We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

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.

How Long Does Ketchup Last?

Woman looking at a bottle of ketchup in the grocery store
Sergey Ryzhov/Shutterstock.com

Does ketchup expire? Yes. But, 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.

So, while you should keep those dates in mind when you’re shopping for your favorite bottle of ketchup at the store, it’s okay to use them more as “guidelines,” as long as you plan on consuming your ketchup relatively soon after the expiration date.

Refrigerator Deodorizer

By keeping strange odors out of your fridge, you'll easily be able to tell when a condiment goes bad by its smell.

Can You Still Eat Ketchup After the Expiration Date?

Woman dipping french fries into small bowl of ketchup
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

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. An unopened bottle of ketchup can sometimes last 1-2 years past its expiration date with no problems. Open bottles typically are safe for a few months after the stamped date.

However, ketchup can still spoil, and it’s important to look for the warning signs. Even if it’s only a few days or weeks after the expiration date, using your eyes and nose is the best way to determine if your ketchup is safe to consume.

HOOJO Refrigerator Organizer Bins

Keep your ketchup and other condiments organized.

How to Tell if Ketchup Goes Bad

Bottle of Heinz ketchup being poured

Can ketchup go bad? Absolutely. The warning signs are easy to spot and will likely make you want to throw the bottle away instantly.

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. Use your senses and it won’t take you long to determine if your ketchup has truly expired, no matter what the stamped date says.

Aconfei Over The Door Pantry Organizer

Keep your pantry organized so you can make sure you're using your condiments before they expire.

How to Store Ketchup

Condiments in a refrigerator door
The Image Party/Shutterstock.com

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.

Retro Style Red Fast Food Basket

Make serving burgers and fries more fun with these retro food baskets.

While ketchup lasts for a long time, and is typically still good after the expiration date, it doesn’t last forever. Does ketchup expire? Yes. Can ketchup go bad? Absolutely. Pay attention to the warning signs that it’s no longer safe to eat, and buy a new bottle of your favorite burger condiment and French fry companion.

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 »
LifeSavvy is focused on one thing: making your life outside of work even better. Want to know more?