How Long Does Mustard Last?

Mustard - does mustard go bad? The shelf life of mustard depends on the best before (best-by) date, the storage method, and the added ingredients. Mustard, the sidekick to ketchup, is a common feature at any condiment station. It is made of mustard seeds and vinegar with various other spices or flavorings. It is often the condiment of choice simply because of what it is lacking - it is extremely low in both fat and sugar! But, it is high in sodium (salt).

In North America most consumers get their mustard from French's, but numerous other varieties exist with their own unique flavor punch. There are hundreds of flavor varieties available, just check your grocery isle sometime - or a gourmet food store for even more varieties.

So, does mustard go bad? Eventually. When properly stored, mustard lasts for the time periods indicated in the table below beyond its best-by date:

How Long Does Mustard Last?

Mustard Expiration Date

Product Pantry (Unopened) Refrigerator (Opened)
Past Printed Date Past Printed Date
American Mustard lasts for 1-2 Years 1 Year
Dijon Mustard lasts for 2-3 Years 1 Year
Chinese Mustard lasts for 1-2 Years 1 Year
Honey Mustard lasts for 2-3 Years 1-2 Years
Homemade Mustard lasts for 1 Day 1 week - 1 year
Dry Mustard lasts for 1-2 Years --

Of course, foods will last for a shorter period of time if they are not stored properly. But, like many other products, mustard may have a best by date or use by date which is simply the last date by which a manufacturer will vouch for a product's quality, not its safety. Because of this distinction, you may safely use your mustard after the use by date has expired. It is well preserved due to the vinegar, but mustard does go bad eventually.

How to tell if Mustard is bad, rotten or spoiled?

Practicing proper hygiene and food safety techniques will help prevent foodborne illness.

Although not a perfect test, your senses are usually the most reliable instruments to tell if your packaged mustard has expired or gone bad. The first sign of caution is when the liquid has considerably separated from the other ingredients. It goes downhill quickly from there as the solid part becomes thicker and darker and then can develop an unpleasant odor and flavor which can eventually result in mold.

There are, of course, certain health risks associated with spoiled foods so always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your foods before their shelf life has expired!

How to store Mustard to extend its shelf life?

For both bottled and dry mustard, it should be stored in a cool dry environment not susceptible to temperature change. When items go through temperature changes of cool to warm and vice versa, the moisture in the air tends to condensate inside the packages. This moisture allows mold to grow and your mustard to spoil. Refrigeration is required only after the mustard has been opened and the freshness seal has been broken. According to the spokesperson for French's: a glass jar of mustard will last for 2 years, a plastic squeeze bottle will last for 18 months, and tiny mustard packets will last for 6 months.

For homemade mustard, you can keep it fresh longer by storing it in your refrigerator below 40°F immediately after use. It should always be stored in air-tight containers that help keep out moisture and other contaminants. Homemade varieties last for varying degrees depending on the ingredients used (see the next section).

In addition, you should always make sure to use clean utensils when serving mustard in order to avoid cross-contamination.

Some benefits of proper food storage include eating healthier, cutting food costs and helping the environment by avoiding waste.

Interesting facts about Mustard:

  • In 1904 George T French developed a mustard that is milder than the European version because he thought Americans would prefer it. Well, they did and his creamy yellow version is often called "American" or "ballpark" mustard.
  • The versions that are bright yellow (like French's) are due to the addition of the Tumeric spice.
  • All flavors typically have the same shelf life.
  • The pre-packaged mustard does not need to be stored in the refrigerator until it is opened.
  • Dijon style was first developed in Dijon, France. Now it is made many places but still includes the addition of wine to the recipe.
  • How long is Mustard good for when prepared in a dish?

    How long does mustard last? That depends. How long does milk last? In general, mustard lasts only as long as the quickest expiring ingredient that it is mixed with.

    What are our shelf life resources?

    In determining how long Mustard lasts, our content incorporates research from multiple resources, including the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Food & Drug Administration. In addition, we scoured the web for informative articles and reports related to food safety, food storage and the shelf life of Mustard.

    *An important note about expiration dates...

    Although the Mustard shelf life information on Eat By Date is generally reliable, please remember that individual cases will vary and that our advice should only be taken as an opinion and not a replacement for your health care professional. Please eat responsibly!

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