Does Applesauce Go Bad?

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8 minutes
August 8, 2022
Carole Jones

As a tasty and refreshing summer snack, applesauce is a favorite of all ages, but how do you know if it has gone bad? Does applesauce go bad? Take a glance below and find out how to tell if it has and how to best store and enjoy this family favorite snack. Plus all the tricks to make it last as long as possible.

Does applesauce go bad?

The short answer is YES, applesauce definitely can go bad. And it can cause serious illness if eaten once it spoils.

The type of sauce you have in your fridge or pantry will make a difference as you determine if your sauce has gone bad, as well as best practices for storing it. This article covers both homemade applesauce as well as store-bought applesauce so you are well informed either way.

Signs Applesauce Has Gone Bad

With various kinds of packaging in pouches, cups, and jars, it can be difficult to know when each goes bad.

As a general rule of thumb, you can find yourself with bad applesauce in 7-10 days after opening. For jars, you will know it’s bad if you see signs of mold anywhere inside. Or if the sauce tastes or smells funny, or has obvious signs of spoilage.

For unopened pouches or cups, if they seam bloated or smell strongly of alcohol when opened, that is your sign to get rid of that old applesauce and make another trip to the store.

Sell-by dates from the manufacturer are truly sell-by dates, so unopened sauce will still be good for 3-6 months past the dates on your packages.

Tips to Maximize Shelf Life

Homemade Applesauce

Yes, even homemade applesauce can go bad no matter if it is made with the best quality apples and preparation process or not.

After the effort to make homemade sauce, don’t waste any by letting it sit in the fridge for too long. Because fresh sauce doesn’t contain the preservatives traditionally found in a jar of applesauce in the store, it won’t last as long.

In general, after all your hard work homemade sauce will stay good for 7-10 days if you store it in an airtight container inside the fridge. You can use one large container, or smaller individual serving containers.

Homemade Applesauce Short-Term Storage

There are a couple of different short-term storage options to make your sauce last. The best way to store fresh applesauce would be in the fridge, in a glass mason jar, plastic Rubbermaid container, or a large Ziplock bag.

Storing your own applesauce in a refrigerated air-tight container creates the safest way to keep your snack fresh longer. It keeps the bacteria from entering while the lid is on. This method of storage will keep your snack ready for up to 10 days.

Homemade Applesauce Long-Term Storage

Did you make too much or have leftover applesauce and need a long-term way to store it? Don’t worry, that is also an option! The beauty of many homemade foods, especially fresh sauce, is that they can be stored in the freezer to extend the shelf life.

The best options for long-term storage for frozen homemade applesauce are listed below. However, there are a wide variety of options and ways to freeze the leftovers for 3 to 4 months.

Freezer Storage
  • Freezer-Safe ContainerRubbermaid containers are perfect for this option. Simply pour the excess into the plastic container, add the lid, pop it in the freezer, and you are good to go! This sealed container makes it easy to store in the freezer, taking up minimal and organized space.
  • Freezer Bags–Ziplock gallon-sized, resealable freezer bags are also another easy way to store this snack for later. After pouring the applesauce into the bag, remove excess air from the bag, creating an airtight seal, ensuring an extended life. It also helps to freeze it on a cookie sheet until solid, then you can stack it easily.
  • Popsicle Moulds–This is a super fun and creative way to store your frozen applesauce in small portions. As a perfect healthy summer snack for those days when the sun is blazing, it allows you to create a yummy snack that your kids will love. Simply fill the popsicle molds, leaving about an inch headspace for the stick. Securely attach the stick and topper to the tray for proper storage.
Freezer Storage Tips

For each of these freezer options, there are a couple of important things to do before placing it in the freezer.

  1. Let the homemade sauce cool down for a little bit until it reaches room temperature.
  2. Place it in your food safe, desired applesauce container.
  3. When storing things in the freezer, make sure to include the production or expiration date. This ensures there won’t be freezer burnt or bad applesauce.
  4. The shelf life of applesauce when stored in the freezer is up to 3 or 4 months!

Store-Bought Applesauce

Store-bought applesauce is perfect for school lunches, and on-the-go quick bites. With various kinds of packaging in pouches, cups, and jars, you can’t beat it’s convenience.

Store-Bought Applesauce Storage

Once again, there are a couple of different ways to stow storebought applesauce, the options depending on if it has been opened or not.

Unopened Applesauce

This is the most food-safe and easy way to store your store-bought applesauce. Whether you’ve bought sauce in large bottles, small 5 ounce cups, or squeezable pouches, you can store them in the same ways.

  • Pantry–This is probably the most common way to store unopened store-bought applesauce. Because the kitchen pantry is a dark area out of direct sunlight, an unopened jar of sauce will be good up to the manufacturer’s expiration date. Storing your sauce here is a good idea. It allows for a longer shelf life and does not take up valued fridge space.
  • Fridge–While applesauce can be enjoyed at room temperature or refrigerated, this is another way to keep it. This way of storage is perfect for small cups or squeezable on-the-go pouches, ensuring you have an easy chilled snack each time. However, keeping it in refrigerator doesn’t extend it’s shelf life when it is unopened.
Opened Applesauce

Just like the homemade version mentioned above, there are two ways to store this product once it has been opened. Remember to open these containers of applesauce one at a time to avoid spoilage and preserve the quality of the sauce.

  • Fridge–This is the only way to store freshly opened applesauce. Much like any other store-bought products such as salad dressing or ketchup, this product requires refrigeration after opening. Even the best quality applesauce can go bad. Make sure to check for an off odor or appearance of mold before enjoying a cup of applesauce.
  • Freezer– Just like the homemade sauce mentioned above, you have all the same options here to safely freeze the sauce. Doesn’t take much time at all!

Does Applesauce Go Bad FAQs

What if there is excess water in my applesauce?

Depending on the food item and which company made it, the recipe may differ and use different amounts of liquid. Because it is a cooked product, there will be moisture. If it is freshly open, you can simply strain the excess if you wish. Or you can give it a good shake or stir to incorporate the excess water will work as well.

If it is a jar of applesauce that is within 7-10 days of opening, the excess cold water may indicate it has gone bad. The best choice would be to throw it away and open a new jar.

How can I use up my sauce before it spoils?

If eating your sauce by itself isn’t using it quick enough, think about using it in other ways before it spoils. Think of how you can use it with different ingredients to let it shine.

  • Use it in a recipe. You can use it as a substitute for some of the oil in muffins and quick breads. My Applesauce Oat Bran Muffins are one of my favorite ways to use up the leftovers in a jar.
  • Top waffles or pancakes with sauce instead of syrup
  • Add it to a morning smoothie
  • Mix into plain or vanilla yogurt
  • Reduce it down over low heat into a fruit jam

Should I use a clean spoon?

Yes, anytime you are serving applesauce from a container, use clean spoons. This helps eliminate cross contamination.

Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.

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