Does Tartar Sauce Have To Be Refrigerated? A Full Guide

Are you a fan of tartar sauce but unsure about how to store it?

Do you find yourself wondering if it needs to be refrigerated or if it can be left out on the counter?

You’re not alone. Many people have questions about the proper storage of this creamy condiment.

In this article, we’ll explore whether or not tartar sauce needs to be refrigerated, how long it lasts once opened, and how to tell if it’s gone bad.

So, let’s dive in and get the answers you need to keep your tartar sauce fresh and delicious.

Does Tartar Sauce Have To Be Refrigerated?

The short answer is no, tartar sauce does not have to be refrigerated, especially if it is unopened. However, once opened, it is recommended to refrigerate the sauce to preserve its texture and flavor.

Refrigeration helps the sauce remain at its peak for longer, but whether you decide to refrigerate or not depends on how long you think you will want to keep the sauce for. If you don’t eat tartar sauce too frequently but want to keep it, then refrigeration just makes sense.

On the other hand, if you use a jar of tartar sauce in a week or two, or even accidentally leave it out once, you’ll be fine. Just keep in mind that the fridge is merely a way to extend the freshness of the sauce.

In general, tartar sauce does more than okay when kept out of the fridge if done so appropriately and within reason. Nonetheless, it is always best to refrigerate the sauce once opened to ensure its quality and taste are preserved.

What Is Tartar Sauce?

Tartar sauce is a popular condiment that is commonly used to accompany seafood dishes, such as fish and shellfish, as well as fries. The sauce is typically made from a combination of mayonnaise, vinegar, and salt, with additional ingredients such as pickles, capers, and herbs added for flavor.

The sauce’s main ingredient, mayonnaise, is a stable emulsion of oil and egg yolk or whole egg, which acts as a natural preservative. Additionally, vinegar also acts as a natural preservative due to its acidic properties. These natural preservatives ensure that tartar sauce generally does quite well out of the fridge, especially if it is unopened.

However, once opened, the sauce should be refrigerated to preserve its texture and flavor for up to six months. If stored correctly in the fridge, tartar sauce can last for about six months without any significant changes in texture or flavor.

It is important to note that tartar sauce is not a shelf-stable food and should not be left out at room temperature for extended periods. Doing so can cause the sauce to spoil and become unsafe to consume. Therefore, it is recommended to store the sealed bottle of tartar sauce in your pantry or kitchen cabinet until it is opened.

How Long Does Tartar Sauce Last Once Opened?

Once opened, tartar sauce can last up to six months if stored properly in the refrigerator. It is essential to keep the bottle tightly covered at all times to maximize its shelf life. If you are unsure whether your tartar sauce has gone bad, check the bottle for an expiration date. If the sauce has a strange odor or appears to have lost its texture, it’s probably time for a new bottle.

It is important to note that the storage time shown for opened tartar sauce is for best quality only. After that, the texture, color, or flavor of the sauce may change, but in most cases, it will still be safe to consume if it has been continuously refrigerated, the bottle is undamaged, and there are no signs of spoilage.

If you are using tartar sauce as an ingredient, such as on fish or egg salad, make sure to follow the instructions and keep it refrigerated until the use-by date. For homemade tartar sauce, it is best to make it in small batches and store them in the refrigerator. The homemade version lasts up to two weeks and can be refrigerated but not frozen.

Signs That Tartar Sauce Has Gone Bad

Tartar sauce, like any other food item, can go bad if not stored and handled properly. Here are some signs that indicate tartar sauce has gone bad:

1. Off odor: If you notice a sour or rancid smell coming from the tartar sauce, it is a clear indication that it has gone bad.

2. Change in texture: If the tartar sauce has become lumpy or has separated, it is a sign that the emulsion has broken down and the sauce is no longer good.

3. Change in color: If you notice a change in color of the tartar sauce, such as it turning darker or yellowish, it indicates that the sauce has started to spoil.

4. Mold: If you see any mold growth on the surface of the tartar sauce, it is an obvious sign that it has gone bad and should be discarded immediately.

5. Cloudy appearance: If the tartar sauce looks cloudy or has a film on top, it is a sign that bacteria have started to grow in it.

It is important to note that consuming spoiled tartar sauce can lead to food poisoning and other health issues. Therefore, if you notice any of these signs, it is best to discard the sauce immediately and not take any chances with your health.

Tips For Storing Tartar Sauce Properly.

To properly store tartar sauce, follow these tips:

1. Refrigerate after opening: As mentioned earlier, tartar sauce should be refrigerated after opening to maintain its texture and flavor. Make sure to tightly cover the jar or container before placing it in the fridge.

2. Keep away from direct sunlight: Direct sunlight can cause the sauce to spoil faster, so store it in a cupboard or drawer away from any sources of heat and light.

3. Check for signs of spoilage: Tartar sauce can last up to six months in the fridge if stored properly, but it’s always best to check for any signs of spoilage before using it. If you notice any changes in color, texture, or smell, discard the sauce immediately.

4. Use a clean spoon: When using tartar sauce, make sure to use a clean spoon or utensil to avoid introducing any bacteria into the jar.

5. Make small batches: If you prefer homemade tartar sauce, it’s best to make small batches and store them in the fridge for up to two weeks. Avoid freezing homemade tartar sauce as this can affect its texture and flavor.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your tartar sauce stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible.