Last Updated on March 2, 2023 by Practical Cooks
Though it is now owned by McCormick, (for $800 million), Cholula hot sauce has a long history dating back over 100 years. Named for the oldest town in Mexico, Cholula can be found everywhere, from the finest restaurants to local diners.
But, often we don’t know how long it’s been sitting there. Do we need to worry? Does Cholula hot sauce expire? Yes. According to the folks at Cholula, the sauce does expire. Customers should use their sauce within 6 months of opening. The company does not recommend using it past its date.
The more air that the sauce is exposed to, the more it will lose its color and flavor. However, an unopened bottle can last for up to 2 years.
Consuming it after the date does not cause any safety or health risks, it just won’t taste the same. So, if you don’t mind less than potent hot sauce, you can eat it after the best by date.
Remember, expired is not always the same as bad or unsafe.
How Do You Tell If Your Cholula Hot Sauce Is Bad?
“Bad” in this case refers to unsafe to ingest. Cholula sauce is often long gone before it has a chance to go bad. It lasts so long due to the ingredients of vinegar and chili peppers. They both ward off bacteria, thereby extending the shelf life.
But occasionally, events do occur that make it unsafe to eat. Look for these signs that you should not use your Cholula hot sauce.
- smells off (musty or rancid)
- odd consistency (does not flow out as it should, has lumps, or is grainy)
- color changes (black or green dots or fuzz)
- odd flavor (sour)
How Should You Store Your Cholula Hot Sauce?
The Cholula website tells us to clear a space in our cabinet or counter, because their sauce does not need to be refrigerated. The main points to remember are:
Try to keep the sauce at a consistent temperature. Big fluctuations in humidity can cause changes in color and possibly contamination.
2. Cap It
The Cholula cap does more than tell you what flavor your shaking out. It helps keep it fresh. Make sure to seal the cap tightly. It’s also a good idea to keep the cap clean. It is made of wood and if sauce is allowed to build up, bacteria can grow in the porous cap.
3. Don’t Dip Or Drop
Keep food away from the bottle. If food drops into the container or gets stuck on top, it can lead to mold.
Then, there is the great debate among hot sauce connoisseurs. To refrigerate or not to refrigerate.
Those who say there’s no need are absolutely right. It won’t make you sick, it won’t change the flavor, its all good to leave it out.
Now those who say it should be refrigerated, well, they have a point too. Placing your hot sauce in the fridge will not affect the taste. It could, however, help retain the color and the flavor over time.
Hot sauce kept at room temperature can turn a brownish color from being exposed to oxygen. So, if the color of your sauce matters, you can absolutely put it in the fridge.
It will also help it maintain its flavor for up to a year. If your not a regular hot sauce user, this might be a good option for you.
How Do You Stop Your Mouth From Burning After Too Much Cholula?
The Scoville heat index is a scale used to measure a pepper’s hotness. It’s based on the level of capsaicin oil a pepper has. The capsaicin is what gives it heat.
The scale goes from:
- mild (0 to 2,500 – a bell pepper is 0)
- medium (2,500 to 30,000 -a jalapeño falls in this range)
- hot (30,000 to 100,000 – cayenne)
- extra hot (100,000 to 500,000 – habanero
- extremely hot (anything above 500,000 – the Carolina Reaper is 1,641,183)
Even though the peppers Cholula uses are fairly mild on the hotness scale (arbol and piquin), everyone is different. So if you love the taste, but not the heat, keep some of these helpful foods next to the hot sauce.
1. Drink Some Milk
Milk has casein and breaks down the capsaicin.
2. Drink Acidic Juice
Tomato, lemon, and orange juice help to counteract the acidic nature of the sauce.
3. Sprinkle sugar Or Coat Some Honey On Your Tongue
Both help to absorb the capsaicin oil.
4. Eat Some Yogurt Or Sour Cream.
Bread, chips, crackers, and pasta all help absorb the capsaicin.
5. Milk Chocolate
The high fat content in chocolate will help cool your tongue.
6. Take A Shot
Obviously not for everyone, but capsaicin is quickly dissolved by higher-proof alcohol like tequila and vodka.
Do not drink water. As stated, capsaicin is an oil, and oil and water do not mix. The water can spread the oil around and make the burning worse.
What Are Some Ways You Can Use Cholula Hot Sauce?
Cholula is mild enough so that its tasty flavor can be added to just about anything. Try it with:
- drinks (Cholula was previously owned by Jose Cuervo tequila)
- soups and stews
- tartar sauce
- ground beef
- hot dogs
There’s really no limit, as long as you can tolerate it. Cholula is also kosher, gluten free, and has no added MSG.