Does Taco Bell Sauce Expire?

This was the question posed to me by my husband as we were cleaning out our pantry the other day. The short answer is yes. Everything (for the most part) has an expiration date, but it’s helpful to know when it expires, what to look for, and ways to increase the shelf life of your sauce.

Does Taco Bell Sauce Expire?

Yes, Taco Bell sauce has an expiration date. Depending on the type of Taco Bell sauce, this can range from nine months to five years after manufacturing.

On the package, you’ll find a lot number and “best by” date that tells you when the sauce should be used before it begins to lose flavor and quality.

How Long Does Taco Bell Sauce Last?

If you ask my mom, anything that isn’t open can last for years. In this case, she’s right. Taco Bells’ sauce includes two contrasting ingredients. One is tomatoes. Tomatoes go bad extremely easily. 

Vinegar, the base of the sauce, however, is the complete opposite. Vinegar is a mild acid that is known to kill up to 82% of mold and is used as a natural, non-toxic, alternative to using chemicals to clean. Since vinegar can be used as a cleanser and kills mold, it has an almost indefinite shelf life.  It’s the tomato that limits its shelf life. 

Now there are a few factors you must consider, but packets can last up to 5 years or as little as 9 months. That just depends on a few different factors.  If the packets have been opened though, if you don’t automatically eat it immediately, your best bet is to just throw it out. Don’t try to save it. 

How Should You Store Your Taco Bell Sauce? 

Luckily, Taco Bell sauce packets are made to be stored at room temperature. That being said you want to keep the packets somewhere dark and cool.

You want to make sure to keep them away from your oven or windows as the heat from the oven or sunlight can warm them up. The refrigerator though is hands down the best place to store your condiments.

How Can You Tell If Taco Bell Sauce Has Gone Bad?

This is unfortunately not super easy. The sauce itself is already a darker color so it’s hard to tell any difference. I would suggest putting the sauce on your food before putting it on your plate or some packaging first.

When you look at it, look for any type of mold. If you try to look for dark spots this might be unreliable as normal spices can leave dark spots.

 You can also smell your sauce and see if it’s okay, this is one of the best ways. If it smells rancid, of course, don’t eat it. If you don’t have a great sense of smell, you could taste it, if it doesn’t taste right obviously don’t eat it.

 If it tastes all right, you’re good to go. If you don’t want to take the chance though and you don’t know how long your sauce has been there, you might be better off getting some fresh sauce. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I refrigerate Taco Bell Sauce?

You can refrigerate Taco Bell sauce if you want it will help you keep it for longer periods, but it’s not completely necessary! Just store it in a cool dark place and you should be good. 

How long does unopened Taco Bell Sauce last?

Up to 5 years, but it can go bad as soon as 9 months. Just always check your sauce if it’s been a while since you got it before using it on your food.

How long does Taco Bell Sauce last once open?

Don’t even think about this question. If you haven’t used it within 1-2 hours of opening the packet just throw it out. Once you open the packet and it hits open air it starts losing its oomph!


In my household, Taco Bell Sauce is an absolute staple in the kitchen and can be very versatile. We always grab extra to keep in the kitchen for days that we make tacos and Crunchwrap Supremes at home. Just keep your packets in the fridge or out of the sun and they should last for a pretty good time.

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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