How Long Can Tomato Sauce Sit Out? (Explained!)

Tomato sauce is a fascinating thing, and we’re not talking only about how tasty it is. Although many people don’t acknowledge this fact, tomato sauce is also, unlike nearly every other store-bought sauce, considered to be shelf-stable:

How long can tomato sauce sit out? Tomato sauce can sit out for a long time, maybe even a few years, and that’s true even when it was already opened. Due to the high salt and sugar content and naturally low pH it has, tomato sauce is simply not a good place for bacteria to grow, so you don’t have to worry about leaving it out of the fridge.

This was just an extremely brief answer, though, so if you want to make sure you indeed understand this topic, keep reading – in this article, we will uncover everything there is to be known about tomato sauces sitting out!

So what are we waiting for? Let’s just jump right into it!

How Long Can Tomato Sauce Sit OutPin

Does tomato sauce need to be refrigerated?

Tomato sauce contains a lot of sugar and salt, making it shelf stable even when opened’ Hence, tomato sauce doesn’t need to be refrigerated, not even if you’re planning on storing it for a while.

However, with that being said, it is still highly recommended to put your tomato sauce into the fridge at least once it is opened because it will slow the chemical changes that may make the tomato sauce turn bad in some time.

Does tomato sauce need to be refrigerated after opening?

Because of its naturally low pH, tomato sauce is a terrible place for bacteria to grow. And that means that tomato sauce doesn’t need to be refrigerated after opening because it is able not to turn bad for a long time, even on its own.

Nevertheless, refrigerating the tomato sauce at least after opening it is highly recommended. Of course, it can stay good even outside the fridge, but that way is simply the safest.

Does homemade tomato sauce need to be refrigerated?

Even though we’ve mentioned above that tomato sauce is not a good place for bacteria to proliferate, that isn’t the case with homemade tomato sauce. Since it is very likely some contamination got into it while you were making it, homemade tomato sauce needs to be refrigerated.

How long can tomato sauce sit out of the fridge?

Because tomato sauce is considered shelf-stable, and the vast majority of food experts agree that it’s not needed to put it into the fridge, tomato sauce can sit out of the fridge for a long time.


That is especially the case with an unopened pack of it. Because tomato sauce is a bad place for bacteria to grow in general, an unopened can of tomato sauce doesn’t need to be refrigerated; quite the contrary, it should stay good for years even when it sits out!


And believe it or not, nothing changes when we’re talking about an opened can of tomato sauce – according to countless food experts, tomato sauce is so shelf-stable that not even an already opened pack of it has to be in the fridge.

How long does it take for tomato sauce to spoil?

Tomato sauce contains a lot of sugar and salt, and that makes it able not to turn bad even for a long time. It takes at least a year for tomato sauce to spoil, and in most cases, the sauce will be good to go even after two years.

Can tomato sauce be left out overnight?

Yes, tomato sauce can be left out overnight because tomato sauce is shelf-stable. That means you, in fact, don’t have to refrigerate tomato sauce at all because it will stay good even on its own.

Leaving your tomato sauce out of the fridge just overnight is, therefore, absolutely no problem, and it doesn’t even matter if the sauce was already opened.

Is it safe to eat tomato sauce left out overnight?

As we have explained above, tomato sauce is shelf-stable. Therefore, it surely is safe to eat tomato sauce left out overnight because it doesn’t have to be refrigerated at all. 

How can you tell if tomato sauce is bad?

Eating bad tomato sauce is not only disgusting but may also cause harm (more about that a bit below, though). Because of that, it may come in handy to know how to tell the bad one from the good one – to tell if tomato sauce is bad, firstly take a good look at it.

Didn’t notice any weird stains? Excellent, now also make sure that there isn’t any weird smell coming from the sauce either. If not, the sauce is good to go, but otherwise, you should rather throw it away.

How do you keep tomato sauce fresh?

When you’re storing food, making sure that it doesn’t turn bad is usually not enough; if you’re at least a bit like us, you want it to be as fresh as possible. Fortunately, this is not a hard task! To keep tomato sauce fresh, carefully seal it into an airtight container.

That way, no oxygen can get to the sauce, which will make it able to stay good for a longer time. Additionally, if you want to be entirely sure that the tomato sauce stays in excellent shape, put it into the fridge as well. 

As we’ve explained a bit above, It is unnecessary, but that doesn’t mean it is not convenient.

What happens if you eat bad tomato sauce?

When you eat bad tomato sauce, it is more than probable that you’re going to get sick or, if you will, food poisoned. That means that when you eat bad tomato sauce, you may very likely be having diarrhea or a stomach ache.

Don’t worry, though; it is not very probable that those problems will be in any way severe. However, if you think these symptoms have gotten too serious, don’t hesitate to call your doctor.


Even though most sauces you can buy in the shop require refrigeration, tomato sauce is an exception. Because of its high salt and sugar content and naturally low pH, tomato sauce is shelf-stable and can be, therefore, left outside of the fridge for its whole life.

With that in mind, though, it is fair to mention that putting it into the fridge can’t cause any harm either, and it is recommended, especially with an already opened can of tomato sauce.



Image credits – Canva

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