Does Ketchup Need to be Refrigerated?

Ketchup, like many other condiments, is pretty shelf stable. Think about a burger joint where you see ketchup bottles on the table all day and night. Many places just fill those same bottles up to begin the next days business, over and over again. These practices bring people to question the stability and shelf stableness of ketchup.

Does Ketchup Need to be Refrigerated?

Some like it hot, Some like it cold.

Does ketchup need to be refrigerated?
No, ketchup does not need refrigeration.

Ketchup is fine to leave out on the counter, whether opened or unopened.
The ingredient list for ketchup, catsup and/or catchup is strictly regulated by the FDA. Besides tomatoes and spices, which both are shelf stable and last fairly long on their own, ketchup is comprised of several natural preservatives. These other ingredients in ketchup are vinegar, sugar and salt – all of which are often used separately in order to preserve foods. Essentially, ketchup has a triple dose of preservatives which allow it to enjoy a shelf stable life.

Ketchup does not need to be refrigerated and is fine out on the counter as long as it is used fairly often, meaning that it will be finished in a reasonable amount of time. If the container disappears in a month or so, then keeping it on the counter is a wise choice. If a container sticks around longer than that, then refrigeration can keep it fresher for an extended amount of time.

Sometimes, the decision as to whether to place an opened bottle of ketchup into the refrigerator or not becomes more of a personal preference. Some people enjoy giving a hot fry a cold dip and others prefer the ketchup at room temperature so there is less contrast between the food and the condiment.

Does Ketchup Need to be Refrigerated?

Additional Information

To find out how long ketchup lasts and how to tell if it is going bad, see our ketchup page.

There are other condiments out there that don’t need to take up pricey refrigerator space, for instance soy sauce and butter.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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