Does Mustard Go Bad? 

Shelf life of mustard and other useful things regarding this product

Written by Elisa Chan. Updated on the shelf life of mustard

Mustard is a popular product that is used in many countries.You know it for great stains it makes, that hard to cleanout.

It tastes good with the hot dishes, especially meat, and adds piquant notes to any course.

Of course, people often wonder: can mustard go bad? Because sometimes it can get spoiled even before it expires!

To answer this question, we will tell you about the shelf life of mustard and other useful things regarding this product.

Related: Can You Freeze Guacamole?

A Bit More About Mustard

Mustard is a condiment that is prepared using the seeds of a plant with a similar name. It can be made based on water, vinegar, for example balsamic vinegar, or even wine and of course, with several spices.

That is why there are several kinds of product existing and not all of them are of the same color as you might think. Mustard can have a texture of a sauce or a paste and its color may vary from bright yellow to dark brown. The taste is also different varying widely from sweet to spicy.

For instance, the English mustard has a light paste-like texture and a bright yellow color, the Bavarian one is sweet and of a chocolate-brown color whereas the French one is dark-brown with the crumbly texture.

How can mustard be used, you may ask?

Well, everyone knows that it fits savory hot dishes as a part of a marinade, for example. Also, sandwiches have mustard, too.

Related: How Long Does Hummus Last?

How to Make MustardHow to Make Mustard

Anyway, it’s not a complete list of the ways one can use this product!

The seasoning can be an ingredient in many different dressings, sauces, and glazes. And don’t forget the soups!

No wonder that such a widely applied product has become a point of concern for those who use it regularly, especially when it comes to storing issues.

Well, let’s figure out how to prolongate the lifespan of this spicy multifunctional condiment.

What Are The Most Popular Types Of Mustards?

Today, mustard belongs to the most widely used condiments in almost any country. We are mostly used to the idea that this product is yellow with a significant hot taste. But did you know that there are at least five more types of mustards existing that we never used or even never seen?!

Which mustard do you like best of all?
Classic yellow mustard
Dijon mustard
Spicy brown mustard
Pinot Noir mustard

Let’s see what other condiments of this kind are popular all over the world! And maybe you’ll use one of these next time for making a brand new dish!

  • American yellow mustard

Yep, this is the one that we find in our hot-dogs along with the ketchup! However, Americans add it not only to this fast food but also to various salads, sauces, for example soy sauce or teriyaki sauce and other cooking purposes. 

It has an even yellow color and a homogenous texture. Not too spicy, not too insipid, it’s one of the mildest mustards we have. 

It’s usually produced of yellow mustard seeds with adding some vinegar, for example rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Why is it yellow? Well, that’s because it has turmeric to enhance color. 

One of the most common and tastiest condiments ever!

  • Dijon mustard

This one includes white vine instead of ordinary vinegar, and the yellow seeds are replaced with the brown ones. Let’s say, a fancier variant of the folk’s yellow favorite. It’s also widely used for cooking giving the dishes a more rich taste.

  • Spicy brown

If you like something hot, this is your choice! Made of coarsely-ground fresh brown seeds, this condiment is quite hot due to the use of turmeric and various spices. 

It’s still not one of the hottest mustards, however, not any dish can welcome it perhaps.

  • Hot mustard

And here it is! The fans of the Chinese cuisine will definitely appreciate this fiery-hot condiment made of brown or black mustard seeds (which are more pungent than yellow, by the way). 

And since it has only water and no vinegar or other acidic additives, the taste remains strong.

So get a bottle of water ready if your dish has this condiment! 

  • Whole Grain mustard

We sometimes confuse it to Dijon one but it’s not correct.

This type of condiment includes fresh grains mixed with the traditional yellow mustard base.

Since it’s produced with the addition of wine, its taste is similar to Dijon pretty much.

  • Stone-ground

This mustard also uses fresh seeds that are grounded with stones (yes, literally!) that make it more coarse than the yellow one but still less hot compared to the brown condiment. 

Probably, one of the gentlest ones. Since it is sweetened, it may not fit any dish but it will indeed give the food its specific and mild taste.

Anyway, for dips and dressings, it is perfect!

  • Horseradish mustard

Another pick for those who like tickling their sinuses! It’s pretty hot, even more than the brown condiment, so taste it carefully!

We bet you learned several new names of this famous product today so next time you’ll be cooking, why not grab a bottle of one of the new mustards we have suggested?

Related: Can You Freeze Mayonnaise?

Mustard Shelf Life. Nuances and Rules 

the shelf life of mustard
Photo by Elevate on Unsplash

First of all, we need to find out how long one can store mustard at home without any threat of spoiling.

To begin with, what does mustard durability depend on? And how long does mustard last?

To answer this question, be aware of the fact that normally the seasoning is edible for a pretty long time past its best-by date. Two or even three years is the norm.

On the other hand, its durability is strongly determined with the conditions it’s being stored at, the way of storing and, of course, the product’s “best before” date. Even the ingredients that were used for making it matter a lot!

So, mustard expiration consists of several important factors, you could already notice.

To make everything clearer for you, let’s check out several most essential and frequently asked questions regarding the seasoning storage nuances.

can mustard go bad
Engin Akyurt: Pexels

How long can mustard last after its expiration date?

If we are talking about the condiment bought in a store, it remains edible for three years at most after its expiry date. Of course, if it’s being stored correctly.

  • Does mustard need to be refrigerated?

This question bothers quite a lot of people. Do we have to refrigerate mustard? Will it get spoiled at room temperature?

Relax, it is not that bad as you could think! Indeed, some kinds of mustard must be refrigerated to preserve their qualities and prevent them from spoiling (for example, Dijon mustard).

But others are perfectly fine to keep outside the fridge.

  • How long does mustard last in the fridge?
can mustard go bad
Engin Akyurt: Pexels

Normally, all kinds of seasoning remain consumable for about a year when being exposed to the influence of the low temperature. Honey mustard can even stay edible for two years! 

However, take into account that homemade mustard lasts less and you will have to check it for any spoilage after a week already.

  • How long can mustard sit out?

What is good about mustard is that this condiment can be kept unrefrigerated and it will not ruin it. So, if you leave a jar of mustard on the table or a kitchen counter, be sure that it will remain consumable for at least one month, two months at most.

  • Does mustard need to be refrigerated after opening?

If it is store-bought mustard, simply check its label. It always says how and where to store it after unsealing.

Anyway, the unsealed seasoning must not be exposed to the influence of cold unless its taste and flavor must be saved longer.

Does unopened mustard go bad?

What if you were keeping mustard for too long and never unsealed it? Is it still edible or you’d better throw it away?

There is nothing to worry about as unopened mustard, when being properly stored, of course, will stay edible for two years in the pantry.

How long does homemade mustard last?

Homemade mustard is the most tricky kind of seasoning to store. When unrefrigerated, it will last for a day only so, for preserving it longer, refrigerate it and the condiment will last from one week up to a year depending on the ingredients and the package. 

How to Keep Fresh Homemade Mustard

🌭 How to Make Homemade Mustard 🌭 | EASY With Three Different Recipes🌭 How to Make Homemade Mustard 🌭 | EASY With Three Different Recipes

Yes, we usually buy a bottle of condiment in a store, but homemade mustard is a completely different thing! However, people start wondering how to store it since it doesn’t contain preservatives and other chemicals to prevent the condiment from spoiling.

  • In order not to spoil your homemade mustard, keep the jar refrigerated and tightly closed. Otherwise, the product will lose its sharpness very soon.
  • If the jar is opened, screw it firmly after each use to protect the content from oxidation. Even though mustard has a similar ingredient with ketchup (we mean vinegar), the yellow condiment is not so durable.
  • Use the homemade mustard as soon as it’s possible even though it can be kept for up to a year. Otherwise, the opened jar will make the content spoil.
  • Remember that even the store-bought condiment gets old, and the homemade one does it even faster. Don’t keep it too long!
  • Never leave the opened jar at room temperature since mustard will remain edible for a day then.

People often think (for some reason) that ketchup and mustard are stored in a similar way and they’re the same long-lasting but it’s not true. Ketchup has sugar which preserves it longer whereas mustard doesn’t have one. Remember that and keep an eye on your hot condiment!

how long does mustard last
Photo by Pedro Ribeiro on Unsplash

Does mustard expire?Of course, it does. 

Even when keeping mustard refrigerated, people often complain that it turns bad after a while.

Does mustard go bad if not refrigerated?

Not necessarily unless you keep it under the improper conditions. To last longer, any mustard must be kept in a cool and dry place with a stable temperature level and a tightly sealed tank.

So how do you tell whether the mustard is bad?

First of all, if you see that there is liquid separated in the jar, it is the sign that something is going wrong.

Also, the spoiled mustard becomes more solid and darkens with a very unpleasant odor.

Finally, the signs of mold can appear, too.

To protect yourself and your family members from accidentally consuming bad food, check your mustard now and then to see whether it is still OK and store it under the correct conditions.

It will allow preventing any foodborne diseases and will let you enjoy this piquant condiment longer.

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Mustards

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Mustards
Photo by toinane on Unsplash

Mustard is one of the most widely used condiments, the same as ketchup, that includes several types of this product. Since mustard is rather durable unless in contact with air, and it’s pretty hard to spoil unless we leave it opened, this condiment has won its place in our kitchens.

Different mustards are produced according to different recipes, but the basic nature of this foodstuff remains the same which means that all types of mustard will have common storage and use requirements and specifics.

Of course, when being not too well informed about this foodstuff, one may have quite a lot of questions.

That is why we decided to collect the most common ones and reply to them so that you could follow such a brief guide when you’ll be dealing with some of the mustards next time!

Can mustard lose its potency if left in the opened jar/bottle?

Technically speaking, none of the mustards needs refrigeration neither when it is opened nor when being still sealed. Nevertheless, keeping the tank tightly closed will indeed protect the foodstuff aroma from the contact with air and further evaporating which will allow saving the potency and taste of the condiment much longer.

In addition, like this, you’ll manage to keep it fresh, too.

Is it ok to stock such condiments in the original tank or I shall remove it to the new bottle?

Dijon Mustard Recipe - How to Make Dijon-Style MustardDijon Mustard Recipe – How to Make Dijon-Style Mustard

In fact, mustard will feel perfectly safe in its “native” bottle it was sold in. There is no need to transfer it to the new tank unless something happened to the original one. How fresh mustard is doesn’t depend on the type of container it’s kept in.

With what other condiments can mustard be replaced in recipes?

 If you for some reason can’t or don’t want to consume mustard, try to make use of one of its substitute condiments. The taste, of course, won’t be exactly the same, but why not try?! For instance, yellow mustard can be replaced with mayo, instead of Dijon and Spicy Brown mustard, use a bit of fresh wasabi or prepared horseradish. If you need to replace it as a dressing in salad, a mix of vinegar and oil may help, but it won’t work for the recipes with the mustard as the major component.

Is mustard similar to ketchup?

How To Make Mustard | Oktoberfest |  Maddie - Jamie's Food TeamHow To Make Mustard | Oktoberfest | Maddie – Jamie’s Food Team

Not even close! These are two completely different types of condiments! They are produced with absolutely different products, besides, the procedure of making each of these condiments also differs. 

However, these two can be perfectly mixed, so feel free to experiment and find your very own new condiment nobody ever tasted!

At what stage of cooking shall I add mustard to the dish?

It depends on the particular recipe, but normally it’s ok to add it before placing the dish to the oven. Heat won’t spoil the condiment as many people think.

What mustard is best for cooking?

Well, everything hangs upon what dish you’re planning to prepare. The yellow condiment is best for bbq sauces and marinades, as well as for certain kinds of poultry.

Dijon mustard fits meat savory dishes, whereas honey mustard will be better as a dip or a side sauce. But of course, you’re free to follow your own vision and use these condiments according to your own preferences!

Read next: How Long Does Salsa Last?

4 Signs That Mustard Is Spoiled

You may be wondering now how it is possible to define that mustard has gone bad. Most types of food change their taste and flavor when they expire. Others may also change the texture or show changes in flavor, taste, and texture. 

When you have a jar of mustard in the fridge that has not been in use for a while, it makes sense to check it for any signs of spoilage. Here are a few symptoms to look out for if you suspect your mustard has expired:

  • Mold. Expired mustard may develop mold along the surface or around the lid. If you see any, toss it immediately. Mold is dangerous and even removing the affected areas won’t help to remove the bacteria! 
  • Flavor. If your mustard smells sour or rotten, it should be discarded.
  • Color. Your mustard is no good if it has turned a darker greenish-brown or a really pale, almost sickly yellow.
  • Texture. If your mustard is runny or chunky, it is expired. However, if you see a little drying along the surface or around the lid, it is normal.
  • Taste. If your mustard has a burning, bitter, or acidic taste, it is no longer edible. 

With these signs of spoilage in mind, you will be able to notice the very first symptoms of mustard degradation and discard the product that is potentially hazardous to your health!

4 Signs That Mustard Is Spoiled
ajafoto via VistaCreate


Mustard is a great condiment to add to various dishes since it gives them that rich and spicy flavor and taste! However, you should keep an eye on this product to ensure it is still safe to consume!

To protect yourself and your family members from accidentally consuming expired food, check your mustard now and then to see whether it is still OK and store it under the right conditions. It will allow preventing any foodborne diseases and will let you enjoy this piquant condiment longer.

Take care!

Written by
Elisa is a passionate cook who will advise you on healthy and delicious food topics! With her help, you will discover how to properly store and freeze food, as well as learn important nuances about preserving vitamins in your meals to make them stay nutritious.
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