Does applesauce go bad? Yes, it can and will, eventually, go bad.
Applesauce was created initially to preserve apples and, over time, evolved into a popular pantry staple for many American households. We’ll quickly share the shelf life of applesauce, how to store it opened and unopened, how to tell when applesauce is not good to eat anymore, and a few other tips as well.
Yes, applesauce can go bad before you get a chance to eat it. Unopened commercially-sold applesauce typically has a shelf life of about 1 to 2 years (check the manufacturer’s label on the package for best-by dates), but it can go bad sooner if it is not stored correctly; for example, if the container is damaged, gets hot and swells up, if pests get to it, etc. Keep reading for a few signs to look for before you even decide to open the container.
- Changes to the container itself: If you see pests on or around the mouth of the container, a broken seal on a container that was not kept very cold, a lid that isn’t tightly closed, a swollen side or top, if it has a loud hiss when opened, toss the whole thing in the trash without tasting it.
- Changes in appearance: Applesauce that has gone bad may develop a darker color, mold, or a film on the surface. Any unusual lumps or clumps could be a sign, too.
- Changes in smell: Applesauce that has gone bad may have a sour, fermented, or off-putting smell.
- Changes in taste: Applesauce that has gone bad may have a sour, bitter, or off-putting taste.
If you notice any of these signs, it is best to discard the applesauce and wash the container before reusing it.
How long does applesauce last?
The shelf life of applesauce depends on whether it is unopened or opened, and how it is stored. The FDA requires that all applesauce is cooked before being packaged and sold to consumers, which means it is a heat-pasteurized product.
- Unopened applesauce: Check the label of your commercially prepared applesauce. Unopened applesauce can last for up to 1 to 2 years at room temperature, or up to 3 to 4 years in the refrigerator.
- Opened applesauce: Opened applesauce should be stored in the refrigerator and will last for up to 7 to 10 days.
How long does opened applesauce last?
Opened applesauce will last for up to 10 days in the refrigerator as long as it’s been kept cold. If you are not sure how long your applesauce has been opened, it is best to err on the side of caution and discard it after 7 days. (Always look for signs of spoilage every time you open the container, though.)
If homemade applesauce hasn’t been cooked, it should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within three days.
Ways to use leftover applesauce
Here are some ideas to use your opened jar of applesauce or put that leftover container of applesauce to good use before it goes bad.
- Use it as a substitute for oil or butter in baked goods. This will make your baked goods moist and flavorful without adding any extra fat.
- Top pancakes, waffles, or toast with applesauce. It’s a delicious and healthy way to start your day.
- Add applesauce to your smoothie. It will add natural sweetness and extra nutrients.
- Stir applesauce into your oatmeal. It will add a boost of flavor and make your oatmeal more filling.
- Use applesauce as a glaze for chicken or pork chops. It’s a delicious and easy way to add flavor to your protein.
- Serve applesauce as a snack with yogurt and granola. It’s a healthy and satisfying way to tide you over until your next meal.
- Use applesauce as a filling for pies, crisps, and tarts. It’s a healthier alternative to traditional pie fillings.
- Mix applesauce with spices to create a flavorful sauce for pork, chicken, or beef. It’s a great way to add moisture and flavor to your favorite dishes.
How to store applesauce
Storage for applesauce is quick and easy, so follow these instructions below to store your applesauce properly.
1. Store applesauce in its original packaging or transfer to an airtight container.
Whether you are using a plastic container or a glass jar, make sure that you tightly close the lid after every serving so that it doesn’t absorb smells from the rest of the fridge. It is also a great idea to write the date of storage on the applesauce container so you will remember and inform other people who might be using it whether it is still within 7 to 10 days since it was first opened.
2. Store unopened containers in a cool, dry place.
If your applesauce is still unopened and undamaged, you can store it in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry—even better if it’s kept unopened AND in the refrigerator.
If your applesauce has already been opened, it is absolutely necessary to store it in the refrigerator AND KEPT COLD. If the applesauce is homemade, it has only three days in the fridge before it starts to turn bad. If heat-pasteurized (basically, cooked, as all commercially prepared applesauce is required to do), it may last up to 10 days after opening.
Does applesauce go bad in the fridge?
Yes, applesauce can go bad, even in the refrigerator, because it is a natural food product. An unopened jar of applesauce may last a couple of months past its expiration date in the refrigerator. An opened jar of applesauce should be kept cold and tightly closed so that it stays as fresh as possible for about 10 days.
According to Mott’s, the FDA demands that all applesauce must go through heat pasteurization, which helps extend the shelf life of applesauce.
As you may have noticed, we have yet to recommend storing your applesauce in the freezer in this article, and this is because once you start to thaw or defrost it, the texture and the flavor may change or deteriorate. In particular, the texture becomes very runny when thawed from a frozen state.
The bottom line
While applesauce has a long shelf life when stored in a proper environment and left unopened, it will eventually go bad and even faster when opened, so it is important that you always keep an eye out for any signs of spoilage:
- A sour or rancid smell
- Thin, watery, or a slimy texture
- Yellow tint, brown tint, significantly darkened color
- Presence of mold on the surface
- Bitter taste
More About Applesauce
- 25 Best Recipes Using Applesauce
- Make Easy Apple Butter From Applesauce
- 7 Applesauce Substitutes
- Fun Ideas For What To Do With Old Apples!
- Original packaging with lid, or a clean glass jar with tight-fitting lid
- Marker or a pen
- If you haven’t already, keep the applesauce in a tightly closed container or glass jar with lid.
- Write the current date on the lid or side of the container.
- Place the container with applesauce in the fridge for up to 10 days.
- Use a clean spoon for each serving.
- Return the container to the fridge immediately.
- Don’t let it sit on the counter for more than a couple of minutes each time you go to use it.
- Keep an eye out for mold growth, sour or spoiled smell, or “off” taste.