What Condiments Need to be Refrigerated? [& Not]

Do you find yourself struggling with a refrigerator full of condiments and wonder whether or not they really need to be in there?

It seems natural to put your ketchup, mustard, relish, etc., on your refrigerator door. 

As a general rule of thumb, any condiment containing dairy, vegetables, and fruits needs to be refrigerated. Anything that contains vinegar, sugar, salt, and alcohol will be fine unrefrigerated but may benefit from being cold. At many restaurants, you’ll see mustard. Ketchup, and hot sauce sitting on the table, which is perfectly fine. 

If you want a full detailed list of what condiments you don’t need to refrigerate, check out what we’ve compiled below. 

CondimentNeed RefrigerationLongevity OpenedLongevity Refrigerated
KetchupNo1 month1 year
MustardNo2 months1 year
Fish SauceNo3-6 months1 year
Soy SauceNo1 year2-3 years
Hot SauceNo6 months2 years
Oyster SauceNo3-6 months2 years
JellyNo30 days6 months
Peanut ButterNo3 months6 months
SrirachaNo6-9 months2 years
CholouaNo6 months4-5 years
BBQ SauceYes1 month4-6 months
Chick Fil AYes90 days90 days
MayonnaiseYes8 hours2 months
Salad DressingYes1-2 days3 months
ButterYes1-2 days1 month

What Condiments Don’t Need to be Refrigerated?

If your refrigerator door is cluttered, you can safely remove these condiments and keep them on the counter or in your pantry. 


Ketchup has a lifespan of about a month after opening it if it’s left out of the refrigerator and 1 year if unopened.


There are a lot of people who will argue about this issue. The main thing to consider is how long it will take to use the ketchup.

If you use it a lot, don’t bother putting it in the fridge as long as you think you can use it within a month. However, if you don’t use it often, there’s no harm in keeping it cool. 


As long as the mustard you use doesn’t contain fruit or veggies, it has enough acid in it as a preservative and will last 2 months on the counter.

Variations that are safe to leave out include yellow and whole-grain.

However, dijon and horseradish-based mustard should be refrigerated. Remember to shake your mustard bottle each time you use it because the water will pool at the top and you’ll end up with soggy bread. 

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce has a lifespan of 3-6 months after it’s been opened and left on the counter. You can make it last up to 1 year if you refrigerate it, though.

Since it has a long production and fermentation time, it will be just fine in an unrefrigerated environment.

It may change in flavor a bit and ferment some more, but it will remain completely fine to eat. 

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is something we’ve never refrigerated because it’s fermented, much like fish sauce. It can remain good to eat for up to 1 year after being opened.

If you want it to last longer, you can certainly keep it cool in the fridge. It should last about 2-3 years in the fridge. 

Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is another condiment that will be just fine unrefrigerated for about 6 months.

This is something you will see on a table at a restaurant as well. Commercially bottled hot sauces can sit around for a few years as long as it’s vinegar-based with no fruits or veggies.

The color may change, but it won’t spoil. It can last about 2 years in the fridge. 


Honey doesn’t spoil. If properly stored, it can remain safe to consume indefinitely.

If you put honey in the refrigerator, it can crystalize quicker and it will be almost impossible to get out of the bottle without needing to warm it up first.


The low moisture content, low ph, and antibacterial properties prevent spoilage, which is why it’s good to eat indefinitely. However, it may or may not lose some color and flavor.  

Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce can be kept at room temperature for about 3-6 months. Higher-quality oyster sauces can be kept at room temperature for up to a year.

However, just to be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to consume your oyster sauce within 6 months to ensure the best quality.

There are some oyster sauces that do need to be refrigerated. If it requires refrigeration, it will state it on the bottle.

After you open your oyster sauce and you choose to refrigerate it, it can stay good for up to 2 years. 


Jelly is considered to be a condiment because it enhances the flavor of something. It also doesn’t need to be refrigerated because it has a water activity of 0.80 and a pH of around 3.

So since there’s not enough moisture to support bacteria growth and there’s too much acid for them, you don’t have to worry about it.

However, jelly may grow mold if left around for too long. You can keep jelly on the counter for 30 days and up to 6 months in the fridge.  

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is classified as a condiment but within the subcategory of spread. It can last at room temperature for three months after opening for the best quality.

We never refrigerate our peanut butter because it becomes too difficult to work with. Natural peanut butter on the other hand only lasts 1 month after opening. 

Does Sriracha Need to be Refrigerated?

Sriracha does not need to be refrigerated. As long as it is stored in a cool, dry place, it’s fine.

The reason it doesn’t need to be refrigerated is that the ingredients are pretty resistant to bacterial growth, which is what causes ceratin foods to become unsafe and spoil.

This doesn’t mean it’s resistant to change. Sriracha can change the taste and look if it sits around for too long, but it won’t necessarily spoil.

It can last 6-9 months on the counter and up to 2 years in the fridge. 

Does Cholula Need to be Refrigerated?

Cholula does not need to be refrigerated. Since it’s a type of hot sauce, it can sit out at room temperature for 6 months before losing its quality.

It remains the tastiest when consumed by the “best by” date. However, if you do choose to refrigerate it, it lasts 4-5 years.

If you aren’t sure whether or not your Cholula s good, here are some signs to look for. It may smell musty, which is an indicator of mold growth.

It may also change the appearance and you may notice mold. Lastly, it may taste overly sour or sweet. 

Does BBQ Sauce Need to be Refrigerated?

Once your BBQ sauce is opened, it does need to be refrigerated. Once opened, it will last in the fridge for 4-6 months.

There are conflicting reports that BBQ sauce can remain in the pantry for 1 month once it’s opened. So ultimately, it’s at your discretion.

If it’s unopened, it will last until its “best by” date. The same can be said for homemade BBQ sauce.

It doesn’t contain as many preservatives as store-bought sauce and hasn’t been created in an ultra-sterile environment. 

Does Chick Fil A Sauce Need to be Refrigerated?

Chick Fil A sauce doesn’t have to be refeigerated, although it’s recommended. If you refrigerate it, it will last much longer.

The individual packets you get from them are not refrigerated, but the bottled versions state specifically on the bottle that it’s best to refrigerate it.

All of the sauces they have are said to be best if used within 90 days. 

Does Ketchup Need to be Refrigerated?

No, ketchup does not need to be refrigerated. We covered this earlier, but it’s a pretty popular question, so we’ll go over it again.

You can safely leave the ketchup on the counter for a month before it begins to lose its tastiness. It may begin to taste a little more tangy than usual.

If you don’t think you’ll be able to use your ketchup within a month, it’s best to refrigerate it. 

Does Mayonnaise need to be Refrigerated?

We highly suggest refrigerating opened mayonnaise, but it all depends on the manufacturer.

We found that the Hellman’s mayonnaise containers require refrigeration after opening, but their squeeze bottles don’t.

Once opened, mayo has a shelf life of about 2 months. 

Final Thoughts

Any condiment that’s non-perishable will be just fine on the counter, but anything perishable should go in the refrigerator.

If you don’t know whether or not it needs to be refrigerated, check the label on the packaging.

It will specifically say whether or not it needs to be refrigerated.

Although a lot of condiments don’t require refrigeration, they can certainly extend their overall shelf life once it has been opened.

It’s all up to you and how much space you have in your fridge. 

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