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Can You Still Eat Ketchup After the Expiration Date?

A bowl of ketchup sits in a pile of fries.
Nagy-Bagoly Arpad/Shutterstock.com

Ketchup is an essential staple in the kitchen. But this popular condiment can also sit unused in the fridge for several months until it’s needed again. Is it okay to eat if it’s past the expiration date?

Most of the time, ketchup can live long after its expiration date.

Generally, store-bought ketchup lasts up to 6 months in the fridge and is still safe to eat up to four to six months past the date. The “best by” or “sell by” labels on the bottle refer more to quality rather than food safety.

Ketchup consists of natural preservatives, such as vinegar, salt, and sugar. These ingredients all have a long shelf-life, so it’s difficult for bacteria and mold to form.

HOOJO Refrigerator Organizer Bins

Keep your ketchup and other condiments organized.

However, ketchup can still spoil, and it’s important to look for the warning signs.

If you notice moldy, crunchy residue on the lid or inside the ketchup, it’s a smart idea to throw it out. If it starts to smell sour or tastes off, it’s also time to buy a new bottle.

To ensure your bottle lasts as long as possible, keep opened ketchup in the fridge. This will help ensure it can still be good after its best-by date has passed. But it’s not just ketchup that needs to be refrigerated. Check out all the other condiments that should be refrigerated, too.

Kelsey Opel Kelsey Opel
Kelsey Opel is a freelance writer and digital storyteller based in Austin, Texas. She enjoys writing for food, entertainment and mental health spaces. Off the clock, she loves indulging in an avocado margarita and chips and queso at her favorite Tex-Mex spot in town. Read Full Bio »
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