6 Condiments That Don’t Need to Be  Refrigerated (Plus 4 That Do)

updated May 24, 2024
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condiments nutritionists love laid out on a table
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Are the shelves in your refrigerator door cluttered and jumbled? I know mine are. It’s a constant game of Tetris, trying to shift bottles and jars around to squeeze everything in.

But what if I told you that some of these condiments don’t have to be stored in the refrigerator, thus freeing up some much-needed space? Here are five common condiments that, once opened, can actually be stored outside the refrigerator.

How to Store Condiments Outside the Refrigerator

The following suggested timeframes for keeping condiments refers to condiments that are commercially made, since those tend to contain enough preservatives.

Remember that while the following opened condiments don’t have to be kept in the refrigerator, they should be kept at a cool room temperature and out of direct sunlight.

And always use common sense — if a condiment starts to smell or taste funny, ditch it.


Shelf life: 2 months

As long as the mustard doesn’t contain fruits or vegetables, it has enough acid in it as a preservative. Yellow, Dijon, or even whole-grain can be put away in the cabinet for up to two months.

Credit: Joe Lingeman


Shelf life: 1 month

If you use ketchup often, do as restaurants and diners do — just leave it out. Ketchup can be kept unrefrigerated for up to one month, but if you don’t think you’ll finish the bottle in that timeframe, it’s best to keep it in the refrigerator.

Fish Sauce

Shelf life: 2 to 3 years

Fish sauce already has a long production and fermentation time, and it will sit just fine unrefrigerated. It may continue to ferment a bit and change slightly in flavor, but it is still safe to eat.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe

Soy Sauce

Shelf life: 1 year

Just like fish sauce, soy sauce is fermented and does not need to be refrigerated unless you are keeping it for more than one year.

Hot Sauce

Shelf life: 3 years

Like mustard, most commercially bottled hot sauces can sit around for a few years — just make sure it is vinegar-based with no fruits or vegetables. Again, the color may change, but it won’t spoil.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe


Shelf life: Basically indefinite, if stored properly

Other than speeding up crystallization, refrigeration doesn’t have a big affect on honey. In order for honey to spoil, it needs moisture or other containments inside its storage container or jar. When tightly sealed in a cool, dark place, honey can last basically forever (there are reports of thousand-year-old honey pots pulled from tombs and full of perfectly preserved honey). However, if honey is left open and exposed — especially in humid environments — it can go bad. The USDA recommends using honey within 1 year, after which it’s quality could start to deteriorate.

Condiments That Should Always Be Refrigerated After Opening

Some condiments should always be stored in the fridge after they’ve been opened.

  • Mayonnaise
  • Salad dressings
  • Maple syrup
  • Jellies and jams