How Long Does Soy Sauce Last? (Storage Conditions + Shelf Life)

Soy sauce is an excellent sauce that can function as a condiment, seasoning, and much more. This versatility alone makes it nigh perfect but is it long-lived too?

If you’re wondering how long exactly soy sauce can last, I have the answer. Here are the facts I discovered!

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last?

Unopened soy sauce can last for 2-3 years in a dark and cool place, while opened soy sauce can last for up to 6 months. However, refrigerating opened soy sauce can bump its shelf life up to 2-3 years. Additionally, you can extend soy sauce’s shelf life by keeping it away from direct sunlight and hot areas.

Are you still curious about how long soy sauce can last, why it lasts for so long, and more? Keep reading to find out!

How Can Soy Sauce Last for So Long?

Soy sauce can last for a long time because of its ingredients and the fermentation process it undergoes.

Soy sauce contains natural preservatives like sodium benzoate that delay microbial growth, helping it stay fresh and mold-free for a long time.

Moreover, the fermentation process preserves foods while also removing natural toxins.

Certain manufacturers may add other artificial or natural preservatives to their soy sauce, but it is usually not necessary.

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last Once Open?

Soy sauce can last for around 4-6 months once opened if you keep it at room temperature. However, it must still be kept in an airtight bottle to prevent bacteria from contaminating the sauce.

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last Unopened?

Unopened soy sauce technically has an indefinite expiry but most unopened bottles can stay fresh for up to 3 years.

How long unopened soy sauce can last will also depend on where it is kept. It is best stored in a cool, dark place away from heat and light, such as a cupboard.

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last In The Fridge?

Soy sauce that is refrigerated can last for up to 2 years because the cold and stable air keeps it fresh.

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last Unrefrigerated?

Unopened soy sauce can stay unrefrigerated for around 2-3 years, especially if it is kept in a dark and cool space. However, opened soy sauce may only last for up to 6 months.

Moreover, keeping your soy sauce in open areas with direct sunlight can make it spoil and bring its shelf life down to only 1-3 months.

Should You Keep Soy Sauce In a Dark Place?

Whether it is opened or unopened, it is best to store soy sauce in a dark place as the heat and humidity from bright places or direct sunlight can make it spoil faster.

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last After the Expiration Date?

Most condiments like soy sauce do not have an expiration date or a use-by date. Instead, soy sauces contain a “best before date” which is a crucial distinction to remember.

Since it says best before, soy sauce can be safely consumed after the date if you store it properly and it still smells and tastes the same.

For instance, if you have an unopened bottle of soy sauce that is past the best before the date by one month, it is still safe to consume if there is nothing wrong with the bottle or liquid.

Why Is There Mold In My Soy Sauce?

Most “mold” that shows up in soy sauce is not true mold because it is a yeast known as film yeast.

Film yeast can grow in very salty environments like soy sauce and it looks like small white dots floating in the liquid.

Is It Okay To Consume Soy Sauce With Mold In It?

If there is no actual mold and there is only film yeast present in your soy sauce, it could be safe to consume.

First, remove the film yeast and see if there is a difference in the color, smell, or taste of the soy sauce.

If all is still the same, it is safe to consume soy sauce but you will need to throw the soy sauce away if something is different.

How Long Does Light Soy Sauce Last?

Opened light soy sauce can last unrefrigerated for up to 6 months in a dark place while refrigerated light soy sauce can last for 2-3 years.

Light soy sauce can potentially lose its flavor over time but it will mostly taste milder and can still be safe to eat if it does not taste bad.

How Long Does Dark Soy Sauce Last?

Similar to light soy sauce, opened dark soy sauce can last for 6 months unrefrigerated but it stays fresh for 2-3 years when kept in the fridge.

How Long Does Kikkoman Soy Sauce Last?

Kikkoman soy sauce can last for several months after you open it but the manufacturers recommend that you keep it refrigerated and consume it before the best by date.

How Long Does Tamari Soy Sauce Last?

Tamari soy sauce can last unopened for up to 2 years if you store it in a dry and cool place.

However, the peak flavor of tamari soy sauce only lasts for around 3 months after you open it. It will still be fine to consume for up to 6-8 months but it will not taste as fresh.

How Long Does Gluten-Free Soy Sauce Last?

Similar to tamari soy sauce, gluten-free soy sauce can last for 2 years or longer when stored properly, and it can last for 3-8 months after opening.

Moreover, you can extend the shelf life of gluten-free soy sauce by keeping it in the fridge after you open it.

How Long Does Sweet Soy Sauce Last?

Sweet soy sauce can last for 2-3 years if unopened and can stay fresh for about 2-3 months after opening. You can make it last longer by refrigerating it after use.

If you want to learn more about soy sauce, you can see our related posts on whether soy sauce needs to be refrigerated, the types of soy sauce, and soy sauce facts.


Soy sauce can last unopened in storage for a few years.

On the other hand, opened soy sauce can stay fresh for 2-3 years in the fridge but only 1-3 months when stored at room temperature.

You can extend the freshness of your soy sauce by keeping it in an airtight bottle after opening it and storing it in a dark, cool place like a fridge.

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