Is it possible for Tabasco sauce to go bad? Tabasco sauce can be stored properly for up to ten years. Here’s how to know if it’s gone bad.

Here’s a summary: Tabasco sauce will keep for at least 5 years, whether refrigerated or left at room temperature in the pantry, opened or unopened.

What is tabasco?

Mcllhenny Company of Avery Island, southern Louisiana, produces this brand of hot sauce. It’s made with vinegar, salt, and Tabasco peppers.

Other flavors in this line include original e sauce, habanero, sriracha, and others. The product is sold in over 195 countries and is available in 25 languages.

Tabasco has a heat-acid-salt complex with an earthy taste.  It’s a hot sauce that has been fermented.

It gets its name from the peppers used to make the sauce, and because it is fiery, only a drop or two will suffice to spice up your dish. It is reported that the peppers are fermented in a barrel for three years before being removed to be flavored and salted.

Where does tabasco come from, and how was it created?

Tabasco has a much longer history than you might assume, like many dishes and meals globally. The first thing you should know about Tabasco sauce is that the peppers used to make it are from South America.

Also, Tabasco was not the brand’s original name. Tabasco red pepper was the name given to the sauce by the company that produced it.

McIlhenny, the sauce’s creator, was familiar with the Deep South. Thus he marketed the sauce mostly in New Orleans.

Once he secured a contract, he had to find a good bottle to store the sauce in and distribute it to grocery stores and markets around the country. This occurrence resulted in the unusual design of Tabasco sauce bottles.

He used leftover cologne bottles from a glass and bottle source in New Orleans.

Although it is unknown whether the bottle’s unusual shape helped promote the sauce, Tabasco became a popular hot sauce anyway. It is now a well-known hot sauce brand that can be bought in most grocery stores.

How long does tabasco last?

Original Tabasco (unopened)Best-by + 1+ years 
Original Tabasco (opened)6 months1+ years
Flavored Tabasco (unopened)Best-by + 1+ years 
Flavored Tabasco (opened)3 – 6 months9+ months

Tabasco’s shelf life varies according to the flavor and ranges from 12 to 24 months. But, regardless of which one you choose, Tabasco easily outlasts the printed date.

Once opened, the sauce should keep its quality until the printed date, if not much later.

Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing how long your Tabasco will keep its quality after the expiration date on the label. One thing is certain: you should plan in months, not years.

Does Tabasco sauce go bad?

In this short guide, we will address the question “Does Tabasco sauce go bad?” by providing an in-depth investigation of whether or not Tabasco sauce may go bad.

Furthermore, we will cover the shelf life of Tabasco sauce, how to identify bad Tabasco sauce, and how to store it properly.

So, like all other food items, Tabasco sauce goes bad after a certain time. Still, the good news is that Tabasco sauce has a long shelf life, so you don’t have to worry about Tabasco sauce going bad because you have a long time to use it before it starts to lose its flavor, freshness, and quality.

When Tabasco sauce goes bad, you will notice a difference in its smell, taste, and appearance.

What is the shelf life of Tabasco sauce?

tabasco sauce

Original tabasco sauce

Once opened, commercially bottled, store-bought original Tabasco sauce has a shelf life of around five years in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

An unopened bottle of original Tabasco sauce, on the other hand, can easily last 5-10 years if stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

Flavored tabasco sauce

Once opened, commercially bottled, store-bought flavored Tabasco sauce has a shelf life of about 18-24 months in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

An unopened bottle of Tabasco sauce, on the other hand, can be stored in a cool, dark, and dry corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat for up to 18-24 months or even longer.

It is important to note that these are only the anticipated shelf lives of Tabasco sauce, and Tabasco sauce can stay much longer if properly stored.

Is tabasco sauce safe to use after the best-before date?

The “best by” or “best before” date printed on the bottle of Tabasco sauce refers to the quality rather than the safety of the sauce. Therefore Tabasco sauce does not necessarily go bad immediately after the best before date.

It is when Tabasco is at its best quality and flavor, but you may still use Tabasco that is past this date as long as it was properly preserved and there is no mold or leakage in the bottle of Tabasco sauce.

How to tell if tabasco sauce is bad

Tabasco sauce, as previously said, will not spoil fast, but its quality will deteriorate with time. As a result, if it has been sitting for too long, especially if it has been improperly stored, always double-check it before using it.


The most important thing is to avoid external contamination. Check if the cap is properly sealed to see if moisture, air, or bugs have entered the bottle and destroyed the goods.


It is not uncommon for emulsifiers in sauce to separate over time. That doesn’t mean the sauce is bad, and you can address the problem by shaking the bottle.


An unusual and unpleasant Tabasco sauce odor is a sign of organic growth inside the bottle. Depending on the type of odor, trust your intuition and decide whether to use it for cooking or discard it.

If there is no mold formation, you can probably use the sauce without fear, even if it is not fully pleasant. Keep in mind that Tabasco sauce that has been stored for an extended period will not smell fresh, even though it is safe to use.


Tabasco sauce will naturally darken as it ages, but this does not affect its taste or quality. Unfortunately, direct sunlight accelerates the process and renders it unusable much sooner.

So, a dark red or brownish color is natural for older sauce and should not concern you. If you prefer your product to remain unchanged, you can avoid discoloration by storing the bottle in the refrigerator, away from light.


The texture of the sauce will become clumpy as the quality deteriorates. That is a sign that the goods are no longer fresh.


Tabasco sauce will be edible for years, but its quality will deteriorate. The Tabasco variety will determine the extent of that modification.

If you are unsure about the particular cause, try it and see if it is as tasty as it should be. Any bad taste indicates that it should be discarded immediately.


The appearance of small black dots on the surface of the sauce indicates that you should discard this product immediately. It is not tasty and may be harmful to your health in this condition.

Remember that mold growth can cause gas to form and, as a result, the bottle to pop.

How to store tabasco sauce

tabasco sauce

Tabasco sauces can be stored in the same manner as any other hot sauce. Consider the following storage tips to extend the life of your sauce.

Storage tips

  • Store unopened sauce bottles in dark, cool places, such as kitchen cabinets.
  • For best results, keep an opened Tabasco bottle in the fridge with the sealed cap. If you live in a hot and humid climate, keep an open bottle of Tabasco sauce refrigerated.
  • The fancier varieties (containing veggies and fruits) of Tabasco sauce should always be refrigerated.
  • Try to keep the crusting on the bottle’s opening to a minimum because it permits bacteria to proliferate. After each usage, wipe away any excess with a paper towel.
  • To get the most out of the flavors and avoid separation issues, shake the bottle before each use. The larger particles will naturally settle to the bottom of the bottle.

Can you freeze tabasco sauce?

I don’t think anyone freezes Tabasco sauce because it lasts so long. Because the preservatives in this product will keep it safe from spoilage for years, there is no need to store it in this manner.

Homemade Tabasco sauce is a unique flavor. You can put it in an airtight container and keep it in the freezer.

There is no evidence on how long it will stay flavored if left at low temperatures for an extended time; however, it is quite likely that it will be edible after thawing.

To sum it up

Tabasco can be stored unopened for up to ten years since the vinegar and peppers serve as preservatives.

When Tabasco sauces are opened, they develop a deeper color and flavor than the original flavors and color. To help preserve the best quality of Tabasco, keep it refrigerated once opened.

For quality reasons, you can discard any Tabasco sauce that has lost its flavor.