Does fish sauce go bad

Fish sauce is an amber-coloured condiment made of anchovies coated with salt and then fermented for a couple of months or years. It’s a key ingredient in providing the taste of most Southeast Asian cuisine, making it a common ingredient in the region.

Fish sauce is a staple when it comes to Southeast Asian cuisines, especially Thai, Vietnamese, and Taiwanese dishes.

You’ll enjoy the flavor of fish sauce due to its earthy, savory taste that makes dishes such as roasted tomatoes, mushrooms and soy sauce delicious in taste and a must-have.

To balance the bitter taste of vegetables, some chefs use fish sauce. The sauce has a strong, pungent fishiness but is balanced by a sweet, salty, briny caramel sweetness. if you don’t like fish sauce then go with its alternatives to make your meals scrumptious without missing

fish sauce image

However, the fish sauce is high in umami, also known as the fifth taste, and is typically found in animal proteins.

Does Fish Sauce Go Bad?

Fish sauce is a condiment that’s made from fermented fish and salt. You can use it for many years without worrying about it going bad. Fish sauce can spoil if not properly stored. It can be spoiled by high or low temperatures, light, water, and microbes. If not properly stored or treated with care, fermentation can lead to bacteria that can cause food poisoning or spoilage.

What Is The Shelf Life Of Fish Sauce?

Each fish sauce has a “best-before” date. These dates tell you how long the product will keep its freshness and maintain its prime umami taste.

Fish sauce can be described as a condiment bought on the shelf due to its sodium content. This is the reason it’s not often ruined until the point where it could cause nausea.

Unopened bottles of fish sauce could last for an average of 3-4 years following the date it was bottled.

The shelf-life will be shorter if we’re talking about top, high-end quality, high-end fish sauce. A bottle could last up to 36 months following the date on which the manufacturer made it. In any case, it’s still a shelf-stable. After opening your fish sauce, be prepared so the flavor will diminish with time. Then you will notice that the flavor and the taste are becoming dull.

Store it in the refrigerator should last for up to a year. If you store it in the storage unit at room temperature, it will last for 3 to 6 months. If you don’t use the fish sauce often, you should buy the small bottle that is available on the market.

How Can You Tell If Fish Sauce Has Gone Bad?

Fish Sauce is unlikely to expire faster, but it is important to check the condition before applying it to avoid costly problems later.

Although the manufacturers have a best-by-date on their label; however, there isn’t any legal requirement for the date of the Sauce End Date. The main issue is with the customers who depend on the sauce with an expiration date.


If you notice clear crystals appearing on the base of Fish Sauce, never consider it an indicator of spoilage, as the sea salt crystals develop in the bottom of the sauce when it is kept within the sauce for over a year. They won’t impact the sauce’s flavor; however, it is advised in these conditions.

Cloudy Particles

The cloudy substance floating around the Fish Sauce bottle is the proteins. This is normal for the sauce when it is kept for a longer time at a certain temperature. It’s natural and doesn’t affect the flavor or taste of the dish.


Fresh Fish Sauce is golden-brownish, brownish red, and transparent with sediments. However, once it begins declining, the color shifts into darker tones. But this won’t affect flavor or quality.


Fresh Fish Sauce is a savory which many don’t enjoy. It fades once it is added to the food. However, when the sauce gets bad, it emits a foul and unpleasant smell. It’s an indication of the deterioration of the sauce.


The flavor changes with time. If you have a different flavor than fresh Fish Sauce, you must throw it out as it indicates that the sauce is now stale.

Mold Growth

The growth of mold on the inside of Fish Sauce is not expected. You may notice visible mold around the caps. If you spot any evidence of mold or other traces on the top of the sauce, you should throw out the bottle right away.

fish Seasoning Sauce stored in Long Neck Glass Bottle

How to Store Fish Sauce?

Storing Fish Sauce At Room Temperature

The bottle that came with it is sufficient to hold your fish sauce. The bottle is typically constructed from glass. This is sufficient to allow the sauce to remain in good condition for a prolonged period.

You can use pantry storage options for the storage of fish sauce. Fish sauce typically contains salt, and keeping it together with other salty items can result in undesirable effects. It is better to store them in jars with tightly shut lids.

Storing Fish Sauce In The Refrigerator

Fish sauce stored in a fridge can extend the shelf life. The best option is to store your fish sauce inside an airtight container which can be sealed by a lid or cling wrap. It is also important to check when the date of expiration is on the bottle and the bottle’s seal before placing the fish sauce in storage.

Storing Fish Sauce in the Freezer

Keep the Fish sauce in the freezer so long as it’s sealed and stored properly. The sauce for fish should be kept in a container with an airtight lid and then placed in the freezer. You must not store it in a sealed bag since it can make it difficult to tell if the sauce is spoiled.

How to Use Fish Sauce?

If you’re anything like me, opening a fish sauce bottle can be scary because it doesn’t have the most pleasant smell or scent. What else could we expect from fermented fish? Lol.

Fish sauce can be used similarly to anchovies, giving dishes a unique umami flavor and touch. Remember that fish sauce can be very salty, so it is best to use it sparingly. Some chefs and cooks prefer the fish sauce to salt.

Fish sauce, especially fried rice, is another great addition to rice dishes. It pairs well with noodles and is, therefore, a key ingredient in preparing and using dipping sauces and dressings for some salads. people also like to use fish sauce with tasty homemade fish tacos to enjoy with friends and family.

Can You Get Sick From Expired Fish Sauce?

This is a common question, often answered with a caution “it is possible.” But we don’t know the answer. We do know that expired fish sauce can cause illness. However, this is unlikely to happen.

You should call your doctor if you suspect you have eaten expired fish sauce. They can assess the situation and give you further instructions if there are any concerns. You can store the fish sauce in cool, dry places away from children and sunlight. It should be thrown out immediately if it goes bad and should not be used in any food products or beverages.


Fish sauce is essential in various Asian dishes, but can it get spoiled? Yes, it is prone to spoilage. But, it can take quite some time to see this happen.

It is created of salt and fermented fish and has an extremely long shelf-life. The process of fermentation stops the development of harmful bacteria. Therefore, you won’t have to be concerned about food poisoning if you consume fish sauce that has turned bad. The first thing you’ll notice when a fish sauce has gone bad is that it’ll smell rancid.

It could alter the color and taste sweet. You should eliminate this fish sauce if you observe any of these symptoms. You can also buy an entirely new bottle.

fish-sauce with lime and red chili in bowl

Frequently Asked Questions

With what does fish sauce taste best?

Thai cuisine uses fish sauce as a salt. It is the backbone of Thai cuisine and adds flavor to Thai dishes such as Thai salads, soups, stir-fries, stews, and curries. Fish sauce will last for at least one year after being opened. It can also last up to two years.

Can you freeze fish sauce?

Frozen fish sauce is not recommended. Fish Sauce is low in freezing point due to oil, salt, and preservatives.

From where does fish sauce originate?

Fish sauce is a liquid condiment made from fish and krill that has been fermented for at least two years. It is a staple seasoning used in East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines, including Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

How long does fish sauce keep out of the fridge?

Fish sauce that has not been opened can be stored for 2 to 3 years. Fish sauce that has been opened can be kept at room temperature for 3 to 6 months and in the fridge for one year.

What is the color of the fish sauce?

Fish based sauce is an amber-coloured liquid that results from the fermentation and addition of sea salt to fish. It’s used in many cuisines as a condiment.

Can vegetarians use fish sauce?

Thai cuisine is often considered vegetarian by Thai restaurants. Oyster sauce, shrimp paste, and fish sauce are all common ingredients. Even if you don’t find a restaurant that uses shrimp paste or fish sauce, oyster sauce is still an option, as many Thais consider it vegan.

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