How Long Can Tomato Sauce Last in the Fridge?

So you are wondering "how Long Can Tomato Sauce Last in the Fridge?"


Well that depends...


There are many different types of tomato sauce available. These range from pasta sauce, to pizza sauce, to a concentrated paste-like substance, to ketchup used to dip fries in.

Tomato sauce ready for fridge

These sauces are all made with tomatoes as their primary ingredient and are almost always eaten and served in conjunction with other ingredients.

They are a commonly featured ingredient in sauces as tomatoes contain an enzyme that allows the sauce to thicken in consistency without the addition of a binding agent

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Pasta sauce

There are 3 different types of pasta sauce - fresh, tinned/canned, and homemade. Each comes with its own unique storage specifications.

Tinned or canned storebought sauces tend to contain a lot of preservatives to increase the shelf life of the product. The shelf life of these sauces, once opened, will vary depending on the brand.

Different manufacturers will have different recipes and therefore different lifespans. Culinary Circle brand sauce should be used within 3 days.

Albertson’s and most other generic brands such as Classico and Barilla advise using within 5 days. Prego is by far the longest lasting sauce, with an average lifespan of 14 days. 

Homemade pasta sauce will not contain any preservatives (with the exception of a little salt and sugar). This means that it will expire much faster than storebought stuff.

Homemade tomato sauce should be stored in the refrigerator inside an airtight container to minimize the contamination and oxidation the sauce goes through. If stored correctly, you should be able to keep your sauce for 4 to 5 days. 

Fresh, storebought pasta sauce is likely to have a similar lifespan to homemade and should be used within about 5 days of opening. You will notice a decrease in the color intensity of the sauce if it is beginning to turn. It may also begin to smell sour and begin to grow mold. 

Pizza sauce

This differs from pasta sauce as it is usually uncooked, whereas pasta sauce tends to be cooked. It is essentially tomatoes, salt, pepper, and some seasonings blended together to make a smooth-ish sauce.

It is uncooked as this will produce a tangier and more vibrant tomato flavor when cooked on top of the pizza. 

Open tomato pizza sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for anywhere between 5 and 7 days. This is a guideline for storebought pizza sauces that contain preservatives. Homemade pizza sauce is likely to turn a little faster.

These should be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Homemade pizza sauce should keep for 4 to 5 days before it begins to go off.

The best place to start is by checking the expiration date printed on the jar. Check for green, white, or black mold on the lid of the jar or the surface of the sauce. Check for sour odors and tastes.

If your jar is unopened, check for broken seals on the lid. This will allow contaminants in and cause your sauce to go off.

Tomato paste

This is a thick and concentrated version of tomato sauce. The tomatoes are cooked for a long time and are then strained. This removes the skin and seeds, turning it into a very smooth sauce.

This is then cooked for a second time to reduce the liquid and concentrate the flavors. This produces a thick paste with a strong tomato flavor. 

It often comes in a metal tube similar to other pastes. This can last for months in the cupboard when it is unopened. Once it has been opened it must remain in the refrigerator when not in use.

This has by far the longest shelf life of any tomato sauce. Tomato paste will keep and remain food safe for between 6 and 8 weeks once it has been opened. 

Canned tomato paste will only keep for 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator once it has been opened. This is why we would always recommend opting for tomato paste in a tube.

The only exception to this is if you plan on batch cooking a recipe which will use an entire can of tomato paste. If you wish to keep canned tomato paste, please transfer the contents of the tin to an airtight container before placing it in the refrigerator.

Tomato paste purchased in a jar is likely to last for up to about 10 days in the refrigerator. As with the other types of tomato sauce, sour odors, mold, and bitter tastes indicate that the tomato sauce has gone off. 

Tomato ketchup

Tomato ketchup is known as tomato sauce in many areas of the world including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, India, and South Africa.

This is a sweet condiment that tends to be made from tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, spices, and seasoning. It is commonly served with hot dogs and fries, although it is a very versatile sauce.

When unopened, tomato ketchup can be stored in a cupboard for months on end. Once it has been opened, you must always ensure the bottle is kept closed.

It should be stored on the countertop for around 2 weeks. If you do not intend to consume within this time period we suggest storing it in the refrigerator. When stored in the refrigerator, ketchup can last for up to a year. 

You can tell ketchup has gone off if you see mold or discolorations within the ketchup. If it smells sour or off in any way, or the taste has been altered, we suggest disposing of it. 

How Long Can Tomato Sauce Last in the Fridge? Summary

It really depends on what tomato sauce you mean when you ask how long it will last in the fridge. Even within the sauce types, different manufacturing methods and ingredients mean that there is not one standard time period. 

The best way to check the safety of your tomato sauce is to check the expiration date printed on the container. We would also recommend labelling each jar or can with the date you opened it. This will help you to keep track of when you should trash things.