How Long Does Mayonnaise Last?

Mayonnaise is an egg-based condiment that is usually mixed with some form of an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar and a little oil.

This common and extremely popular condiment is used on almost anything and can be found in many varieties.

No matter what your favorite flavor or how you like to use mayonnaise you might not know how long it lasts.

It is important that we take care when consuming dairy products as when spoiled there is a chance they can make us sick.

Many people aren’t aware of how perishable mayonnaise is.  In this article, we discuss how long mayonnaise can last when either opened or unopened. 

How Long Does Mayonnaise Last?

How To Store Mayonnaise?

Unopened mayonnaise doesn’t typically require refrigeration so you can safely store it in the kitchen pantry or cupboard if you’ve bought a few jars in bulk.

Anywhere else that is cool and dry is also suitable to store unopened mayonnaise.

To preserve the freshness even longer, you can store unopened mayonnaise in the refrigerator for up to one year. 

When opened, however, mayonnaise should always be stored in the refrigerator with the lid tightly sealed on.

For best results, make sure the refrigerator temperature is below 40℉ to slow the rate of bacteria growth. 

Checking the jar’s label is the best way to identify if a particular brand or variety has specific instructions on how to store it correctly.  

How Long Does It Last After Opening?

After opening mayonnaise, it should be stored in the refrigerator to maximize the shelf life and keep it safe to eat.

As a general rule, store-bought jars of the condiment will be of good quality for another 2 to 3 months after opening.

As with many foods, when they are kept in the refrigerator the cooler temperatures slow down the rate of bacterial growth.

Mayonnaise that has been left out of the refrigerator after opening it only has a shelf life of around 8 hours due to the egg composition of the condiment.

A good example of when this may happen is after a big cookout or family barbecue, usually, there’s a lot of food and things can get hectic which means we don’t realize how long a jar has been sat out for. 

To avoid anyone getting sick, if the mayonnaise has been left out for more than 8 hours it’s just best to throw it away. 

How Long Does It Last Unopened?

How Long Does Mayonnaise Last?

If you’ve stored mayonnaise in the pantry or kitchen cupboard prior to opening, it should last between 3 to 4 months past its best-by date.

If you need a little reminder, the best-by date indicates the date at which the product will remain of the highest quality before flavors and textures may start to decline. 

When opening after being stored in a pantry or similar location and the oil has separated this doesn’t mean that the mayonnaise has spoiled, it just needs to be stirred a little to reconstitute it. 

How Long Does Homemade Mayonnaise Last?

Homemade mayonnaise differs from the store-bought version as they carry an increased chance of contamination occurring from salmonella.

Manufacturers pasteurize their eggs to prevent the salmonella bacteria from growing in the egg yolks.

As a result, homemade mayonnaise can only last for a week in the refrigerator. 

How To Tell If Mayonnaise Has Gone Bad?

For those of you who aren’t huge mayonnaise lovers and find yourself with jars in the refrigerator months after they’ve been opened then you might find mold and spore growth when you next open the lid.

Mayonnaise fanatics on the other hand probably won’t have this issue. 

Smell

Using your senses can be a great way to tell if mayonnaise has gone bad.

There could be a horrible acid-type smell coming from the jar that will instantly tell you the product is off and shouldn’t be consumed.

If it’s really bad you probably won’t have to wonder for too long whether or not the mayonnaise has spoiled. 

Mold

Mold and mold spores are a clear indicator that food has gone off and shouldn’t be consumed.

Do not scoop out the mold and continue to eat the product as the bacteria has still spread through the product and may cause you harm. 

Color And Texture

Everyone knows that standard mayonnaise is white in color. Anything that is darker in color than usual is another sign to chuck it out.

Usually the mayonnaise starts to turn an off yellow or even a brownish color which indicates it has been left in the refrigerator for too long. 

Taste

One final way to tell if your mayonnaise has gone bad is to try a little bit of it.

Once it starts to taste funny or unpleasant then it has gone bad and it should be thrown away. 

Can You Eat Mayonnaise After The Expiration Date?

How Long Does Mayonnaise Last?

In theory, you can eat this condiment after its expiry date.

We would recommend avoiding eating mayonnaise if it has gone significantly past its expiration date as it is a perishable product that contains eggs, which if eaten when spoiled can lead to things such as food poisoning.

In these cases, sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

If you feel that there are no signs of spoilage such as a foul smell, discoloration, or mold spores on the food product then you can use your best judgement to decide if it is fit for eating. 

What Happens If You Eat Mayonnaise That Has Gone Bad?

Consuming mayonnaise that has expired can lead to you feeling nauseous, and getting stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Homemade mayonnaise is made with raw eggs (see also ‘How Long Do Hard-Boiled Eggs Last?‘) rather than emulsified ones which means there could be a possibility that you get food poisoning.

Only consume homemade mayonnaise up to one week after it has been made. 

Keeping It Hygenic

Despite its long shelf life, you still need to practice good food hygiene in order to get the most out of your mayonnaise.

For example, always use a clean, dry spoon when getting mayonnaise out of the jar to reduce the chances of cross contamination.

Don’t dip your food straight into the jar to also avoid any bacteria spreading from one surface to another. 

Final Thoughts 

When unopened mayonnaise can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 3 to 4 months past its best by date before the quality of the product starts to deteriorate.

Mayonnaise that is opened and kept refrigerated can be stored safely for 2 to 3 months once opened. 

We hope you found this article interesting and informative, helping you to better understand how long mayonnaise takes before it starts to turn bad. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Can You Keep Mayonnaise After The Expiration Date?

How long mayonnaise can last after the expiration date depends on how it was stored as well as what ingredients are in it.

When mayonnaise contains extra preservatives it can extend the shelf life of the condiment but can negatively impact our health. 

On the whole, mayonnaise should be okay for up to 3-4 months past the best-by date, but not as long after the expiration date. 

How Do You Make Mayonnaise Last Longer?

To get the absolute best out of your mayonnaise, always store correctly when opened and make sure the lid is shut tightly.

Make sure the jar doesn’t sit out of the refrigerator for too long between uses to further avoid it spoiling. 

Some evidence suggests that stirring yogurt whey into homemade mayonnaise and leaving it at room temperature for around 8 hours to activate the enzymes found in the whey can extend the shelf-life of the mayonnaise.

Always check the product using your senses if you are concerned about the quality and safety of the mayonnaise, especially if it’s homemade. 

Jenna
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