Does Hot Sauce Need To Be Refrigerated? Does It Go Bad?

Does Hot Sauce Need To Be Refrigerated?

With plenty of condiments and exotic flavours, the culinary territory has drastically increased in the past few years. With more and more experimentation in the kitchen, just who knows what we all are going to eat in the next years?

From random trends on the internet to secret hacks to get the best dinner in just no time, let’s just take time to think about simpler things. One of those things is whether or not hot sauce needs to be refrigerated? It’s not a simple answer, so let’s take a look.

What is Hot Sauce?

Overall, it represents a condiment and seasoning produced in the same way tomato sauce is, having a base of vegetables. With varying brands, hot sauce has resulted from the combination of hot chilies with things such as apple cider vinegar and even honey.

Some recipes for the hot sauce will only have a base of extremely hot chilies and others may have other things added to make the texture thicker.

What Are The Ingredients In The Hot Sauce?

There is a multitude of ingredients some brands may use, even doing so much of keeping them a secret to the public with recipes that date back 100 years, for a resume of basic things you may find in a hot sauce bottle:

  • Chili peppers
  • Vinegar
  • Citrus juice
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Seasonings
  • Salt

However, the list goes on with more, extreme ingredients, some sauces use things like sardines, and fermented onions to enhance the flavour. There are endless combinations that can be done to enhance the taste.

Does Hot Sauce Need To Be Refrigerated?

It depends on the brand that produced the sauce but most of the time you do not need to store them in the refrigerator, because the production method ensures that the bottle and added ingredients will be preserved as much as possible.

Yet for some of them just like Tabasco, you may prefer to keep it in the refrigerator as it can change color if left in a room temperature cabinet.

Should Some Hot Sauces Be Refrigerated?

If you have extra space in the refrigerator, it’s not going to do any bad leaving the bottles in there, but if that is not the case, you can let them in the cabinets with no problem whatsoever.

The best idea will be to have a special place in the fridge to keep sauces and other condiments that you can access fast and have at hand for any surprise party or coking you may need.

A lot of this will come down to personal preference. Many people prefer the texture of hot sauce when it has been refrigerated. Many others also like the contrast between their warm food and their cold hot sauce. Some people, just prefer to put it in the fridge.

Does My Hot Sauce Go In The Fridge?

Some brands have instructions about storage on the bottle, but for an overall description, Tabasco is the prime example of a hot sauce that is better welcomed in the refrigerator than in the cabinets, because it can actually change colour if the temperature is too high and have a bad taste after that.

Does Refrigerating Hot Sauce Change Its Flavor?

Refrigerated sauces do not change the flavour on their own, they will taste the same but the process helps them stay fresh for longer and avoid colour changes or smell because of bad storage conditions.

The only thing that will change the flavor of a hot sauce is the time you keep it from the first day it was open, All sauces will stay fresh for up to 6 months but after that, a lot of them will start to lose flavor and maybe change color, it is a natural process.

Also read: Does Soy Sauce Have To Be Refrigerated?

Hot Sauce Can Be Stored In Or Out Of the Fridge?

You can store the sauce wherever you have space, depending on the actual time you need to consume, it can vary also regarding the brand and method used to produce the whole bottle.

For many producers, the way they bottle the sauce can also be a very big factor in where buyers should store the sauce for the best flavour, with some brands putting big importance on refrigerating them and some saying it is perfectly ok to keep them at room temperature.

Should You Refrigerate Hot Sauce After Opening?

As for any other sauce out there, when you open it the first thing you want to verify are the instructions on the bottle, as some sauces can go bad sooner than others it also depends on the time you open the lid and let the ingredients have contact with air.

Check on the side of any bottle the expiration date and instructions on storage to ensure the best quality sauce and where you can store it.

Also read: Does Tartar Sauce Need To Be Refrigerated?

Can Bacteria Grow In Hot Sauce?

Studies show that hot sauce is the most potent when dealing with bacteria, it can kill them instantly when used. This is because of the rather acidic combination in the sauce with key ingredients just as limes, chilies, and vinegar.

The combination is not the best place for bacteria to grow so that is not a concern to anyone, but apart from this, it is still important to store them properly and not assume that all hot sauces behave the same in all conditions.

A Couple of Notes on Hot Sauce Freshness

The best time for any hot sauces is the first 6 months after opening, which is the time in which ingredients are still fragrant and have the best taste possible, the freshness can be stretched longer when kept in the refrigerator.

When you open a bottle of hot sauce, being that from a cupboard or refrigerated, the first thing you should smell is the fragrance. A strong smell is indicative of the amount of chilly in there, sauces that do not have a great smell and are rather dull in taste are probably passed by their best time for consumption.

Also read: Does Worcestershire Sauce Have To Be Refrigerated?

How Long Will Refrigerated Hot Sauce Last vs. Room Temperature Hot Sauce?

A room-temperature sauce can stay fresh for up to 6 months but in the case of refrigerated ones, they can stay fresh for up to some years.

With some cases saying that the sauce is good to even a four-year mark in the fridge, but let`s be honest here, not really the best idea to keep a delicious sauce for so long and not use it, better take advantage while things are fresh and good. Rather than wait for them to become flavourless and dull, it’s always best to consume them as soon as you can for that great taste.


Will Hot Sauce Go Bad If Not Refrigerated?

The simple answer is no, but if you want to keep a bottle fresh for longer you should put it in the refrigerator if you need more than 6 months to eat it. For many hot sauces, the amount of time you take to use them can be the most important thing, as many will just go flavourless after more than a year or start to lose the complex taste leaving you with a bottle of just spicy-tasting tomatoes and nothing more.

How Long Can Hot Sauce Stay Unrefrigerated?

Hot sauce can be stored both in cabinets and refrigerators, for those that are refrigerated, they will last longer and stay fresh for more than 6 months, if you open a bottle and consume it in less than that, there are no downsides to storing it in the cabinet.

A refrigerated hot sauce will stay fresh and ready to use over those fries for up to two years. There are some exceptions, but better to use that sauce sooner rather than later. Or perhaps buy a smaller bottle if you are not the biggest fan.

Does Cholula Have To Be Refrigerated?

In the case of Cholula, the best way to store it is in the cabinets and try to consume it while it is fresh in the first 6 months after you open it, no problem here but this specific brand is better in cabinets and even if you refrigerate it, there are no advantages. That is why you should consume any hot sauce in a time span of 6 months.

Does Frank’s Hot Sauce Go Bad?

As a sauce with a vinegar base just like Cholula, it can last for as much as four years. Even with that being true, there are a lot of disadvantages of eating a dull and flavorless sauce in the first place, better stick to using it in the first 6 months of freshness.

Does Old Bay Hot Sauce Need to Be Refrigerated?

No, it is perfectly fine to keep it at room temperature. It is better to take care of and refrigerate if you’re not going to be using it often. Refrigerated or not a hot sauce should be spicy with a complex aroma and a good aftertaste.

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