Soy sauce is a very popular condiment in most Asian cuisine, cherish it to add flavor to their foods. The question of whether it can go bad or not rarely crosses the mind of its lovers. Nonetheless, it is a valid one. Like the most edible thing, it has its usable lifespan, which could be shorter than usual, especially if not handled properly. The chances of soy sauce going bad in just a few years after purchase are very slim.

Loaded with sodium, soy provides no conducive environment that could encourage the growth of micro-organisms, making it stay safe for a very long period provided the storage was done well. I encourage you to read along to find out how to store soy sauce correctly, its self-life, whether it can be refrigerated, and so much more about it.

How to store soy sauce better

So long as the sauce is in a closed bottle, the pantry would be ideal for keeping your soy sauce since it is cool and dry there. If the bottle is opened, you can still store it in the pantry if you intend to use it within a few months. Otherwise, keep it in the fridge to maintain better quality for a longer time. There is a reason why soy sauce does not go bad quickly, even if left open and unrefrigerated. Soy sauce is made using roasted grains, soybeans, brine, and Aspergillus sojae molds.

These are made into a paste and then fermented for months at room temperature, making the sauce bacteria-free. Like any food, keep your soy away from contamination, such as dishwasher, because water and soap falling in soy sauce is not good news for its lifespan. It is important not to keep it near high heat like a stove, cooking gas, microwave oven, or direct sunlight because the heat will not favor the sauce.

What is the average self-life of soy sauce?

All soy sauce you buy at the supermarket or shop has a label in the bottle that I bet reads ‘best by ‘date, which could tell you the expiry date. Upon opening the bottle, the soy will taste great for about one or two years, then after this, the quality and the flavor of the soy sauce will depreciate though it will still be safe for consumption. This, therefore, means that it will be prudent to check the package date when buying because a new soy sauce is better than the one which has stayed on the shelf for years.

The loss of flavor does not mean it is dangerous for your health, knowing that a sealed bottle of soy can stay for an even longer period when correctly stored. The three years for a sealed bottle is for optimal quality, two years for the opened refrigerated container, and six months for replacement if you want to experience peak flavor.

What about Tamari/Shoyu Sauce?

These types of soy sauces are normally brewed and fermented while being prepared. This makes them susceptible to decay more rapidly than their commercial counterparts.

They maintain quality and flavor in an unopened bottle for two years. Once opened, their prime can last for at least three months but will still be safe to use.

Does Soy Sauce Go Bad

In a traditional sense and as already discussed, soy sauce undergoes fermentation, making it unlikely to spoil. However, the oxidation process, which starts when the storage bottle is opened, often robs quality fermented beverages. The good news is, different from other soy products such as tofu and milk that can make you sick when taken upon expiry, soy sauce does not go bad.

Normally good fresh sauce has a reddish-brown color and possesses a unique aroma depending on the type you bought. As time passes or as it oxidizes, the sauce’s color will get darker and intensify in flavor. A growing mold on the soy sauce, which is unlikely, could also signify it has gone bad and that it should be discarded. To ensure safety, store it correctly to avoid contamination. You can also take a whiff at the bottle, and if you smell a strange odor, it isn’t good.

How to use soy sauce

You are on the right page if you hear the word soy sauce for the first time or have heard about it but don’t use it. To begin with, these are seasonings that make your food delicious when used in moderation. The use will depend on the type of sauce.

The light sauce is preferred for dips, food dressing, marinating ingredients, and stir-fry food. The dark soy sauce signifies it has aged or stayed a little longer than the light one, usually used in stew dishes such as pork, giving the meat a beautiful caramel color with a sweet taste. On the other hand, the thick sauce is made with sugar and more wheat during the fermentation process. Due to its sweet taste, it is used mostly in dips and stir-fry foods. some use it in braised pork rice and beef stews


Soy sauce is a popular condiment used not only in Asian countries but also in other parts of the world. Its preparation is fermented with brine and molds for months, making it stay longer and safer without going bad like other food. It is this capacity to stay safe that has made it popular in addition to its beautiful aroma.

Keeping soy sauce in a cool, dry place while sealed helps maintain its quality. Once opened, you do no wrong putting it in a fridge. However, that is not to say that it will go bad if you do not refrigerate. Owing to its many health benefits, you can include it in your shopping list next time.

About Harris V.

Harris is a content coordinator and senior writer at Gliving. After years of cooking professionally, Harris traded in his knives for the pen. He spends most of his time writing these days but still loves to get down with some delicious recipes in the kitchen for his family.