What Happens If You Don't Refrigerate Worcestershire Sauce?

Worcestershire sauce is so versatile that it can only be described as a magical elixir that can be used in everything from your favorite soup to create a tang to a Bloody Mary to add umami flavor to your taste buds. It can even help make a sweet and savory marinade for your flank of flap steak. Worcestershire sauce is pretty amazing, but if you are among those who find its name difficult to pronounce, don't feel bad. There are plenty of memes floating around the internet to let you know you are in good company.

According to Insider, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, which originated in England, has been using the same recipe to make this sauce for over 185 years, and it has been a pantry staple for close to 200 years. So what is in this fermented sauce that makes it such a useful condiment in the kitchen? Worcestershire is comprised of a long mix list that includes vinegar, sugar, molasses, water, salt, anchovies, garlic, tamarind extract, chili pepper extract, and some "natural flavorings" (via Stop & Shop). Food 52 conjectures those natural flavorings could include pickles, cloves, soy, and lemon. But like with most condiments, you might be wondering if this one needs to be refrigerated and what happens to it if you leave it out.

It depends

According to Does it Go Bad, Worcestershire sauce will not go bad if you do not refrigerate it if you use it up within a year. So, if you do a lot of cooking with this sauce and can easily use up a bottle within 6-12 months, you can store this condiment conveniently. The source also notes that if you use your Worcestershire sauce with that type of frequency, storing it in the fridge won't make that much of a difference. 

However, if you want to extend its shelf life beyond a year, it's a good idea to store it in the fridge to preserve the quality of the sauce. The food site goes on further to explain that if you store your Worcestershire sauce in the refrigerator, it will keep for up to 3 years. So how can you tell if it is time to toss your Worcestershire sauce? Still Tasty recommends taking a whiff and paying close attention to the color. If it is past its prime, you will notice both may be slightly off.