How to Store Oils, Vinegars, and Condiments 

Condiments can hang around long past their expiration date. Keep these guidelines* in mind while cleaning out your fridge and pantry.

vinegar-jar-glass
Photo by Jamie Chung   

Unopened, most of these items can be kept in their original packaging in the pantry at room temperature for at least 1 year. (Exceptions are noted below.) Once open, they should be stored in the refrigerator. However, some staples, like olive and vegetable oils, vinegar, and hot sauce, can stay at room temperature (see details below). Keep oil infused with raw garlic or fresh herbs in the refrigerator for up to 1 week; left at room temperature, garlic in oil can develop Clostridium botulinum, a dangerous toxin.



Barbecue sauce
Pantry: 1 year (unopened)
Refrigerator: 4 months (open)

Cocktail sauce
Pantry: 1 year (unopened)
Refrigerator: 6 months (open)

Dips, dairy and nondairy
Refrigerator: 1 week (unopened); 1 week (nondairy; open); 5 days (dairy; open)

Honey
Pantry: 1 year (unopened and open)

Horseradish
Pantry: 1 year (unopened)
Refrigerator: 4 months (open)

Hot sauce
Pantry: 3 years

Jams and jellies, store-bought and homemade
Pantry: 1 year (unopened)
Refrigerator: 6 months (open)

Ketchup
Pantry: 1 year (unopened)
Refrigerator: 6 months (open)

Maple syrup, pure and artificial
Pantry: 1 year (unopened)
Refrigerator: 1 year (open)

Marinades
Pantry: 1 year (unopened)
Refrigerator: 6 months (open)

*Real Simple consulted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), food scientists, food manufacturers, and a host of other experts—including fishmongers, cheese sellers, coffee roasters, bakers, and bartenders—to establish these storage guidelines. The first consideration was safety. But because you want your food to be delicious, too, for some products, Real Simple chose the conservative storage time for optimum freshness.

Mayonnaise
Pantry: 3 months (unopened)
Refrigerator: 2 months (open)

Mustard
Pantry: 1 year (unopened)
Refrigerator: 1 year (open)

Nuts, shelled
Pantry: 1 year (unopened); 1 month (open)
Refrigerator: 6 months (open)
Freezer: 6 months (open)

Oil, corn and vegetable
Pantry: 1 year (unopened; in a cool, dark place); 6 months (open; in a cool, dark place)

Oil, nut
such as sesame and walnut 
Refrigerator: 6 months

Oil, olive
Pantry: 1 year (unopened; in a cool, dark place); 6 months (open; in a cool, dark place)

Olives, brine-packed jars
Pantry: 1½ years (unopened)
Refrigerator: 2 weeks (open)

Olives, oil-packed jars
Pantry: 6 months (unopened)
Refrigerator: 2 weeks (open)

Olives, open deli variety
Refrigerator: 2 weeks

Olive tapenade, jarred
Pantry: 1 year (unopened)
Refrigerator: 2 weeks (open)

Pasta sauce, jarred
Pantry: 1½ years (unopened)
Refrigerator: 4 days (open)

Peanut and nut butters
Pantry: 9 months (unopened); 3 months (open)
Note: Keep natural peanut and other nut butters in the refrigerator to preserve their oils and prevent them from separating.

Pesto, jarred
Pantry: 6 months (unopened)
Refrigerator: 3 days (open)

Pesto, refrigerated
Refrigerator: 1 week (unopened); 3 days (open)
Freezer: 1 month (open)

Pickles and pickle relish
Pantry: 1 year (unopened)
Refrigerator: 3 months (open)

Roasted red peppers, jarred
Pantry: 1 year (unopened)
Refrigerator: 2 weeks (open)

Salad dressing
Pantry: 1 year (unopened)
Refrigerator: 1 month (open)

Salsa, fresh
Refrigerator: 4 days

Salsa, jarred
Pantry: 1 year (unopened)
Refrigerator: 1 month (open)

Sauerkraut
Pantry: 1 year (jar; unopened)
Refrigerator: 1 week (open)

Soy sauce
Pantry: 3 years (unopened)
Refrigerator: 1 month (open)

Teriyaki sauce
Pantry: 3 years (unopened)
Refrigerator: 1 month (open)

Vinegar, all varieties
Pantry: 2 years (unopened); 1 year (open)

Worcestershire sauce
Pantry: 1 year (unopened); 1 year (open)