teriyaki sauce

Teriyaki Sauce Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad?

Sweet and savory, teriyaki sauce might be one of your go-to-sauces. It makes yummy chicken wings, stir-fries, and whatnot? Why not stock up one or two bottles? It’s a time saver for whenever the craving strikes.

Or, you’re new to teriyaki sauce and doubting how to keep it after the bottle is opened? Does teriyaki sauce need to be refrigerated? How long can it stay in the refrigerator?

Whether you are a longtime fan or a newbie, knowing the nitty-gritty of teriyaki sauce will help you.

In this article, you will discover some basics of teriyaki sauce, its shelf life, how to store, and how to tell teriyaki sauce going bad. Sounds interesting? Read on!

What Is Teriyaki Sauce?

With a combination of sweet, salty, and savory taste, teriyaki sauce is a versatile seasoning that goes well with almost anything.

If you’ve ever had chicken teriyaki, salmon teriyaki, or beef teriyaki, those are just some delicious dishes prepared with this thick sauce. This Japanese sauce is excellent for both meat and vegetable dishes.

In Japan, ‘teriyaki’ is actually a cooking technique instead of a sauce. It refers to any grilled or broiled dishes with the shining glaze as a result of brushing the sauce.

The authentic recipe is typically made with a mixture of soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar. These ingredients are reduced in the pan until a thick consistency is achieved.

The Americanized version (which also made teriyaki sauce famous worldwide) is usually added with grated ginger, garlic, honey, and cornstarch.

How To Store Teriyaki Sauce

The storage guidelines for teriyaki sauce is similar to most sauces like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or fish sauce.

Teriyaki sauce is a shelf-stable product. This means that you can safely keep the sauce at room temperature.  A cool, dry area, away from sources of sunlight and heat, is the perfect spot. Ideally, your pantry or kitchen cabinet will do the job.

The most frequently asked question about the storage method after opening teriyaki sauce is whether to refrigerate it or not. Kikkoman, one of the most popular sauces brands, suggests keeping the sauce refrigerated to preserve the flavor and taste.

Storing in the pantry is generally okay, but the sauce will lose its quality at a much faster speed. So, only do this if you use the sauce frequently.

Wherever you choose to keep the sauce, inside or outside the fridge, always keep the bottle tightly sealed when not in use. Only use clean utensils when taking out the sauce to prevent cross-contamination.

Although teriyaki sauce is widely available in the stores, making it at home is relatively easy and quick.

When it comes to homemade teriyaki sauce, it is best kept refrigerated to prolong the shelf life since it doesn’t contain any preservatives like a commercially-prepared sauce does.

Let the sauce cool down before transferring it into a sealed container. Use a sterilized jar or container if you plan to keep it a bit longer.

Can you freeze teriyaki sauce?

Freezing store-bought teriyaki is unnecessary since it is a durable product and refrigeration is enough to retain its quality for months. On the other hand, freezing homemade teriyaki sauce makes more sense.

As with other liquid, freezing in ice cubes trays is very practical. Place the sauce into ice cubes trays and let it freeze.

Once frozen, transfer the cubes into a resealable freezer bag. Whenever you need it, take one or two to thaw in the refrigerator or toss the cubes right into the cooking pan.

How To Tell If Teriyaki Sauce Has Gone Bad

Although we wish that teriyaki sauce (and other foods) lasts forever, it will lose its quality profile and eventually go bad. The deterioration process is imminent with improper storage.

Most times, you can rely on your intuition and senses to spot sauces going bad. Always check the appearance, smell, and taste before pouring into other ingredients.

With an old bottle of sauce, if nothing looks and smells strange, taste a small amount to decide whether to keep or not. The flavor and taste may not be as great as a newly opened sauce.

If you notice an off-smell, texture, even molds, these are apparent signs that teriyaki sauce is spoiled and no longer safe for consumption.

How Long Does Teriyaki Sauce Last? 

Since teriyaki sauce is not a perishable product and commercial products are likely to have preservatives, it has a long shelf life. Check the “best-before” or “best-use-by” date for an estimated period when the product has the best quality.

Unopened bottles can last longer than the date printed on the label, with expected changes in flavor and taste. As long as the package is still perfect and stored under recommended conditions, teriyaki sauce can last for several months, if not years after the date.

After opening, it starts to lose its flavor and taste. The process is quicker when the sauce is kept at room temperature. When stored in the refrigerator, teriyaki sauce can stay fresh up to a year.

Homemade teriyaki sauce is less durable. It’s only suitable for several days up to 3 weeks maximum and 3 months in the freezer.

Classification PantryRefrigeratorFreezer
Teriyaki sauce (unopen)Best-by date + 1 to 3 years
Teriyaki sauce (open)3 to 6 months1 year
Homemade teriyaki sauce1 to 3 weeks2 to 3 months

The table above is a general guideline. The real shelf life of teriyaki sauce depends on the preparation methods, brand, and storage condition. Be sure to check spoilage signs, particularly with old sauces.


Does teriyaki sauce have alcohol?

Regular teriyaki sauce is typically made with mirin or wine, such as the famous Kikkoman brand. Be rest assured that many other brands are also alcohol-free, such as this Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce.

Does teriyaki sauce have gluten?

Yes, gluten is naturally present in the ingredients of teriyaki sauce. Luckily, with the rising demand for gluten-free foods, many brands also produce gluten-free varieties. Check the label or consult the manufacturer’s website.

What is the difference between teriyaki sauce and soy sauce?

Soy sauce is one of the main ingredients of teriyaki sauce. In general, teriyaki sauce is a mixture of soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar. Soy sauce is made from fermented soybean.

What are substitutes for teriyaki sauce?

If you don’t have a bottled teriyaki sauce in the kitchen, the homemade recipe is relatively easy to make. Simply whip up soy sauce, rice wine vinegar (if you don’t have mirin or sake), and sugar. Or simply mix soy sauce and sugar for a quick fix.

Final Thought

Teriyaki sauce is a sweet, savory sauce that makes any meat and vegetables delicious. Homemade teriyaki sauce should be fine to keep for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Store-bought varieties are much more durable. This sauce lasts for a long time, although the flavor degrades over time. Refrigeration is highly recommended to preserve the quality once the bottle is opened. When continuously refrigerated, teriyaki sauce stays fresh up to a year after opening.

If the sauce smells and tastes off, is discolored, and grows molds, better get rid of it!

teriyaki sauce shelf life

*Photo by neillangan/depositphotos

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