How to Tell If Mayo is Bad? How to Store It Right!

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Want to know if Mayo is bad? This article shows the signs of spoiled mayonnaise to help you avoid food poisoning. Read on to keep your stomach safe.

Summary of Key Points
🧈 Spoiled mayo separates and changes color.
👃 Unsafe mayo smells acidic or putrid.
👅 If mayo tastes sour or pungent, discard it.
🍄 Visible molds on mayo mean it’s unsafe to consume.
How to Tell If Mayo is Bad? How to Store It Right! 1
How to Tell If Mayo is Bad How to Store It Right 1

🥄 The Shelf Life of Mayonnaise: How Long Does it Last?

The shelf life of mayonnaise depends on how you are storing it and which type of mayo it is. For optimal pantry storage, pay attention to freshness and food safety by keeping it in a cool, dark place.

A commercially packaged mayonnaise can last quite long in the fridge, whereas a homemade one would last very little.

The cold temperature in the fridge slows down bacteria growth, extending its shelf life.

An unopened mayo jar can last up to 3 months past its expiry date. When it comes to mayonnaise, you must smell and taste it to know if it has gone bad. There are a few ways to determine if it’s gone bad.

💁🏻‍♂️ You may want to try: Mayo In Coffee

How to Tell If Mayo is Bad?

Even though it might seem pretty obvious to some, mayonnaise can go bad without showing obvious signs of spoilage. Bad if the texture changes or smells off. Consider this a sign that the mayo is bad and wrong. Five different ways can help you know if your mayo is safe to eat or not.

🍯 01. Texture Changes:

The mayo should maintain a creamy texture inside the jar.

If separation and liquid gathering occur on top of the mayo, it’s time to discard it.

🎨 02. Discoloration:

The discoloration is a clear sign of spoiled mayonnaise. If the mayo changes color to yellow or brown, it’s bad.

This could happen if the jar lid wasn’t closed properly or left at room temperature for too long.

💡Mayonnaise can still be spoiled even if it looks and smells normal.

💡 03. Strange Smell:

Mayonnaise usually has a neutral smell due to the vinegar it contains.

If the mayo starts to smell acidic or foul, it’s not safe to eat.

👅 04. Sour Taste:

Sometimes, the look and smell can’t confirm if the mayo is bad.

In these situations, a small taste test is necessary. Discard the mayo if it tastes sour or overly strong.

🍄 05. Visible Molds:

Mayo should never show signs of mold or spores.

If improper storage leads to the development of mold, avoid consuming the mayo, as it can pose serious health risks.

What Happens If You Eat Expired Mayonnaise

How to Tell If Mayo is Bad? How to Store It Right! 2
  • Stomach aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Risk of Salmonella
  • Possibility of Typhoid fever

🤒 If you accidentally Eat expired mayonnaise, it can cause stomach aches and diarrhea. As mayo is basically raw eggs, it has a risk of salmonella, so you need to be very careful.

🦠 If you get a Salmonellosis infection, it can cause Typhoid fever, too. This is not very likely to happen from a few spoons of mayo, but it’s a possibility.

🍋 When mayonnaise expires, the acidity level increases drastically. It not only smells bad but tastes very sour, too. So, it can cause acidity and heartburn.

Consuming spoiled mayonnaise can lead to food poisoning from harmful bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, and Listeria. These bacteria can cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps, which can lead to hospitalization in severe cases.

Storing mayo properly and knowing how to tell if it’s bad can prevent potential health risks.

How to Store Mayonnaise the Right Way

how long does mayo last
how long does mayo last

Mayonnaise is made using raw chicken eggs. Due to this, proper storage is necessary to keep it safe to eat. Mayo can get spoiled or contaminated very easily.

📋 Some do’s and don’ts to keep your mayonnaise fresh for longer:

  • 🌡️ Refrigerate mayonnaise promptly after use, and discard any mayonnaise that has been left at room temperature for more than two hours or more than one hour if the temperature is above 90°F (32°C).
  • ❄️ Keep your mayo always in the refrigerator. Don’t freeze your mayonnaise.
  • 🚫 Don’t microwave your mayo to bring it to room temperature.

❄️ Optimal Temperature

The best way to store mayonnaise is in a cold environment. To maintain the right heat and temperatures, aim for a refrigerator temperature below 50°F. A consistent cold temperature keeps the mayo fresh for a longer time.

📦 Container Choices

The right container is crucial for maintaining mayo quality. Using an airtight container ensures optimal quality of your homemade or store-bought mayo. Keeping it in the original container with a tight lid works best for store-bought options.

How to Tell if Mayo Has Been Cross-Contaminated

Cross-contamination can spoil your mayonnaise quickly. Warning signs include a change in color or an unusual smell. Always use clean utensils to prevent contaminating your mayo, which can lead to mold growth and further cross-contamination.

How to Tell if Mayo Has Been Exposed to Heat

Heat harms the quality of mayo. If the mayo is separating or smells bad, it has likely been exposed to heat, and you should throw it away.

Vegan Mayo: Does It Last Longer?

AspectRegular MayoVegan Mayo
Unopened Jars3 months6-12 months
After Opening2 months2-3 months
Homemade Versions3-4 days10 days

Unopened Jars

The lifespan of unopened vegan mayo is 6 to 12 months.

After Opening

If you keep opened vegan mayo in the fridge, its quality lasts for 2 to 3 months.

Homemade Versions

Homemade vegan mayo lasts up to 10 days in the fridge.

Store-Bought Longevity

Using an airtight container can extend the lifespan of store-bought vegan mayo to six months.

Quality Over Time

The quality of freshly made vegan mayo declines after two weeks.

Choice of Oil

Using sunflower or canola oil can extend the lifespan of vegan mayo.

Ingredients Matter

Acids and emulsifiers affect how long vegan mayo stays good.

Storage Tips

Always store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Best Time to Use

For best quality, use within the first week of opening.

❄️ Can You Freeze Mayonnaise?

Yes, you can freeze mayonnaise. Mix the ingredients well before putting the mayo in the freezer. This stops the mayo from separating when you thaw it later.

But if separation does happen, you can fix it by mixing in more olive oil or yogurt until it combines well again.

Global Mayo Practices: What Can We Learn?

🇯🇵 Japanese Mayo: Umami Richness
In Japan, adding MSG to mayo for umami flavor is a lesson in maximizing taste.

🇪🇸 Spanish Aioli: Garlic Twist
Spain’s aioli introduces garlic to the mayo mix. A fusion of flavor and tradition.

🇺🇸 American Mayo: Versatile Use
In the U.S., mayo serves as a base for various dressings and dips. A testament to its adaptability.

🇫🇷 French Mayonnaise: Culinary Art
France, the birthplace of mayo, treats it as a culinary art. Often made fresh and used sparingly.

🇿🇦 South African Perinaise: Spicy Kick
Perinaise in South Africa combines mayo with peri-peri sauce. A lesson in bold flavor blending.

🌱 Vegan Mayo: Health-Conscious Choice
Vegan mayo offers a plant-based alternative. A step towards more inclusive food practices.

🥫 Storage Practices: Universal Care
Globally, airtight containers and fridge storage are common. A universal method for preserving quality.

🍱 Mayo Pairings: Global Inspirations
Mayo complements various cuisines, like sushi in Japan and tapas in Spain, making it a versatile condiment.

The Science Behind Mayo Spoilage

🦠 Bacterial Growth: The Main Culprit

Spoilage often starts with bacterial growth. Proper storage can slow this process.

🛢️ Oil and Water: A Delicate Balance

The emulsion of oil and water in mayo is unstable. Separation is a sign of spoilage.

🍋 Acidity Levels: Preservation Role

Acids like lemon juice or vinegar act as natural preservatives. They help in extending mayo’s shelf life.

🌡️ Temperature: The Spoilage Accelerator

High temperature speeds up spoilage, making fridge storage crucial for mayo’s quality.

🌬️ Oxygen Exposure: The Invisible Enemy

Oxygen exposure harms mayo quality, so use airtight containers as the first defense.

Homemade vs Store-Bought: Preservatives Matter

Preservatives such as calcium disodium EDTA or potassium sorbate are in store-bought mayonnaise. They extend its shelf life. Homemade mayo typically lacks these preservatives, which means it spoils faster.

If you opt for a natural, preservative-free option, homemade mayonnaise is the way. However, be prepared to use it quickly and store it properly to minimize spoilage risks.

⚠️ Color and Smell: Spoilage Indicators
When it comes to finding out if your mayonnaise has gone bad, color and odor are crucial. If the mayonnaise changes from creamy white to a darker shade, it’s not safe to eat. The same goes for an off-putting smell.

Always check these two aspects before using the condiment, especially if it has been in storage for a long time.

Myth-Busting Mayo: Common Misconceptions

🔍 Topic🤥 Myth🤓 Fact
❤️ Mayo and CholesterolMany hold the common belief that mayo raises cholesterol.Mayo with healthier oils exists.
❄️ Shelf-Stable MythA myth exists that unopened mayo doesn’t need refrigeration.Always read the label for correct storage advice.
🌱 Vegan MayoA common belief is that vegan mayo is not creamy.High-quality plant-based mayo is just as creamy.
🍰 Mayo in DessertsThe fact is, using mayo in desserts like cake may seem odd.It enhances moisture.
⚠️ Mayo and Food PoisoningThe myth is that mayo easily causes food poisoning.Proper storage and use reduce that risk.
🥪 Only for SandwichesThe myth continues that mayo is only for sandwiches.Mayo also works well in dressings and sauces.
🏡 Homemade is HealthierPeople often view homemade mayo as healthier.Ingredient choice affects its health benefits.

How to Make and Ferment Homemade Mayo

how long does homemade mayo last
how long does homemade mayo last

Let’s be honest; we all prefer homemade mayonnaise over store-bought jars. But they are a pain to make and don’t even last very long. Did you know you can ferment your homemade mayo to last longer than the store-bought options? 

The problem with homemade mayonnaise is that it’s likely to contain raw eggs, which can carry food poisoning risks. How do you tell if eggs are bad? 3 quick techniques↗.

It’s actually super easy and tastes so much better and creamier! Here’s how we make fermented homemade mayonnaise:


  • Hand blender food processor
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ tablespoon lemon juice/ vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon whey


  1. Mix your eggs, lemon juice, and whey into a blender. 
  2. Add the spices and salt and blend for a few seconds.
  3. While the food processor is on, start adding the oil a few drops at a time. O it gradually until the sauce starts to thicken. 
  4. After you have added the whole oil, beat it until you are satisfied with the consistency. Do not overbeat, as the mayo can separate. 
  5. Place the mayo in a glass jar and close the lid tightly. 
  6. Leave the jar on the countertop overnight and then refrigerate. 


How Long Does Homemade Mayo Last?

Homemade mayo contains no preservatives, so it does not last as long as store-bought mayonnaise. If you keep your homemade mayo in the refrigerator, it will last 3-4 days. 
You can extend the shelf life of your homemade mayonnaise by fermenting it. After fermenting your mayo for 5-6 hours, it can last up to 2 months in the fridge. 

Does Mayonnaise Need to Be Refrigerated?

Mayonnaise contains egg yolk and oil. Egg yolk does not survive well at room temperature. You must keep your mayo cold to prevent molds from growing inside. 
According to the USDA, mayonnaise can not reach above 50° Fahrenheit. Anything above that spoils the mayo and causes it to separate. 

How Long Does Mayonnaise Last After Opening?

Once you open a jar of mayo, it will last you up to 2 months. Before it’s opened, a jar of mayo can last in the refrigerator for about three months or until it expires. 

How Long Can Mayo Stay Out?

According to the USDA, mayonnaise can sit at room temperature for up to 8 hours. Any open mayonnaise jar that sits above 50° Fahrenheit for more than 8 hours must be tossed out. 
So, eating is still safe if you accidentally leave your mayonnaise on the countertop overnight. Just quickly put it back in the refrigerator. 

Is Hellman Mayo Pasteurized?

Hellmann’s mayo uses 100% free-range chicken eggs. So, their mayonnaise is pasteurized and safe to eat. If you’re pregnant or have health limitations, using Hellmann’s mayo instead of a generic one is safer and arguably better for you.

Where Does Mayonnaise Come from?

Some people say mayonnaise comes from Spain, specifically Mahón. Spanish recipe books dating as far back as the 14th century mention a sauce using egg, oil, and garlic. It was called all-i-oli.
The first time we saw mayonnaise in European cuisine was in the 1750s when it was published in a cooking book and was called aioli bo. Aioli literally translates to garlic and oil. So, we can say mayonnaise has been around for centuries.

How Long is Mayonnaise Good for after the Expiration Date?

If you store your mayonnaise according to the USDA guidelines, it will stay fresh and edible for 3-4 months before expiration. The expiration date is a mere suggestion for the consumer.
Expiration dates are not exact. Food like mayo can spoil before or stay good months after this date.


This article explains how to spot bad mayonnaise and tips for keeping your mayo fresh for longer. We discussed the shelf life of both homemade and store-bought mayo, so you know exactly how to preserve them.

Mayonnaise is a staple in sandwiches. A good sandwich always includes a dollop of mayo.

Store the mayonnaise in the refrigerator because kids love it. Avoid contamination to prevent serious health risks.

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