Does Salsa Go Bad?

Whether it’s used in cooking, as a food topping, or as a dip, salsa is a family favorite. If you find a jar in your fridge or pantry, you need to know how to tell if it’s still good to eat.

Yes, salsa can go bad. Salsa will go bad faster if it is homemade since there are no preservatives added to help extend the shelf life. Homemade salsa will usually last for about 4 to 6 days when properly stored. Store-bought salsa, if it is unopened, can last for 12 to 18 months. Once it has been opened, it should be refrigerated and used within a couple of weeks.


Salsa can be homemade, store-bought, or canned with each one having a different length of shelf life but similar storage needs.

Does Salsa Go Bad? How Long Does Salsa Last?

Salsa is made from vegetables so it does go bad and can do so rather quickly. Read on to see how long salsa lasts under different storage conditions.

How Long Does Salsa Last Outside?

Some salsa is sold unrefrigerated. If you buy it this way and it remains unopened, the salsa will stay good for about 6 months past the best by date when kept in a pantry.

The salsa that is sold refrigerated and has been left out is only safe to eat for a couple of hours. If you are unsure how long it was left out, it would be best to throw it away.

Homemade salsa that has been left out on the counter is only good for about two hours before the threat of bacteria makes it unsafe to eat.

How Long Does Salsa Last In The Fridge?

The salsa that is sold unrefrigerated can be kept in a pantry until it has been opened. Once opened, it should be stored in the fridge and is good for 1 to 2 weeks.

Salsa that is bought refrigerated should always be kept in the refrigerator. If it has been unopened, it will be good for about 5 days past the best by date. If it’s been opened, it will be good for about 5-7 days.

Homemade salsa should be refrigerated and it will last for 5-7 days. If you can your own salsa, follow the same guidelines as you do salsa that is sold unrefrigerated.

How Long Does Salsa Last In The Freezer?

Salsa can be frozen if done correctly and directions for that can be found down below. Freezing salsa can extend its shelf life tremendously but at a cost.

Frozen salsa will last for about two months when it comes to getting the best quality out of it. It will remain safe to eat longer than that.

Salsa that has been kept constantly frozen can remain safe to eat indefinitely. However, once frozen, the consistency won’t be the same as fresh salsa.

As you can see, salsa can have a very long shelf life when frozen but you do lose a little of the quality. Salsa that has been opened will fare best in the refrigerator.

How To Tell If Salsa Has Gone Bad/How To Know Salsa Is Fresh

There are different ways to buy or make salsa. It can be bought refrigerated, unrefrigerated, or it can be homemade. There are ways to help determine if your salsa is fresh and still good for consumption or if you would be better off tossing it.

Check the date: Whether it is store-bought or canned at home, it should have a date on it. Store-bought salsa will have a best by date and your canned salsa will have a canning date on it. Check this date first if you’re concerned it might be too old.

Smell it: Salsa that has gone bad will often have a rotten or sour odor to it. If it smells off to you, discard it.

Taste test it: Take a tiny taste of it. Bad salsa will be tangy and acidic. If you do taste it, just take a little sample, not a spoonful.

Check the appearance: Salsa that has gone bad will turn a darker maroon color or brown. The color change is often accompanied by thickening. If there is a rubbery layer on top, throw it out.

Look for mold: Mold can begin to grow in the salsa. If you notice any blue or green specks in the salsa, throw it away.

How To Store Salsa

Salsa that is bought refrigerated should always stay refrigerated regardless of whether or not it has been opened. Unrefrigerated salsa and canned salsa have other ways they can be safely stored.

Unrefrigerated/unopened salsa: Salsa that is bought unrefrigerated and is unopened can be stored in a cool, dark area like a pantry. Once it has been opened it needs to be stored in the fridge, tightly sealed.

Canned salsa: Salsa that you have canned yourself can be stored in a cool, dark area. It should also be airtight. Once canned salsa has been opened, it needs to be stored in the refrigerator.

Can You Freeze Salsa?

Salsa can be frozen and there are ways to do it to help maintain the quality for longer. Read on to learn the best way to freeze salsa.

Don’t freeze it in the jar: If salsa comes in a jar, there is a lot of liquid in it and upon freezing, it will expand and could shatter the container.

Drain your salsa first: Before freezing it, drain the excess liquid from it. If you like, you can freeze the liquid separately and add it to the salsa upon thawing.

Put in a safe container: Freezer bags, plastic containers, and mason jars are all good options for freezing salsa. Leave some room in whichever container you choose to allow for expansion.

Keep it airtight: If storing it in a bag, remove as much air as you can before you freeze it. If storing the salsa in a plastic container or mason jar, make sure the lid is on tight.

How To Thaw Salsa

Frozen salsa will need to be thawed and there are appropriate ways to do it.

Use the refrigerator: For best results, you should move the salsa from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw out overnight.

Use the stove: You can put the salsa in a shallow pan and heat it slowly while occasionally stirring it. This is a good way if you froze the fluid separately and want to recombine them.

Frequently Asked Questions About Salsa’s Shelf Life

Can bad salsa make you sick? Yes, eating bad salsa can make you sick because of the bacteria that has started to grow in it. If you eat bad salsa you could develop symptoms of food poisoning including fever, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, chills, and diarrhea. If your salsa has begun to grow mold, realize that mold is a fungus and not a bacteria and will not cause food poisoning symptoms.

Why are there bubbles in my salsa? Some jars of salsa will have air bubbles especially if they are canned at home and they are perfectly safe. If you stir salsa with a spoon and the bubbles look more like soap than air bubbles, that means the salsa has developed bacteria and you will most likely get sick if you eat it.


Salsa is a very popular condiment that can be used as a dip, a topping, or a recipe ingredient. Now you know how to keep your salsa fresh for however you choose to use it.

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