Does Mustard Go Bad? + Other Common FAQs

Mustard is a well-loved condiment by tons of people, making mustard a staple in many households.

However, you may not know when mustard goes bad. I looked up the facts, and here is what I discovered!

Does Mustard Go Bad?

Mustard has a very long shelf life, and if stored correctly and under good conditions, mustard will not go bad on you for at least three years. Mustard won’t go bad as much as it will lose potency and freshness. Mustard’s freshness depends on the indicated shelf life, storage methods, and the added ingredients to the mixture. 

How do you store mustard? How does mustard keep its distinct flavor? Keep reading to find out more below!

Does Mustard Go Bad If Left Out?

Opened mustard if left out and stored in the pantry can last you up to two months. Room temperature mustard can last as long as it is stored in a place away from direct sunlight.

Mustard will not necessarily go bad if left out after opening, and leaving an opened jar for a short period is not a big deal.

Does Mustard Go Bad If Unopened?

An unopened jar of mustard can easily last you many years without ever going bad.

Due to mustard’s antibacterial properties and preservative ingredients, mustard usually lasts long as mustard preserves much of its flavor over a long period.

Even if mustard can last indefinitely, that doesn’t mean mustard will taste good forever. Over time, unused mustard will lose its color, potency, and even taste.

Unopened mustard in containers may also separate, causing the oil to stay on top and the other residues on the bottom.

Does Mustard Go Bad If Not Refrigerated?

Mustard will not easily go bad if not refrigerated, but it is generally best to refrigerate mustard  once opened.

If you want to retain the freshness of mustard, storing mustard in the back of the fridge is the best way to make mustard last.

Typically, mustard can last for as long as 12 months in the fridge if the temperature is kept constant.

Mustard stored at the back of the fridge makes the mustard less susceptible to sudden temperature changes when doors are opened regularly.

Most companies will also state on their brand’s packaging if their mustard needs to be refrigerated.

As per the condiment, the choice is totally yours if you want to refrigerate mustard.

If you prefer consuming your mustard at room temperature, it is okay if you want to leave your mustard out.

Does Mustard Go Bad After Expiration Date?

Most companies that produce mustard label their containers with a “best-by” date and not an expiration date because mustard’s ingredients don’t typically spoil, so the expiration date is unnecessary.

However, the best-by date will give the consumers an idea of how long the flavors will stay fresh.

Mustard’s best by date on the container is the manufacturer’s way of telling the consumer when the mustard will keep being at its peak quality.

How Do You Retain Mustard’s Quality For A Long Time?

How Do You Retain Mustard’s Quality For A Long Time?

If your mustard has been opened and unused for a long time, there might be certain quality issues with it.

Luckily, these issues are fixable, and your mustard will still be safe to eat.

Mustard may undergo a separation of ingredients if untouched for a long period of time, which is a natural process, and stirring the mustard will usually fix the problem.

Mustard can also dry out if left without a cover or if left unopened for a period of time.

Mixing mustard with a little vinegar, white wine, or whatever acidic liquid you prefer can usually bring back it’s liquidy consistency.

How Can You Tell If Your Mustard Has Gone Off?

A certain change in mustard’s features and physical appearance will usually tell you if something is wrong with your mustard.

Mustard may lose its color, going completely pale or completely dark, meaning some sort of oxidation has occurred and the mustard is spoiled.

You can also tell if the mustard is spoiled if there is a bad odor that is released when you open a bottle or container.

Mustard has a distinct smell, meaning that a different smell, especially a bad smell, is easily recognizable.

Molds are also a sign that your mustard is unsafe to consume because any mold growth in your mustard indicates that there is bacterial growth in your mustard.

Always keep an eye out for the physical attributes of your mustard before consuming it.

How Do You Properly Store And Keep Mustard Fresh?

To keep mustard fresh, your mustard container must be stored in the right spot in your home.

Keeping mustard in your pantry in a cool place away from humidity and heat sources is ideal.

Contamination is another issue with mustard, so use clean utensils every time you scoop out your mustard.

Never introduce foreign objects or particles of food into your mustard bottle as it may induce bacterial growth.

Keep your mustard sealed tightly and avoid leaks in the cover so no bacteria or bad odors from other food in the fridge can get in your mustard container.

Lastly, never return leftover mustard in its container because this may spoil the whole bottle, and rather than saving the small portion, just throw the leftover mustard away.

Though it is dependent on your preference, refrigerate your mustard after opening. Not only will it stretch the mustard’s shelf life, but it also helps in keeping mustard’s quality.

Take a look at our other articles to discover if mustard is vegan, why mustard is yellow, and if mustard needs to be refrigerated.


Mustard is a long-lasting condiment that you can use for a long time, and mustard will last you for years as long as you keep mustard stored in the right conditions.

Over time, mustard can lose its freshness, but mustard will technically not go bad. Checking your mustard before using it is still ideal.

Leave a Comment