Does Mustard Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

Mustard is one of the most common condiments that can be found in any kitchen. It has forever been adding flavors to our dishes in the form of drizzle, dips or dressing- be it the sweet old fries, honey chili potatoes or just some leftover from an extensive barbeque chicken dinner. Let’s admit that we all have a half-opened bottle of mustard stored somewhere in our kitchens. 

Considered the most important condiment alongside ketchup and mayonnaise, it’s safe to say that we all use mustard for regular consumption. And unless you use it on a daily basis, you will surely have half a bottle stored somewhere. So now the question is how long can mustard be stored before it can go bad. Whether you store it at room temperature or in the fridge, it’s better to know the life span of mustard, it’s shelf life and how to extend its shelf life. So here we go…

Does Mustard Go Bad?


  • Mustard sauce is a blend of herbs and spices, and acid-based flavoring agents like vinegar and lime juice. 
  • So, no, mustard cannot go bad easily. But yes, it can definitely lose its flavor over time. Even then, it won’t turn rancid but it could only lose its kick. 
Does Mustard Go Bad

Some signs to ensure mustard getting old:

Texture: 

Mustard can dry out and the particles can separate over time. This means the liquids in the sauce are evaporating. For a short term evaporation, you can simply stir the mustard to bring it back to its original form. But in case you see a dry lump forming under the mustard in the jar or any film of mold, it’s best to dispose of it. 

Odor:

Another important factor to note is the smell that mustard carries. If you smell a sour or different smell coming from the mustard container, it means your product is expired. 

Note: Different brands of mustard will have a different expiry date. You can check the ‘best-before’ instruction at the back. Usually the mustard is good for consumption for some time after the date has passed.

How Long Does Mustard Last?

The shelf life of a certain mustard depends on the brand, type, storage conditions and packaging.

Brand and Storage Conditions for Different Types of Mustard

Dijon Mustard

A fresh new unopened can of Dijon mustard can last upto two to three years in the pantry or in the kitchen storage with room temperature. An open can of mustard can last upto one year in the fridge. The shelf life of Dijon mustard is longer because of the high proportion of vinegar in it. 

American Mustard

American Mustard is the most popular and mild mustard that is actively used in most households. If unopened, the can of mustard can last two to three years at room temperature beyond the ‘best by’ date. But if opened, it can last upto one year in the refrigerator. 

Chinese Mustard

Chinese Mustard can last upto two or three years at room temperature, if the can is unopened. If opened, it can last upto a year in the fridge. 

Honey Mustard

Honey Mustard is the same as the Chinese Mustard. It can stay alright for two to three years in the pantry. But if opened, it can last upto a year in the fridge.

Homemade Mustard

Homemade mustard is the fastest that can go bad. If stored in the pantry at room temperature, it can go bad in a day. But if you store it in the fridge, it can last upto a week. But that also depends on the packaging and the ingredients used. 

Dry Mustard

Dry mustard is the easiest to store. It can last upto a year or two at room temperature. But if you store it in a fridge, it can last indefinitely. 

Packaging

If the mustard is stored in a glass jar, it can last up to 2 years. But if it is stored in a plastic bottle, it can only last up to 18 months. Further, if the mustard is stored in sachets, it can only stay good for up to 6 months.

How to Store Mustard to Extend its Shelf Life?

You should store mustard in a glass jar and store it in a cool and dark place, away from heat and sunlight or any form of light. But you can store an unopened jar in the pantry or at room temperature in the kitchen cabinet. 

Also, make sure the jar is tightly closed and the lid is sealed properly. Otherwise, there is a chance that the mustard can dry out and become parched. Besides, always use cleaned utensils to scoop out mustard. And never dip the food (a sausage for example) directly into the jar.

Tip: If the mustard gets dry, you can add a teaspoon of vinegar to bring it back to life.

So, keep these pointers in mind next time you are purchasing or storing mustard. And enjoy a better flavour and extended shelf life. 

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