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How Long Does Teriyaki Sauce Last? [Shelf Life & Spoilage]

In a Nutshell:

  • Shelf life: Unopened teriyaki sauce can last 1-2+ years; opened sauce 3-6 months for best quality
  • Spoilage: Teriyaki sauce can spoil, but it’s rare and often due to improper storage
  • Storage: Keep teriyaki sauce in a cool, dark place, and refrigerate after opening

Hey there, fellow teriyaki sauce lover! Do you find yourself wondering how long your bottle of teriyaki sauce can last or how to tell if it’s still good to use?

Well, you’re in luck! This article is your ultimate guide to everything teriyaki sauce, from its shelf life, through spoilage signs, to how to store it properly. And we’ll cover homemade teriyaki sauce, too.

Say goodbye to any doubts about whipping up that delicious teriyaki chicken because we’ve got all the answers you need. Let’s dive right in.

Teriyaki Tuna
Photo by Big Dodzy on Unsplash

Table of Contents

How Long Does Teriyaki Sauce Last?

Unopened teriyaki sauce comes with a shelf life of 1 to 2 years and easily retains quality for at least a few months beyond the best-by date. Once you open the bottle, try to use it within 3 to 6 months for best quality.

That’s the short version.

Now, let’s dive into the world of teriyaki sauce shelf life a bit deeper and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Unopened Bottle of Teriyaki Sauce

An unopened bottle of teriyaki sauce stays safe to use and retains quality way past the printed date as long as it’s stored properly. That’s how other store-bought sauces, like cocktail sauce or barbecue sauce, work too.

Now, there’s no way to tell when your unopened teriyaki sauce will go bad or how long past the printed date it will retain quality.

As long as it’s an unopened bottle and the seal is untouched, the sauce should be safe to eat. But it’s your job to open it up and check it thoroughly against spoilage signs.

(We’ll cover those in a minute.)

And if the sauce is a couple of years beyond the printed date already, it’s probably better to toss it and open a fresh bottle.

Opened Teriyaki Sauce

An opened bottle of teriyaki sauce typically stays fresh until the best-by date or for 3 to 6 months if you’ve opened it near the printed date. To guarantee the best quality for the whole storage period, make sure the bottle is sealed tightly and refrigerated.

Teriyaki, unlike soy sauce or hot sauces like Tabasco sauce or Sriracha, doesn’t retain quality for months on end. Compared to those condiments, open teriyaki sauce doesn’t last that long.

Furthermore, some brands recommend even shorter storage times, like up to 3 months by Toshi’s brand or even as short as one month, suggested by the Kikkoman brand.

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

For safety reasons, use up your homemade teriyaki sauce within a week and always refrigerate it tightly sealed when not in use. Unlike store-bought teriyaki sauce, the homemade variety has quite a short storage time.

There are hundreds of recipes for homemade teriyaki, each with a slightly different ingredient list. Some might claim to last a couple of weeks (like this one), but I suggest staying on the conservative side of things and limiting storage time to a week.

(All the more reason to eat another homemade teriyaki dish!)

What Affects Teriyaki Sauce Shelf Life?

Now that we’ve covered how long teriyaki sauce lasts, let’s explore what factors can affect its shelf life.

Expiration Date vs. Best By Date

The date on your teriyaki sauce or marinade label is a best-by date. It’s not a safety deadline and more about how long the sauce should retain its quality.

That means, as I already mentioned, that your teriyaki will likely be perfectly safe to consume (and still quite tasty!) even if you open a bottle that’s 3 or 6 months “expired.”

As long as you’re comfortable with the printed date and there aren’t any obvious spoilage signs (say, the bottle is bulging), you can open it up and check for safety (which we cover below).

Other condiments like mustard, ketchup, or apple cider vinegar also follow this principle.

Storage Conditions

Proper storage plays a crucial role in extending the shelf life of teriyaki sauce. Keeping your sauce in a cool, dark place before opening and refrigerating it after opening will help preserve its quality and taste.


While teriyaki sauce is dark, thick, and typically based on soy sauce, it doesn’t have a set ingredients list and proportions. As a result, every brand is slightly different, and because of that, some will retain quality for longer, while others might start to separate or lose flavor sooner.

Alright, now that we’ve got the shelf life of teriyaki sauce all figured out, it’s time to learn about spoilage signs so you can be a true teriyaki sauce connoisseur. Read on!

How to Tell if Teriyaki Sauce is Bad?

When checking if your teriyaki sauce is safe to use, look for mold and any unusual changes in color, smell, texture, or taste of the sauce.

That’s it in a nutshell.

Let’s look at the telltale signs that your teriyaki sauce is no longer good to use.

Mold Presence

The presence of mold is a definite no-no. If you see any mold growing in your teriyaki sauce, discard it immediately. This goes for any condiment, including hoisin sauce or anchovy paste.

Color Change

The second thing to watch for is a color change. Fresh teriyaki sauce usually has a rich, dark brown hue. So if it starts looking pale or discolored, it may be past its prime.

Off Smell

Another sign that your teriyaki sauce has gone bad is an off smell. Teriyaki sauce should have a sweet, slightly tangy aroma. If it smells sour or rancid, it’s best to toss it out, just like you would with spoiled salad dressing or mayonnaise.

Unpleasant Taste

If the color and smell seem fine, you can give your teriyaki sauce a tiny taste. If it’s off, overly sour, or bitter, it’s time to say goodbye.

Altered Texture

Lastly, let’s talk about texture. Teriyaki sauce should have a smooth consistency. If it has become too thick, lumpy, or watery, it’s better to err on the side of caution than risk food poisoning.

Now that we know how to identify that your teriyaki sauce has gone bad, let’s discuss some changes that may look concerning but are actually okay.

Teriyaki Sauce: What’s Normal

There are a couple of changes that you might find concerning but are perfectly fine for the sauce. Let’s talk about those.

Crystallized Sugar

Teriyaki sauce contains sugar, which can sometimes crystallize over time. This can make your sauce seem gritty, but it’s not a sign of spoilage. You may have experienced this with other products like molasses.


Seeing some separation in your teriyaki sauce is completely normal, just like with salad dressing or gochujang. Give it a good shake, and it should be as good as new.

Of course, we’re talking here about a bit of separation. If the sauce becomes watery or lumpy, it’s time to let it go.

Slight Darkening

While a drastic color change is a sign of spoilage, slight darkening can be a natural reaction to oxygen exposure, similar to what happens with hot sauce. As long as it doesn’t affect the taste or smell, it’s safe to use.

So, there you have it! You’re now well-equipped to tell if your teriyaki sauce has gone bad and can recognize the normal changes that can occur.

Does Teriyaki Sauce Need to be Refrigerated?

Once you’ve opened the bottle, it’s best to refrigerate teriyaki sauce to maintain its freshness and quality. If you leave it at room temperature, its quality will deteriorate much sooner than if refrigerated.

In other words, refrigerating your teriyaki sauce will help it last longer, so you can enjoy more delicious grilled chicken!

It works the same way for most other condiments, including ranch or Italian dressing.

Now that we’ve tackled the refrigeration question, let’s move on to the best ways to store teriyaki sauce.

How to Store Teriyaki Sauce

Storing teriyaki sauce properly will ensure it remains fresh and tasty for as long as possible. Here are some tips for doing just that!

Choose the Right Container

Transfer your opened bottle of teriyaki sauce to an airtight glass container if the original bottle isn’t resealable. This will help to preserve the flavor and quality.

Keep it Cool and Dark

Whether you’re storing an unopened or opened bottle, keep your teriyaki sauce in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. This is a common practice for preserving the quality of other condiments like tartar sauce, rice vinegar, or Worcestershire sauce as well.

Label and Date

Labeling your teriyaki sauce with the date you opened it is a helpful way to track its freshness. This is also a good habit for other condiments, especially those with a shorter storage time.

By following these simple storage tips, you’ll ensure your teriyaki sauce stays fresh and delicious, ready for your next culinary adventure!