Does Soy Sauce Go Bad?

If you’ve found a bottle of soy sauce that’s a few years old you’ve probably asked yourself the question “does soy sauce go bad?”. Fortunately for you, your soy sauce is probably fine. Soy sauce contains a ton of sodium, so it’s extremely difficult for any microorganism to develop and grow in that kind of salty environment. The taste of soy sauce will, however, slowly deteriorate over time. If the sauce will be stored properly it will retain its freshness and flavor for a longer period of time. As a side information, you should know that many kinds of soy sauce aren’t free of gluten, but there are some gluten free soy sauce brands out there. So if you’re allergic to gluten, make sure to check the bottle before buying.

How To Store Soy Sauce

While your bottle of soy sauce is unopened you should store it in a cool, dry area. The pantry seems to be the best place to store the unopened soy sauce. After the bottle is opened, you should store it either in the pantry or in the fridge. If you’ll store it in the refrigerator it will retain its taste for a longer period of time. Therefore, if you plan to utilize the whole bottle in a couple of months you can freely store it in the pantry. Please note that the bottle should be sealed tightly.

Kikkoman gluten free soy sauce

(credit: fotoosvanrobin)

(Kikkoman is one of the gluten free soy sauce brands)

Shelf Life Of Soy Sauce

Even though soy sauce won’t go bad for a long time, it probably has a “best use by” or “best-by” date on its label. That date informs you how long the product should be at its best quality (according to the manufacturer’s data). That means that somewhere after that date the product will start to lose its quality and its flavor won’t be as good as fresh product’s one. An unopened bottle of soy sauce should be fine for at least three years. After the bottle is opened, it should offer its best for about two years. Obviously, this period of time is just a guideline and differs between producers.

Can Soy Sauce Go Bad? How To Tell If Soy Sauce Is Bad?

As mentioned earlier, soy sauce isn’t likely to go expire. Unfortunately, I can’t assure you that it will be good forever. If your soy sauce smells off just throw it away. It probably isn’t spoiled so eating it won’t do you any harm, but I bet the taste won’t satisfy your taste buds, so it’s better to discard it anyway.

Summary
As you can see soy sauce isn’t likely to go bad. It will, however, deteriorate over time so if you plan to use it for a longer period of time, you should remember to store it properly so it will maintain its taste for longer. Does soy sauce go bad? It might go bad, but it’s extremely unlikely. It will probably out-live you 🙂 Finally, if you suffer from celiac disease, you should choose to buy products from one of the gluten free soy sauce brands.