Horseradish Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad?

So you decided to clean up and empty your fridge. As you would expect, so many unfinished items are there. One of them is a jar of horseradish sauce.

It’s unknown to you how long it’s been there, but surely it has passed the best by date. You’re asking yourself: Can I use expired horseradish sauce?

Perhaps in your grocery store, horseradish is not a regular item. So, when you see this edible root, it goes straight into your bag. You only use less than half of the root and not sure how to store horseradish. Does horseradish root go bad?

Does the situation above seem relatable to you? If you want to know more about horseradish shelf life, its storage, and signs of going bad, stay on this page. No matter if it’s a fresh horseradish root, prepared horseradish, or jarred horseradish sauce, we got you covered!

What Is Horseradish?

Horseradish is an edible root vegetable from the Brassicaceae family. It is closely related to wasabi, broccoli, mustard, radish, cabbage, etc.

Horseradish is widely known for its distinct pungent flavor, and it has been used since centuries ago for food and medicinal purposes. In the cuisine world, horseradish is generally used for marinade and condiment. It’s a great accompaniment for steak and hearty roast beef.

Depending on the availability or your preference, you can get the fresh horseradish roots, prepared horseradish, and horseradish sauce. To avoid any confusion, it’s worth noting that prepared horseradish and horseradish sauce are two different products.

Prepared horseradish is made of the root, vinegar, and salt. Meanwhile, horseradish sauce is made with cream or mayonnaise, resulting in milder, creamier taste.

How To Store Horseradish

Let’s start with fresh horseradish roots. The ideal storage conditions would be similar to other vegetables. The roots begin to rot very quickly when kept at room temperature. Unless you’re going to use them in a few days, horseradish roots should be kept refrigerated. 

Once the root is cut or grated, it should be used immediately since it tends to lose the pungency and develop a bitter taste.

Loosely wrap horseradish root in a plastic bag or aluminum foil and allow some air circulation. Alternatively, cut the root into smaller pieces and soak them in vinegar. Either way, always keep it refrigerated.

If you prefer to whip up your own prepared horseradish, you can do it by mixing grated horseradish root, vinegar, salt, and sugar. This simple condiment should be placed in a sealed container and kept in the fridge.

Storing store-bought prepared horseradish and the sauce are quite similar to other sauce and condiments. As long as the jar is unopened, keep it in a cool, dry area, away from heat and sunlight. After opening, always close the container tightly and keep it refrigerated. Only use clean cutlery to scoop out the sauce.

How To Tell If Horseradish Goes Bad

Let’s start off with a little tip on buying horseradish root. That is, only buy firm roots, without any signs of molds, and don’t appear dry or wrinkled.

When horseradish root starts to degrade, it gets mushy and soft, that’s one thing you need to observe in the first place. When exposed to heat and moisture, the root also tends to get brownish or darker.

With prepared horseradish and the sauce, discard any leftover if it smells off or is discolored, or grow molds.

If everything looks okay, take a small amount to taste. You may want to stop using this condiment if the heat you’re expecting isn’t kicking anymore.

How Long Does Horseradish Last?

Horseradish Root

With proper refrigeration, horseradish root can stay fresh for 1 to 2 months in the fridge. But, if you have cut or grated, the flavor and pungency start to diminish in no time. Therefore, it is best to eat within a few days.

Horseradish Sauce

Store-bought prepared horseradish and horseradish sauce are labeled with a “best by” or “best-before” date printed on the package. As long as ideal storage conditions are met, the products will retain their quality at least until the time and possibly after it.

After opening, try to finish these condiments within a couple of months. The flavor and pungency start to degrade over time. Although it remains edible, old horseradish sauce might not give the same kick as the new one.

Homemade prepared horseradish stays fresh up to 2 to 3 weeks in the fridge.

Horseradish root (whole)1 to 2 weeks1 to 2 months
Horseradish root (cut)1 week
Prepared horseradish (homemade)2 to 3 weeks
Horseradish sauce and prepared horseradish (unopened)1 to 2 years, orBest by + 1 to 3 months
Horseradish sauce (opened)1 to 3 months

The periods above are general estimates. The real shelf life depends on the preparation method and storage condition. 


Can you freeze horseradish?

Yes, freezing horseradish root can prolong its shelf life. However, as with other frozen wasabi, horseradish also loses its pungency when frozen.

It is not recommended freezing the horseradish root as a whole. You can either grate or cut into smaller pieces before freezing. Whenever you need it, safely thaw it in the refrigerator. Frozen horseradish is best consumed within 3 to 6 months.

Why does horseradish lose its potency?

Horseradish root is high in volatile oil, which is the source of heat and pungency. Exposure to air and warm temperature may cause its potency to lose fast rapidly.

Is horseradish sauce gluten-free?

Horseradish root is naturally gluten-free. Meanwhile, common allergens with horseradish sauce are eggs. However, it’s always worth reading the label or reaching out to the manufacturer if you’re still in doubt.

What are horseradish substitutes?

There are some alternative ingredients if you don’t have horseradish on hand. These include wasabi (paste or powder), spicy mustard, or fresh ginger.

Can horseradish make you sick?

Like wasabi, horseradish is very pungent. Consuming too much of it may cause irritation in your nose, mouth, and stomach. For some people, it can trigger an upset stomach, diarrhea, and other digestive issues.


Horseradish is best known for its pungent flavor. Whether it is a fresh horseradish root, prepared, or sauce, all will go bad.

The root is least stable and needs constant refrigeration. Jarred horseradish sauces can be stored at room temperature as long as it is unopened. Prepared horseradish and the sauce also need proper cooling after opening.

If you spot molds, discolorations, an unpleasant smell on horseradish root or sauce, there’s no better option than tossing it out.

horseradish shelf life

*Photo by bhofack2/depositphotos

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