Does Mayonnaise Go Bad? How Long Does Mayonnaise Last?

Mayonnaise is a highly popular condiment and ingredient in many recipes. It has a reputation for being a food that spoils incredibly quickly, but does it deserve this reputation? If you’re reading this article, then you’re definitely wondering the same thing. Read on to find out the answer!

Quick Answer

No matter how you keep your mayo, it will eventually go bad.

  • Homemade mayo has a much shorter shelf-life than store bought, with only a week long shelf-life.
  • Unopened mayo doesn’t need to be kept refrigerated.
  • Store-bought mayo can last for a good amount of time if kept right; expect it to last for up to a few months if left unopened and two months once opened.
  • Freezing won’t do much to change mayonnaise’s shelf life.


The way that you keep your mayo will affect its shelf life. Let’s explore some of the different ways you might think about keeping your mayo.

Does Mayonnaise Go Bad? How Long Does Mayonnaise Last?

When kept and handled properly, mayo can last for anywhere from around a week to a few months. Depending on your circumstances, you might consider keeping your mayo in one of the following ways.

How Long Does Mayonnaise Last Outside?

While it’s probably better to keep your mayo in a pantry, if you need to or want to store it outside, it is possible. As with most foods that you store outside, it’s important to keep the mayo temperature-stable. This means avoiding drastically fluctuating temperatures.

Store-bought, unopened mayo that is kept outside can last for a few months past the best-by date, as long as it’s kept correctly. Many different brands of mayo use different kinds of preservatives or ingredients, so you might find that one brand of mayo lasts for longer than another. A few months past the best-by date is a general guideline.

If your mayo is home-made, it should not be kept outside, as it will not keep. It must be kept cold in the refrigerator.

How Long Does Mayonnaise Last in the Fridge?

Once you open a jar of store-bought mayo, it will last for up to two months past the best-by date that is printed on the jar. Keep in mind that different brands of mayo use different ingredients and preservatives, meaning that one brand of mayo might actually last longer than two months past the best-by date. This is just a suggestion; you’ll have to experiment a bit to see what works for your favorite brand of mayo.

Home-made mayo will last for a lot less time than store-bought mayo. This is most likely because you’re using raw, rather than pasteurized, eggs to make the mayo.

Home-made mayonnaise will generally last around one week when kept in the fridge. This is the safest and most viable way to keep home-made mayo.

How Long Does Mayonnaise Last in the Freezer?

If done correctly, mayonnaise can be frozen, although it won’t do much at all to extend its shelf life. As with other methods, store-bought mayo will last longer than home-made mayo.

Home-made mayo, when kept in the freezer, will last for around five to six days if stored correctly. Its store-bought counterpart, due to the presence of pasteurized eggs and often preservatives, will last a little longer.

As with any food, make sure you check your mayo when you take it out of the freezer for signs of spoilage. As different brands of mayo use different ingredients and preservatives, you may need to experiment a bit to figure out how long your favorite brand will last while frozen; this is just the most common shelf-life.

Now you know all about how long your mayo will last outside, in the fridge, and in the freezer.

How to Tell if Your Mayo Has Gone Bad?

Like a lot of other foods, mayonnaise will eventually go bad, even if you keep it perfectly. Here are some ways that you can tell if your mayonnaise has gone bad and needs to be thrown out. As always, when in doubt, throw it out.

Color: Any noticeable changes in the color of your mayo, such as it darkening or taking on a brownish-yellow color, is a sign that your mayo has gone bad and needs to be discarded.

Smell: If your mayo has a funny smell to it, especially if the smell is acidic or extremely strong and foul, it has gone bad and should be disposed of.

Growths: If your mayo grows mold or any other kind of organic organism, it absolutely needs to be thrown out. Even if the mold or other growth is only covering one part of the mayo, throw it out. Growths can spread to other parts of mayo and not be visible.

Taste: If your mayo has passed all of the other tests and you’re still uncertain, then give it a taste. If it tastes funny, then it may have gone bad and it’s probably safest to throw it out.

How Should You Store Mayonnaise?

You know that you can keep your mayonnaise outside, in the fridge, or freezer for so long, and how to tell if it has gone bad. Now, let’s talk about how to make sure you’re storing it in the correct way.

Keep it cool and dry: When keeping unopened, store-bought mayo in a pantry or outside, it needs to be kept cool and dry. Exposing your mayo to heat or to direct sunlight will definitely cause it to go bad.

Clean utensils: Whenever handling your mayo, whether for serving or transferring it to another container, you must use clean utensils. This helps prevent cross-contamination that might shorten your mayo’s shelf-life.

Keep it sealed: Once your mayo has been opened, make sure you keep the lid tightly sealed on the jar while it’s in storage. This will help keep moisture and unwanted organisms out of your mayo, allowing you to enjoy its full shelf-life.

How to Freeze Mayonnaise?

We established above that you can in fact freeze mayonnaise, so how do you do it? Let’s talk about it so that you know exactly how to keep your mayonnaise in perfect condition for a little while.

Use freezer-safe glass bottles: Mayo is very hard to freeze without causing the ingredients to break down or separate, leaving the mayo pretty unappealing or even useless. To prevent these things from happening, you need to use a sterilized freezer-safe glass bottle.

Fill the jar: Fill the jar up with whatever mayo you want to freeze. Make sure you leave about an inch of space at the top of the jar; this will give the mayo room to expand when it freezes. After this, get as much air out of the jar as you can and then seal it tight.

Label it: Before putting your mayo in the freezer, write the date of initial freezing on the jar or somewhere where you will remember it. This way, when you pull your mayo out of the freezer in several days, you’ll know exactly when you put it in.

How to Thaw Mayonnaise?

Now that you know how to freeze your mayo, it’s time to learn how to thaw it back out again when you’re ready to consume it.

When you’re ready to use your frozen mayo, remove it from the freezer and place it on the lowest level of your fridge to defrost it.

When you do this, the mayo will most likely separate. This will be less noticeable if the mayo is store-bought, but will most likely happen nonetheless. When this occurs, you can fix this by pouring the mayo into a mixing bowl and whipping it with an electric mixer set to high speed for at least several seconds.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mayonnaise’s Shelf Life

Even after you have read through all of this information, you might still have questions about mayonnaise’s shelf life. We’ll answer a couple of them for you here.

Is the best-by date on my mayonnaise the same as an expiration date? No, it isn’t. A best-by date is a suggestion for when the mayonnaise should be used by to maintain the highest quality. An expiration date tells you that you must use the product by that date, or else it has gone bad. Use your mayonnaise’s best-by date as a guide, along with the information in this article. In addition, always use your own best judgment; if you’re in doubt that your mayo is still good, throw it out just to be safe.

Can I stick something with mayo in it in the freezer, like a sandwich? It depends on the type of food. We recommend researching freezing the specific food you’re thinking about freezing before making any decisions, since the different ingredients in something like a sandwich might not freeze properly. The separation that mayo experiences when it is defrosted really doesn’t make it feasible to freeze something with mayo in it, but it is possible if it’s really necessary for you to do it for some reason.

Wrap Up

Mayonnaise is a very popular condiment that’s often called for in many different recipes. Now, you know how to keep mayonnaise in storage so that it’ll be ready for any use! Remember to keep the jar tightly sealed and to always use clean utensils in the mayonnaise jar to keep it in best condition! If you do it right, you could enjoy your mayonnaise for all the way up to a few months!

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