Does Sesame Oil Go Bad?

Sesame oil is pretty similar to other vegetable oils. So the answer to the question ‘does sesame oil go bad’ is pretty obvious – it does. Unlike many other oils, after opening its shelf life isn’t that long – only a couple of months before it goes rancid. If you would like to learn more about this oil, read along!

Storing sesame oil

Always store sesame oil in a cool and dry area, away from direct sunlight and any heat sources (heaters, stoves, etc.). As long as the bottle of sesame oil is unopened (its seal isn’t broken), it can be stored in the pantry. Once the bottle is opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator for it to remain at peak quality for the longest period of time possible. Last thing about storing oil in general – always seal it tightly when not in use. That will make sure any pollutants won’t be able to get into the bottle to start the spoilage process even sooner.

Sesame oil and other condiments
(credit: @matpacker)

Shelf life of sesame oil

Each bottle should have a ‘best by’ date on its label. It doesn’t mean that the oil will go bad shortly after that date, it’s only a rough estimate of how long it should be of its best quality. Usually the shelf life is about one and a half to maybe two years after production date and that’s a pretty accurate estimate. After opening the bottle, it’s suggested to use its contents within 4 to 6 months, when the oil is at its peak quality.

Of course sesame oil won’t go bad a few days after the mentioned periods of time, but its quality will start to deteriorate quicker. The longer you will store it, the worse the outcome will be and eventually it will go rancid. So if you don’t use sesame oil that often, it’s a good idea to buy it in small bottles, so you don’t need to discard it when it’s not good enough to use.

How to tell if sesame oil is bad

As mentioned above, sesame oil loses its quality over time, so in most cases you will decide to discard it because of its quality, not because it’s rancid or bad. To learn if it’s still edible and usable (you don’t want to use an old sesame oil because it will most likely ruin the dish), just smell it and taste it. Small changes in color, taste and smell are natural, but if the change seems pretty significant – discard the product. One more thing to remember – when storing sesame oil in the fridge it might solidify. It’s perfectly normal and it will return to its normal consistency in room temperature.

As you should know by now, sesame oil does go bad and has a pretty short shelf life (compared to other vegetable oils) after opening the bottle. If you’ll store it properly, you’ll need to discard it because of its quality (which deteriorates over time), not because it has gone rancid or spoiled.