Cracking the Code: How Long Does Tomato Paste Last In The Fridge

When cooking, few ingredients are as versatile and essential as tomato paste. Its concentrated flavor makes it a staple in many recipes, from sauces to soups and stews. However, once a can of tomato paste is opened, its preservation becomes a chef’s dilemma. Understanding how long it lasts in the fridge and the best storage methods can save money and prevent food waste.

Understanding Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is created by cooking down tomatoes to remove the water content, leaving behind a thick, rich concentrate. This process not only intensifies the flavor but also extends the product’s shelf life before opening.

Before Opening: Shelf Life Expectancy

Unopened tomato paste is typically good for 12 to 18 months, sometimes longer, as long as it’s stored in a cool, dry place. The “best by” date on the can or tube is a quality guideline, but it’s often safe to use beyond this date.

After Opening: Refrigeration is Key

How To Store Opened Tomato Paste In The Fridge


Once the seal is broken, the preservation depends on proper refrigeration. When stored correctly in the fridge, an opened can or tube lasts 5 to 7 days. To achieve this, you must minimize the paste’s exposure to air, which accelerates spoilage due to oxidation.

Best Practices for Storing Tomato Paste in the Fridge

  • Airtight Containers: Transfer the unused tomato paste to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. This method prevents air from spoiling the paste and keeps fridge odors at bay.
  • Flattening Technique: For ease of use, spread the leftover paste in a thin freezer bag, squeezing out the air before sealing. This allows you to break off the amount you need later without thawing the entire batch.
  • Aluminum Foil Trick: If you wish to store the paste in its original can, cover the top with plastic wrap and then secure it tightly with aluminum foil to help keep air out. However, transferring it to a glass or plastic container is recommended to avoid potential metal leaching.

Extending the Life: Freezing Tomato Paste

If you want to extend your tomato paste’s life beyond a week, freezing is a viable option. Frozen tomato paste can last up to 3 months without significantly losing quality. Use an ice cube tray to freeze the paste in small portions, then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag for future use.

Recognizing Spoiled Tomato Paste

To ensure food safety, knowing when tomato paste has gone bad is crucial. Signs of spoilage include:

  • A sour smell distinct from the natural tangy aroma of tomatoes.
  • Mold growth, especially if the paste has been stored for longer than recommended.
  • A significant change in color, such as darkening beyond the typical deep red.


Tomato paste is a beloved ingredient in kitchens worldwide for its ability to enrich and deepen the flavor of dishes. By understanding and implementing proper storage techniques, you can extend its freshness well beyond the opening, ensuring that this pantry staple is always on hand when culinary inspiration strikes.

Remember, when in doubt, discard any food item that shows signs of spoilage to ensure your health and the safety of you and your loved ones.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *