salsa sauce

Salsa Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad?

Whether you are preparing for a full-set Mexican dinner or getting ready for a nachos party night, you can never miss salsa on the table. It is fresh, healthy, and easy to prepare!

There are numerous different salsa recipes on the internet you can follow. But, if you don’t bother to make your kitchen messy, just go to the nearby supermarket and there are more choices than you can imagine, ready to spice up your dinner table!

Wait, let’s open the fridge before going to the supermarket! Voila, a half-open jar of salsa is sitting in the corner. It has passed the expiry date, but it still looks fine. Is it safe to eat a salsa that has passed its expiration date? Hmm, does salsa go bad? How to tell that salsa is bad or spoiled?

Are you curious about how to store a homemade salsa, how long should it last and ultimately how to tell if salsa is already bad? Then this article is for you!

What is Salsa?

Who doesn’t love salsa? It is probably one of the most popular sauce condiments in the world. It goes very well with nachos, tacos, burritos, or many other dishes.

Salsa is literally translated as “sauce” in Spanish and covers many different types of sauces. When speaking of “salsa”, most people (and Americans especially) will refer to the one prepared from tomatoes, chilies, and onion.

Although store-bought salsa is widely available in the store, this Mexican condiment is relatively easy to prepare from scratch. It requires ingredients that are typically available in the kitchen; tomatoes, onion, salt, pepper, sugar, jalapeno (or other hotter chilies if you prefer), cilantro, lime (or vinegar). That’s all and you’re good to go!

How to Store Homemade and Store-bought Salsa

Salsa is a perishable product that can go bad quickly. Proper storage can help to reach its maximum shelf life.

This following storage guideline applies to either fresh homemade salsa or the store-bought ones. Always tightly seal the container and keep it in the fridge. If you buy canned salsa, transfer the remaining product into an airtight container. It is that simple!

Always use a clean spoon or utensils to take out the product. Please, don’t use your nachos or your fingers, especially if you just lick them after a handful of nachos. You don’t want to transfer any bacteria and contaminants to your salsa jar. Hygiene practice is important when it comes to food storage!

If you buy a refrigerated pack of salsa, always keep in the fridge until you’re ready to put it into your dish. If you have an unopened jar of salsa that you picked up at a supermarket shelf, don’t bother to put it in a fridge. Store the product the same way as the supermarket does, in a dark cool place away from the heat and sunlight.

How Long Does Homemade Salsa Last?

By now we already know how to properly store either fresh homemade salsa or the store-bought ones. When properly refrigerated, fresh homemade salsa will stay good for the next few days, between 4 days to maximum a week. Fresh salsa is not made to last longer than that.

Consider making a portion that you can finish within one serving or maximum a week. If your salsa turns bad even before a week, better to discard it right away.

How Long Does Store-bought Salsa Last?

Ready-to-eat salsa comes in a variety of packages. You can find one that sits on a refrigerated shelf, while the rests are on the aisles next to other sauces and condiments.

Store-bought refrigerated salsa typically lasts a little longer than a homemade one. Check the “use by” date on the label. Preservative agents may be added to the recipe, such as vinegar or citric acid. After opening, this type of salsa needs to stay in the fridge and should be consumed within 7 – 10 days, or up to two weeks maximum.

Store-bought salsa in a jar lasts much longer than the fresh version on the refrigerated shelf. An unopened jar can stay out of the fridge for months to a year. Make sure to check the label to learn the “best before” date. After opening, keep in the fridge and it should stay fresh for another 1 or 2 weeks.

How to Tell if Salsa Has Gone Bad or Spoiled?

Always use this rule of thumb when checking food items: observe the look, smell, taste. If the smell is strangely strong, or molds are formed in the jar or around it, don’t take the gamble! It’s time to go for a new jar of salsa.

If your salsa still looks completely fine, try to taste a tiny bit of taste. If it tastes awfully sour and tangy, it’s also time to throw it to the bin. That’s how spoiled salsa tastes like.

If you’re nothing but unsure about your salsa, don’t ever risk your health over a half-full jar of salsa. Move on, make a new batch or open a new jar.


How do you preserve homemade salsa?

To start with, it is important that only good quality ingredients are used to make homemade salsa. Poor quality of tomatoes or onion will produce poor or unsafe salsa.

Acid content from lime juice acts as a natural preservative for your salsa. However, due to the characters of other ingredients, homemade salsa won’t last longer than a week in the fridge.

It is better to make a batch that you can finish for one time serving or maximum in a week. Either way, isn’t it always nice to have a fresher product rather than one that’s already sitting in the fridge for long?

Does salsa go bad if not refrigerated?

Yes. Salsa is prepared from fresh ingredients. Although it may contain preservative agents such as lime juice and vinegar, the other ingredients tend to spoil when exposed to warm temperature and humidity.

Is it safe to eat salsa that has passed its expiration date? 

It is possible that salsa is still edible after passing its expiration date. An unopened jar of salsa may still be safe for a few weeks to 1-2 months.

Make sure to thoroughly do a check on the look, smell, and taste. If everything looks fine, try to give a tiny bit of taste to determine if you want to keep or toss it. If you are unsure if it is still fit for consumption, better to stay on the safe side!


Salsa is a great choice of condiment that goes well with many dishes. Unfortunately, salsa is a perishable product that can go bad quickly.

Proper storage is important to maintain its quality and prevent spoilage. Always keep your fresh homemade salsa or an opened jar of store-bought salsa tightly sealed in the fridge.

Fresh salsa typically lasts until one week in the fridge. Store-bought salsa may last a little longer, but it’s always smart to do the checks on the look, smell, and taste. If you are unsure, let’s take the safe side and throw it right away!

Up next: Can you freeze salsa?

salsa shelf life

*Photo by anaumenko/depositphotos

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