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How Long Does Tartar Sauce Last? Does it Go Bad?

Tartar sauce is a popular condiment that is a must-have for many seafood lovers.

Whether you’re enjoying crispy fish and chips, salmon fillets, or shrimp cocktail, tartar sauce is the perfect complement to any seafood dish.

However, if you’re not an avid seafood eater or if you only have it occasionally, you may be unsure of how long tartar sauce can last in your fridge.

After all, nobody wants to ruin a perfectly good meal by adding a spoiled condiment to it.

So, how long does tartar sauce last? Does it go bad?

Tartar sauce can last up to four months in the refrigerator when stored properly. Always check the expiration date on the package before using it. If the sauce develops an off odor, strange appearance, or unusual texture, it is best to discard it.

In this article, we’ll explore the factors that affect the shelf life of tartar sauce, how to store it properly to keep it fresh for as long as possible, and how to tell if it’s gone bad.

Let’s dive in!

What is Tartar Sauce?

Tartar sauce is a creamy and tangy condiment made from mayonnaise, chopped pickles, capers, lemon juice, and seasonings. Some of the seasonings commonly used in tartar sauce include garlic powder, onion powder, and dill weed.

Tartar sauce is traditionally served with seafood dishes; however, it can also be used as a dipping sauce for french fries or vegetables.

How Long Does Tartar Sauce Last?

The shelf life of tartar sauce can vary depending on several factors, including the ingredients used, storage conditions, and if it has been opened or not.

If you purchase tartar sauce from the grocery store, always check the expiration date on the package before using it. Most pre-made tartar sauce has a shelf life of up to six months unopened.

Once opened, tartar sauce can last up to four months in the refrigerator. However, this can vary depending on the freshness of the ingredients used in the sauce, and the storage conditions.

How to Store Tartar Sauce

Proper storage is crucial in extending the shelf life of tartar sauce. Here are some helpful tips to help keep your tartar sauce fresh for as long as possible:

  • Store in an airtight container: Tartar sauce has a tendency to absorb odors from other foods, so be sure to store it in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out and transferring flavors.
  • Refrigerate immediately: Tartar sauce should be refrigerated as soon as possible after opening. Leaving it out at room temperature will speed up the spoilage process.
  • Keep it at a consistent temperature: Avoid frequent temperature changes and avoid placing tartar sauce directly in the door of your refrigerator where the temperature fluctuates each time you open it.
  • Always use clean utensils: When scooping tartar sauce out of the container to serve, always use clean utensils to avoid cross-contamination of bacteria.
  • Discard if opened for too long: If the tartar sauce has been open for more than four months, it is best to discard it, even if it appears to be fine.

How to Tell if Tartar Sauce Has Gone Bad

It’s crucial to check the tartar sauce you plan on using to ensure that it hasn’t gone bad. Here are some signs to look for:

  • Discoloration: Tartar sauce should be creamy and off-white in color; if you notice any green or gray tones, it’s likely spoiled.
  • Unusual texture: If the tartar sauce has a grainy or stringy texture, or if you notice any separation, it has gone bad.
  • Off odor: Smell the tartar sauce; if it gives off a strange or sour smell, it’s not safe to eat.
  • Strange appearance: Check the jar for moisture under the lid, bubbling, or other signs of a compromised jar.

If you notice any of these signs, it is best to discard the tartar sauce, even if it hasn’t reached its expiration date.

How to Enjoy Leftover Tartar Sauce

If you have leftover tartar sauce, here are a few ideas to use it up:

  • Use as a dip: Use it as a dipping sauce for veggies or chips.
  • Spread it on a sandwich: Add a dollop of tartar sauce to your favorite sandwich or burger.
  • Season it up: Mix tartar sauce with spices like hot sauce or onion powder for added flavor.
  • New seafood dish: Use it as a marinade for shrimp or fish before grilling, baking, or frying.


In conclusion, tartar sauce can last up to four months in the refrigerator when stored properly. Always check the expiration date on pre-made tartar sauce before using it.

Proper storage is key to keeping tartar sauce fresh. Remember to refrigerate it immediately after opening, keep it at a consistent temperature, and use clean utensils.

If your tartar sauce has gone bad, it’s best not to take any chances and discard it. Unusual texture, off-odor, or discoloration are all signs that the sauce has been compromised.

With this information, you can enjoy your seafood meals with the perfect condiment without worrying about whether your tartar sauce has gone bad. Bon Appetit!

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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.