Which Condiments Should You Refrigerate?

Which Condiments Should You Refrigerate?

If you were without the Internet this past week, you may’ve missed the Great Ketchup Debate.

That’s right, it was so serious, we’ve even capitalized & italicized the event.

What were the two sides to all the passionate condiment lovers’ arguments? The discussion came down to whether ketchup should, or shouldn’t, be refrigerated.

Well, the answer to that contested dispute is…n’t totally straightforward. Acidity, salt, and sugar – all of which are found in ketchup – does keep things safe for the shelf, though the salt reductions in ketchup could mean it’s better off in the fridge.

So in short: the debate rages on.

Fortunately, other condiments are more black & white as to whether they should call your fridge, or your pantry, home. Here are some common items you could keep in your cupboard, and some that should always be in the fridge.

In the pantry

Butter: The general rule for dairy is that it should be kept cold. While butter is a dairy product, the FDA makes a special exception for this condiment. Why? Unlike its milk & cream brethren, butter isn’t a Temperature Control for Safety (TCS) food – meaning it’s fine to eat, and store, at room temperature.

Related: Ketchup, Mustard, and Relish: How Your Condiments are Helping Your Health

Hot sauce: Some people call this a ‘pantry staple’ – and that’s where it should stay. There’s virtually no risk in keeping hot sauce out of the fridge, even after it’s opened. The vinegar and salt, commonly found in hot sauces, double as preservatives, making the hot sauce food for eight weeks after opening. If you really want to prolong the longevity of your sacred sauce though, putting in the fridge will keep it good for six months.


Honey: This condiment isn’t only fine to eat straight outta the pantry, but you could be making it more difficult to use if you put it in the refrigerator. When cooled, honey thickens & hardens, making it akin to squeezing hardened cement out of the bottle. So you’ll have to wait until it rises to a balmier room temperature, or just keep it away from the fridge altogether.

Related: What You Didn’t Know About Best Before and Expiry Dates

In the fridge

Mayonnaise: Even though you purchase mayonnaise off the shelf, once it’s opened, it has no business being there. The USDA recommends that if you open mayo reaches 50 degrees or higher for more than eight hours, it’s best to play it safe and toss it.


Soy sauce: A lot of people keep this condiment side-by-side with its best friend in the pantry, rice. But, it’s best to keep soy sauce in the fridge once opened; in its cool condition, it’ll be perfect for a good 2 years – though we doubt this salty favourite would last this long.


Salad dressing: Okay, so the creamy dressings like ranch or Caesar you likely know should be refrigerated at all times. But, oily alternatives like Italian should follow the creamy options too. The main ingredients found in oily dressings – like shallots and citrus juice – will spoil at sub-optimal temperatures (room temperature).

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