Does Coconut Oil Go Bad?

Your first jar of coconut oil sits half-open in storage three months after opening. That’s when you start thinking: does coconut oil go bad?

Or perhaps you’re not quite sure if you can store it in the pantry, or does it require the fridge.

Either way, it’s time to learn a thing or two about storage, shelf life, and spoilage of coconut oil.

If that’s what you’re looking for, read on.

Coconut oil jar in hand

How To Store Coconut Oil

You can store coconut oil in the pantry, in the fridge, or at room temperature.

The thing you need to know is that its melting point is around 75 °F (ca. 24 °C).

If the temperature in the room where you keep it is higher, it will liquefy. Few degrees less, and it’ll be of a jelly consistency. When the temperature goes even lower, the oil will solidify.

That means that if it sits in the fridge, it will become hard as a rock.


You can store coconut oil in both mentioned consistencies – liquid and solid. Melted coconut oil is not bad by any means, and the consistency change is perfectly natural.

Half melted coconut oil
Half melted coconut oil

If coconut oil is firm and you can’t scoop any from the bottle (or jar), heat it for a while in a pot of warm water. You should be able to scoop some oil after a few minutes.

There’s one more thing about scooping oil: remember that the utensils you’re using must be clean.

If you’ve used the spoon for other purposes, remember to wash it before scooping oil with it. That’ll avoid leaving any contaminants in the oil and the possibility of it getting moldy.

Insides of a coconut oil jar
Insides of a coconut oil jar

Coconut oil (similarly to MCT oil and other oils) suffers from light, oxygen, and heat exposure. Keep the container tightly sealed and out of direct light (e.g., in a cupboard).

When it comes to storage temperature – if you store it in a room where the temperature is hot, its quality will deteriorate quicker.


Avoid storing coconut oil in a place where air temperature often changes (e.g., above the stove).

With these suggestions in mind, the pantry seems like a clear winner that covers all the bases.

Jar of extra virgin coconut oil
Jar of extra virgin coconut oil

How Long Does Coconut Oil Last

Every bottle or jar of coconut oil should have a date on it. In most cases, it will be a “best by” date.

That date is just a rough estimate, and it informs you that coconut oil should be at peak quality up to that date. Usually, the “best by” date is somewhere between two and four years after the production date.

Of course, coconut oil doesn’t magically go bad a day or two after that date. As long as any contaminants didn’t get to the oil, it will be just fine for months, or even years longer.

Coconut oil: date on the label
Coconut oil: date on the label

With time its quality will very slowly deteriorate, but it will be still safe to use. As long as you can’t spot any signs of spoilage, coconut oil is fine to use.

The guidelines above don’t change after opening the jar. You can still store it for a long time. There’s no rush in using it. Take your time and use it only when needed.

Refined (Closed)3 – 6 months after “Best by”
Refined (Opened)3 – 6 months after “Best by”
Extra Virgin (Closed)3 – 6 months after “Best by”
Extra Virgin (Opened)3 – 6 months after “Best by”

Please note that the given times are approximates and you should always check if the coconut oil is fit for consumption before using.

Coconut oil solid
Coconut oil: solid

How To Tell If Coconut Oil Is Bad

Since coconut oil has a lot of saturated fats, it’s a very stable oil. It can, however, go bad, especially if you scoop it from the container with a dirty spoon or fingers.

Checking whether this oil is still fine to use is similar to checking other vegetable oils.

The first thing to do is to analyze its looks.

If there are any signs of mold on the surface of the oil, it’s better to discard it. Some people decide to scratch up the mold and an additional inch of the oil and use the rest of it, but I don’t recommend that.


If the oil is liquid and you notice any mold, throw it away immediately.

Take a look at the bottom of the jar, too. If there are any brown or green (or other unexpected) particles, get rid of the oil.

If the oil turned yellow-ish, it has started going rancid and tossing it is the way to go.

Assuming that everything is okay up to this point, smell it. If it hasn’t developed an off, bitter odor, the final test is the taste test. If it tastes fine, feel free to use it.

Related: What does rancid oil smell like

Coconut Oil FAQ

Does coconut oil go bad if it melts?

No. As described earlier, melting of coconut oil is a perfectly natural process, and it doesn’t mean the oil is bad. If the temperature where you store it is above 75 °F (ca. 24 °C), melting is expected.

Does coconut oil go bad if not refrigerated?

No, coconut oil doesn’t need refrigerating.

You can store it in the fridge if you want, but it will become really firm. And firm coconut oil means scooping some won’t be as easy as it should be.

If possible, store coconut oil in the pantry.

What’s the difference between refined and extra virgin (unrefined) coconut oil?

The difference between extra virgin and refined coconut oil is in the production process.

Extra virgin coconut oil is made from coconut milk, without any chemicals or heat used in the production of it.

Refined coconut oil, on the other hand, is made from copra that goes through a refining process to make it fit for consumption. The refining process changes the flavor to neutral and raises the smoke point.

For more differences between these types of oil, check out this article.

Can you use expired coconut oil on hair?

As already mentioned, coconut oil doesn’t go bad after the date on the label.

It’s okay to use for months or even years after that date if stored properly. That means that as long as your oil is fit for consumption, using it as a hair care product shouldn’t cause any issues.

Coconut Oil Shelf Life and Spoilage Summary

Coconut oil doesn’t last forever, but it doesn’t go bad right after it passes the printed date either. Instead, coconut oil often lasts for a couple of months after the “expiration” date, especially if you keep it sealed tight and in a cool place.

Also, coconut oil benefits from refrigeration, but you don’t have to necessarily refrigerate it. Leaving it in the pantry or kitchen, away from any heat sources, is good enough.

5 thoughts on “Does Coconut Oil Go Bad?”

  1. I had a very itchy rash on my chest this summer which I could not clear up using aloe vera gel, prescription creams, essential oils, etc. My sister suggested using coconut oil and the relief was immediate! Coconut oil softened and soothes the red, painful skin and after about a week of applying the coconut oil, the rash is considerably better!

  2. I have had issues with mouth ulcers for a few years. I tried R/X drugs, which worked for about a minute. Then said ulcers would appear in a day or so. I recently began using organic coconut oil…and was greatly surprised by the positive results that occurred while using it as a treatment. I have not had a major ulcer out-break since I began using organic Coconut oils.

  3. Avatar
    Dannielle Lewis

    I am steroid dependent & have a lot of yeast issues. Between my toes, in the folds of my skin,under my breasts,& thrush( in my mouth). I was using a combination of 2 prescription creams (that I had to be careful that it didn’t touch my unaffected skin cause it could cause skin damage) for my skin. A mouth rinse (also prescription) & diflucan tablets. All of this was just keeping the yeast beasties from getting worse but certainly not getting rid of it. A friend suggested using coconut oil, so I started researching it. I found that coconut oil is actually helpful in a lot of areas. I started off by applying coconut oil to my skin, which it did work, was kinda messy though. Then I found a coconut capsule that had 1000mg of coconut oil, I started taking 1 capsule twice a day. It not only kept the yeast beast at bay it healed my skin,mouth every where. I now take at least 2 coconut capsules everyday & when I have to take antibiotics I bump it up to 4 capsules a day. I am just finishing round 3 of my antibiotic treatment for multiple infections & I didn’t have a yeast problem anywhere, no thrush, no need for Diflucan. The yeast beast never reared it ugly head. I can’t recommend coconut capsules enough if yeast is a beast for you.

  4. After years of having to wear sandals and/or socks to the beach, coconut oil healed up and softened my feet to the point where I no longer dread enjoying the sand!  After 2 days (nights, actually – I apply the coconut oil to my feet at bedtime) I saw a noticeable difference in not only the comfort level of my feet during the day but also the cracking and dry skin on my feet.  I don’t like to keep the whole container at the liquid stage, so I keep a small 1/2 cup sealed storage container by my bed.  The oil does get on the sheets, so in the wintertime I just wear footie socks to bed and in the summer keep my feet on top of the sheets until it soaks in.

    Coconut oil also works wonders on facial wrinkles and dry cuticles!!!  It’s really an all-over terrific moisturizer!  It doesn’t tighten jowls, though 🙁

  5. I have had bad gingivitis from my two pregnancies, I couldn’t afford to fix them with the dental work required, so I heard about a few remedies. Hyrdogen Peroxide, Vitamin oil, and coconut oil pulling. I must say I have used coconut oil for many things but by far the most benefical one has been the affect it has had on my teeth and gums. With the above mentioned combination as well as flossing and brushing my teeth my teeth are whiter and my gums look much healthier.

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