Does mustard go bad?

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question, “Does mustard go bad?”

Does mustard go bad?

No, mustard can’t go bad. It’s true that mustard never actually spoils because it’s just a mixture of spices as well as an acidic liquid such as vinegar and lemon juice, but it does lose its flavor over time. It won’t go bad; it just loses its bite due to the limited number of ingredients.

One of the most popular condiments, mustard is known for bringing out the best in a variety of foods, from the sweet and hot tang of Dijon mustard to a smooth sweetness of honey mustard. Mustard, along with ketchup and mayonnaise, is one of the “big three” condiments that have always been staples in American cooking and sandwich making.

You probably have a jar of mustard that is only halfway empty in your fridge unless you are a mustard addict who eats mustard every day. Knowing if and when mustard spoils, how long it keeps, and how to store it so that it maintains its best quality even after sitting around for a month (or a year) is useful information.

What are the signs of an old mustard?

Texture – It is normal for mustard to dry outside or separate over time. To fix it, just give it a good stir. If your mustard has become dry and lumpy at the bottom, however, it’s time to toss it. Even though the mustard won’t go bad, the liquid is going to evaporate and will dry up soon.

Scent – Mustard’s distinctive odor eventually dissipates. If your mustard has developed a rancid or sour smell, it may be time to toss it.

Storage Life

Mustard’s storage life is conditional on the variety, the storage environment, and the packaging.

If you keep an unopened jar of American mustard in a cool, dark place, it will keep for an additional year or two after its expiration date without losing flavor. The shelf life after opening is one year in the refrigerator.

Due to the higher vinegar content, Dijon mustard can be stored for up to three years at room temperature once opened, and for another year in the refrigerator.

When stored unopened, Chinese mustard has a shelf life of up to two years. A year in the refrigerator is all it takes after opening.

Honey mustard — This honey-mustard mixture lasts for up to 3 years in the kitchen when unopened, and for up to two years in the fridge once opened.

If you make your own mustard, it won’t last longer than a day at room temperature. However, the packaging as well as ingredients used can affect how long it lasts in the fridge, anywhere from a week to a year.

Dry mustard has a shelf life of 1 to 2 years at room temperature and indefinitely in the fridge.


Mustard will keep for two years in a glass jar and for 18 months in plastic containers. The shelf life of mustard stored in a sachet is approximately six months.

How to keep the flavor in mustard?

Mustard is at its best when used to add a jolt of heat and tang, so keep these things in mind when storing it:

Mustard should be removed from its container using only clean utensils. If you keep reusing the same container of mustard, you may be increasing the number of bacteria in it and putting yourself at risk of food poisoning in the future.

If you want to enjoy the full flavor of your mustard, use it up before the sell-by date. You should not expect it to taste the same after the expiration date.

Though most mustards won’t go bad if left at room temperature, refrigeration is recommended to keep the flavor fresh and extend the mustard’s shelf life after opening. 

Mustards stored in the fridge have a longer shelf life than those kept at room temperature. Mustards made with wine, such as Dijon, and mustards made with vinegar (such as yellow mustard) should be kept in the fridge after use to preserve their flavor and aroma.

If you don’t like the mustard cold and you don’t even use it frequently enough to warrant keeping it in the fridge, you can keep the bottle on the shelf or in any cool, dry area.

Since mustard keeps for a long time, you can buy as much as you need. In order to preserve its distinct flavor, proper storage is essential.


In this brief article, we answered the question, “Does mustard go bad?”