Do Cooking Oils Go Bad? – Full Analysis

by Charlie
Do Cooking Oils Go Bad

Oils that are used for cooking are such an important piece to a masterful dish. Not only does oil add flavor to our recipes but it helps with the cooking process and can provide direct health benefits when consumed. 

Yes and no. Some oils do not go bad as long as they’re protected from the sunlight. But other oils do go bad regardless of how well they are sealed. Coconut oil will last for 2 years, while olive oil lasts for 3 years. But extra virgin olive oil only lasts 1 year. Peanut oil has a shelf life of 6 months once it is opened. Avocado oil will last 9 to 12 months or six months if it is open.

How Long Do Cooking Oils Last?

There are many types of oils to buy in a grocery store, and each one has its specific date when it will expire. Here are a few common food oils and their average shelf life:

Coconut oil: Coconut oil has become extremely popular in the last few years because of its flavor and high number of antioxidants. Most types of coconut oil last about 2 years.

Olive oil: Olive oil is one of the most popular oils in the United States, and it is used when people want a heart-healthy alternative to vegetable oil to cook their food. This oil lasts two to three years. But extra virgin olive oil only lasts 1 year. 

Peanut oil: Despite its name, peanut oil actually has a neutral flavor, so your food doesn’t taste like peanuts if you decide to use this oil when frying. A bottle of peanut oil lasts a year as long as it is sealed and closed. Once it is opened, its shelf life drops to 6 months.

Sesame oil: Many people regard sesame oil as oil that should only be added to foods after they are done cooking. But that rule is only for dark sesame oil. Lightly colored sesame oil has the highest smoke point, so you can use it for frying. 

While a bottle of sesame oil is sealed and unopened, it will last for 2 years in the pantry but 3-4 years in the refrigerator. Once a bottle of sesame oil is opened, it will last for 6 months. But if you store the oil in the refrigerator after opening it, it will last for 9 months. 

Avocado oil:  Everyone loves avocados, so it should not be a surprise that avocado oil is selling like never before. The surrounding temperature affects the quality of avocado oil and how long it lasts. The avocado oil in your pantry will last 9-12 months, but in the refrigerator, it will last 12-18 months. Once it is opened, you have 6 months to finish it.

Vegetable oil: Vegetable oil is a classic, all-purpose oil used for frying all kinds of different foods. It is also used to deep fry battered foods and french fries. It does not matter if you put vegetable oil in the fridge or the pantry. Vegetable oil will only last a year and it will also last a year whether it is opened or not.

However, there are ways to ruin fresh oil and turn it rancid, and that is through a poor cooking process.

How Long Do Cooking Oils Last? Shelf Life [Chart]

OilLength of time
Sesame oil, closed1 year
Sesame oil, open6 months
Sesame oil, open, fridge9 months
Avocado oil, unopened12-18 months
Avocado oil, opened6 months
Coconut oil2 years
Olive oil2-3 years
Extra virgin olive oil1 year
Peanut oil, unopened1 year
Peanut oil, opened6 months
Vegetable oil1 year

Common Mistakes that Causes Oil to Go Bad

One way to turn perfectly usable oil into a rancid and terrible oil that ruins your food and destroys your stomach is by burning it. Many people who are not home cooks tend to burn their oil. 

Burnt oil happens when the stove’s flame is on too high for a long time. Five minutes is not a long time, but anything on top of the flame will heat up quickly. So 5 minutes can easily destroy even the highest quality oil. 

So unless the recipe specifically calls for extremely hot oil, never cook something on high heat. Warming your pan and oil on medium to low heat is just fine.

But that is not the only way to burn oil. Even if you have it at a reasonable temperature, many people get distracted and walk away from their stove to do something else. The pan and the oil should only take about a minute to warm up. 

After 5 minutes of heating up and not placing any food on top to begin the cooking process, the oil and the pan will begin to smoke. If you see the oil smoking, turn off the fire and allow it to cool. 

Cooking with smoking or burnt oil is terrible and will do a number on your digestive system. It is better to transfer the burnt oil into another pot so it can cool. Resume cooking with the same pan you were going to use after it cools a bit.

Once the oil is burnt, it cannot be restored. So just throw it out.

The third way to burn oil is to use non-frying or cooking oil to cook food. When it comes to certain grades of oil, some grades are for dressings and are only added to food after it’s done cooking, while other grades are for cooking. 

Oils that are made for dressings are very light and full of flavor. But olive oil made for frying is thick and heavy. So make sure you’re purchasing cooking oil if you intend to cook with it. You can also use cooking olive oil in a dressing, it will just be much thicker. 

How to Store Various Types of Cooking Oils

When storing oil in a pantry or cupboard, the temperature inside the pantry should not be warmer than room temperature. Also, the pantry should not get hot even if the rest of the house is hot. Make sure all of the oils are never exposed to sunlight, as the Sun’s rays will degrade the oil quickly. Some oils come in dark-colored bottles to protect them from light.

Some oils last longer when they are placed in the refrigerator. These oils include avocado oil, certain grades of olive oil, fish oil, and walnut oil. You can also refrigerate sesame oil if you would like to extend its shelf life. 

There’s not much you need to do when you place oil in the refrigerator. Just keep them in the back, so they’re not constantly exposed to warm air whenever you open the refrigerator door.

Just remember that not every oil can be stored in the refrigerator, and some are damaged by cold air. So check each oil and look for the words refrigerate after opening on the side of the bottle.

Conclusion

  • There are many types of oils available to purchase at the grocery store, and each one comes with its own shelf life and storage instructions.
  • Like sesame oil and olive oil, certain grades of oil must stay in the fridge to extend the shelf-life.
  • Some oils come in dark-colored bottles to protect them from the sun’s light.
  • Olive oil lasts 2 to 3 years, but extra virgin olive oil only lasts 1 year.
  • Sesame oil lasts 2 years in the pantry but up to 4 years in the fridge.
  • Sesame oil will only last for 6 months once it is opened.
  • You can ruin a perfectly good oil by burning it or using a non-frying oil for cooking with.

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