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Common Sauces: Refrigerate After Opening?

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    Common Sauces: Refrigerate After Opening?

    Until recently, I did not realize that some sauces must be refrigerated after opening. Back when we used to go to restaurants (darn Covid, anyhow) I'd see many of them sitting out on the tables.

    My interest began as I was going through my collection of Chinese and Thai sauces, now that I'm enjoying my new wok. I was floored to see that soy sauce must be refrigerated, at least according to the manufacturers. Who knew?

    So I threw out any opened and shelf-stored Asian sauces that read: refrigerate after opening. Now I'm noticing other sauces in my pantry that also read "refrigerate after opening".

    My list has started with:

    Soy sauces
    Oyster Sauce
    A-1 Steak Sauce
    Heinz 57

    Now I carefully read each label. Those Refrigerate After Opening recommendations can be in the teensiest print in the least obvious part of the label.

    Plus many sauces from the Asian grocery do not have expiration dates, like fish sauce. Not sure what to do with those.

    Am I carrying this too far? Is "refrigerate after opening" for sauces sort of like "dry clean only" for clothes--recommended just to cover the manufacturer's liability but not always necessary IRL? I wonder.


    We noticed the same thing not to long ago. annnd how small the print is .......!


      I think it all depends on your usage. We use a lot of Franks Red Hot. The bottle says "For best quality refrigerate after opening" We never do because it is gone in less than a month.

      We usually refrigerate Ketchup in the winter when it does not seem to be used as much but spring through fall it goes in the cupboard because it is used more.

      I have never refrigerated our soy sauce. It and other fermented asian sauces have enough salt in them to last out side of refrigeration.

      I have read that if it contains a bunch of salt and or vinegar it is pantry stable.

      I guess our rule of thumb is if it is gonna be used in a couple of month or so it does not need refrigerated for the following items

      Vinegar based Hot Sauces
      Soy Sauce
      Steak Sauce

      I will refrigerate the following items

      Mayo (No Brainer)
      BBQ Sauce (Seems to mold too quickly if not used right away because most of the ones we buy are sweet)
      Dill and Sweet Relish (We seem to like the flavor more if it is chilled)
      Salsa and Taco sauces


        I think of it in terms of canning. If the sauce in question has brine, vinegar, salt, etc.. in it I don't worry about refrigerating it. Not to say I don't refrigerate items like Frank's Original Hot Sauce because I like it cold. Of course, if it contains sugars, milk, and such I check the label


          My rule is, if it say to refrigerate, I do it. After a little research I found Asian sauces are fermented & will last. They may or can lose a little flavor after a short while, hence keepin it cold puts the brakes on the flavor loss. I have 4 open soy, 1 each oyster & fish sauces, which will take me some time to use em up. They are refrigerated. The other stuff (Worcestershire etc.) sit on a shelf, maybe forever. 😎


            My Grandmother used to keep her Kraft Parmesan cheese in the cupboard. Not sure how she came to think that was a good idea, but no one ever got sick (as far as I know). Myself--I refrigerate everything.


            • Steve B
              Steve B commented
              Editing a comment
              I'm in this boat. I refrigerate everything. + My wife wouldn't consume anything left out.

            • bbqLuv
              bbqLuv commented
              Editing a comment
              Dito on sauces, but PBR before opening. 😲

            • Santamarina
              Santamarina commented
              Editing a comment
              I grew up with Kraft Parmesan in the pantry. But these days I refrigerate almost everything.

            I refrigerate most all sauces after opening. We get a big soy sauce from costco and keep it in the spare fridge and i keep a squirt bottle next to the oven as i use it fairly often when cooking


              Fermented sauces don't really need to be refrigerated imo. I make individual calls depending on various factors. Anything that's going to hang around a long time should probably just go in the fridge. But soy sauce or fish sauce that gets used relatively quickly doesn't have to. It might even develop better flavor out. Ketchup for instance is an ingredient for me not a condiment and I don't use it often so it is definitely fridge bound. But do you have to refrigerate mustard (I do)? I don't think so because of the vinegar content.
              Last edited by Attjack; March 3, 2021, 09:31 AM.


                Fermented sauces: no

                Mustard: no
                For all the condiment-obsessed out there, we finally answer the question, “Does mustard need to be refrigerated?”

                Ketchup: no

                Oyster sauce: yes


                  I do if the bottle says refrigerate after opening - and sometimes even if it doesn't coughvermouthcough because I know it helps preserve the aromatics which in turn makes my food/Manhattans tastier 🤠


                  • Porkies
                    Porkies commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Attjack How long is a vermouth good if kept in the fridge? Weeks? Months?

                  • Attjack
                    Attjack commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Porkies I feel like if I use a wine saver to eliminate air in the bottle and keep it in the fridge it lasts for months. I also buy the small bottles as I previously mentioned although not all brands come in small bottles. Without a wine saver, I would say 1-2 months in the fridge.

                  • Bkhuna
                    Bkhuna commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Attjack Since a 750 mL bottle of wine is a single serving, my wife and I never have that problem.

                  One thing I have started with most things in my kitchen is I’ll write the date I opened it on the label somewhere in marker. That way if I pull the open Ketchup out of the pantry and the date I wrote is older than 2 months I give a little pause before I consume.

                  This is something I started with baking goods since I don’t do that often. I’m not sure how many times I used baking powder (or other material in my lazy susan) long after I should have because I had no idea when I opened it.


                  • N227GB
                    N227GB commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I also do this with all my spices and rubs.

                  I seem to refrigerate everything. I think I got that from my mother and did just what she did. My wife is the opposite--she would refrigerate practically nothing. I do tend to read the fine print now.


                  • Jfrosty27
                    Jfrosty27 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Me too. I just shove everything in the fridge. But my door cubby’s are so full I think the doors may fall off! 🤣

                  I use StillTasty a lot. https://stilltasty.com , search for sauce. Seems refrigeration will definitely extend the quality of most sauces.


                  • fzxdoc
                    fzxdoc commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I scratched my head at the information for fish sauce. Basically, it says that fish sauce is shelf stable under good storage conditions, but if it develops an off-odor, get rid of it. Uh. Fish sauce always has an off-odor to me.


                  A lot of those, like soy sauce, say they should be refrigerated to best preserve quality. If you use quickly, obviously its not necessary. Then again, I refrigerate pretty much every sauce/condiment except vinegar. Its just easier to find (and find space) on my fridge door than it would be to navigate through my cabinets. A whole shelf on my fridge door at near eye level that is dedicated to hot sauce makes it easier for me to pick and choose which one I want to use


                    Basically, if it's open and it's not oil (sesame oil is a refrigerated exception), vinegar, or honey ,,, it gets refrigerated.


                    • Bkhuna
                      Bkhuna commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I use a very good quality toasted sesame oil from Korea that I buy in a 250 mL bottle. I doesn't last long enough to go bad in a dark cabinet. If I had to store all my stuff refrigerated, I would need a commercial double fridge.

                    • Huskee
                      Huskee commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Sesame oil needs refrigerated? Uh oooohhhh

                    • MBMorgan
                      MBMorgan commented
                      Editing a comment
                      " Sesame oil needs refrigerated?"

                      Huskee - Apparently so. It gets rancid very quickly at room temp so unless you use it quickly enough, it needs to be kept cold and dark.


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