How Long Does Alfredo Sauce Last?

Here’s everything you need to know about homemade and store-bought alfredo sauce. Learn how long it lasts, how to store it, and how to tell if it’s bad.

Just opened a jar of alfredo and wondering how much time you have until it goes bad? How long does alfredo sauce last?

The Short Answer

Unopened store-bought alfredo typically lasts for at least a few weeks past the printed date. Once you open it up, it keeps for only 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Homemade alfredo lasts 3 to 4 days refrigerated.

That’s the gist of it.

Here’s what we discuss in this article:

  • details on the shelf life of alfredo sauce, both store-bought and homemade
  • dealing with “expired” alfredo sauce
  • when to throw out the sauce
  • storage practices

Want to know more? Read on.

Pasta and chicken topped with alfredo
Pasta and chicken topped with homemade alfredo

How Long Does Alfredo Sauce Last?

PantryFridge
Store-bought alfredo sauce, unopenedBest-by + 3-4 weeks
Store-bought alfredo sauce, opened3 – 4 days
Homemade alfredo sauce3 – 4 days

An unopened store-bought alfredo sauce keeps well past its printed date, but it only lasts for 3 to 4 days in the fridge once you open it up. Homemade alfredo requires refrigeration and keeps for 3 to 4 days as well.

With those periods in mind, let’s get into some of the details.

Store-Bought Alfredo

While commercial alfredo lasts quite a long time and doesn’t (usually) require refrigeration, it keeps for only a couple of days after opening.

Various producers have slightly different recommendations. For instance, Prego recommends using their sauce within 3 days of opening, while Classico gives you a bit more time with their recommendation of 5 days of storage. But these are always similar to the usual advice of 3 to 4 days of storage for leftovers.

Now, what if your alfredo is expired?

Pasta, chicken, and alfredo
Pasta, chicken, and alfredo

How long is alfredo sauce good for after the expiration date?

While sellers always recommend using their alfredo before the printed date, the sauce should keep for at least a couple of weeks past its date, assuming that you store it in a cool and dry place and the seal is untouched.

Of course, there’s no way of telling how long it will last exactly. It may be weeks, but it’s more likely to be months. Because of that, I usually recommend going with your gut.

If you look at the printed date and immediately think that the jar is way too old for consumption, discard it. But if you’re okay with what you see, open it up and see what’s inside. Chances are the sauce will be just fine, even if it’s a couple of months past the printed date.

Warning

Always give an expired alfredo a good check before using it.

Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Homemade alfredo lasts 3 to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container. That’s true for both the sauce alone and any dish you used the alfredo in.

If you’re thinking about preparing a bigger portion, like doubling your recipe, freezing the alfredo is worth considering.

Related: How long does pesto last?

Homemade alfredo sauce prep
Homemade alfredo sauce prep

How to Tell if Alfredo Sauce Is Bad?

Discard your alfredo sauce when:

  • There’s mold or other visual changes. Whenever you notice any signs of mold, discard the whole thing. Scooping the moldy part and using the rest isn’t an option. The same is true for any other visual changes, like discolorations.
  • It smells “funny” or off. That’s pretty self-explanatory.
  • It tastes bad. If the sauce looks and smells fine, check the flavor too. It’ll usually be perfectly fine, but if it’s not, throw it out.
  • It’s opened for more than 4 days. Your alfredo might still be okay on day 5, but you never know. Better safe than sorry.
  • It’s unopened and way past the printed date. As I explained above, if you’re no longer comfortable with how “expired” the sauce is, be it weeks or months, discard it. If you’re looking for specifics, I wouldn’t recommend opening alfredo that’s more than 3 months past its date.

All the above spoilage signs and reasons to discard alfredo are quite general in nature, and you can use them when assessing other pasta sauces, like marinara.

Alfredo and extra parmesan
Alfredo and extra parmesan

How to Store Alfredo

Store-bought alfredo sauce should sit in a cool and dry place until you open it up. Once opened, seal the jar tightly and refrigerate. As for homemade alfredo, let it cool, transfer into an airtight container, and place it in the fridge.

Other than that, you should keep in mind the basic storage practices that apply to all sauces, such as:

  • scoop using a clean spoon
  • seal it tight
  • make sure it doesn’t sit on the counter for longer than necessary
  • let any leftovers cool before you transfer them to the fridge or freezer
Alfredo closeup
Alfredo closeup

How Long Can Alfredo Sauce Sit Out?

Perishable foods, such as alfredo sauce, should be refrigerated within 2 hours of opening or cooking. That’s otherwise known as the 2-hour rule.

So if you just cooked yours, you should let it sit until it’s cool enough to refrigerate, but make sure that it doesn’t take more than 2 hours.

(Which shouldn’t be a problem unless you cooked a gargantuan amount.)

The same applies to any leftovers. That means your leftover fettuccine alfredo or chicken alfredo should sit comfortably in an airtight container (or a lidded pot, covered bowl, or what have you) in the fridge within two hours of cooking.