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Do You Need to Refrigerate Hot Sauce?

A glass bottle of hot sauce sits in front of a wooden bowl of chilis.

Food storage seems simple enough. Raw meat goes in the fridge, herbs and spices go in the pantry, and avocados go on your countertop. But things get tricky when it comes to condiments, and there’s one, in particular, you might be storing improperly.

Hot sauce needs to be refrigerated, but this food storage rule isn’t as hard and fast as you think.

In general, all hot sauces should be refrigerated. Sauces with egg or dairy—which are often included in homemade versions—have to be in the fridge, but store-bought, vinegar-based hot sauce has slightly different rules.

Once you’ve opened a store-bought hot sauce with no dairy or eggs, you can keep it in your pantry. High-salt sauce like Tabasco can survive for up to six months in the cabinet as long as it’s properly sealed. For the most part, though, open hot sauce that is not refrigerated will last a month or two.

HOOJO Refrigerator Organizer Bins

Keep your condiments organized.

But remember how we said all hot sauces should be refrigerated? That’s still true. While you probably won’t run into any food safety issues from storing hot sauce in the pantry, you could run into issues with flavor. Over time, the lack of refrigeration could affect your favorite sauce’s taste. Also, unless you want to spend your time reading labels, knowing which sauces have lower salt content, dairy, or eggs can be difficult.

Ultimately, just because you can store hot sauce in the pantry doesn’t mean you should. Instead, clear out some space on your fridge’s condiment shelf for optimal freshness and the best flavor possible.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is the Assignments Editor at LifeSavvy. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer with a focus on beauty and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Allure, and Hello Giggles. Read Full Bio »
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