Does MCT Oil Go Bad?

MCT oil is usually used in small amounts. A tablespoon here and two teaspoons there. That means that if you don’t use it on a regular basis, it will sit in the cupboard for a long time. That inevitably calls for the question: does MCT oil go bad?

Just a few years ago almost nobody knew about this oil and right now it’s all over the place, popularized by Dave Asprey for many benefits it provides. People use MCT oil as a source of energy, both by athletes looking for aid in a tough workout and everyday people following the ketogenic diet.

If you use MCT oil on a regular basis, there’s no need to be worried about it going bad. As long as you store it properly, it will be just fine. If, on the other hand, you use it only sparingly, you might be worried that it will sit too long in the cupboard and you might need to throw it out.

In this article, we will go through storage, shelf life, and signs of going bad of MCT oil. If you’re interested in learning more about it, read on.

Bulletproof coffee with MCT oil
Image used under Creative Commons from Marco Verch

How to Store MCT Oil?

Storing MCT oil is as easy as it can be. You should store it in a cupboard, away from direct sunlight and sources of heat. The pantry is the ideal place, but the kitchen is fine too. Don’t worry about it solidifying if stored at lower temperature, it’s not coconut oil.

Generally, this oil is sold in an opaque or dark bottle to protect the product from direct sunlight but take extra precautions. By keeping the product away from sources of heat you reduce the risk of spoilage.

Once you open the bottle, the rules outlined above stay the same.

There’s only one more thing to remember: always keep the bottle sealed when not in use. That makes sure the oil is not exposed to air, and any contaminants aren’t able to get into the bottle. And that reduces the risk of the oil going rancid significantly.

MCT oil in a glass
MCT oil in a glass

How Long Does MCT Oil Last?

MCT oil consists of medium-chain triglycerides that can be found in coconut oil, palm oil, or palm kernel oil. These are saturated fats, which make stable oil that you can store for a long time.

Every bottle of MCT oil should have a best-by or use-by date on the label. It’s not an expiration date, but rather an indication for how long the product should retain the best quality. As long as you keep the oil closed in a cupboard at all times, it will stay fine for months, or even years after that date. Its quality will slightly degrade over time, but it will stay safe to eat.

Not long ago I finished a bottle of MCT oil that was over two years past its best-by date. The taste of the oil wasn’t the freshest, obviously, but it was good enough to use.

And if you wonder how long does MCT oil lasts after opening, all the guidelines above stay true. Opening the bottle simply increases the deterioration speed slightly. You can still keep it for months or even years.

MCT Oil (Unopened)“Best by” + 2 years
MCT Oil (Opened)“Best by” + 1 year

Please note that the dates above are approximate. MCT oil will likely stay fit for consumption for much longer if stored properly.

Coffee and mct oil
Image used under Creative Commons from Marco Verch

How To Tell If MCT Oil Is Bad?

More often than not you will discard MCT oil for quality reasons, not because it has gone bad in the usual meaning of the word.

Unless you’ve left the bottle capless for some time, or it has been damaged, the oil should stay fine for quite some time past the date on the package.

As already mentioned, MCT oil, just like other oils, deteriorates in quality slowly over time. That means the taste changes a bit, and the smell is not as fresh as it was right after buying the oil. This process is normal, and as long as the changes aren’t significant, the oil is perfectly fine for consumption.


If you find that the taste isn’t up to your standards, feel free to discard the oil for quality reasons.

Now to signs that MCT oil is bad. As with other oils, if you open the bottle and it gives an off (rancid, funny) odor, throw it out. Same thing if the color or clarity of the oil changed, or if you can find any contaminants inside the bottle.

Given that the oil looks and smells okay, give it a taste and decide what to do with it based on this test. If it is okay-ish, you can use it or toss it out, depending on your preferences. If it tastes off, get rid of it.


While spoilage signs of MCT oil are similar to those of coconut oil, they aren’t quite the same. Learn how to tell if coconut oil is bad if you’re interested.

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