How to Keep Condiments Fresh

Seven tips for making ketchup, mustard, and more last longer

It has happened to everyone. You unearth a bottle of ketchup or a jar of jelly from the back of your fridge and wonder whether it’s still good to use.

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Though you don’t need to worry about bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli, which cause foodborne illness, condiments can spoil. Then they may look, smell, and taste unappealing. How quickly this occurs depends on many factors, some of which you can control. Our tips—courtesy of Sana Mujahid, PhD, manager of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports, and Marybeth Mitcham, PhD, a resource educator for the Cornell Cooperative Extension—can help keep your flavor enhancers fresh and tasty.

To reveal the tips, click or hover your cursor over (or tap, on mobile) the dots on the illustration below.

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Illustration: Chris Philpot
Shelf Life of Condiments*
2 WEEKS

Olives
1 MONTH

Salsa
2 MONTHS

Mayonnaise
3 MONTHS

Salad dressing
Pickles
4 MONTHS

Barbecue sauce
6 MONTHS

Hot sauce
Ketchup
1 YEAR

Mustard
Jam/jelly

*Opened and refrigerated.
Source: Department of Agriculture FoodKeeper.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article also appeared in the October 2021 issue of Consumer Reports On Health.