Does Caviar Go Bad? How Long Does it Last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on September 23rd, 2023

For connoisseurs of gourmet foods, caviar is a pinnacle of culinary excellence. Served at the most prestigious events and dining tables, caviar is an experience in itself. But let’s get real: it’s not a budget-friendly treat, which naturally leads us to wonder, how long does caviar last? Does caviar go bad? Rest assured, you’ve come to the right place for accurate, trustworthy advice on how to store, consume, and relish caviar.

Does Caviar Go Bad? The Shelf Life Explained

Yes, caviar does have a limited shelf life. And once you pop that can or jar open, a countdown begins. Stored properly in a cool, dark place, unopened caviar can maintain its quality for up to a year, provided it is of a high grade and well-preserved. However, if it’s been longer than two weeks since you’ve opened it, it’s best to avoid consumption. The first sign of bad caviar? A particularly potent, fishy odor that isn’t appetizing. Keeping your caviar stored optimally is crucial to prolonging its life.

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How Long Does Caviar Last?

It’s paramount to store your caviar correctly to make the most of its luxurious shelf life. A container of caviar that has remained unopened will last around 6 weeks if it’s stored in a refrigerated environment at the ideal temperature, which is between 28 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The high cost of caviar makes it all the more critical to adhere to best storage practices to avoid spoilage.

How Long Does Unopened Caviar Last?

Caviar is an extremely sensitive food. A container of high-quality, unopened caviar stored under optimal conditions can last up to four weeks. Once that seal is broken, however, you’re looking at a much shorter window—roughly three days—within which you should consume the caviar to fully appreciate its texture and nuanced flavors.

How Long Does Opened Caviar Last?

In the unfortunate event that you can’t finish your caviar within a single sitting, you’ve got a small window to still enjoy it. The caviar will retain its quality for about 3 days post-opening. After that, the intricate flavors start to deteriorate, and the texture becomes less appealing. During this brief window, make sure you store the caviar in a well-refrigerated setting to preserve its quality for as long as possible.

What Happens If Caviar Is Not Refrigerated?

Keeping caviar at room temperature or in an improperly cooled environment is a recipe for disaster. Foods like caviar that are highly perishable only last a couple of hours unrefrigerated. In hotter conditions, above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, that time shrinks to just an hour. Failure to maintain the right temperature conditions can result in bacterial growth, making the caviar not just unpalatable but downright dangerous to consume.

How to Properly Store Caviar

For a food as delicate and finicky as caviar, proper storage is not a recommendation; it’s a requirement. An unopened jar or tin can last about a month under the right conditions—think of a cool, dark corner of your fridge. Once it’s opened, aim to finish it within the next three days. For those who want to extend caviar’s lifespan, freezing is an option, though it does come with a decline in quality.

How Long Does Frozen Caviar Last?

If you choose to freeze your caviar, you’re looking at an extended shelf life of up to a year. However, there are caveats. While certain types, such as salmon caviar, can tolerate freezing fairly well, premium Sturgeon caviar is best enjoyed fresh. Freezing can alter both the flavor and the texture, so aim to consume frozen caviar within a few months for the best experience.

How Can You Tell if Caviar Has Gone Bad?

Given its high cost and distinctive flavor, it’s essential to know when your caviar has passed its prime. There are three primary indicators. The first is a strong, sour or overly fishy smell. The second is a change in texture; good caviar should be firm, not mushy. Lastly, look at the color. Any discoloration or inconsistencies could signal spoilage. When in doubt, it’s better to avoid eating it and err on the side of caution.

Can You Eat Expired Caviar?

Caviar that’s past its expiration date is a risky endeavor. Even if you freeze it, caviar will lose its distinctive characteristics over time. While technically you can eat expired caviar, don’t expect the same quality or taste as fresh caviar. If it’s a matter of days past the expiration, it may be alright, but any longer than that is not advisable.


The shelf life of caviar is greatly influenced by how well it’s been stored. An unopened container can stretch its lifespan to nearly a year if stored under ideal conditions. However, once you open that jar or tin, make it a point to finish it within three days to relish the caviar’s full spectrum of flavors and textures. Proper refrigeration is the key to prolonging your caviar experience.

So, the next time you indulge in this opulent delicacy, you’ll be well-informed, allowing you to focus on the exceptional taste and texture, worry-free.


Editorial Staff

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