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Does Soy Sauce Have to Be Refrigerated to Stay Fresh?

Does Soy Sauce Have to Be Refrigerated to Stay Fresh?

Last Updated on 11th August 2021 by

Soy sauce adds some zing and some zip to your Asian dishes. You need it to give a bowl of noodles its best flavour, and it is a key ingredients in the sauce for Japanese pancakes. Soy sauce can be added to marinades and dipping sauces for some extra flavour as well.

It’s one of the most popular condiments in the world, so most kitchens have at least one bottle of soy sauce on hand. It may be fair to say that the majority of people store their soy sauce in the fridge, usually in the door next to ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.

Does soy sauce have to be refrigerated after opening, though? Is that really necessary to ensure it doesn’t go bad or to make certain that it doesn’t lose its flavour?

Is It Unsafe to Keep Soy Sauce Out of the Fridge?

Think about where you buy soy sauce in the grocery. It’s always on a shelf with other dry goods, never refrigerated at all. So, when you bring it home to your house, you don’t have to store it in the fridge right away. It will be safe on your shelf with other dry goods for a very long time.

Does Kikoman soy sauce have to be refrigerated? If it isn’t opened, it can actually last indefinitely in your pantry. It will stay good for years, and when you do finally get around to opening it up, it should still taste fresh.

Once you open the soy sauce, though, that’s another story.

Does Soy Sauce Have to Be Refrigerated after Opening?

Soy sauce, even when opened, can last for a while. Left on the shelf out of the fridge, it can last for about a year. After that, it’s not a good idea to keep it around.

Soy sauce is cheap enough that if you forget to store it properly and it was opened at some point then you can just replace it without much problem.

Does soy sauce have to be refrigerated once opened? It doesn’t have to be, but it should be if you are keeping it in storage for more than a year. Some people use their soy sauce very slowly, only using a dash here and there.

Soy sauce is quite strong, after all, so if you have a small family or don’t cook with soy sauce often, then a single bottle may last you for a very long time.

You may just want to buy a small bottle if you know you won’t use it for a while. That way, there is less chance of wasting it, and if you do have to toss the bottle because it passed its expiration date, it won’t be such a big deal.

If you store it in the fridge once opened, though, the soy sauce can last for anywhere from two to three years.

Some soy sauce brands say to keep the condiment in a cool place, and the top brand Kikkoman is one of them with that advisory. Does Kikkoman soy sauce have to be refrigerated? Storing it in a cool place helps to keep the flavour intact, but that storage area doesn’t have to be the fridge. Refrigeration helps retain the flavour for longer, but it isn’t absolutely necessary.

Why Doesn’t Soy Sauce Need to Be Refrigerated?

There is a lot of disagreement over the question of does soy sauce have to be refrigerated after it’s opened. Some say it loses its flavour and others say it is just fine to stay out of the fridge. What is the answer, though?

Let’s look at this question of soy sauce storage scientifically. This condiment is fermented when made traditionally, and that fermentation means that the soy sauce will theoretically be good forever, if it isn’t opened.

The fermentation not only makes the soy sauce viable for a very long time but also keeps the flavour intact, so it will be okay to eat and taste like it should as well.

Soy sauce is also rich in sodium. That’s what makes it an unhealthy condiment, so you want to keep your usage under control. Use it sparingly if you are watching your sodium levels. That high salt content makes the inside of a soy sauce bottle a very bad place for bacteria to live.

Keep in mind that your soy sauce’s “best by” date on the label is important. No matter how you store your soy sauce, once it reaches that best by date, you need to toss it out, to be on the safe side.

You also want to keep the soy sauce sealed tightly. If you let in air and bacteria, it will go bad faster, and it might not even last as long as the next time you want to use it.

Does Homemade Soy Sauce Have to Be Refrigerated?

If you make soy sauce yourself, you may use slightly different ingredients than what’s used in the soy sauce you buy from the store. The different components may change the flavour of the soy sauce, but if the fermentation process is still a part of your recipe and it is still high in salt, then your soy sauce doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

It will be fine to keep it in the cupboard and take it out when needed. Just keep in mind that once the bottle is opened, the soy sauce’s flavour can deteriorate, and refrigeration keeps the flavour intact longer.

One important thing to note about soy sauce storage is that the flavour and viability of soy sauce deteriorate like any food does, but very, very slowly. Soy sauce takes a long time to go bad in any meaningful way, and even if it might not taste right, it could still be safe to eat.

The fridge is a fine place to store your soy sauce, but a lot of us struggle to have room for everything in the fridge sometimes. It’s perfectly okay to store your soy sauce in your pantry as long as it doesn’t get too hot. It should last you for many months there without spoiling.

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I'm Pauline, a retired patisserie chef, mother of four and now a full time food blogger! When i'm not cooking i love long walks, reading thriller novels and spending time with my grandkids. Head to my about me page to learn more about the woman behind the food!  You can find my Facebook here