Does Teriyaki Sauce Go Bad?

So there’s an opened bottle of teriyaki sitting in the kitchen cabinet for quite some time. You’re not sure if it’s still safe to eat, or if you should discard it. And your aunt said that teriyaki sauce has to be refrigerated after opening. Does teriyaki sauce go bad? That’s the kind of question that naturally pops up in such a situation. You know that teriyaki is supposed to last quite some time, but that comment about refrigerating it makes you feel uneasy. Answers are what you need, and in this article, I provide answers to questions related to storage, shelf life, and if teriyaki sauce can go bad. If that’s what you’re looking for, read on.

Bottle of Teriyaki sauce
Image used under Creative Commons from Bobby P.

How to Store Teriyaki Sauce?

You should store teriyaki sauce pretty much the same way you store soy sauce. Since teriyaki consists mostly of soy sauce, that’s not a surprise. The bottle should sit in a cool and dry place, away from sunlight and sources of heat. When it comes to unopened bottle, both the pantry and a kitchen cabinet are perfectly fine places to keep this condiment.

Once you open the bottle, the most important thing is always to keep it sealed tightly when not in use. Now let’s talk about where to store teriyaki after opening. In many places online you can find people who claim that it must be refrigerated. That’s not true, just check Kikkoman’s FAQ. Keeping opened teriyaki in the fridge is the best option because this way the quality is retained for longer. But if you use the whole bottle within a few months, keeping it in the kitchen cabinet is perfectly fine. Just think about. There’s a ton of salt in the sauce, and salt is a natural preservative, so it makes sense that it keeps for a long time unrefrigerated.

When it comes to homemade teriyaki marinade, you should adhere to the recommendations that came with the recipe. If there weren’t any, just put it into the fridge.

Can You Freeze Teriyaki Sauce?

Teriyaki sauce freezes reasonably well. But before you freeze it, let’s first think if freezing it really makes sense. Store-bought teriyaki has a very long shelf life. Because of that, even if using the whole bottle will take you a year or two, that’s not an issue. Homemade teriyaki marinade, on the other hand, usually doesn’t have that long of a shelf life, because it often contains perishable ingredients such as garlic. So for homemade teriyaki, it definitely makes sense to freeze it.

The easiest way to freeze teriyaki sauce is in an ice cube tray. This way you can easily thaw as much teriyaki sauce as you need at a time. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Pour the sauce into ice cube trays.
  2. Stick the trays into the freezer and leave there until the sauce freezes.
  3. Take the ice cube tray out of the freezer and carefully pop the cubed sauce out of the tray.
  4. Transfer the cubes into a resealable freezer bag or bags. Add a label with the name if needed.
  5. Put the freezer bag into the freezer.

Another option for freezing teriyaki marinade is to freeze it with the meat. Prepare the marinade, pour it into a freezer bag, add the meat and massage the marinade into it, then chuck into the freezer. When the time comes, you defrost the meat, and it’s ready for cooking.

Teriyaki chicken
Image used under Creative Commons from mosespreciado

How Long Will Teriyaki Sauce Last?

Teriyaki sauce comes with a best by date. That date informs you how long, at the very least, the sauce will be of best quality. Of course, teriyaki won’t go bad or spoil right after that date. Teriyaki has a very long shelf life, so it will easily be safe and flavorful for years longer than the date on the label.

When it comes to an opened bottle, if you store it in the fridge, it should retain the best quality for up to a year. If you leave in the kitchen cabinet, that time will be much shorter, like a few months.

Pantry Fridge
Teriyaki (Unopened) Best by + 3 years
Teriyaki (Opened) 3 – 6 months 1 year

Please note that the dates above are approximate and for best quality only. Teriyaki sauce will stay safe to consume for much longer if stored properly.

How to Tell If Teriyaki Sauce Is Bad?

As already mentioned, teriyaki has a long shelf life. And it’s not like it’s going to spoil suddenly. In almost all cases the sauce will be safe to use for years, but with time its taste will slowly change. At some point, you might not be happy about its flavor anymore. When that time comes, you probably need to discard the teriyaki for quality purposes.

Of course, life happens and things might go south. If the sauce has developed an off odor, or there are any signs of mold, throw it away. If anything else seems wrong like you noticed a change in appearance or something about its taste is not how it should be, get rid of it. These changes that I described are highly unlikely to happen, but sometimes life finds its way and even teriyaki sauce can go bad.