Does Soy Sauce Go Bad? Ever?

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If you are a fan of fried rice or stir fry, soy sauce is something you always have in the pantry. But how long do they last? Does soy sauce ever go bad? What is the best way to store soy sauce anyway? 

Well, aren’t you at the right place as we discuss all those topics today! If you are interested to know more, keep on reading.

Does Soy Sauce Go Bad?

does soy sauce go bad
does soy sauce go bad

Soy sauce does go bad eventually but it takes a long time. Soy sauce is known to have an indefinite shelf life which means it is excellent at self-preserving. 

This happens due to the high concentration of sodium in the sauce. Sodium kills all the microbes that can spoil the soy sauce which ensures its stable shelf-life. 

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last?

Soy sauce has an indefinite shelf life which means it technically does not go bad. The only reason why it might spoil is if you store it incorrectly.

We will talk about the proper way to store soya sauce in a minute. Keep reading if you are interested. 

An unopened soy sauce bottle can last for years and years without any issue.

How Long Does Opened Soy Sauce Last?

An opened bottle can survive 2-3 years in the fridge and 6 months in the pantry.

How to Tell If it’s Bad Soy Sauce?

how long does soy sauce last
how long does soy sauce last

Soy sauce eventually goes bad but it can be tricky to tell sometimes. We have a simple guide to know whether the soy sauce has gone bad or not.


When you open the lid, the smell is the first thing that catches your attention. Soy sauce has a very distinctive smell. So when it goes bad, you would be able to tell instantly. 


To be honest, when was the last time you tasted raw soy sauce before adding it to a dish? Probably never. That’s what we all do but we shouldn’t!

The only time we taste raw soy sauce is when we are eating sushi. Soy sauce tastes very salty and slightly pungent due to the fermentation. It has a pleasant taste.

When the sauce is spoiled, it tastes very acidic and oftentimes too harsh. So make sure to taste it before adding it to any dish. 


Soy sauce comes in a wide variety from light brown to deep, almost black soy sauce. What you need to focus on is whether there is a color change. If your sauce was light brown but has turned deep brown, it has either oxidized or it’s spoiled. 

The best way to know which one it is is by tasting the soy sauce a bit. Sometimes the opposite can happen too. Dark soy sauce can turn transparent with time if you store it under direct sunlight. 


It might seem strange for soy to get molds but it happens. Soy sauce is a fermented condiment. This means it is created by adding mold and letting it ferment the soya beans for months. 

But certain molds can make the soy sauce taste or smell bad. We don’t want those to affect the quality in any way. 

Molds can occur if you forget to close the lid properly. So if you notice any anomaly, don’t consume that bottle. 


Depending on the brand, soy sauce has a medium to a light consistency. If you notice your sauce looking too thick or chunky, it’s time to throw it away in the trash! 

How to Store Soy Sauce: Our 5 Key Tips

How to Store Soy Sauce
How to Store Soy Sauce

Even though soy sauce has quite a self-sustaining shelf life, you need to store it properly to make sure it stays that way. 

Actually, out of all the kitchen condiments, soy sauce is the easiest to store as it requires very little effort. Here are our five key ways to keep your soy sauce fresh for longer:

01. Keep It Sealed:

If you want your soy sauce to last the longest, the best thing to do is not open the original packaging. Keep the soy sauce bottle as it is and store in a cool, dry place, 

If you keep the bottle sealed, it can survive 3-4 years and way past its expiry date. We like to bulk purchase a variety of soy sauces and keep them in our pantry for years. 

It might feel tempting to transfer the sauce to a fancier and nicer-looking bottle but trust us! Keeping the original packaging allows us to retain its flavor the most. 

02. Airtight Bottle/Jar 

If you have already broken the seal and used some of the soy sauce, the next best thing would be to transfer it to an airtight bottle or jar.

We like to use glass bottles as it is eco friendly and more durable. And let’s not forget how classy glass bottles look! 

Always make sure that the lid is tightly closed so no oxygen can touch the soy sauce inside. 

03. Consistent Temperature:

Unless you live in a very tropical climate, this shouldn’t be an issue. Soy sauce stays the best when the temperature is consistent and stable.

So do not keep your soy sauce bottle closer to the oven or stove. The rise and fall of temperature will actually ruin your sauce. 

If you keep your soy sauce under or around windows, regular sunlight will also damage it. Soy sauce can expire months before its past date if you store it in a hot environment. 

04. Pantry or Basement:

The best place to store soy sauce is somewhere without direct sunlight or heat. Pantry is a great place to store. If you do not have a pantry, try to store it in the basement. 

If your basement is wet and damp, this might not be the best option for you. The key thing is to store soy sauce in a cool and dry place. 

05. Refrigerator: 

One of the reasons why people store soy sauce in the refrigerator is due to the consistent temperature. When your house does not have any temperature control, storing soy sauce in the refrigerator is the smartest idea. 

Some brands specifically mention storing the sauce in the fridge after opening. Some brands advise against it. So make sure to read the labels before doing it. 

Can You Freeze Soy Sauce? 

Soy sauce can go bad if it’s not being stored properly. It can go bad due to it being shelved for years. Soy sauce usually has a shelf life of 2-3 years. After that, it starts to deteriorate and eventually goes bad. 

If the bottle is not closed properly and air can go inside, molds will develop and the soy sauce will go bad faster. 

You don’t need to freeze soy sauce as it is quite long-lasting anyway. Freezing might help with maintaining the color and taste for longer. 

Keep in mind soya sauce might not freeze at all as it contains a lot of salt. We know salt melts ice so anything with such sodium content might not freeze well. 

Honestly, just store your soy sauce in a dark, cool palace and it will stay fresh for years. Why go through the hassle of freezing anyway?

Frequently Asked Questions 

Should I Refrigerate Soy Sauce?

You should not refrigerate soy sauce after opening a bottle unless you hardly use it. If you use soy sauce regularly on your dishes, leaving it at room temperature is perfectly fine. 
But if you use soy sauce once or twice a week or month, storing it in the fridge will help to keep it tasting fresh for longer. 

Does Soy Sauce Expire?

Pure soy sauce does not expire for years if it’s stored properly. Most of the soy sauce we buy is a mixture of a few ingredients. The shelf life of store-bought soy sauce is not as long as organic ones. 

How Long is Soy Sauce Good for?

Soy sauce has an indefinite shelf life which means it lasts depending on how it’s being stored. The expiration date on soy sauce bottles is totally meaningless as it stays safe to use for years past that date. Refrigerated soy sauce lasts for 2-3 years without losing its taste and quality.

Does Soy Sauce Have Alcohol?

Soy sauce contains zero alcohol. A lot of us assume soy sauce has alcohol due to its strong taste. But this taste is acquired by a fermentation process. 
During the fermentation process, the starch in the soy sauce mixture is broken down into sugar and the sugar turns into alcohol over time. 
So the alcohol in soy sauce is not added, instead, it’s part of the formulation that turns soybeans into soy sauce.

Can Soy Sauce Make You Sick?

Just like any other ingredients, too much soy sauce can make you sick. Any food item in moderation is good for us. When we overdo it, the consequences are bad. 
Soy sauce has a high amount of sodium, amines including histamine and tyramine. These ingredients can cause toxic reactions if you consume too much. 
Some of the symptoms include sweating, itching, stomach issues, headaches, dizziness, and bloating. You might see a spike in your blood pressure due to the high sodium content. So next time when you eat sushi, be mindful of your soy dip. 

Does Soy Sauce Get Molds?

Soy sauce is created through a fermentation process where a turning mold called Aspergillus is added. This mold helps to break down the soybeans and wheat mixture. 
Soy sauce can get moldy if you keep it in an open jar. But the structure of soy sauce contains mold by nature. 
So when you store your soy sauce, you will notice it getting darker and darker over time. This oxidation process makes soy sauce stronger and more aromatic. 

What’s the Difference between Chinese and Japanese Soy Sauce?

Most of us westerners think soy sauce is soy sauce. But just like cheese, there is a wide range and variety of soy sauce. Each has its distinctive taste and usage as well. 
The two most popular are Chinese soy sauce and Japanese soy sauce. The difference between them is in the ingredients.
Chinese soy sauce is made using 100 percent soybeans. Japanese soy sauce on the other hand uses a mixture of soy and wheat.
This makes the Japanese version sweeter and less pungent. Chinese soy sauce on the other hand is strong, salty and aggressive.

Final Words

We absolutely love soy sauce and add it to all sorts of recipes. It adds such a delicious saltiness to dishes and alleviates all the other spices with it. 

Now that you know how easy it is store soy sauce, hopefully you will always have a battle in your pantry. You can keep your soy sauce fresh and high-quality for years with our tips and tricks. 

Was it helpful? Let us know in the comments!

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