Does Mayo Go Bad? Answered (2023)

Mayonnaise is one of those versatile sauces that goes well with almost every dish. Want to eat it with a spicy plate of dumplings or a spread made for a sandwich? Adding mayo to your dishes can always go right.

But does mayo go bad if left at room temperature? Well, let’s find out.

Two major ingredients make up mayonnaise which are egg yolks and oil. These ingredients can turn bad in a day or two if not kept properly. So, of course, mayo can go bad faster than you realize.

So, this article will discuss how you can tell fresh mayo apart from bad ones. We will also tell you how to store mayo so you can keep it fresh.

Different Ways To Identify a Bad Mayo

making homemade mayonnaise

If you eat mayo often, you can easily identify a stale one. We have a few pointers for others that will help you in this quest. A sure-shot way is to look at the expiration date before you consume an old pack of Mayonnaise. Some common ways to identify stale mayo are by its texture and color. Other signs of spoilage are the presence of molds, bad odor, and taste. Let us look into different ways for a better understanding:

1. Texture Changes

A fresh mayo jar has a creamy consistency with a soft texture. A clear indication of bad mayo is water gathering on top. A bad mayo will have curd-like consistency rather than a creamy consistency. A common reason behind this is the growth of harmful bacteria. If the appearance is similar, make sure to throw away the Mayonnaise.

2. Discoloration

Discoloration or dark patches are common signs of spoilage in Mayonnaise. Fresh mayo has a creamy white color. A stale mayo will show yellow or brownish stains on the surface. The discoloration might be absent initially. But as the mayo degrades in quality, the color will darken.

In discoloration, there is a strong chance that the lid was not properly closed. Leaving the mayo at room temperature for too long will also show signs of discoloration.   

3. Sour Taste

Mayonnaise for a healthy salad

You won’t know if a mayo has gone bad until you taste it, right? Many times, the mayo will appear fine but will have an awful taste. To save your favorite meal by adding stale mayo, take pea-sized mayo and taste it. If the mayo tastes sour or overpowering, it is time to toss it away.

4. Strange Smell

Did you know Mayonnaise has vinegar? I didn’t! Because whenever I took a sniff, all I could smell was, well, mayo. So, if your mayo starts to smell acidic, it becomes inedible.

5. Mold formation

Molds are a common sign of food gone bad. So, if you see molds appearing on your mayo jar, it is time to toss it in the bin. Storing mayo improperly is a common reason for it to develop molds. Therefore, avoid consuming moldy mayo to keep your health in check.

Point to remember: Do you store your mayo in a squeeze bottle? To clean the bottle, use a dry paper towel instead of a wet one.

How To Store Mayo Properly?

mustard ketchup and mayonnaise on the table

If you have a sealed jar of mayo, storing it in a cold, dry place will prevent it from going bad. You can also store the unopened bottle of mayo in your pantry. A kitchen top will work fine if the mayo bottle is not near a heat source. 

To store an open bottle of mayo, storing it in the fridge is the perfect option. Make sure you close the lid tightly when the jar is not in use. If you have a dish with mayo, make sure to refrigerate it. Leaving it at room temperature for more than a few hours will make it inedible.

Mentioned below are quick points that will help you store mayo easily:

  • An unsealed, store-bought mayo must be kept in a dry place and at a cold temperature. 
  • When in doubt, look at the “ “Best Before” date in the mayo jar. This will help you know exactly how long before the mayo goes stale.
  • A jar of mayo must not be left open at room temperature. This will stale the mayo earlier than expected.
  • After using the mayo, seal it properly and store the remaining in the fridge.
  • Have homemade mayo and don’t know how to store it? The safest option is to store it in the refrigerator and consume it within 6-7 days.

Also Read: How long does cheesecake last in the fridge?

Can You Freeze Mayonnaise?

Yes. Freezing mayo can make it last longer. However, it does not guarantee retaining its quality. It is because mayo is an emulsion and contains eggs, oil, and vinegar. Freezing and thawing mayo causes the ingredients to break down and separate. Once you defrost the mayo, it might not be as flavorful as the original product. A layer of liquid will sit on your mayo jar and look unappealing.

different mayo dips and sauces

Have you noticed your homemade mayo cracking up more than a store-bought one? Compared to commercial mayo, homemade mayonnaise has a higher chance of breaking. This is because there are preservatives and stabilizers added to commercial mayonnaise. These preservatives make the mayo last longer, ensuring its quality.

To thaw the mayo, remove it from the freezer and place the mayo jar in the fridge. An ideal place to keep the mayo jar is towards the back of the refrigerator. This will maintain an optimal temperature for the mayo to defrost.

Defrosting mayo is all about patience. So, after placing it in the fridge, let your mayo rest and allow it to defrost naturally. Leaving the mayo without disturbing it will decrease the chances of the mayo breaking.

Symptoms of Eating Expired Mayonnaise

Like eating other stale foods, eating stale Mayonnaise has its share of side effects. A store-bought mayonnaise, if sealed, can be consumed after a couple of months. Although, this does not guarantee the same quality as fresh Mayonnaise. But if you feel the Mayonnaise is completely rotten, then it is time to throw it away.

adding mayo in the bowl

If you consume bad Mayonnaise, there is a high chance of getting food poisoning. Mentioned below are some of the common symptoms of food poisoning:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constant stomach aches and cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

If you experience the symptoms mentioned above, it is time to visit a doctor. Many of you might not experience all the symptoms but would pass for normal stomach pain. So ensure you consume only fresh Mayonnaise for good health.

Also Read: Does cornstarch go bad?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What happens if you eat bad mayonnaise?

Ans. Eating bad mayonnaise can cause food poisoning. The symptoms of food poisoning can include vomiting, nausea, and constant cramping. In severe cases of food poisoning, you might also get diarrhea and experience weakness.

Q2. Can mayo go bad in the fridge?

Ans. An unopened jar of mayo can last for about 2-3 months in the pantry. An open jar of mayonnaise can last for 2-3 months if stored properly. A homemade mayonnaise will last a week in the fridge before it goes bad.

Q3. Can you get sick from spoiled mayo?

Ans. Yes. Consuming spoiled mayo can make you sick. It can cause food poisoning and weakness.

Q4. How long does mayo last after the expiration date?

Ans. In most cases, you can store mayonnaise after its expiration date for three to four months, provided it has been properly stored.

Q5. Will mayo smell if it’s bad?

Ans. A rotten mayo smells like rotten eggs and is a clear throwaway sign. You can also smell a strong vinegar scent if the stale mayo has been sitting for a long time.


Mayonnaise is a perfect sauce that is perfect for snacks or breakfast. If a pack of mayo is fresh, it is a perfect addition to your meals. But consuming stale mayo will make you visit a doctor. So, ensure what you are eating is healthy and fresh. To conclude the article, let’s quickly sum up the important points.

Make sure you seal the remaining Mayonnaise in an air-tight container. If a mayo has been sitting long, do a quick smell and taste test to check the quality. Also, look for signs of mold and discoloration to keep the quality in check. Following the points mentioned, you can easily identify stale Mayonnaise.

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Archana Bisht

Archana Bisht

A foodie with a flair for talking non-stop. You can find me hogging down food or browsing Pinterest for more recipes in my free time. My favorite cuisine is Italian. That being said, I am an excellent pasta cook and love experimenting with ingredients. You can also find me petting strays and feeding them every chance I get