If you’re in a hurry and also need come whip increase a salad, a ready-to-use salad dressing is super convenient. And practically everyone has actually a arsenal of half-open party scattered roughly the fridge. But does salad dressing go bad?

If you don’t necessarily want to eat Ranch, or Italian dressing every night the the week, girlfriend don’t have actually to. Store-bought salad dressings usually have actually a long sufficient shelf life because that you to finish the bottle. And also if friend bought too countless bottles, the unopened ones save for years.

You are watching: How to tell if ranch dressing is bad

All in all, if girlfriend have any kind of questions or concerns about storage, shelf life, and also going bad of salad dressings, this short article is because that you.

Image used under creative Commons from Mike Mozart

How To keep Salad Dressing

Store-bought salad dressings come in two forms.

The simpler one is the dry mix that usually requires only water and/or oil to prepare the dressing.

Ready-to-use dressings are an additional form, convenient to have on hand and ready to go whenever you require it.

Most the the ready-to-go dressings are marketed unrefrigerated, but sometimes you can uncover ones that room stored in the refrigerated area. The last ones room usually reduced on preservatives, or even totally free of them, thus they require maintaining at low temperature.

Let’s start with dry mixes. Lock don’t require much in regards to storage. Just make certain the packet sits in a cool and also dry area. If you’re favor me, you save these in the summer sprouts drawer.

If you open up the package and don’t usage the whole thing in ~ once, seal that tightly if possible. The keeps moisture and airflow in ~ bay, for this reason the mix retains part flavor for longer. A dried mix functions pretty much the same means spices such as cinnamon or chili flour do.

For bottled salad dressings marketed unrefrigerated warehouse guidelines are rather simple. As lengthy as the bottle stays unopened, you deserve to store it in the pantry or kitchen. Simply make sure it doesn’t sit in sunlight or near any heat sources. That’s because these can influence the high quality of the ingredients.

Once you open the bottle, always keep the sealed tightly and in the fridge once not in use.


When it comes to salad dressings sold refrigerated, the rules are even an ext straightforward. Such dressings should always sit in the fridge sealed tightly.

If you’ve made her favorite dressing from scratch and have some leftovers, these belong to the fridge too.

If you ever before thought about freezing prepared dressings, pretty lot all producer advise against it. The top quality of the condiment changes, and it won’t be virtually as good after thawing. But you have the right to freeze meat or fish marinated in the dressing with an excellent success.

Last however not least, let’s summary touch ~ above food hygiene. Remember always to usage clean utensils as soon as scooping the dressing, and also from time to time to clean the neck the the bottle with a dry document towel. Adhering to these techniques will make sure the dressing lasts as lengthy as possible and will minimize the risk of microbial growth.

Image used under an innovative Commons from Ruth Hartnup

How long Does Salad Dressing Last

Once again let’s begin with dry mixes.

Each packet comes through a best-by day on the label. And while the flour won’t go bad after the date, over time, the high quality will degrade, and some the the seasonings will be lost. Therefore, it’s ideal to use them in ~ a couple of months of that date. Opening the bag doesn’t really change much, detailed that you store it sealed strict after.

When it involves dressings offered unrefrigerated, they come v a best-by day too. And also as long as the bottle continues to be unopened, girlfriend can conveniently store together dressing past that date, also for a couple of weeks.

Once again, it’s a issue of quality. The mix won’t go bad soon past the day on the label, yet its quality and freshness will slowly degrade over time.

Once you open up the bottle, its contents usually keep well for around 3 to 6 months. However make certain to check the brand for details, as this is a basic guideline, no necessarily particular to what you have actually in hand.

(credit: Lavi Perchik)
Salad dressings sold refrigerated last much shorter than their shelf-stable counterparts. typically a few weeks, possibly up to two months.

They come v a use-by or sell-by date, and also that date is a pretty great indicator of how long the mix stays fine. Of course, it have to keep well for a mainly or possibly two pst that date, yet don’t expect miracles.

Opening the bottle commonly doesn’t adjust that lot in terms of shelf life. Or in other words, you have the right to still keep the opened up mix approximately the day on the brand or a little past. Yet again, that’s a general guideline, and you should check the producer’s recommendation for a an ext precise period.

If you’ve whipped increase your own mix, it usually lasts between 3 and 5 days, relying on the ingredients used. The more volatile the components, the shorter that period. If friend made a dressing using the dry mix, it have to retain an excellent quality for around a week.

Salad dressing dry mixBest-by + 3 – 6 months
Salad dressing (sold unrefrigerated, unopened)Best-by + 1 – 2 months
Salad dressing (sold unrefrigerated, opened)3 – 6 months
Salad dressing (sold refrigerated)Use-by + 1 – 2 weeks
Homemade salad dressing3 – 5 days

Please keep in mind that every the periods above are very general. Always inspect the dates and also other storage referral on the label of her dressing.

(credit: Monika Grabkowska)

How come Tell If Salad Dressing has Gone Bad

Let’s begin with dry mixes. Generally, unless water gets to the packet, the ingredient most most likely won’t go poor in a way they’re unsafe come eat. But, lot like spices, castle will gradually lose potency.


The best means to understand if the mix is still precious anything is to prepare the dressing and taste it. If the tastes okay, feel complimentary to use it. Otherwise, discard it and use one that’s fresh.

For ready-to-use dressings, over there are rather a couple of things come look the end for. Very first off, it’s the visibility of mold or an turn off aroma. If one of two people is the case, throw out the dressing. Very same thing if it’s an oil-based dressing and smells rancid.

Now let’s briefly talk around separation. If it’s an oil-based mix choose Italian or vinaigrette for her coleslaw, separation the oil is perfectly normal. Simply shake the hell the end of the bottle before serving, and it need to be blended evenly.

But if it’s a dairy-based salad dressing, choose Ranch, blue cheese dressing, or anything with yogurt, separation is a authorize of quality degradation. The dressing isn’t have to bad, but it most likely won’t taste the great. Examine the brand to make sure if the manufacturer recommends tossing it out or just offering it a stir.

If the dressing watch good, smells okay, and also you don’t already store it for much much longer than recommended, it’s time to provide it a taste. Decision what to do with it based upon how that tastes.

See more: American Dad Phantom Of The Telethon /References, American Dad: Season 4 Episode 7

If something about it isn’t quite right, it’s far better to err ~ above the side of caution and discard it. Otherwise, that sounds favor you have actually a perfectly it s okay salad dressing on hand.