Alfredo sauce is a creamy pasta sauce made from butter, cream, and parmesan cheese. It is popularly used in Italian cuisine to make dishes like fettuccine alfredo. Many brands sell ready-made alfredo sauce in jars that can be stored unopened in the pantry. But how long does unopened jarred alfredo sauce last? Here is a comprehensive guide on the shelf life of unopened jarred alfredo sauce and how to tell if it has gone bad.
The Shelf Life of Unopened Jarred Alfredo Sauce
The shelf life of unopened jarred alfredo sauce depends on the ingredients, packaging, and storage conditions. Here is an overview of how long unopened jarred alfredo sauce lasts when stored properly:
- Unopened shelf-stable jarred alfredo sauce lasts 1 to 2 years past the printed date.
- Unopened refrigerated jarred alfredo sauce lasts 7 to 10 days past the printed date.
- Homemade alfredo sauce in a properly sealed jar lasts 4 to 6 months in the pantry.
Shelf-stable jarred alfredo sauces have been commercially sterilized so they can be stored at room temperature. They last significantly longer than refrigerated alfredo sauces that contain dairy and need to be kept chilled. Homemade sauce also won’t last as long as a commercially packed product.
Does Unopened Alfredo Sauce Go Bad?
Yes, unopened jarred alfredo sauce can eventually go bad once it surpasses its shelf life. The signs of expired alfredo sauce include:
- Mold growth
- Curdling or separation
- Off odors
- Gas buildup in the jar
Alfredo sauce can harbor bacteria and spoil even if the jar is unopened. So it’s important to watch for signs of spoilage before using very old sauce. Discard the alfredo sauce if you notice any changes from its normal appearance, texture, and smell.
How to Store Unopened Alfredo Sauce
To get the longest shelf life out of jarred alfredo sauce:
- Store unopened shelf-stable alfredo sauce in a cool, dry pantry away from direct sunlight.
- Keep unopened refrigerated alfredo sauce in the refrigerator at 40°F or below.
- Store homemade sauce in sterilized jars in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Check for any signs of spoilage before opening.
- Don’t use alfredo sauce past the expiration or best-by date.
Proper storage helps extend the shelf life. High temperatures and humidity can accelerate spoilage. Refrigeration keeps dairy-based sauces fresher for longer. Freezing homemade sauce gives it the longest shelf life.
How to Tell if Unopened Alfredo Sauce is Bad
Check unopened alfredo sauce for the following signs that it has spoiled and should be discarded:
- Mold – Discard sauce at first signs of mold.
- Curdling – Sauce has separated into curds and liquid.
- Discoloration – Sauce may darken or change hue.
- Chunky – Bits of clumped sauce.
- Slimy – Sauce has lost its smooth, creamy texture.
- Grainy – Sauce feels gritty.
- Sour – Sauce smells tangy, pungent, or unpleasant.
- Yeasty – Presence of yeasty, fermented smell.
- Rotten – Sauce gives off foul, decomposing odor.
- Bulging lid – Gas production may cause lid to bulge.
- Leaking – Sauce may seep out if jar seal fails.
Trust your senses when inspecting alfredo sauce. Any major deviations in appearance, consistency, or smell typically indicate the sauce should be discarded. When in doubt, throw it out.
How Long After Opening Does Jarred Alfredo Sauce Last?
Once opened, jarred alfredo sauce has a shorter shelf life and needs to be refrigerated. Here’s how long it lasts:
- Commercial shelf-stable alfredo sauce lasts 4 to 6 days in the fridge after opening.
- Commercial refrigerated alfredo sauce lasts 3 to 5 days in the fridge.
- Homemade alfredo sauce lasts 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
Discard any leftover sauce after the recommended time period. Never leave alfredo sauce unrefrigerated after opening. To extend the shelf life of opened alfredo sauce, transfer it to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.
How to Store Opened Alfredo Sauce
To maximize the shelf life of opened jarred alfredo sauce:
- Refrigerate opened sauce right away at 40°F or below.
- Use an airtight container and plastic wrap to prevent air exposure.
- Avoid introducing extra bacteria by using clean utensils.
- Never return previously used sauce back into the jar.
- Use sauce within recommended time period after opening.
The key is minimizing bacterial contamination and slowing down spoilage in the refrigerator. Handle leftovers properly and don’t keep them too long after opening.
Can You Freeze Alfredo Sauce?
Yes, alfredo sauce can be frozen to extend its shelf life. Here are some freezing tips:
- Freeze sauce in airtight containers leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
- Seal containers well to prevent freezer burn.
- Avoid freezing previously used sauce to limit bacteria.
- Label jars with date and contents.
- Store sauce in freezer below 0°F.
- Use frozen sauce within 4 to 6 months for best quality.
Freezing prevents bacterial growth in alfredo sauce. Thaw frozen sauce overnight in the fridge before reheating on the stovetop over low heat. Don’t microwave jars directly as they may crack or shatter.
Can You Refreeze Alfredo Sauce?
Previously frozen sauce can be safely refrozen provided a few guidelines are followed:
- Only refreeze unopened jars of commercially packaged sauce, never leftovers.
- Inspect sauce closely to ensure it is still good quality before refreezing.
- Refreeze thawed sauce right away, don’t leave at room temperature.
- Use within 2 to 3 months after initial freezing date.
- Refreeze sauce just once for best quality.
Refreezing alfredo sauce can degrade its texture over time. Only refreeze uncontaminated sauce in its original packaging. Don’t refreeze thawed sauce more than once.
How Long Does Alfredo Sauce Last in the Fridge?
|Alfredo Sauce Type||Refrigerator Shelf Life|
|Unopened shelf-stable sauce||1 to 2 years past printed date|
|Unopened refrigerated sauce||7 to 10 days past printed date|
|Opened shelf-stable sauce||4 to 6 days|
|Opened refrigerated sauce||3 to 5 days|
|Homemade sauce||3 to 4 days|
Refrigeration prolongs the shelf life of alfredo sauce. But even properly stored, unopened sauce has a limited lifespan in the fridge before it expires. Follow expiration dates and look for signs of spoilage.
How Long Does Alfredo Sauce Last in the Freezer?
Alfredo sauce that is continuously frozen at 0°F or below can safely be kept for the following timeframe:
- Commercially packaged sauce: 6 to 12 months
- Homemade sauce: 4 to 6 months
Frozen sauce maintains its best quality for about 4 to 6 months. It remains safe beyond that time but may suffer some separation or texture changes. Portion out sauce before freezing into usable amounts.
Does Jarred Alfredo Sauce Need to be Refrigerated After Opening?
Yes, jarred alfredo sauce requires refrigeration after opening to prevent bacterial growth. Both shelf-stable and refrigerated alfredo sauces contain dairy ingredients like milk, cream, and parmesan cheese. Dairy products are highly perishable once exposed to air and must be kept chilled below 40°F.
Preservatives in shelf-stable alfredo sauce can inhibit bacteria initially. But leaving the jar at room temperature after opening allows spoilage microbes to thrive. Refrigeration is the only way to keep alfredo sauce safe and extend its shelf life after opening.
Can Alfredo Sauce Be Canned?
Yes, it’s possible to can homemade alfredo sauce for long-term shelf stability provided proper canning methods are used. Here are some tips for canning alfredo sauce:
- Use a pressure canner and sterile mason jars and lids.
- Add lemon juice or citric acid to help control pH.
- Process pint jars for 30 minutes at 10 psi pressure.
- Adjust seasonings because canning dilutes flavors.
- Allow sealed jars to cool completely before storing.
- Check jar seals are concave and secure.
- Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place up to 1 year.
Canning requires high heat to destroy bacteria and seal jars airtight. Only use trusted canning recipes for alfredo sauce. Improper processing can allow life-threatening botulism bacteria to grow.
Tips for Canning Alfredo Sauce
Follow these tips for safely preserving homemade alfredo sauce through canning:
- Use a pressure canner not water bath.
- Start with very fresh ingredients.
- Prevent curdling by stirring in cornstarch.
- Add lemon juice to help lower pH.
- Keep headspace and rims clean.
- Process jars for full recommended time.
- Check seals after cooling jars.
- Store jars below 85°F.
- Refrigerate any unsealed jars.
Strictly adhere to canning best practices when preserving alfredo sauce. Botulism spores can survive in garlic and other ingredients. Proper acidification and heat processing are vital.
An unopened jar of alfredo sauce can maintain quality and safety up to 2 years in the pantry or 1 year refrigerated. Opened sauce has a shorter timeline of just 3 to 6 days in the fridge before spoiling. Freezing extends shelf life considerably to 4 to 12 months. With proper storage and handling, jarred alfredo sauce can keep well beyond its printed date. But it’s always important to look for signs of spoilage before consuming.