Can Vegetable Oil Go Bad

does vegetable oil go bad

Widely known for its uses in making the cooking process safer and simpler, vegetable oil is an ingredient in many foods whose importance cannot be understated. In addition to its use as a necessary layer to separate the food from its’ pan or pot, vegetable oil adds flavor, texture, and consistency to any kind of recipe. There are many kinds of vegetable oil but their most common usage is for cooking purposes. Examples of vegetable oils include canola, peanut, sunflower, etc., which are all individually popular in their own right. If you’re at the local supermarket and you see a big sale on a couple of canisters of vegetable oil, what should you do? Would it be worth the savings in time and money to buy a couple of vegetable oil containers in bulk? That decision depends on the inherent shelf life of vegetable oil and the feasibility of how long the product can be stored for. The ultimate question remains; does vegetable oil go bad?

Does Vegetable Oil Go Bad Or Expire?

The answer to this important question is unfortunately, yes. Vegetable oil does expire and can go bad and it’s usually easy to tell whether or not it has become spoiled. However, the good news is that vegetable oil has a rather long shelf life when it is properly stored. There are tools and ideas out there for the average consumer to learn about the storage process and how best to expand the lifespan of a bottle of vegetable oil. Remember these steps for your vegetable oil in order to get the best possible results for your product.

Storing The Vegetable Oil

Regardless of the type of vegetable oil, they each should be stored in a similar manner when compared to one another. Despite the differences between vegetables oils, they all share the similarity of needing to be stored in a cool, dark, and dry area in order to aid in its overall longevity. The most important thing is to keep it out of the light and exposing the product to any outside elements. This goes for the same with not letting the vegetable oil be affected by heat, humidity, and oxygen as well. Vegetable oil should also be stored at cooler than average temperatures or at room temperature if it is not possible for it to be stored at a cold temperature. Remember that your vegetable oil product will always be negatively affected by extended exposure to oxygen, heat, and sunlight.

The most important thing to remember is that your vegetable oil when it is opened for the first time must be stored differently as a result. You have to make sure to tightly seal the product after using it for the first time. For the best places to store the vegetable oil, you should consider the kitchen cabinet or pantry. For other good options, the cellar or the basement, are good options for storage. However, it is not advisable to store your vegetable oil in either the refrigerator or the freezer.

Shelf Life of Vegetable Oil

When it comes to the shelf life of vegetable oil, it’s important to not take the “use by”, “sell by”, or expiration date that seriously. At the minimum, the vegetable oil should be good for at least two to four years after purchase, especially if you don’t open the bottle up. If you do end up opening the product for use, at a minimum, you’ll be able to use and cook with the vegetable oil for up to a year after its’ first usage. You can extend that amount of time if you store the vegetable oil properly in a cold, dark, and dry place.

If the oil is still good after a year of its’ first opening, you’ll have known for sure that the vegetable oil was stored properly. Some things regarding the vegetable oil will be beyond your control such as what brand it is, how high quality it is, and where it was produced. That may affect the actual shelf life of your product without you being aware of its’ importance. In conclusion, it’s important to not take the expiration date too seriously but to do your best to make sure the product is being stored with the uttermost care and precaution.

Signs of Bad Vegetable Oil

As previously stated before, vegetable oil can be negatively affected by exposure to oxygen, heat, and sunlight. The less you expose the oil to outside elements, the less of a chance there will be that the product will go bad quickly. If you want to check to see if the vegetable oil has gone bad or not, there are a number of steps to take in order to be sure of your judgment. It’s important to check to see first if there’s discoloration or if the liquid has become clumpy or mushy instead of its normal state. Also, you can smell the vegetable oil itself to see if there is any odd or pungent odor emanating from the product.

Lastly, you can do a small taste test to see if it leaves a bad taste in your mouth or if its’ the same as always. There’s no surefire way to tell if the vegetable oil has gone bad or not. However, if the product smells bad, looks off, and tastes weird, then it’s extremely likely that the vegetable oil is sour and should not be used anymore by the consumer. Use precautions such as keeping the vegetable oil away from heat, sunlight, oxygen or humidity, and your product shouldn’t be going bad anytime soon.

Can You Get Sick From Eating Rancid Vegetable Oil?

Generally rancid vegetable oil doesn’t make you sick. At least not immediately. However, spoiled oil contains free radicals that may increase your risk of heart disease and cancer over time. Moreover, stale oils can cause botulism, especially the ones that contain some herbs, spices and low-acid vegetables. Vegetables in the oil are the cause not the oil. Free radicals produced by spoiled oil can also damage arteries and DNA in cells.


Given how many uses there are for vegetable oil and how adaptable it is as a product overall, I would recommend buying bottles or containers of the vegetable oil in bulk in order to get the most out of it. Just be careful, use your best judgment, follow the necessary steps, and your vegetable oil should be good to use for up to a couple of years after initial purchase. Overall, the ability to store vegetable oil and its extensive shelf life help to make it a useful purchase for many consumers around the world. Enjoy this great product and remember to use it responsibly!



Leave a Comment