How Long Is Cooking Oil Good For? (How to Preserve)

How Long Is Cooking Oil Good For

Cooking oil is one of the most frequently used ingredients in the kitchen. Cooking oils are resourceful and are used for multiple purposes in the kitchen. In about every meal made, a cooking oil would have been used to achieve it, either by using it for frying, baking, or garnishing a good recipe for consumption.

In Summary: Cooking oils generally should last 12 to 18 months. These oils have diverse shelf life depending on how it is refined, the type of oil, and the storage method used. Oils like olive oil, canola oil, and vegetable oil last for about two years unopened. Their shelf life reduces to about a year when the bottle is opened and stored properly.

Cooking oil is one of those ingredients we may not think of having expiration dates, the same goes for salt, flour, and sweeteners, but just like any fresh food, cooking oils can go bad after a long while in your kitchen cabinet.

This article explains how long a cooking oil can last, how to know when it goes bad, and tips for storing your cooking oil properly.

How Long is Cooking Oil Good For?

Cooking oil is a general term used for various types of vegetable oil used in cooking. There are various kinds of cooking oil ranging from vegetable oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, soybean oil, sesame oil, nuts oil, etc. Their shelf life is however similar to one another.

Unopened cooking oils can last for about two years or more when stored properly. Whilst opened cooking oil, should last for about a year when also stored properly.

Cooking oil
Source: Insider

When any cooking ingredient is stored the right way, you’ll prevent it from going bad. The same applies to your cooking oil, when it’s stored properly, it would last for a longer period without going bad. Cooking oils affect the taste of any meal being cooked, thus it is advisable you pay attention to buying high-quality cooking oils at the supermarket.

It is also good to pick out oils that you would use more often and bottle sizes that fit how often you use cooking oils. That means, buy a small bottle if you use cooking oils less and a big one if you use it more often.

However, it is also worthy to note that, cooking oils tend to change taste after some time and in many cases, the change of taste might not be pleasing. Especially if you plan to use it to garnish a meal or in a salad, it may taste sour. Once opened, try to check the oil for any changes or give it a quick taste or smell before using it again.

Tips for Properly Storing your Cooking Oil

It is important to know how to store your cooking oil as it determines the shelf life of the said Oil. These tips would help you keep your Unopened or Opened cooking oil from turning sour and helps for having these Oils in your kitchen for a longer time.

1. Check Expiration Date

It is recommended to check the expiration dates before buying cooking oils and opt for the bottle, that is far from expiring. You need to first ensure it has not past its expiration date as this will help you decide if it is still safe or not. In addition, checking the expiration date helps determine how quickly to make use of it.

2. Store In a Cool Dry Area

Cooking Oils should be stored in a cool and dry area. Yes, many people store their cooking oil in the kitchen cabinet or pantry but keep in mind to put it in the cabinet where dry food ingredients are being stored. Keeping the bottle of oil out of light is a good thing, thus storing your cooking oil in a cupboard, pantry, or kitchen cabinet is the best thing to do.

Food storage, woman taking food, sunflower oil for cooking
Image: Envato Elements

3. Buy The Right Brand

Another tip is, when shopping for cooking oil, try to buy brands that store the cooking oil in an opaque or dark glass container as they help to also block out light. Freezing vegetable Oils is not a good idea and is most likely not recommended, as it solidifies the cooking oil.

4. Seal Tightly

When cooking oil is opened, ensure you seal it tightly after use. This would prevent air and contamination from entering the bottle. If the seal is broken or is not tight enough, a trick is to cover the face of the bottle with a piece of plastic bag, then use the cap of the bottle to cork it in place. If the oil has access to fresh air, the process of deteriorating happens quickly.

How to Know Your Cooking Oil Has Gone Bad

Cooking oils most times do not show they have gone bad by their outward appearance, meaning, they won’t grow molds or start rotting. A quick way to know your cooking oil has gone bad is rancidity (sour). A rancid oil would have a strong unpleasant smell, therefore, always examine your cooking oil before using it to cook.

Consuming a sour or bad cooking oil is not healthy and could cause indigestion, heart problems, and an unpleasant taste to your food.

Before using an opened cooking oil, ensure to examine it and look for any changes, they are not hard to notice. There would be changes in its look, smell, and taste.

The exemption to the aforementioned is that when you are re-using an already used cooking oil, the color, smell, and taste of the oil may change, but it would not be sour, and it is advisable to use it quickly.

As mentioned earlier, the taste of oil changes with time, so after a few years in the pantry, the oil won’t be of good quality anymore. Although it may not have expired, it would taste rancid, and it’s not healthy for cooking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Cooking Oil Go Bad?

Just like any fresh cooking ingredients, cooking oils have a shelf life and an expiration date. They are often interpreted to never spoil or turn sour but yes they do. It is advisable to buy a bottle that is far from its expiration date, store the cooking oil properly and use it often.

Can You Get Sick From Using Old Cooking Oil?

What makes you get sick from using a Cooking oil is when it has turned sour, expired, and was not stored properly. It is important to examine the vegetable oil before use and if you notice any off smell, color, or look then, you should discard the bottle.

Can Oil Used For Deep Frying Be Re-used?

Yes, but it depends, it is better to reuse the same oil to deep fry or fry the same type of meal you made with the initial oil. This means that you should re-use oil for the same type of cooking, if you deep-fried fish, re-use the cooking oil to fry meals that are similar to fish again because the oil would conform to the taste of the meal used in frying at the initial state.

How long Is Cooking Oil Good For After Use?

High-quality cooking oil can last for more than two years, but the shelf life of used cooking oil is several months or a year. This is because you have stored the oil well and kept it in a cool and dry place.


From this article, it can be deduced that cooking oils can indeed go bad or expire. However, cooking oils tend to last for a long period provided it’s stored properly.

Always examine your cooking oil before using them to cook and when you notice a change in look, smell, or taste, it is better to discard the oil. Bad cooking oil would taste sour, have an off taste, and would give off a darker look than its original look.

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