How to Tell if Salsa is Bad?

Save for later!

Fresh salsa is amazing and adds a top of flavor to tacos, fajitas, salad bowls, wraps, and burritos. Spoiled salsa, however, is another story. Not only does spoiled salsa taste and smell rancid, but it can also cause botulism and food poisoning.

So, how to tell if salsa is bad? The best way to tell if a salsa has gone bad is to check the expiration date on the label. If salsa is passed its expiration date, throw it away in the trash. Spoiled salsa often smells sour or rotten and becomes dark red or brown in color. Mold growth is also a sign that salsa has gone bad. 

This article tells you everything you need to know about the salsa’s shelf life. Keep reading to learn how to store salsa to keep it fresh for longer. 

How Long Does Salsa Last?

How long salsa will last depends on the type of salsa and the way it’s made. Salsa can be found in most supermarkets and comes in cans, jars, or refrigerated bottles.

Unrefrigerated salsa from a grocery store has the longest shelf life and can keep in the pantry for between 12 and 18 months. However, once you open a can or jar of unrefrigerated store-bought salsa it can last anywhere from one to two weeks in the fridge. 

Unopened refrigerated salsa is usually safe to consume up to two months after the expiration date. Once opened, the salsa will last one to two weeks in the fridge.

Homemade salsa has the shortest shelf life and can stay fresh for three to four days in the fridge. 

How Long is Salsa Good for in the Fridge?

How long salsa will stay fresh in the fridge depends on how it’s made. 

An open jar of store-bought unrefrigerated or refrigerated salsa can last anywhere from one to two weeks in the fridge. To prevent food poisoning always check the salsa for signs of spoilage before serving. 

Fresh, homemade salsa typically doesn’t contain any preservatives or additives that can prolong its shelf life and is good for three to four days in the fridge. 

Does Salsa Go Bad in the Fridge?

All salsa, even refrigerated salsa, will go bad if it’s left in the fridge for too long or isn’t stored properly. If you aren’t sure how long the salsa was in the fridge, open it and look for signs of spoilage.

If you notice a strange rancid odor or mold growth, or if the salsa darkened and developed a maroon color it’s best to toss it away in the garbage. 

How to Properly Store Salsa?

Storage guidelines differ slightly for each type of salsa. Here’s how to store salsa to keep it fresh for longer:

1. Unrefrigerated Store-Bought Salsa

Unrefrigerated store-bought salsa is available in either a jar, can, or bottle. As long as it’s unopened, this type of salsa can be stored in a cold, dark place, away from heat sources. The kitchen and pantry are the best places to store unopened unrefrigerated salsa.

But, once you open a can of unrefrigerated salsa, transfer it to an air-tight container and store it in a fridge. If a salsa comes in a jar or bottle, seal the lid tightly and keep the salsa in the refrigerator for up to one or two weeks. 

2. Refrigerated Store-Bought Salsa

Storing refrigerated store-bought salsa is easy. Since this type of salsa is refrigerated in the store, you should also keep it refrigerated at home. 

Once you open this type of salsa transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for one to two weeks. 

3. Homemade Salsa

Homemade salsa, like any other homemade food, requires refrigeration. Fresh-made salsa doesn’t contain any preservatives so it has a very short shelf life. Homemade salsa can last in the fridge for three to four days. 

What Happens if You Eat Bad Salsa?

Salsa can become spoiled if it’s not stored properly. Eating spoiled salsa can cause food poisoning, followed by abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and fever. Seek immediate medical assistance if you suspect food poisoning. 

Another potential issue is that Clostridium botulinum spores can grow in salsa and produce botulism toxins. The first symptoms usually appear 10 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food and include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hard breathing
  • Double vision
  • Muscle weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurry vision

The botulism toxin can paralyze breathing muscles, causing death. If you notice any of these symptoms after eating salsa go to the nearest hospital immediately. 

What Does Salsa Taste Like when it goes Bad?

Spoiled salsa develops a sour and rancid taste. Store-bought salsas are usually made with preservatives and can last a lot longer than homemade salsa. 

What Does Spoiled Salsa Look Like? 

Fresh salsa has a bright red color, but spoiled salsa becomes dark red, maroon, or even brown in color. Spoiled salsa also has a different texture than fresh salsa. If your salsa has completely separated, throw it in the trash.

As with any other food, spoiled salsa will become moldy. If you notice green or black fungus or a white powdery layer on the surface, the salsa has become moldy and should be thrown in the trash. 


Have you found an open jar of salsa in your fridge? If that’s the case, you must be wondering how to tell if salsa is bad. 

There are several ways you can determine whether the salsa is safe to eat. The first thing you should do is check the expiration date. If the salsa is past the date on the packaging it’s best to throw it away.

Different colors and textures, unpleasant odors, mold spots, and sour taste are the tell-tale signs that salsa has gone bad. Don’t eat any salsa that has a sour or rotten smell, has mold, or has become dark red or brown in color.

Related Articles:

Save for later!

Leave a Comment