Does Worcestershire Sauce Go Bad? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you love using Worcestershire sauce as much as I do, you’ve probably wondered if it goes bad. Well, I was curious too, so I did a little research, and this is what I found.

Worcestershire sauce does go bad. The good news, however, is that it has a long shelf life and will probably sit in your pantry for many years.

This article discusses everything you need to know about this condiment, including its shelf life, spoilage signs, preservation methods, and more.

What Is Worcestershire Sauce?

Worcestershire sauce is a condiment that adds flavor to many different dishes. It has a salty and tangy taste similar to soy sauce but much stronger.

Worcestershire sauce is traditionally made from vinegar, molasses, anchovies, and spices such as onions and garlic. Some brands may also contain additional ingredients such as tamarind paste, sugar, and honey.

This condiment is usually used to flavor meat dishes such as pork or beef. You can also use it as a dip for French fries or as an ingredient in salad dressings, sauces, and soups.

SEE: Here’s What You Should Know About The Shelf Life Of Soy Sauce

Does Worcestershire Sauce Go Bad?

The answer is yes, but it takes a while. Unopened Worcestershire sauces will last for several years past their best-by dates because they contain preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus.

However, once opened, the liquid will break down and begin to ferment within 1-3 years. This fermentation process can cause the contents to become cloudy or develop a sour smell or taste.

If you notice these changes in your sauce, discard them immediately to prevent food-borne illness.

What Is The Shelf Life Of Worcestershire Sauce?

The shelf life of Worcestershire sauce depends on how you store it and whether you’ve opened it.

Unopened Worcestershire sauce will keep for about five years past its best-by date in the pantry and about seven years past its best-by date in the refrigerator or freezer.

Once opened, the shelf life of this sauce shortens considerably because you’ve exposed it to oxygen and light. Opened, Worcestershire sauce will keep for about one year in the pantry and three years in the refrigerator or freezer.

SEE: Get a Free Meal At Checkers & Rally’s

Can You Eat Expired Worcestershire Sauce?

Yes, you can. Because the ingredients in Worcestershire sauce are already preserved at the time of manufacturing, the product can last for many years after its expiration date.

The only downside is that the flavor of the sauce will begin to change after its expiry date, making it less desirable for use in cooking or as a condiment on meals.

How to Tell if Worcestershire Sauce Is Bad

It smells bad

Smell your sauce before using it in any recipe or as a dip for your favorite foods. It should have a strong, tangy, and umami aroma.

If there is a sour or unpleasant odor coming from the bottle or jar, discard it. This often indicates that the contents have gone bad.

It looks cloudy

If there are any changes in the clarity of your sauce, it means that something went wrong during production or storage. Throw away the product immediately because it can make you sick if you consume it.

It tastes sour or bitter

Worcestershire sauces have a salty and tangy taste (like soy sauce). If your sauce tastes sour or bitter, it’s probably past its prime.

It separates when heated

To test whether your sauce is still good, add a few spoonfuls to some hot water. If it separates into layers when stirred (like oil on top), discard it immediately.

It’s green or yellow in color

If the color of your sauce has changed from its original dark brown color to green or yellow, it’s time to toss it out. It means that bacteria and other microorganisms have contaminated the sauce, causing it to change color.

It has visible mold growth

If you open the bottle and find mold growing inside it, throw it away immediately. Once mold grows on food products, they’re no longer safe to eat. This is because they can cause serious health complications like an upset stomach or even death (in extreme cases).

SEE: Here’s What You Need to Know About the Shelf Life Of Hot Sauce

How to Preserve Worcestershire Sauce

Store in an airtight container

If you want to keep your sauce for years, then you should avoid opening the bottle until you are ready to use it. Once opened, transfer the remaining contents into a clean container with a tight-fitting lid to keep air out.

Store in a cool, dry place

Don’t leave your sauce sitting on the kitchen counter as this will increase its exposure to bacteria and other contaminants. Instead, store the bottle in a cool place (like your pantry), away from moisture and direct sunlight.

Refrigerate it

This is especially helpful if you live in a warm climate where temperatures tend to rise during the summer months. It also comes in handy when there’s no room in your pantry for the sauce.

Freeze it

If you want to preserve your sauce for a very long time, then consider freezing it. Freezing temperatures will kill bacteria or other organisms that may be present in the sauce, making it last longer.


What can you substitute Worcestershire sauce with?

You can substitute Worcestershire sauce with soy sauce or fish sauce. The flavor will be a bit different, but if you’re making a dish that has no other strong flavors, it should work out fine.

Is balsamic vinegar the same as Worcestershire sauce?

No, it is not. Balsamic vinegar is a sweet and tangy vinegar that comes from the juice of pressed grapes, usually Trebbiano or Lambrusco.

Worcestershire sauce, meanwhile, is made from anchovies, molasses, garlic, and various spices. While it does contain some vinegar, it’s not as acidic or sweet as balsamic vinegar (though it has a similar flavor).

Is Worcestershire sauce healthy?

Yes, it is. Worcestershire sauce is a good source of potassium, which helps maintain normal blood pressure levels. It also contains other nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin D, iron, and zinc.

Keep in mind that this condiment is high in sodium, so you should use it sparingly if you are trying to reduce your sodium intake. According to the American Heart Association, you should use no more than one teaspoon per day if you’re on a low-sodium diet.

Is Worcestershire sauce vegan?

No, it is not. Worcestershire sauce is a fermented liquid condiment that contains anchovies, so it is not vegan. However, some companies make vegan-friendly Worcestershire sauces.

For example, Annie’s and The Wizard both make vegan Worcestershire sauces that don’t contain anchovies.

Can you substitute oyster sauce for Worcestershire?

Yes, you can. They’re both very similar in taste profile, so either would work in most recipes calling for the other.

Oyster sauce has a very salty flavor, making it an ideal ingredient to use in marinades, soups, and stews. It’s also great for adding flavor to stir-fries, meatloaves, and other dishes that can stand up to the salty taste.


Worcestershire sauce contains a high amount of vinegar and salt, both of which help preserve the rest of the ingredients in it. So, as long as you store it properly, your sauce should stay fresh and edible for several years.

You can tell if Worcestershire sauce has gone bad if its flavor changes, or if it smells or looks strange. If this is the case, throw it out in a way that ensures your family and pets won’t be able to get to it.

Thanks for reading.

Visit Cheffist for more information on the shelf life of food products.