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How Long Does Oyster Sauce Last? Does Oyster Sauce Go Bad?

Oyster sauce is one of the most savory condiments out there that can take your dishes to the next level.

From stir-fried vegetables, grilled meat to noodles, oyster sauce can add an extra flavor to your meals and make them more delicious.

However, did you know that this Chinese staple condiment was actually a product of a cooking accident? According to Wikipedia, it was invented by Lee Kum Sheung in 1888.

While cooking his usual oyster dish, he lost track of time and left the oysters to simmer. He then smelled a strong aroma from the dish.

Upon checking the oysters, he found a thick, brownish sauce with an equally delicious taste; the Oyster Sauce.

Despite its popularity, there is one question that people mostly have regarding this sweet-savory condiment: how long does oyster sauce last?

If you are also confused about the shelf life of oyster sauce and want to know more about it, you’re in the right place.

To know more about the shelf life, expiry, and storage of oyster sauce, just read on!

How Long Does Oyster Sauce Last? Does Oyster Sauce Go Bad?

If you are looking for a short answer to the above question, it would be yes, oyster sauce does go bad. However, unlike other condiments, you can use oyster sauce even past its best before date.

When it comes to storing oyster sauce, the rule of thumb is to check the manufacturer’s label for the best before date. This is because different manufacturers use different methods for making their oyster sauce. Hence, their shelf life and storage will vary.

The shelf life of your oyster sauce also depends on its quality. Unopened oyster sauce can last you for up to a year past its best before date (on the condition that you store rightly in its original packaging). However, once opened, quality comes into play.

The better the quality of your oyster sauce, the longer it should last. However, if you can’t tell the quality of your oyster sauce, it is best to use it within six months.

Note that this is only a general estimation. Unopened oyster sauce can last you for a year or even more past its printed date when you store it in a cool place, away from sunlight. You can store the unopened oyster sauce in your pantry or fridge.

In contrast, opened oyster sauce has a shelf life of up to 6 months. However, make sure that you store opened oyster sauce in the refrigerator at all times.

Also, ensure that you store the sauce in its original bottle, completely sealed. If your sauce came in a can, you should transfer the remaining sauce into an airtight container before putting it in the fridge.

How to Tell if Oyster Sauce is Bad?

Over time, your oyster sauce will start losing its quality until it eventually becomes rancid. You can use its best before date as a safe benchmark.

Before the best-before date, oyster sauce will retain its best quality. However, once it crosses its best before date, the sauce will start losing its quality.

Consuming rancid oyster sauce will not only ruin the taste of your dishes but also harm your health. Eating meals cooked in bad oyster sauce will have the same effect as eating any other rancid food: food poisoning.

So, how can we tell if oyster sauce has gone bad? When do we know when to toss it in the trash?

It’s quite easy. All you have to do is use your sense of sight and smell to check signs of spoilage in rancid oyster sauce.

  • As your oyster sauce loses its quality, it will become darker in color. Additionally, the flavor also becomes stronger. This is due to the oxidation process.
  • One obvious sign of rancid oyster sauce is when you see a separate liquid layer on top of your oyster sauce.
  • Other than changes in color and liquid separation, you may also notice mold developments in bad oyster sauce.
  • However, note that, despite changes in color, you can still use your oyster sauce unless it gives off a foul odor.


Oyster sauce is a popular condiment in Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Khmer, and Malay cuisines. You can use oyster sauce to add a savory flavor to all your dishes. Not only that, but you can use oyster sauce as dips and toppings as well.

The process of making this delicious condiment is also quite easy. Hence, if you don’t want to buy it from the supermarket, you can opt for homemade oyster sauce.

Just make sure to store your oyster sauce in the refrigerator once you use it. For unopened oyster sauce, you can place it in your pantry, away from direct heat.

When it comes to checking if your oyster sauce has gone bad, you can easily figure it out by sight and smell. Check for liquid separation on its surface, mold developments, and foul odor.

Yield: 1 Serving

How Long Does Oyster Sauce Last? Does Oyster Sauce Go Bad?

How Long Does Oyster Sauce Last? Does Oyster Sauce Go Bad?
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Oyster sauce
  • Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags
  • Labels and markers


  1. Read the guide thoroughly to learn how long it lasts.
  2. Check the "Best-by-date" to know when it expires.
  3. Make sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (pantry or fridge).
  4. Always check for signs of spoilage before using.

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