Does Vegetable Oil Go Bad?

Does vegetable oil go bad? Vegetable oils are mostly used in cooking. Sometimes they’re consumed directly, other times indirectly, as a flavoring or to change the texture or a given dish. Many vegetable oils are used as cooking oils. Canola, sunflower, peanut and soy are among the most popular of them. Most oils have a pretty long shelf life, but do they really go bad? As a matter of fact, they do. In many cases it’s easy to notice if your vegetable oil has gone rancid. When it comes to preserving it for longer, it’s good to know how to store it properly. Let’s start with that.

How To Store Vegetable Oil

Probably all vegetable oils should be stored similarly. The most recommended place to store this oil it the pantry. Why? It’s pretty cool and dry in there. If you’ll additionally put the bottle of oil into a cupboard, where no light can reach it, it’s perfect. That’s exactly what vegetable oil needs. Of course please remember that the bottle of oil should be always tightly sealed if you’re not using it at a time. If you can’t (for whatever reasons) store it in the pantry, make sure to keep it in a cool place (refrigerator isn’t the best idea in most cases) with no direct light. Vegetable oils can be negatively affected by air (oxidation), heat and light. If you can avoid these three factors, your vegetable oil should be fine for a long time.


(credit: cottonseedoil )

Shelf Life Of Vegetable Oil

Every bottle of oil should have a “use-by”, “sell-by” or some similar date labeled on it. In most cases it’s 2 to 3 years after the production date. Please remember that the mentioned date is just a rough estimate and it doesn’t (by any means) mean that the oil will be bad after that date. In most cases, if it was stored properly, it’ll be fine. If it’s not more than a year after the mentioned expiration date, the oil is worth at least a try. In some cases it’ll be rancid, but in most cases you’ll find out that it’s still fine and tasty.

How To Tell If Vegetable Oil Is Bad

As I’ve mentioned earlier, factors such as heat, oxygen and light impact vegetable oil in a bad way – they speed up the process of rancidification. Probably the best way to get to know whether vegetable oil is still fine or it has gone rancid, is by using your own senses. If the oil has develop an off odor (noticeably different than normal), strange color (noticeably darker than usual) or it has a stale taste, it’s in most cases gone rancid and you should discard it. If you’ve consumed rancid oil you shouldn’t suffer from any adverse consequences. Keep in mind, however, that consuming oil that has gone bad isn’t healthy and if you know that your oil is rancid, throw it away.

As you can see, vegetable oil can go bad, but it has a fairly long shelf life, especially if it has been stored properly.