How Long Does Pasta Sauce Last?

While doing the grocery, you may have bought a bottle of pasta sauce. You may not have been using it frequently so, maybe worried about its shelf life.

Usually, we end up throwing the leftover pasta sauce.

Nevertheless, wait!

To your wonder, if you maintain the conditions, you can make your pasta sauce last longer than you expected. Therefore, by ensuring better refrigeration and using an airtight container, you can make your pasta sauce stay fresh even after the date given as ‘Best Before’.

Here we will discuss your concerns about the shelf life of pasta sauce. Moreover;  different practically proven techniques to make your pasta sauce last longer. Besides, which are the major mistakes you do in storing pasta sauce that decreases its shelf life.

Shelf Life Of Pasta Sauce:

Pasta Sauce is usually a tomato sauce incorporating many different spices in it.

It also comes in a cream base. The cream sauces usually have less life than the traditional tomato-based pasta sauce. The others are oil-based and dry pasta sauces.

Another option is cheese-based pasta, which offers a quite favourable environment for the growth of mold and other bacteria. The shelf life of pasta sauce depends on the date of manufacture, storing methods, and the most important the preparation method.

Unopened Jar:

You can preserve an unopened can/jar of pasta sauce for a long time. If you keep it in the proper refrigerator, you can even increase the life of your unopened pasta sauce even more.

Always buy the pasta sauce from a reputed utility store that ensures proper refrigeration. Make sure that the seal is not broken or damaged and the lid is not popped up.

The shelf life of pasta sauce depends on how better you store it.

Pasta Sauce TypeDays Pasta Sauce Last for (unopened) Date Mentioned on Most Packages)Days Pasta Sauce Last for (opened) RefrigeratorDays Pasta Sauce Last for (opened) In freezer
Dry package pasta sauce mix6-12 months3-7 days (after preparing and mixing)Up to 3 months
Cream-based pasta sauce6-8 months3-5 daysUp to 60-70 days
Traditional pasta sauceOne year3-5 daysUp to 3 months
Oil-based pasta sauceOne yearSeven daysUp to 100 days
Cheese Based pasta sauce8-10 months3-5  daysUp to 40-45 days

It is to be noted that all of the above-mentioned time is an estimated time based on proper refrigeration.

Truly speaking, the manufacturing process affects the life of pasta a lot. Therefore, the reputed companies take a lot of care in the choice of raw material, packing, storage and maintaining conditions until delivered to the end-users. That is why their pasta sauce lasts much longer than that made of other companies. By ensuring proper refrigeration temperature, you can even double the life of these pasta sauces.

You always see a best before date on the pasta sauce, not an expiry date. It is because the life of pasta is dependent on the time of opening and storage condition. You can also freeze store your pasta sauce to last it even longer. However, after de-freezing the pasta sauce does not freeze it again, put in the refrigerator, or delay its use.

How To Know The Pasta Is Not Good To Use Anymore

Now, the question arises that if we can increase the life of pasta sauce with proper storage how come we know if it is spoiled or still good to use. Therefore, here are some signs that the sauce is spoiled or is rotten

The Sauce Has Changed Its Colour

The pasta sauce will start changing its colour when you have opened the jar. It is the reason why it turns to a dark red to maroon coloured tomato sauce after three days.

Sour Cream

In the cream or cheese-based pasta sauce, the flavour becomes sour, which indicates the pasta sauce is not good to use anymore.

The Shift Of Flavour

You feel any kind of shift in flavour while cooking with the pasta sauce, it is a high time to throw it away.

Mold Formation

Due to the organic contents in pasta and less, acidic to neutral pH it offers a better environment for the molds to grow efficiently. Moreover, as there is no preservative in the sauce the molds and lactic acid bacteria can grow in bulk without any hindrance.

Moreover, yeast is also another factor that plays a critical role in the spoilage of organic products.

Even the refrigeration temperature higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit cause the microbes to multiply with the double growth rate.

 Even if you cannot see the mold there are mold spores inside the sauce as the time passes. So, if you see any visible mold even if it is on the cap or the side of the container, throw the pasta sauce away. The molds produce mycotoxins that are very harmful and cause various diseases including food poisoning, rashes, eczema, diarrhoea etc.


When rotten the pasta sauce develops an offensive, bad odour. The odour is somewhat moldy. So, when you can feel the bad smell even if the pasta sauce does not show any visible mold immediately throw it away.

How To Increase The Life Of Pasta Sauce

Buy Fresh

Buy a pasta sauce jar that has a manufacturing date close to the one you are buying. The fresher it is, the better shelf life it can offer.

Good Company Pasta Sauce

Buy the pasta sauce from a good company and retailer. Believe me; it is going to affect the life of your pasta a lot.

Store in Refrigerator

Whether you have opened the pasta sauce can or not, always store your pasta sauce in the refrigerator and maintain proper storage temperature. It is because the growth of bacteria and fungi is decelerated at a lower temperature. However, at the room temperature, the growth turns ten folds.

Freeze Your Pasta Sauce

If you have a freezer, do not hesitate to freeze your pasta sauce. It will make the sauce last even longer.

Pro Tips:

Freeze the sauce after pouring in ice cube trays or cut the cubes after spreading sauce in a tray. It will make it handier to use. You can take out enough amount of pasta sauce cubes you need leaving the others to use sometime else.

Common Mistakes To Avoid Which Decreases Life Of Pasta Sauce

  • The most common mistakes we all do that decrease the life of pasta sauce and how to avoid them is as under
  • Never buy a can of pasta sauce if the seal is broken.
  • Return the can that is popped up to the store and claim for a refund.
  • Look into the date of manufacture before buying.
  • Do not buy a pasta sauce can that has less than four months to its expiry.
  • Ensure to use the sauce within a week after you opened the jar/can. It does not matter if the jar is airtight or not, use it within eight to ten days to avoid spoilage.
  • Throw away the pasta sauce that is opened and has passed more than ten days even it does not seem spoiled.
  • The life of cream-based pasta is less than that of other bases like dry, oil, or tomato-based. You need to use it within a few days of opening it.
  • If you feel a slight shift in the flavour of a cream pasta sauce, immediately discard it. There can have developed some harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning, diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea etc.
  • Do not forget to place your unopened jar of pasta as soon as you buy it.
  • Ensure to buy the pasta sauce from the store having maintained proper refrigeration temperature.
  • Always place the leftover pasta sauce in the refrigerator and airtight container.
  • At room temperature up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the pasta sauce get spoiled readily within less than 3-4 hours.
  • Freezing the pasta sauce increases its life.
  • To freeze the pasta sauce, you should aim at zero degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Toss away the sauce immediately if you observe any signs of mold formation.
  • Cheese based pasta sauce provides a neutral ph thus provides a favourable environment for the growth of mold, lactic acid bacteria, and yeast.
  • Never store the pasta sauce after melting it from its frozen condition.
  • Moreover, do not delay cooking after taking out the pasta sauce from the freezer.
  • It is always advisable to buy small portions of pasta sauce than buying it in one large jar or container.
  • To increase the life of pasta sauce you should opt for glass or plastic container instead of metal containers.

Pro Tip:

If you are not in the mood to make pasta in 3-5 days after opening the jar of pasta sauce, look into making some other delicious dish from it. There are several other dishes you can make from pasta sauce. Just explore and get to know a lot more.

Choose Wisely; Choose Economically.

Decrease waste and save nature.