Does buffalo wing sauce expire?

Buffalo wing sauce, also known as hot sauce or pepper hot sauce, is a popular condiment for chicken wings and other foods. Like most condiments, buffalo wing sauce can expire and go bad over time. Here is a quick look at how long buffalo wing sauce is good for, how to tell if it has expired, and how to store it properly to extend its shelf life.

How long does buffalo wing sauce last?

An unopened bottle of buffalo wing sauce will generally last 1-2 years past its printed expiration date. Once opened, buffalo wing sauce will last 4-6 months in the refrigerator. Properly stored, unopened buffalo wing sauce has a shelf life of:

Buffalo Wing Sauce Type Unopened Shelf Life
Original, store-bought 1-2 years past expiration date
Homemade 1-2 months

The shelf life depends on the type of buffalo wing sauce and how it is stored. Store-bought, unopened sauces generally last 1-2 years past the printed date. Homemade sauces have a shorter shelf life around 1-2 months. Once opened, all buffalo wing sauces should be refrigerated and used within 4-6 months.

How to tell if buffalo wing sauce is bad

There are a few simple ways to determine if your bottle of buffalo wing sauce has gone bad and expired:

  • Check the expiration or best-by date – If the date has passed, it’s a good indicator the sauce may be expired.
  • Check the appearance – Fresh buffalo wing sauce should be a uniform orange-red color. If it has darkened or separated, it has likely gone bad.
  • Check the texture – Buffalo wing sauce should have a smooth, pourable consistency. If it’s thick, clumpy or moldy, it has expired.
  • Smell the sauce – Fresh buffalo wing sauce has a potent vinegar odor. If the smell is off, musty or sour, toss the sauce.
  • Taste the sauce – If the flavor is significantly off from what you’d expect, the sauce has likely spoiled.

If your buffalo wing sauce exhibits any of the above signs, it’s best to discard it. Consuming spoiled buffalo wing sauce could potentially cause food poisoning.

How to store buffalo wing sauce properly

To help maximize the shelf life of buffalo wing sauce after opening, it’s important to store it properly. Here are some tips for storing buffalo wing sauce:

  • Refrigerate after opening – Keep buffalo wing sauce refrigerated at all times after opening to slow bacteria growth.
  • Check for best-by/use-by date – Store unopened bottles by this date for optimal freshness and shelf life.
  • Store upright – Keep bottles sealed and standing upright to prevent leaks.
  • Use clean utensils – Use a clean spoon each time you access the sauce to avoid introducing bacteria.
  • Keep air out – Replace cap securely after each use and ensure pour spout is clean to keep air out.
  • Watch for signs of spoilage – Check sauce periodically for any signs of mold, changes in texture or an off smell.

Following these simple storage guidelines will help keep your buffalo wing sauce fresher for longer after opening it. Discard any bottles where you notice signs of spoilage.

Can you freeze buffalo wing sauce?

Yes, buffalo wing sauce can be frozen to further extend its shelf life. To freeze buffalo wing sauce:

  • Pour sauce into freezer-safe zip top bags or airtight containers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
  • Seal bags/containers, removing excess air.
  • Label bags/containers with sauce name and freeze-by date (about 2-3 months).
  • Place bags horizontally in freezer to freeze flat for easy stacking.
  • Thaw sauce overnight in fridge when ready to use.

Properly frozen buffalo wing sauce will maintain its quality and flavor for 2-3 months in the freezer. Thaw fully before using and avoid re-freezing any thawed sauce.

Can expired buffalo wing sauce make you sick?

Consuming expired buffalo wing sauce that is badly spoiled could potentially make you sick. Here’s a look at the safety issues with old buffalo wing sauce:

  • Bacteria growth – Buffalo wing sauce can grow harmful bacteria over time, leading to foodborne illness if consumed.
  • Mold – Moldy, expired buffalo wing sauce contains toxins that can cause vomiting, nausea or diarrhea if ingested.
  • Changes in acidity – As buffalo wing sauce ages, the acidity level changes, making it more prone to bacterial growth.

The potential for food poisoning depends on the age of the sauce and extent of spoilage. Mild cases may just cause digestive upset. But severe cases of food poisoning can be serious and require medical treatment. When in doubt, don’t risk getting sick- throw away expired buffalo wing sauce.


Buffalo wing sauce can expire after 1-2 years for unopened bottles, and within 4-6 months of opening. Keep an eye on the printed date, check for changes in appearance, texture, and smell, and store bottles properly in the fridge to extend shelf life. Discard any expired or questionably spoiled sauce to avoid potential foodborne illness. Following proper storage methods and food safety practices will keep your buffalo wing sauce fresh and safe to enjoy.

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