Does fish sauce go bad?

  • Posted by: Kc500
  • June 21, 2012


Horto April 16, 2015
This is when Food52 should have a food safety specialist on board. Would not trust any of the opinions here.
Reba H. April 15, 2015
I have a bottle dated 2010 so I'm about to buy a new one (it's 2015)! However, it smells ok, I just don't want to chance it.
ChefOno June 22, 2012

Wait -- what? Is this the most misleading thing you've read all week?

Do our products contain MSG?
No. Our product also does not contain hydrolyzed wheat or soybean proteins which are hidden sources of free glutamates.

What is fish sauce if not glutamates? Sure sounds like they're trying to hide the fact too.

bugbitten June 22, 2012
I am studying mine, which I keep in the fridge, next to the soy sauce and anything that says oil.
ChefOno June 21, 2012

But also notice the reccomendation to refrigerate and to use within a year. Everything oxidizes.

Reiney June 21, 2012
The solids are just salt crystals - nothing to worry about.
HalfPint June 21, 2012
I've heard that that it goes bad, but honestly, I've never had fish sauce go 'bad' or develop solids at the bottom, no matter how many months I've had the bottle. And I don't store it in the fridge. My mother never stored fish sauce in the fridge, not even when we moved to the US and she had decent refrigeration. Since my family is originally from the island of Phu Quoc, famous for it's fish sauce, I figure Mom knows what she's doing.
BoulderGalinTokyo June 22, 2012
Halfpint, I think your mom was right, but she may have gone through a bottle in a month, whereas my bottle has been sitting in my fridge --how many years?
Reba H. April 15, 2015
My bottle specifically says not to refrigerate - salt crystals may form in cold conditions.
chef O. June 21, 2012
Fish sauce does go bad... It will start to develop solids in the bottom. These are not harmful but does effect the overall quality of the product. I would toss it at that point. It should be kept in the fridge once opened.
mbergner June 21, 2012
The salt content and pH of fish sauce are such that buggers will not grow in it. There is therefore a long shelf life to the product.
roryrabbitfield June 21, 2012
It is heavily salted and so in general you can say it doesn't go bad, but I'd be careful anyway.
Kc500 June 21, 2012
Thanks! It smells awful to begin with so trusting your nose is not an option.
meulenbeld June 21, 2012
There are many different kind of fish sauces. In the purest form it's nothing else but fermented fish and salt. These you can keep for the longest time. In general it's hard to answer your question.
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