Does Ketchup Go Bad? How Long Does It Last? [Best Answer] in 2023

Ketchup is one of the most popular condiments on the planet. It’s used to flavor everything from french fries to hamburgers. Ketchup is made by combining chopped-up tomatoes with vinegar, salt, sugar, and spices. The result is a thick red sauce that has been used for centuries as a way to flavor food. Although Ketchup has been around for thousands of years, it wasn’t until the 19th century that people started using it as we know it

Perhaps you had a bottle of ketchup that you aren’t sure if it’s safe to eat or not. You might also be confused about the bottle you opened a few months ago if it’s still safe to eat. If that sounds like you, then keep reading on.

Does Ketchup Go Bad?

Like any food, ketchup will go bad if it is not properly stored. Ketchup should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

The best way to ensure that your ketchup does not spoil is to use the oldest bottle first and then rotate with new bottles when you are finished using the oldest one.

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How Long Does Ketchup Last?

Now we know that ketchup – indeed – goes bad, we have to ask the question, how long would it last before it spoils? the answer isn’t as straightforward as you think.

The shelf life of ketchup varies based on the preparation method. For example, store-bought ketchup has a longer shelf life than homemade ketchup.

.How Long Does Ketchup Last

Homemade ketchup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks after it is prepared, while store-bought ketchup will depend on the bottle condition.

Ketchup bottles last for a year when unopened, while opened bottles last for three months when refrigerated.

It’s important to note that as long as ketchup is stored properly in a cool place, there is no need to throw it out just because the flavor has changed or the color has darkened. The change in flavor and color are natural processes that happen when food interacts with oxygen over time.

Ketchup Shelf Life [Full Chart]

Unopened1 Year
Opened1 monthBest by + 3 – 12 months
Homemade1 week

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How To Store Ketchup?

One of the key advantages of ketchup over other condiments is that it can be stored for longer periods of time.

This means you can stock up on large quantities, without having to worry about the quality deteriorating. However, there are some measures you should take to ensure your ketchup remains at its best.

How To Store Ketchup

All you need to do is keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Refrigeration is not necessary for ketchup because the vinegar and salt in the condiment are both natural preservatives that prevent it from spoiling. However, refrigeration would increase the shelf life of opened ketchup bottles.

Here is a good tip to prevent contamination: be sure that you keep the bottle cap clean.

Just wipe any build-up off of the cape bottle, and make sure it’s dry before closing the bottle back. This will keep your ketchup longer after each and every use.

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Can You Freeze Ketchup?

Freezing ketchup could be a good idea if you have a big amount of it laying around, it’s not necessary tho, this is why we don’t really suggest it unless you have a lot of bottles that you won’t be able to consume at the Best By Date.

Can You Freeze Ketchup

Ketchup can be frozen in ice trays, plastic bags, or airtight containers. It will usually stay good for about six months when it is in one of these three types of containers.

If you freeze it in ice trays, you will need to let the cubes thaw for about six hours before you can use it again.

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How To Tell If ketchup Has Gone Bad?

Even with optimal storage, things can go bad and your ketchup might spoil. The question is how to tell if your ketchup is spoiled or not?

ketchup goes bad when it is exposed to air and moisture. As a general rule, ketchup should be discarded if it develops an off odor, flavor, or appearance.

How To Tell If ketchup Has Gone Bad

It can become contaminated with harmful bacteria such as listeria and E-coli from the time it leaves the factory until you bring it home.

Therefore, you should always check the “Use By” date on the label before buying or using any condiments.

There are three ways to tell if ketchup has gone bad, they are smell, look, and taste.


In truth, spoiled ketchup smells just as bad as spoiled tomatoes. In fact, the only difference is that the scent is somewhat more concentrated than that of tomato juice. In both cases, you will notice a pungent odor wafting from the bottle if they have been left out for a long time.


Though you might not be able to tell if the ketchup has spoiled just by looking at it. If there’s a chance that your ketchup may have gone. This is because spoiled ketchup will look similar to natural one but it will have a different texture and color.

Natural ketchup is red in color and looks smooth. Spoiled ketchup is also red in color but the consistency is thicker than normal and fresh variant.

A cloudy bottle is also a sign of spoiled ketchup, so, stay on the lookout for it as well. Trust your eyes and senses when trying to determine if something has gone bad or not.


If it looks good and smells good, it doesn’t necessarily mean it would be good. This means you could have spoiled ketchup without the above two signs, which can be detected through taste.

Spoiled ketchup tastes a lot different from fresh ketchup. Spoiled ketchup is a lot more tangy and sour than the fresh variant, due to the decomposition of the tomato paste, which normally gives it that sweet taste.

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What Happens If You Eat Spoiled Ketchup?

This depends mainly on two factors:

  • How spoiled the ketchup was.
  • How much you ingested

Eating spoiled ketchup can cause gastrointestinal distress. In rare cases, eating spoiled food can cause a type of botulism that can be fatal if not treated. It may cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea. It can also cause more severe symptoms such as fever, chills, or convulsions.

If you have consumed spoiled ketchup and feel unwell, contact your health care provider as soon as possible. You might have food poisoning which would require medical attention

Wrapping Up

Ketchup is one of the most popular condiments on the planet. It’s used to flavor everything from french fries to hamburgers. This is why it’s important to figure if it can spoil or not. As well as knowing how long it lasts before it goes bad.

It was also essential to learn how to store it properly to ensure it lasts as long as possible.

If you still have any questions concerning ketchup, feel free to leave a comment and we will reply as soon as possible. Thanks for reading.

Can Ketchup Go Bad

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