Does Mustard Go Bad: Make The Most Out Of This Condiment

Mustard is a commonly used condiment and is made of mustard seeds and vinegar along with other spices and seasonings. It can be added to different types of foods such as hamburgers and hotdogs. It also has a lot of health benefits such as protection from gastrointestinal cancer, helps a person lose weight or slow aging.

Does Mustard Go Bad

Some people, however, rarely use mustard so they ask this question: Does mustard go bad? In this article, I am going to talk about mustard’s shelf life, its proper storage, and ways to tell if it has gone bad. Some of you may have a lot of packets of mustard left when you have food delivered so I hope this article will give you valuable information.

Does Mustard Go Bad?

Mustard, considered as a sidekick to ketchup and mayonnaise, is very unlikely to go rancid due to the fact that it does not have any ingredients that may spoil. However, you should know that mustard’s shelf life is not indefinite. Over time, it will lose its flavor and freshness. However, if it is stored properly, its quality will be maintained for longer.

Mustard bottles usually do not have an expiration date and manufacturers use best used by date instead. The reason is that mustard is not likely to go bad. It might spoil eventually but that will still take a few years. When properly stored, mustard may still last past the best used by date indicated in the package.

Unopened bottles of mustard will last longer than opened ones. If unopened, American mustard will last for at least 2 years after its best used by date. Dijon mustard will still be good after 3 years, Chinese mustard for 2 years, honey mustard for 3 years, and dry mustard will last for another 2 years beyond its best used by date.


However, if you already opened the bottle and refrigerated it, American, Dijon and Chinese mustard will last for 1 year beyond its best used by date. Honey mustard will last for another 2 years after the best used by date has passed while homemade mustard can still be good for consumption from a week to a year.

As you already know, food items will not last for a longer time if not stored properly. Most manufacturers use best consumed by date, which is their way to let their consumers know that the mustard will still be in its good quality and it’s not about its safety. With this, it will still be safe to use mustard past its best used by date.

Mustard has a vinegar component that makes it self-preserving. The vinegar used in preparing mustard is a very important element with regards to the mustard’s long shelf life. However, even though mustard has vinegar in it, it will go bad eventually. It is up to the user and how it is stored that will affect the length of the mustard’s lifespan.

How Do You Properly Store Mustard?

Both bottled and dry mustard should be stored in a cool and dry place that is not susceptible to temperature change. When mustard undergoes temperature changes of cool to warm, the moisture in the air will likely to condensate inside the packages. This moisture will allow mold to develop, thus resulting to mustard spoilage.

How Do You Properly Store Mustard

Refrigeration is required only if the mustard has been opened and the seal of freshness has been broken. For homemade mustard, you can still keep it fresh by refrigerating it below 40F immediately after you use it. Mustard should also be stored in airtight containers that will prevent moisture and other contaminants from entering it.

Another thing you have to take into consideration is that you should always use clean utensils when serving mustard. Doing this hygienic process will avoid cross contamination. Proper mustard storage is required to avoid foodborne illnesses. It is also a way to enjoy your mustard even before it goes bad.

How Do You Tell If The Mustard Has Gone Bad?

In this section, apart from discussing the signs on how to tell if the mustard has gone rancid, we will also talk about some of the circumstances that people believe the mustard has gone bad but is perfectly fine. There are also ways on how to do the trick so you can enjoy your mustard.

First, the mustard dries out. This is not an indication that your mustard has gone bad. You may add a tablespoon of vinegar or wine and stir it. Second, if it separates, just stir it back to its original state. You should know that these things happen especially if you had your mustard stored for a long period of time but it is really perfectly fine.

If you see any signs of mold, you have to throw the mustard away. You should also consider checking if anything has changed with its appearance, taste, and smell. If it looks fine and still smells as good as new, take a little taste. By doing this step, it will tell you if the mustard is still okay to consume.


Does mustard go bad? According to the discussions above, it does but is unlikely to happen if stored properly. To summarize, here are some of the important points mentioned above:

  • Mustard’s shelf life will depend on its type and how well it is stored. It is also important that you consider that unopened mustard’s life span is longer than opened ones.
  • Proper storage includes keeping it in the fridge once it has been opened. If unopened, you may store it in a cool and dry place where there are no temperature changes. Another thing to consider is to always use clean utensils when serving mustard to avoid cross contamination.
  • If there is an appearance of mold in the mustard, you have to discard it. A little taste test, however, will give you accurate results whether the mustard can still be consumed.

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