Does Mayonnaise Go Bad?

Important Note: When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Content, pricing, offers and availability are subject to change at any time - more info.

Mayo often gets a bad rap for spoiling quickly and in turn causing food to decay. This thankfully is not true. Mayo generally has a pretty stable shelf life, but the egg yolk in it is what causes some concern, and rightfully so. Mayo is made from vinegar, oil, lime juice, and egg yolk primarily and the egg is the ingredient that spoils the quickest, which is why people are so wary about sandwiches or salads with mayo in it. But keep in mind that the eggs used in commercially made mayonnaise are all pasteurized and they use preservatives to extend the shelf life of mayo.

So next time if you’re thinking twice about eating something with mayo in it, don’t. If you’re certain about its storage, you are likely good to go. With that being said, can mayo really go bad? Most people have bottles of mayo lying around in their pantry or fridge, while others buy it just for a particular use and then have no idea how long they can keep it for till they find a use for it again. Here, we answer some of your more pressing questions about just how long mayo can last and if it can even go bad? We will also skim through how to store mayo when to stop using it and if some mayonnaise has longer shelf lives than others? 

Does Mayonnaise Go Bad?

The quick answer is yes, mayo does go bad. But because of the presence of citrus and vinegar in it, it is highly acidic and therefore has a fairly long shelf life. The egg yolks in this delicious condiment are what cause spoilage. So, if you store your mayonnaise properly you can use it safely and comfortably for a much longer time without worrying about spoilage. 

Homemade mayo has a much shorter shelf life as raw eggs are used instead of pasteurized eggs, which makes it easier to spoil. Added to that, there are no preservatives used, further shortening its shelf life.

This is why it is recommended to make small batches of homemade mayo. It is relatively easy to make, and it is better and more economical than making a large batch that might have to be thrown out.

What about mayo without eggs or vegan mayo, will they go bad too. Unfortunately, yes. Vegan mayo and mayo without eggs have a longer shelf life, but that will spoil too. 

So, yes mayo will go bad if not stored properly. If it is stored properly, it can be used for a much longer time, but it will also eventually go bad. Keep in mind that mayo is not as shelf-stable as ketchup or even mustard but it can last for a few months after its best-by or sell-by date.

How Long Does An Open Jar Of Mayonnaise Last?

  • If you have an open jar of mayonnaise, you need to refrigerate it immediately.
  • If you have left open mayo out on the counter, it will last no more than 8 hours.
  • So, if you have accidentally left a jar of mayo open overnight it is safer to throw it out. After more than 8 hours, bacteria begin to set in.

How Long Does An Unopened Jar Of Mayonnaise Last?

  • An opened jar of mayo will last comfortably in your pantry for 3-4 months after its best-by date
  • If you decide to store an unopened jar of mayo in the fridge, while not necessary, will last for even a year. 

How Long Does Homemade Mayo Last?

  • Homemade mayo will last in the fridge for about 4 days to a week.
  • Homemade vegan mayo will last in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

How Long Eggless or Vegan Mayo Last?

  • As this mayo does not have eggs in it, which is what shortens its life span, it has a slightly longer shelf life.
  • Vegan or eggless mayo will last in the fridge for about 2-3 months

Can Mayo Be Frozen?

Technically, mayonnaise can be frozen, but the question is, should it? Mayonnaise can be stored in an air-tight, freezer-friendly container in the freezer and will last for about 3 months. But because mayonnaise is an emulsion, there is a good chance the ingredients will either break down or separate. 

If that happens you can try to re-emulsify the mayonnaise by whipping all the ingredients together at high speed or just throw it out. 

Here is a simple table to show you the shelf life of mayo and when it will spoil.

Type of MayoPantryFridgeFreezer
Unopened Jar of Mayo3-4 monthsUp to a year
Open Jar of Mayo8 hoursBest-By Date + 3-4 months3 months
Homemade Mayo2-4 hours4-7 days3 months
Vegan Homemade Mayo4 hours2 weeks3 months
Vegan Mayo8 hours2-3 months3 months

How To Store Mayo?

  • You can store the mayo in the jar you bought it in. 
  • If unopened, you can store it in the kitchen pantry or cabinet as long as it is in a cool, dark place. Make sure it is away from direct heat and sunlight.
  • You can store an unopened jar of mayo in the fridge, it will remain longer.
  • If you have an open jar of mayo, refrigerate it immediately after opening it.
  • Homemade mayo needs to be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. 
  • If you are planning to store mayo in the freezer, make sure it is a dry, airtight container that is freezer-safe.

How To Tell If Your Mayo Has Spoiled?

It takes a fairly long time for mayo to spoil, but it eventually will. Here are a few things to watch out for to check for spoilage:

  1. If your mayo has a distinctly bad or rancid smell, then it has spoiled
  2. If you see any growth like spores or mold on the mayo, then you should throw it out
  3. Similarly, if you notice discoloration then the mayo has turned. If spoiled, the mayo will have a brown or yellowish color instead of its usual pale color.
  4. Mayonnaise is generally tangy, but if it tastes bitter or sour then it has turned rancid.

Spoiled mayo should not be consumed. The mayo has decayed most likely because of the egg yolk, and eating bad eggs will cause you severe food poisoning. 

Mayonnaise is so common in households today and is used for everything from salads and sandwiches to dips and even baked goods. And now there are plenty of flavors and options to choose from, like sriracha mayo, spicy, cucumber, horseradish, chipotle, and even vegan. To continue using your favorite mayo for as long as you want, take a quick look at the best-by date and use it safely as long as it’s within its expiry. If ever in doubt, throw it out.

Recent Recipes