Here's How Long Open Pasta Sauce Can Last In The Fridge

Do you tend to put a little or a lot of pasta sauce on your spaghetti noodles? While there really is no right or wrong way to sauce your pasta, it is recommended to use about a ½ cup of pasta sauce per 1-cup serving of cooked spaghetti. When you consider that the average jar of store-bought pasta sauce is around 24 ounces, you will most likely end up with some leftover sauce if you aren't cooking for several people at once.

The shelf life of supermarket pasta sauces can vary depending on the type of sauce and the manufacturer's guidelines, but most unopened jars can last roughly one year in the pantry. You can keep your opened sauce in the refrigerator in its original jar, with the lid tightly on, but a tomato-based sauce will only last a handful of days this way. Pesto sauce, though, will last up to two weeks in the fridge after it has been opened, and opened Alfredo sauce will only last about four days in the fridge. Unless you are planning to have leftover pasta for lunch or another meal, you should store the sauce in a different way or just discard it.

Store opened pasta sauce to make it last

You can keep pasta sauce in its original jar if it has not been warmed on the stove, but if you are saving sauce that has already been warmed, it is best to store it in a new airtight container to help retain freshness and avoid cross-contamination. You should move the sauce from the pan to the container with a clean spoon, since a spoon that was used for cooking — according to Southern Living — may have particles that can contaminate the sauce and cause it to go bad faster.

You can also freeze your sauce for up to 3 months if you think you won't use it right away. Simply allow it to cool, then put it in a sealable plastic bag, making sure you squeeze all of the air out, and label it before freezing. When you're ready to use the sauce, thaw it in the refrigerator and then heat it before serving. Any sauce leftover after reheating might as well be discarded in order to limit the risk of contamination.

How to know when pasta sauce went bad

If you find a jar of pasta sauce in your fridge and you are not sure how long it has been in there, you will want to check its freshness. There are a few signs that can indicate if the sauce has gone bad. If it has a rancid odor, that is a clear sign that it has spoiled. If the sauce has mold, it's not safe to eat. Additionally, signs of fermentation, like moving bubbles in the sauce, are also a strong reason to suspect the sauce is not safe to eat.

If you notice any of these signs, discard the sauce immediately. If none of these things are present, the sauce may be good to eat, but if you are in doubt about it, it may be best to just throw it out. You could get food poisoning from eating refrigerated leftovers that are more than a couple of days old, as noted by Mayo Clinic, so it's always best to err on the side of caution when eating leftover sauce.