Does Horseradish Go Bad?

So you bought a few horseradish roots on the farmer’s market. They’re fresh, and the price was great too, but you’re unsure how long will they last. That makes you wonder: does horseradish go bad?

Or maybe you bought prepared horseradish or horseradish sauce some time ago, and it still sits in the pantry. It’s already nearing the date on the label, and you need to know if and for how long can you use it before it goes bad.

If any of the questions above ever popped in your head, and you would like to know the answers, this article is for you. In it, we go through storage, shelf life, and going bad of both horseradish root and horseradish sauce. If you’re interested, read on.

Horseradish jar
Horseradish jar

How To Store Horseradish

Storing Horseradish Roots

Let’s start with fresh horseradish roots. You store them the same way you store many other veggies, like kale. That means you should keep them in the fridge wrapped or in a bag, possibly in the vegetable drawer.

Make sure the bag or wrap has some holes in it to allow for airflow. You should pack them loosely for the same reason. If you decide to keep the roots at room temperature, they will rot much quicker than if refrigerated. However, if you plan to use all of them within a few days, refrigeration isn’t required.

Horseradish root and grated horseradish
Horseradish root and grated horseradish

Storing Horseradish Sauce

When it comes to commercially bottled prepared horseradish, you store it similarly to other sauces and condiments, like mustard or mayonnaise. That means as long as it stays unopened, you keep it in a cool and dry area, away from sunlight and sources of heat. The pantry is the best choice, but a cupboard in the kitchen works too.

Once you open the bottle, you store the horseradish sauce sealed tightly and in the fridge.


If you expect to keep the sauce for a prolonged period, consider storing it upside down. This way it’ll retain freshness for longer.

Like with other sauces, if you’re scooping prepared horseradish from the bottle, always use clean cutlery and never double dip. This way, you minimize the chances of microbial contamination, which might result in the product going bad early.

Horseradish sauce
Horseradish sauce

How Long Does Horseradish Last

Shelf Life of Horseradish Root

If refrigerated, you can store fresh roots for a month, maybe two. It all depends on how and how long it was stored before you bought it. As usual with veggies, it can start to rot much earlier.

Horseradish root and a small grater
Horseradish root and a small grater

Shelf Life of Horseradish Sauce

Horseradish sauce usually comes with a best-by date on the label. That date informs you how long it’s supposed to retain freshness. Of course, it’s not like it’s going to go bad the next day or anything. Generally, it should be okay to eat and of good quality for at least a few months past that date.

(As you can tell, things are quite similar to mustardketchup, or wasabi.)

Once you open the package, the sauce degrades in quality over time. For the best quality, try to finish the bottle within 1 to 2 months. Of course, how well horseradish sauce retains quality depends on its ingredients and if there are preservatives added.

Generally, vinegar-based ones will last much longer than their mayonnaise-based counterparts. To make sure how long your sauce stays good after opening check the label.

Horseradish root1 – 2 weeks1 – 2 months
Horseradish sauce (unopened)Best-by + 3 months 
Horseradish sauce (opened) 1 – 2 months

Please note the periods above are estimates and for the best quality.

Date on horseradish jar
Date on horseradish jar

How To Tell If Horseradish Is Bad

Rotting of Horseradish Root

It’s quite easy to tell if your fresh horseradish root is spoiled or not. If there’s mold, discard it. Same thing if it feels soft and mushy, or smells off.

If it has some tiny black specs, you can cut them out. However, large black spots are a sure sign the veggie is past its prime, and you should toss it.

Last but not least, if you notice that it starts to get soft, it’s pretty much now or never when it comes to using the root.

Horseradish sauce closeup
Horseradish sauce closeup

Signs of Spoilage of Horseradish Sauce

When it comes to bottled prepared horseradish, the process of determining if it’s okay to use is similar for all sauces. First off, look for signs of mold or discolorations on the surface. The second thing to do is to sniff it. Odd, funny, or off smell are sure signs the product should be discarded.

If it looks and smells okay, give it a taste. If it tastes alright and has enough heat for your liking, continue using it. Otherwise, it’s no good, and you should get rid of it for quality purposes.


If the sauce sits half-open in the fridge for a few months already, toss it out. Do so even if it seems to be perfectly fine and tastes good. Better safe than sorry.

Horseradish and sausage for breakfast
Horseradish and sausage for breakfast

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