Can You Freeze Ketchup?

Ketchup, red sauce, tomato sauce, this iconic condiment has many names. It is a staple in households the world over and can be used on almost any dish.

There is some debate as to whether ketchup should be stored in the refrigerator or on the countertop. To extend the naturally long shelf life, you can freeze ketchup.

You may wonder why you would want to freeze ketchup. Some people opt to buy ketchup in bulk whereas others use it very occasionally. In either scenario, freezing ketchup is a great way to preserve the quality for longer. 

An unopened bottle of ketchup will last for around 2 years. Once opened, we advise refrigerating which will keep the ketchup edible for a year.

If you choose to freeze ketchup, it will remain safe to consume indefinitely.

How to freeze ketchup

If you are attempting to freeze ketchup in the original container, as long as it is plastic this will be fine. Plastic can expand without shattering, and so there is no need to transfer the ketchup to a different container.

Ensure you empty out a little if it is completely full as there needs to be an inch or two of space at the top of the bottle. We recommend labeling the bottle with the date frozen, but otherwise, there is no real preparation required. 

We do not recommend freezing ketchup in glass bottles. This is because glass is prone to shattering in the freezer when it reaches low temperatures. We suggest transferring the ketchup to a ziplock freezer bag or rigid airtight container. 

Leave at least an inch or two of space at the top of the container. This is because water expands as it freezes. As ketchup has a high water content, it will expand in the freezer and could cause the container to break.

Leaving this gap allows space for the ketchup to expand into. Ensure the container is clearly labeled with the date and contents. 

If you use ketchup more sparingly, we advise freezing it in smaller portions. To do this, you can use silicone cake molds or ice cube trays. Fill to around ¾ full so that the ketchup has room to expand without making a mess of your freezer.

Allow the cubes to freeze solid and then remove from the molds and transfer to a ziplock freezer bag. Label clearly and return to the freezer to store.

How to defrost ketchup

A couple of hours before you wish to use the ketchup, remove from the freezer, and leave on the countertop to thaw. This process will take longer the larger the container is. Cubes will take around 2 hours to thaw completely. 

The ketchup is likely to separate once thawed, but there is no real harm in this. Once mixed or shaken, the ketchup will become close to its original consistency.

You can also place the desired amount of ketchup for thawing in an airtight container. Run under warm running water, or place in a large bowl of warm water and leave to sit for an hour. 

We do not recommend defrosting ketchup in the microwave. This is because the heat of the microwave is very high and could cause the ketchup to burn accidentally. The microwave is also likely to alter the taste profile of the ketchup. 

While it takes longer, ketchup needs to be thawed gently to preserve the delicate flavors. We advise leaving it on the countertop to thaw as this is the least hassle. 

If you are using the ketchup in a hot dish such as bolognese or chili, you can simply drop in some frozen cubes with no real need to thaw.

Factors to consider before freezing ketchup

Freezing only has a negligible effect on the taste of ketchup. It is much more likely to change the consistency upon thawing. This is because when the ice crystals in the ketchup melt they change into water droplets.

This adds water to the ketchup and can make it take on a more liquid consistency. 

Due to this, ketchup may also appear very split once thawed. To rectify this, you can either mix well or shake the bottle. This will reincorporate the two sections of the ketchup and return it to close to its original state.

Ketchup has a high water content and is very susceptible to freezer burn. To minimize the risk of this happening, we suggest following our instructions carefully.

If you opt to freeze ketchup in smaller portions, such as silicone molds or ice cube trays, we recommend measuring the volume first. To do this, fill one section of the tray up with water and pour out into a measuring cup.

A standard ice cube tray has cubes that hold 2 tablespoons of liquid. As they vary between manufacturers, it is wise to check this first. This means that you can write the portion size on the container and you will always know how much ketchup you are using.


Ketchup was originally designed to detoxify the liver and reduce the amount of bile in the body almost 200 years ago. While it is no longer used in this way, many people would say that ketchup helps improve their mental health!

There is no need to ever run out of ketchup again, armed with our simple tips for freezing ketchup. This will ensure the ketchup remains safe for human consumption indefinitely with little to no consequences. 

Do not freeze ketchup in glass bottles and if you are bulk purchasing, opt for ketchup in plastic containers. If you wish to freeze ketchup in smaller portions, we recommend using an ice cube tray or silicone molds. 

There is no detrimental effect on the taste of ketchup after freezing, although the texture may be a little thinner. The ketchup is also prone to splitting once thawed, but a quick shake will return it to a consistent mixture. 

We hope that you now feel confident in freezing ketchup safely at home.


Hi there! My name is Caroline Stevens, and I am an American mom of three wonderful children. I started this blog to help everyday families be more sustainable and save money by preventing food waste. I currently live in Wisconsin, and enjoy crafting, cooking at home, and traveling. I have a degree in art and previously worked in the restaurant business.