Does Mustard Go Bad? How Long Does Mustard Last?

We use mustard occasionally, which means it may sit in our cabinet or fridge for a long time. By the time we use it next, we may wonder, does mustard go bad?

Quick Answer

Yes, mustard can go bad.

  • Mustard comes with a best by date and storage instructions that we should follow.
  • An unopened bottle of mustard will last about one year past the best by date.
  • An opened bottle of mustard will last one to two months in your cabinet.
  • An opened bottle of mustard will last eight to twelve months in your fridge.


Mustard usually loses its quality before it spoils. Once this occurs, it’s no longer worth keeping as it will not be enjoyable.

Does Mustard Go Bad? How Long Does Mustard Last?

Since mustard bottles typically come with storage instructions and a best by date, we should follow them to get the longest shelf life out of the mustard.

How Long Does Mustard Last Outside?

The higher the acidity level of your mustard, the longer it will last. For example, honey mustard is low in acid and is unlikely to last as long as other mustards.

An unopened bottle of mustard will last about one year past the best by date outside. This is beneficial if you bought multiple bottles of mustard and cannot use them right away.

An opened bottle will last one to two months outside. If you plan to use the mustard bottle within the next few weeks, it is fine to keep it in your cabinet. Beyond this timeframe, the quality will diminish.

How Long Does Mustard Last in the Fridge?

The fridge is a better option for storing your mustard, particularly after you open it, as it will extend its shelf life.

An opened bottle of mustard will last eight to twelve months in your fridge. Some estimates place the shelf life of mustard in the fridge to one year. It will depend on the type of mustard you have.

 For best preservation in the fridge, you should store mustard in an airtight container. Keeping the air out will reduce condensation that could accumulate in the bottle. Condensation will lead to mold and shorter shelf life for your mustard.

How Long Does Mustard Last in the Freezer?

You can store mustard in the freezer if you feel that you will not be able to finish the entire bottle before it spoils.

Rather than storing the bottle in the freezer, use an ice cube tray to freeze it in small quantities. This option will allow you to keep half of the mustard in the bottle in the fridge, and to freeze the other half.

Freezing mustard will extend its shelf life to fourteen to sixteen months past the best by date. This is an ideal storage option to help you avoid throwing out mustard you could not eat in time.


Mustard’s shelf life varies depending on its ingredients. You should follow the instructions on the label for storage and the best by date. When in doubt, store mustard in the fridge after opening it.

How to Tell if Mustard Is Bad?

Although mustard has the potential to last long, it will eventually spoil. However, there are a few indicators to help you determine if mustard is bad. It is important to keep in mind that we may throw away mustard due to its degrading quality even before it spoils. 

Mold: Sometimes condensation gets into the bottle and causes mold to grow. Discard your mustard if you notice this. 

Bad smell: If you notice your mustard’s smell is off, it is likely time to discard it.

Taste: If there is no mold and you do not notice a bad smell, you can conduct a taste test. If the taste is still good, you can use it.

Best by date: If you notice the best by date was about two to three years ago, you should discard the mustard. It is best to not take any risks.

Separation: Overtime, you will notice the contents in the mustard jar separating. You can simply stir it with a clean spoon or knife. Separation does not mean the mustard is bad. However, it is important to ensure you use a clean utensil each time you take mustard from the jar. Cross-contamination can cause your mustard to spoil quicker.

How to Store Mustard?

Proper storage of mustard is essential for extending its shelf life.

Store unopened mustard in its store-bought container in your cabinet. You should choose a cabinet away from heat and sunlight. Ensure the cabinet is not above the stove or next to a window. Mustard will remain at its best in a cool, dry, and dark place. 

Store opened mustard in the fridge in an airtight container. You should refer to the storage instructions on the bottle, but most mustards will require refrigeration after opening. The fridge can extend mustard’s shelf life. It is important to store it in an airtight container to prevent the growth of mold.

Can You Freeze Mustard? How?

You can freeze mustard to extend its shelf life and to avoid wasting it. Since many of us do not use mustard fast enough, the freezer is a great storage option. 

You should separate mustard into smaller containers before placing it in the freezer. This allows us to thaw only what we need when we are ready to use the mustard. Ice cube trays work well for this. 

Once the mustard is frozen, you can transfer the frozen pieces to a bag. After one to three days in the freezer, you can use this option if you need the ice cube tray or container. Place the frozen mustard into a zip lock bag, squeeze out the air, and mark the date of when you froze it. Frozen mustard will last for fourteen to sixteen months past the best by date. Ensure that you mark the best by date on the bag as well.

How to Thaw Mustard?

Freezing mustard in small portions makes it easier to thaw and helps us use only what we need. Depending on the timeframe of when you would like to use it, there are varying thawing options.

You can place it in the fridge to thaw overnight if you are not in a hurry to use it. You can also leave the frozen mustard out at room temperature. It will take a few hours to thaw. Lastly, you can speed up the thawing process by placing the mustard in a container. Then place the container in hot water until it thaws.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mustard’s Shelf Life

Can I eat mustard after the best by date? Yes, but stick to only a year past the best by date. If you are uncertain if mustard is still good even though it is under a year from the best by date, check the smell, taste, and the bottle for any mold. Cross-contamination and improper storage can reduce mustard’s shelf life. 

What kind of mustard lasts the longest? Dijon mustard typically lasts longer than other types of mustards due to its high acidic levels. Dijon mustard gets its acid from the juice of unripe grapes. Most other mustards contain vinegar. Acidic liquids, like vinegar and fruit juices, help preserve food products as they deter mold and bacteria growth. 

Can I use mustard powder to make mustard? Yes, you can use mustard powder to make homemade mustard. This is a great option if you do not use mustard often and need a small portion. The recipes to make homemade mustard are simple. However, it is important to note that homemade mustard will last one day outside and one week in the fridge.

Wrap Up

Mustard is a staple item that many of us find in our cabinets or fridge. Like ketchup, we typically do not use it every day. But, with proper storage and an understanding of how to tell if mustard is bad, we can get the most out of the product.

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