Condiments have so many potential ingredients that it’s hard to know which need to be refrigerated. Usually products that require refrigeration will say so on the label, but if the label doesn’t state this, you may wonder if it would harm the condiment to store it in the pantry. Follow some basic guidelines to figure out which need to go in the refrigerator.


Condiments That Must Be Refrigerated

Condiments made from perishable ingredients, such as milk, eggs and fresh vegetables, must be stored in the refrigerator after opening. Many of these items are kept in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. They are almost always marked “Keep refrigerated” or “Refrigerate after opening.” This includes mayonnaise, dairy-based salad dressings, dips, chutneys, horseradish, relishes, olives and minced garlic. Even refrigerated, these items may only last for three months.


Condiments That Need No Refrigeration

Condiments that are highly acidic, salty, extremely sweet or made from a stable olive or vegetable oil do not need refrigeration. Soy sauce, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and all varieties of vinegar are examples of these condiments. Honey, corn syrup, molasses and jams with at least two-thirds sugar content will keep on the shelf, but maple syrup should be refrigerated. Most of these items will still need to be replaced after long storage because the quality and flavor fade with time. Throw soy sauce out after a year. Vinegar can keep its flavor for up to three years. Dry condiments, such as sugar and salt, may be kept almost indefinitely on the shelf as long as they’re kept dry.


Condiments That Can Be Refrigerated

Some condiments will keep for a reasonable time without refrigeration but will last longer in the refrigerator. Ketchup will keep for a month without refrigeration but will last up to six months if kept cool. Barbecue sauce will keep for a month on the pantry shelf or up to four months in the refrigerator. Peanut butter does not need refrigeration, but the oil in natural peanut butter, if it is stirred and refrigerated, will not separate. Mustard will keep for one to two months at room temperature but up to a year in the refrigerator.