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

Have you used a bottle of oyster sauce for a meal then you open the fridge and realize you cannot remember the date you bought it? The question that comes to mind is does this sauce go bad?

Quick Answer

Oyster sauce darkens and its flavor grows stronger over time. If it’s too strong a flavor, then it can be trashed. It is not bad at this point, this would be a preference. Though, if you notice white or green fuzz upon looking in the bottle or there is an off smell or there is water separation, then it is absolutely time to throw the bottle away.


In this article we will go through how to store oyster sauce, the shelf life, expiration, and whether this sauce can be frozen!

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

Oyster Sauce does have an expiration, the shelf life depends on certain factors. These factors entail whether it has been opened, refrigerated, and the quality of the oyster sauce.

How Long Does Oyster Sauce Last Outside

As a perishable item, oyster sauce has a shelf life of 18 to 24 months. This time frame only applies if the bottle has not been opened.

Once the bottle has been opened, it is best that all the contents are used within 3 to 6 months for the best flavor. Though, if you’ve purchased a higher quality oyster sauce, it may last for up to a year.

If oyster sauce is used in a recipe, it’s best to refrigerate any left overs and consume within in 3 days.  In this case, you’d go by the expiration of all items used in the recipe.

How Long Does Oyster Sauce Last in the Fridge

It seems the need for refrigeration depends on the brand that is purchased. Once opened, a high quality oyster sauce can possibly last  for up to a year.

If you purchased a mid-priced oyster sauce, once the bottle is opened and is placed in the fridge, it should last around 3 to 6 months. Ensure the cap is secured and there is no condensation collecting in the bottle.

If you decide to store an unopened bottle in the fridge, it will not necessarily extend the life of the contents. It’s best to check the “best by date”, but it should last around 18 to 24 months.

How Long Does Oyster Sauce Last in the Freezer

Oyster sauce can be stored in the freezer, however this will not prolong the shelf life and oyster sauce does not freeze.

How To Tell If Oyster Sauce Has Gone Bad / How To Know Oyster Sauce is Fresh

Smell: Oyster sauce should have a salty umami scent. Once it smells sour or moldy, discard it in the trash.

Flavor: The flavor of this thick viscous sauce is savory, sweet, salty and slightly fishy. The freshest taste is optimal once opened. However, if you find the taste has developed into an over powering umami flavor then it can be tossed. This does not indicate that it has gone bad; this is more personal preference. If you find that it has a sour, tangy flavor then it is safe to assume it is spoiled.

Mold:  Once the best by date is past a few month, there can be mold growth. Once mold is seen floating atop the sauce, it is time to throw it away.

Best by date: The best by date does not always indicate the expiration of a product. In this case, oyster sauce usually last up to 18 to 24 months, provided it has been stored properly and unopened. If you find that is months past the best by date, this it should be trashed.

How to Store Oyster Sauce?

Sealed in the cupboard: Oyster sauce should be stored in dark and cool place, the cupboard is convenient as it’s in the kitchen.

Keep it cold in the fridge: It can be stored in the fridge if unopened and it should be stored in the fridge after its opened.

Check with the manufacturer: When it comes to storing oyster sauce, it’s best to check the suggestions of the producer

Can You Freeze Oyster Sauce? How?

Oyster sauce has a high salt content: For this reason, oyster sauce cannot be frozen. There are two basic reason why it cannot be frozen. The first being, oyster sauce is a fermented product and fermented items produce ethanol, an alcohol. The alcohol  in oyster sauce reduces the freezing. The second being, the salt content. Salt also lowers the freezing point of an item by disallowing water molecules from re-entering the solid phase.

How to Thaw Oyster Sauce Oyster Sauce?

Oyster sauce does not freeze: This product is best if it is kept in the cabinet or in the refrigerator. Oyster sauce does not freeze due to it’s salt and ethanol content. Thus, there is no reason to thaw the sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions About Oyster Sauce’s Shelf Life

Often times buyers have a few questions that are frequently asked, here are two of them.

 What are the risks of consuming expired oyster sauce? It would be like experiencing food poisoning symptoms: Headache, nausea, mild fever.

Is oyster sauce fermented? Yes, it is made from fermented oyster extract.

Wrap Up

Oyster sauce is a deeply flavored sauce and is a perfect addition to many Asian dishes. It can be kept as a staple sauce as it has an extensive shelf life, be sure to check that it is store properly to get the best quality out of the product.

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