Do I refrigerate it or not, the great debate about condiments rages on.

We all probably grew up with pour parents yelling at us about not putting condiments back in the fridge. Well, your parents were most likely wrong about some of those condiments, as many don’t need to be refrigerated. Although, there are many condiments that do need to be refrigerated, so your parents were right about some things.

Some of our favorite condiments are still a mystery to most of us, since we usually don’t bother with what is actually in them. The ingredients and combination of them determine if they need to be put back in the fridge once they are open. Almost all condiments are safe on the shelf until they are opened, then it’s game on. Let’s examine our favorite condiments to see what should be refrigerated after opening.



America’s number one condiment and a central figure in the refrigerate debate. Ketchup contains salt, sugar and vinegar, which usually means the product is safe on the shelf, but many ketchups are lowering their salt content so a fridge should be ketchup’s home.


Peanut Butter

If you have plain old peanut butter, it’s fine out of the fridge, but if it’s the fancy all-natural kind, pop it in the fridge. So the all-natural kind is more expensive and you have to keep it in the fridge.. seems like trouble to me.


Soy Sauce

Soy Sauce has high sodium content but it should be refrigerated after opening. The salty Asian staple can be stored for up to two-years in the fridge though.



Mayonnaise is cool on the shelf before its opened, but once you open it up, it has to be kept cool.  Mayo is made of oil and egg whites, and it doesn’t do well left out.  Even leaving the mayo out overnight can ruin it.  If you leave it out, you should just toss it in the trash.  


Salad Dressing

Obviously you have to refrigerate any cream based dressings like ranch or blue cheese, but the oil based ones should be kept cold too. The other ingredients are usually onions and citrus which definitely can go bad.



Ahh butter, the tasty little dairy byproduct that once was seen as the devil in the kitchen is making a comeback. Fat isn’t seen as bad as it once was, so now that butter is cool again, does it need to be refrigerated? Butter is a dairy product so it would make sense that it should be in the fridge, but it doesn’t. Butter is best served cold, but it is perfectly safe to leave it out. Room temp or cold, either works or butter.



Mustard can be a pricey condiment, especially if it’s a fancy stone ground Dijon mustard one. Luckily mustard won’t spoil if left out in room temperature but it can lose its flavor profile, so pop that bad boy in the fridge after opening.


Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is laced with vinegar and salt, two preservatives, so you don’t need to keep it in the fridge. The pantry should be home to this spicy pepper.



Honey should only be kept OUT of the fridge. Cooling honey won’t mess with the taste but the cold can affect its consistency, often making it too solid to use. Honey is perfect out of the fridge resting comfortably in the spice rack.


Olive Oil

Olive oil and most oils should be kept out of the fridge, mainly fro a consistency factor. Refrigerating it doesn’t make it last longer, so keep it out and leave it in a dark place.


Keep these rules in your mind so you don’t refrigerate the wrong condiments.


Photos courtesy of Discoveries, design, Bezoni, eat this