Does Soy Sauce Go Bad? Shelf Life, Storage, Expiration

You open the fridge to find it jam-filled with bottles of sauces and other condiments. Which among these can you take out and let your fridge breathe a little lighter? Without a second thought, grab that bottle of soy sauce and close the fridge. This is pointing us to two very important facts to consider: Does soy sauce need to be refrigerated and does it ever go bad? Keep on reading to know more.

does soy sauce go bad

What exactly is Soy Sauce?

This is not some ordinary sauce but comes from a long set of processes including fermenting of good quality soybeans. It has its roots in Chinese cuisine and has now found its way to all corners of the world. Though led by a salty taste, soy sauce is finely balanced with its sweetness, umami, and sourness.

Does Soy Sauce go bad?

As we discussed earlier, soy sauce undergoes fermentation at different levels. This means that, just like in the case of other fish sauces, soy sauce also contains microorganisms. They play a major role in preserving the product from spoiling. Hence, soy sauce does not go bad like other sauces. It is also important to ensure that the sauce is kept at a normal room temperature, if not refrigerated.

Can it be frozen?

Even though soy sauce has an indefinite shelf life, many consumers are curious if they can freeze it to ensure it never goes stale. But, you have picked the wrong sauce to freeze. The high salt content of soy sauce reduces its freezing point to a low that cannot be reached with a normal freezer. Hence, soy sauce will remain in its normal liquid form, even if you keep it inside your kitchen freezer.

The smell of stale Soy Sauce

Even though it is said that soy sauce does not get stale or that it has an indefinite shelf life, there are situations where the unexpected can happen. Two major reasons are:

  • Not being able to manage the room temperature.
  • The amount of sodium contained in the sauce.

In such situations, identifying the smell difference is how you know that the sauce has gone stale.

We do know that the normal smell of soy sauce is one that is very strong with a tinge of umami. But once it has gone stale, the smell will become extremely overpowering and difficult to manage.

How can we safely preserve it?

It can be stored in a dark box kept in the corner of your kitchen. This is to ensure the bottle is not kept close to the stove, water, or anything that would disturb the constant temperature level. Once the bottle is opened, reseal it properly and stored it away. Though it cannot be frozen, soy sauce can be kept in the refrigerator like other sauces. This can increase the shelf life much more than in the normal case. Managing the constant room temperature can be tallied by keeping it inside the refrigerator.

Therefore soy sauce can be preserved safely by keeping the original container, keeping it properly resealed, keeping the temperature constant, or keeping it in the refrigerator.


To end it all up, soy sauce is a condiment with a comparatively longer shelf life. But it is always good to ensure you consume the product in its proper form. Hence, always remember to keep your sauce away from high temperatures and enjoy it for a good couple of years.

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