, it is more than likely no longer any good.  Before you discard it, use the sight, smell, and taste test.

Smell:  The first sign that BBQ Sauce is maybe not good is its smell.  If you open the bottle and it doesn’t smell quite right, it is probably time to get rid of it and purchase a new bottle.  BBQ sauce usually smells sweet, smoky, or a little tart.  If you open it and it has an off-putting odor, it is time to replace the bottle.

Sight: The bottle is no longer useful if there are any signs of mold. You will see mold around the bottle’s opening or right above where the sauce is contained. Separation of liquids and solids is normal unless there is a color change. If the sauce’s color is different from what it usually looks like, it is time to get a new bottle. BBQ sauce usually is smooth in texture, so if it is slimy or clumpy in texture, it is no longer any good.

Taste:  If all else seems okay, the last method to ensure it is not bad is how it tastes.   Taste test the sauce before applying it to any food.  If you have already used the previous methods to check for spoilage and it tastes fine, it is okay to use.  If the taste is off, then discard.

How to Store Barbeque Sauce?

You can store BBQ Sauce however you choose. There are a few basics to follow to get the maximum shelf life from your BBQ Sauce.

Unopened:  Store unopened BBQ Sauce in the pantry for 12 months or more.  Room temperature ensures the sauce maintains the best quality.

Opened:  Store opened BBQ Sauce in the refrigerator for up to 6-9 months after the packaging’s end date.  After this time, begin to test the sauce to make sure it is still good.

Homemade: Store in the refrigerator for immediate use for 7-10 days. Store BBQ Sauce in a freezer if you do not need it immediately. It will keep for up to 3 months before thawing for refrigeration.

Storage will vary if you have store-bought or homemade BBQ Sauce. Unopened store-bought is best in a pantry, but once opened, refrigeration is best. Homemade BBQ Sauce lasts longer when frozen.

Can You Freeze BBQ Sauce? How?

Yes, you can freeze BBQ Sauce. It is unnecessary to freeze store-bought BBQ Sauce. Freezing Homemade BBQ Sauce will help to preserve it for longer periods.

First Step: Put the remainder of BBQ Sauce in a freezer-safe bag or container.

Second Step:  Remove the bag’s access air and make sure that the bag or container is completely sealed.

Third Step: Homemade BBQ Sauce should only be in the freezer for up to three months.

Make sure to thaw the sauce before using it again.  It is also important to know the BBQ sauce’s quality sauce may not be the same after thawing.

How to Thaw BBQ Sauce?

There are several ways to thaw out BBQ Sauce when you are prepared to use it for another recipe.  You can refrigerate it, submerge it in water or put it under cold running water.

Refrigerator:  The best way to thaw out your frozen BBQ Sauce is to defrost it in the fridge slowly. Using the refrigerator to defrost ensures that the BBQ Sauce stays at a safe temperature. Temperature helps the sauce to remain in the best quality for later consumption. This method takes a while to defrost.

Submerging:  If you need the sauce quickly, you can submerge the BBQ Sauce in cold water.  The water must be cold to ensure you keep the sauce at a safe temperature.

Running Water: Running cold water over the package may also help with the thawing process.

How you choose to thaw BBQ Sauce is up to you and how quickly you need it for preparation.

How to extend the shelf life of BBQ Sauce?

The best way to extend the shelf life of BBQ Sauce depends on if it is store-bought or homemade.

Unopened:  Store unopened BBQ Sauce for 12 months or more in a pantry.  The pantry will need to be cool and dark to maintain color and taste.

Opened:  The best method for storing opened BBQ Sauce is in the refrigerator.  Opened BBQ Sauce can maintain its color and taste for 6-8 months after the end date.

Homemade:  Place Homemade BBQ Sauce in a freezer-safe container and freeze. Homemade sauce can stay frozen for up to 3 months and maintain taste and color with minor variation.

Make sure to check for spoilage of your sauce to ensure it is ready for consumption.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the storage of BBQ sauce so varied? BBQ sauce is high in preservatives. Sugar and vinegar help BBQ Sauce maintain quality after its end date. The container that the BBQ Sauce is kept in helps with preservation.

Ways to use up leftover BBQ sauce?  You can use leftover BBQ Sauce as a salad dressing or pizza sauce.  You can also make a pulled sandwich made of meat, vegetables, or a combination of the two.

Wrap Up

BBQ Sauce can go bad, whether store-bought or homemade.  BBQ Sauce can last for an extended period after the end date.  The best way to store purchased BBQ Sauce to extend its shelf life is to refrigerate it.  BBQ sauce can last up to 12 months or more past its end date.  The best way to store homemade BBQ Sauce is to freeze it for up to 3 months.

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