How Long Does an Open Jar of Salsa Last in the Fridge?

If you’re a regular salsa-snacker, chances are, you have an open jar in your fridge right now — and it might be time to toss it.

bowl of salsa and chips
Photo: Getty Images

Some like it hot. Some like it mild. However you like it, salsa is undeniably one of those food items you'll never regret having on hand. Snack on it with chips, use it as a taco Tuesday accouterment, or spoon some over eggs to add a zesty touch to your breakfast.

A great tasting salsa offers the flavors of fresh tomato, onions and garlic, lime juice and a bit of cilantro. And with so many options for conveniently jarred salsa on the market, you're likely to find the perfect one to suit your taste. Of course, if you don't end up emptying the jar within a few days, you're likely to wonder just how long that open jar will stay good for in the fridge.

Is There a Difference Between Homemade and Jarred Salsa?

Recipes for a homemade salsa commonly call for ripe tomatoes, yellow and green onions, an acid like lime or lemon juice, garlic, and fresh cilantro. A jalapeno pepper is optional for adding a kick of heat to the ingredients. Seasonings include salt and maybe an earthy touch of cumin.

A salsa made in your own kitchen is made with fresh ingredients and will last for about 1-3 days when properly covered and refrigerated.

A store-bought salsa with relatively the same ingredients will also contain preserving agents. An airtight unopened jar of a commercially-produced salsa can stay fresh for up to a year, even without any kind of refrigeration. Jarred salsas are specifically made to be stored on shelves and in pantries for extended periods of time.

How Long Can You Store Salsa in the Pantry?

Most unopened store-bought salsa brands will last for 12-18 months in a kitchen cabinet or pantry. Just be sure the salsa jars are stored in a cool and dark place. You should always check the expiration date printed on the jar before opening a container and serving.

How Long Does an Open Jar of Salsa Last in the Fridge?

Once you open a container of a store-bought salsa, it must be refrigerated in an airtight glass jar or plastic container.

An open jar of store-bought salsa will last about 2–4 weeks in the fridge but you should always check for signs of spoilage before serving.

It is also an option to further extend the shelf life of the opened salsa by freezing it. Fill a plastic freezer bag (marked with the date) with salsa and press to remove air before sealing the bag closed and freezing.

Do not save salsa that has been served in open bowls and used by guests. These leftovers should be discarded to avoid contamination.

How Do You Know if a Jar of Salsa Might Be Spoiled?

Always inspect a jar or container of salsa that has been stored before opening it to serve. Look for any signs of dents or swelling of the lid on a jar, which indicate spoilage of the contents.

A sure sign to proceed with caution is when a previously unopened jar doesn't "pop" when you're opening the lid.

If there is no popping noise when opening a jar of salsa, that means there is no longer any pressure in the jar, which preserves the freshness of the ingredients. This can indicate it was never sealed properly or that the contents have gone bad inside the container. These are telltale signs that the salsa is not safe to eat.

When To Throw Out a Jar of Salsa

There will be times when even if you have followed all safety precautions, something has gone wrong and the salsa should not be consumed. You should get rid of any jar of salsa with signs of spoilage.

The warning signs of a jar of salsa gone bad:

  • A change in color. The ingredients should retain a bright appearance of red tomatoes, white and green onions, and herbs.
  • Signs of mold, fuzz, or unidentified bits in the container.
  • A noticeable separation of ingredients.
  • It is a considerable amount of time past the recommended expiration date.
  • An unappetizing or "off" odor upon opening the jar.
  • A bad taste.

If you have gone through all the other items on the checklist and they indicate a problem with the jar of salsa?

Don't taste it, toss it.

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