Does Soy Sauce Need To Be Refrigerated


Does Soy Sauce Need To Be Refrigerated? 

Opinions may vary on whether soy sauce needs to be refrigerated or not. The determining factor as to whether soy sauce should be refrigerated is if it is open, or not opened. Although some may still have varying opinions, usually your soy sauce bottle will tell you whether it should be refrigerated or not. Below you will find details on if soy sauce should be refrigerated or not. 

soy sauce up close

Does Soy Sauce Go Bad?

Although not very common, soy sauce can go bad. Typically, this is because it is stored incorrectly, but however rare occurrences you need to know that it can spoil. 

What Is Soy Sauce?

Soy sauce is a delicious type of liquid seasoning made primarily from water, soybeans, wheat salt, salt, sugar, and a fermenting agent. Soy sauce is a type of condiment that is used to add extra flavoring to your dishes. Typically, it is used primarily for Asian dishes but can be used as a condiment for any kind of dish.

Now let’s look at does soy sauce need to be refrigerated? Below are the ins and outs of soy sauce storage and refrigeration. 

Soy Sauce Storage and Shelf Life Summary

Unopened Soy Sauce

Unopened soy sauce does not need to be refrigerated. However, unopened soy sauce should be stored in a cool, dark location.

The best place to store unopened soy sauce is in a cupboard or pantry or even cellar. This allows your soy sauce to not be exposed to extra sunlight and will keep it good as long as your bottle is sealed for a very long time. 

Surprisingly unopened soy sauce can be good for up to three years if stored properly. However, for the best results, you will want to use soy sauce within one or two years after purchase.

You can also reference your bottle of soy sauce for the best used by date. Typically this will state that your soy sauce will last between 2-3 years on the shelf.

Although not very common, soy sauce can go bad if it is kept way too long or is stored improperly. 

Opened Soy Sauce

When the seal is removed from your bottle of soy sauce it should be refrigerated. Open soy sauce should not be kept at room temperature. 

There are varying opinions on whether soy sauce should be refrigerated or not, most bottles will say right on them that they should be refrigerated after opening. If your bottle says this then you need to be sure to refrigerate your soy sauce once opened. 

After Opening

After your soy sauce has been opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator. Storing your soy sauce in the refrigerator at 40°F or below will help it to last longer, and keep it from spoiling. 

You may see varying opinions that opened soy sauce kept in the refrigerator, may last anywhere from three months to three years. A lot of it depends on the brand of soy sauce and how your particular soy sauce is made.

You’ll want to use your soy sauce in one year or less after opening. However, you may find the soy sauce begins to ferment, separate, or have white floaters in it. These are signs that your soy sauce has gone bad and should be thrown away. 

For best results, it’s a good idea to store your opened soy sauce in the refrigerator at 40°F or below for up to three months


Unopened Soy Sauce: Store in a dark dry location

Opened Soy Sauce: Refrigerate 

soy sauce side view

How to Tell If Soy Sauce Has Gone Bad

There are several signs that you can look at and determine if your soy sauce is good or if it has spoiled. Below we will detail these different ways you can tell if your soy sauce has gone bad. If your soy sauce meets one of the below categories, don’t risk eating it anymore and toss it out. 

Signs of Spoilage


You can examine your soy sauce and see if it is good by looking at the appearance of your soy sauce. If you see anything funny looking, such as a slimy appearance, or a film on your soy sauce, these are signs that it has spoiled and gone bad. 

White Floaties

Soy sauce is naturally fermented, but there are aspects of yeast that could create a film in your soy sauce and create white floaties. When you see these white floaties, you can remove them if you catch them right away. 

To remove them, simply run them through a coffee filter, and then refrigerate your remaining soy sauce. Before you add the sauce into your food after the floaties are removed, taste it and see if it tastes okay, or if it is off. If it is off, then just throw out the soy sauce. 

The white floaties are signs of yeast fermentation which just means that your soy sauce is fermenting rapidly, if you see white floaties in your soy sauce it does not necessarily mean you are at risk of food poisoning. But in some cases, you are better off simply throwing the sauce away. 


Next, smell your soy sauce. If it smells rotten or just has a nasty odor to it, then your soy sauce has likely turned bad. When soy sauce has a foul odor to it, throw it away and do not eat it. 


You can also examine the texture of your soy sauce to see if it has any lumps, film on it, or floaties inside of it. If you see anything out of the ordinary, besides your clear brown liquid, this likely means your soy sauce has turned bad. 


Finally, if you see no other signs the soy sauce has gone bad, you can take a small taste of your soy sauce. Do not add it to your food if you are in doubt. If the soy sauce tastes off at all, do not eat the soy sauce. However, if your soy sauce tastes normal, then it is most likely alright to eat. 

Like most foods that you are unsure of, if you are at all in doubt that your soy sauce is good, throw it away. 

Things That Help Soy Sauce Last Longer

Unopened Soy Sauce. When your soy sauce is unopened, store it in a cool, dry, and dark location. This will prevent any unwanted bacteria from growing, and help it stay good for a long time. 

Opened Soy Sauce. When you open your soy sauce, it should be refrigerated. 

Keep Refrigerated. When your soy sauce is open and you refrigerate it, it should continually stay in the refrigerator unless in use.

soy sauce

Does Soy Sauce Go Bad? Does It Need to Be Refrigerated?

Soy sauce can go bad although it is not a very common occurrence. To help store your soy sauce and keep it good for a long time, your opened soy sauce should be stored in the refrigerator.

How should I store soy sauce at room temperature?

If you are storing a bottle of unopened soy sauce at room temperature, it should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark location. Places such as the pantry, in the cupboard, or in a cellar are good options. You’ll want to avoid storing your soy sauce in the light, or heat. 

Most kinds of soy sauce recommend that once the bottle is opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator. However, if your brand of soy sauce does not say it has to be stored in the refrigerator after opening, it can sometimes be kept at room temperature. 

If you are going to store your soy sauce bottle that has been opened at room temperature be sure to seal it tightly, avoid contamination, keep the rim and outside of the bottle clean, and store your bottle in it cool, dry, and dark location. 

Does Soy Sauce Have To Be Refrigerated After Opening?

Most types of soy sauce should be refrigerated after opening. This will help your soy sauce stay good for a long time. However, in a few rare occasions, soy sauce does not have to be refrigerated. We strongly recommend that all types of soy sauce be refrigerated after they are opened. 

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last Once Opened?

Opinions vary on how long soy sauce lasts once it is opened. There are suggestions for anywhere between one month to three years when an open bottle of soy sauce is stored in the refrigerator. 

We recommend that you simply keep an eye on your open bottle of soy sauce, for any signs of spoilage. If it is stored properly, your opened bottle of soy sauce may be good between three months and one year when stored properly in the refrigerator. However, it’s always good to keep an eye on it for any signs of it going bad. 

How Long Does Soy Sauce Last?

A good rule of thumb is to reference the use-by date on your soy sauce container. Most kinds of soy sauces will last approximately two years when stored properly and are unopened. 

Once your soy sauce is opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator. The shelf life of your open sauce may very, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on it for signs of it going bad. 

What are the Impacts of Storing Soy Sauce Unrefrigerated?

When you store soy sauce that is unrefrigerated and has been opened, you run the chance of it going bad quickly. Open soy sauce has a chance of obtaining bacteria, or contamination from being exposed to air, and sunlight. It is highly recommended you store opened soy sauce in a refrigerator. 

Does Homemade Soy Sauce Have to Be Refrigerated?

We strongly recommend that you store homemade soy sauce in the refrigerator after it has been made. Be sure to transfer it to an airtight container, or seal the lid on your bottle tightly to avoid contamination. 

soy sauce from the side


Can You Freeze Soy Sauce?

Soy sauce is not able to be frozen even if you wanted to try it. Soy sauce contains a high amount of salt in its content, which prevents the liquid from freezing over. 

What happens if I eat spoiled soy sauce?

Like any foods, if you eat soy sauce that has spoiled, you run the risk of getting food poisoning. Food poisoning can range from being a little bit sick, to very sick. If you think you have food poisoning, it’s a good idea to contact your doctor.

What can substitute soy sauce?

Other sauces such as Worcestershire sauce, or teriyaki sauce, are good replacements for soy sauce. 

Can I still use unopened soy sauce after 2-3 years?

It depends if your unopened soy sauce has any signs of the sauce going bad, and the suggested use-by date on your specific sauce, as to whether it will still be good two or three years later.

Is soy sauce bad for your health?

Soy sauce contains a lot of salt. If you reference one bottle of soy sauce, we are specifically looking at Burman’s soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon contains approximately 830 mg sodium which makes up approximately 36% of your recommended daily sodium intake. 

Because of the high salt content, it can increase your blood pressure and could lead to strokes or heart disease. If you already struggle with high sodium, or heart disease, it’s a good idea to steer clear of soy sauce. 

Is soy sauce vegan?

Yes, soy sauce is vegan, because it is not made with any kind of animal product, but is plant-based. 

Can I make homemade soy sauce?

You can make homemade soy sauce. To do this you’ll need dry soil beans, wheat berries, aspergillus orzyae starter, sea salt, and water. 

soy sauce top down

Does Soy Sauce Need to Be Refrigerated? Because Our Fridge Is About to Burst

Storing soy sauce in the refrigerator is highly recommended so that it is not as likely to go bad. In fact, most bottles of soy sauce will say that they should be refrigerated once opened. 

This being said, some have found that soy sauce can be stored at room temperature as long as you’re careful to avoid heat and sunlight.

For best results though, we highly recommend that you keep your soy sauce in the refrigerator after opening. Before your soy sauce is opened, it can be stored sealed in the bottle, in a cool, dark, and dry location. 

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Faith Has been cooking and baking for many years! she loves to share her recipes with the world, and hopes you will enjoy them too!

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