Here’s everything you need to know about teriyaki sauce. Learn how long it lasts, whether or not you need to refrigerate it, and if it ever goes bad.
Your teriyaki sauce has already expired for a few months, and you want to know if it is still safe to use.
Or maybe you have a half-open bottle of teriyaki sauce left over from cooking, and you wonder whether or not to refrigerate it.
ring a bell? If so, this article is for you.
Does teriyaki go bad?
Teriyaki sauce doesn’t go bad quickly, but it doesn’t last forever. Once the bottle is opened, it keeps between a couple of months and even a year if you refrigerate it.
In most cases, teriyaki sauce retains its quality for up to a couple of months after the expiration date. Of course, that period is greatly reduced if it’s already “expired” when you first open it.
Teriyaki sauce (or marinade as some brands call it) keeps well after opening, mainly because its main ingredients (soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, and often sesame oil) keep for quite a while.
Obviously, teriyaki marinade is not as resistant to microbial growth as soy sauce, but it is not an easily spoiled seasoning.
That being said, in some rare cases, your teriyaki can go bad. Let’s talk about how to tell if your teriyaki sauce has gone bad.
signs of deterioration
Discard the teriyaki if it gives off an unpleasant or strange odor or shows any noticeable change in appearance, such as a drastic change in texture or floaters on the surface.
If you don’t notice anything unusual and the sauce is no more than a couple of months out of date, try a small amount. If the quality is good enough, feel free to continue using it. If not, you may need to open another bottle.
The flavor of soy sauce fades over time (here’s how long soy sauce lasts), and you should expect the same from your teriyaki sauce. If it lacks a bit of flavor, you can try using more to make up for it. In many cases, that should solve the problem.
But if there is little flavor left, there is no point in using it and you should open a new bottle.
How long does teriyaki sauce last?
|Teriyaki (unopened)||Expiration + 3 to 6 months|
|Teriyaki (open)||12 weeks||Before expiration or 3 to 6 months|
The above periods are only for the best quality.
Teriyaki sauce usually has an expiration date of 12 to 18 months. After opening the bottle, leftover refrigerated teriyaki sauce will usually keep its best quality until the printed date, or at least for a few months if you open it near or after the printed date.
That’s the typical scenario, but many brands have different guidelines. For example, San-J recommends that you use their sauces within 1 month for table use and 3 months for culinary use. Or Toshi’s teriyaki, which you must use within 3 months of delivery.
That being said, the expiration date printed on the label is only a rough estimate of how long the product will retain its quality. And since teriyaki is a soy sauce-based condiment, it usually lasts well beyond its date.
Let’s talk about it.
As I’ve already pointed out, teriyaki doesn’t spoil easily, and your unopened bottle should still be perfectly safe and tasty even if it’s been “out of date” for a few months.
Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing exactly how long the sauce will retain its quality. So it’s best to open it up, check for signs of deterioration, and assess the quality if everything seems fine.
(Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable using teriyaki that is a year past its expiration date, it’s okay to throw it away.)
Also, keep in mind the overall shelf life of your teriyaki.
If it’s the standard 12-18 months, it will most likely taste great for at least 3-6 more months. But if it has a limited shelf life (like the three months mentioned), I wouldn’t expect it to maintain quality for more than a month or so.
Obviously it also depends on your taste buds and what you consider to be of decent quality and what you don’t.
Once you open your bottle of teriyaki, the seasoning usually retains its quality right up to the printed date. That means you have at least a couple of months to consume it.
If your teriyaki is near or past its expiration date, assume it should keep for 2-3 months, and try to use it as soon as possible for the best quality.
(Of course, many teriyaki makers recommend throwing out the sauce if it’s past its expiration date for quality reasons.)
Again, the longer the sauce’s shelf life, the longer it should last once opened.
All of this is not to say that teriyaki can last forever. If yours is two years past its expiration date and has been open in the fridge for more than a year, it’s best to throw it away, even if it appears to be fine.
As always, err on the side of caution.
homemade teriyaki sauce
Homemade teriyaki sauce keeps for about a week in the fridge. However, if you use any additional ingredients in your recipes in addition to the usual ones, you should probably reduce it to the usual 3-4 days of keeping for leftovers, just in case.
Some recipe bloggers claim that theirs will keep for a month in the fridge, but I wouldn’t bet on that.
If you need our homemade teriyaki to last a long time, or are planning to make a large batch, opt to freeze the sauce (more on that later). This way, your teriyaki will keep for months, and you won’t end up with spoiled teriyaki that you expected to be good.
Does teriyaki sauce need to be refrigerated?
After opening the bottle, you should refrigerate any leftover teriyaki sauce for the best quality. Although you can probably leave it out at room temperature, its overall flavor will decay much faster than if it sits in the fridge.
In other words, unless you know the bottle will run out in a week or two, it’s best to stick it in the fridge.
Also, most of the brands out there (for example, Kikkoman, Soy Vay, Kinders or Toshi’s) recommend that you store their marinade in the fridge after opening.
When it comes to homemade teriyaki, you should always refrigerate it, no matter what.
Other Storage Practices
As long as the bottle is unopened, a cool, dry place, away from any heat source, is all the teriyaki sauce needs.
After opening it for the first time, remember to close it tightly after each use. AND if you can’t or don’t want to refrigerate it, store it somewhere possibly cool and out of direct sunlight.
Last but not least, try to keep the cap and rim of the bottle clean. If you use just a little bit of the sauce a dozen times, sooner or later a disgusting crusty layer will form there. And at that point, it’s time to grab a damp paper towel, wipe it all down, and dry it.
(Ideally, you should do this after each use, but we all know that’s not a realistic expectation.)
Lastly, let’s talk about whether and how teriyaki can be frozen.
Can teriyaki sauce be frozen?
You don’t need to freeze store-bought teriyaki sauce, as it often lasts for months after opening. When it comes to homemade teriyaki, it all depends on the recipe, because each one is different in terms of ingredients and their amounts.
If you’re thinking about freezing homemade teriyaki, the best thing to do is look in the recipe for any information on the subject and go from there.
Unfortunately, in most cases, you won’t find much, and you will be left alone.
If that’s the situation you find yourself in, I’d suggest freezing a small amount for a day or two to see how it goes. Then, if it works out, you can use that recipe to make a big batch and freeze the leftovers from here on out. And if it doesn’t work out, try another recipe (if you really need one that freezes well).
If you’re looking for ideas on how to freeze teriyaki, here are some options.
How to freeze teriyaki
The easiest way to freeze teriyaki is to use an ice cube tray. Here’s how:
- Pour the sauce into an ice cube tray.
- Put the tray in the freezer and leave it there until the sauce is completely frozen.
- Take the ice tray out of the freezer and carefully scoop out the diced sauce.
- Place the cubes in a resealable freezer bag. Add a name tag if necessary.
- Put the freezer bag in the freezer.
This way, you can easily defrost the amount of teriyaki sauce you need at one time.
Of course, the ice bucket method is best if you use teriyaki in small amounts. If not, it’s probably best to freeze it in several small containers or perhaps using a muffin pan.
Another option for freezing the teriyaki marinade is to freeze it with the meat.
Prepare the marinade, pour it into a freezer bag, add the meat and massage the marinade in to soak it in. When everything is well mixed, put the bag in the freezer.
When the time comes, you defrost the meat and it’s ready to cook.