Coconut Oil Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad or Expire? How Long Does It Last?

image of opened coconut oil

Coconut oil is a great healthy fat that we love having on hand to replace unhealthy oils.

However, since it is usually sold in substantial tubs, you may find that it sits in your pantry for a  long time before you use it up. This may lead you to ask yourself: can coconut oil go bad? How long does it last?

Short Answer: 

Coconut oil can last up to two years if stored correctly.

Although oils, like coconut oil, have a long shelf-life, they will eventually go rancid. Luckily, if you store it correctly, you can extend its life and use every drop.

In this article, we will be finding out coconut oil shelf life, expiration and how to store it to keep it fresh.

Read on to find out more.

image of coconut oil.go bad

What is Coconut Oil?

To understand the shelf-life of coconut oil, we need to establish what it is. [*]

Coconut oil is an oil derived from the wick, milk, and meat of a mature coconut through wet or dry extraction.

Oils that are taken from fruit are extracted and refined slightly differently from seed oil. This process affects its shelf life.

The resultant oil is solid and white but may become liquid and translucent at room temperature in warmer climates.

How To Use?

In the kitchen, it can be used as a substitute for unhealthy oils like sunflower and canola. However, it is not suitable for deep frying.

Coconut oil is a common cooking ingredient, but it is also a common ingredient in skincare, hair care, and detergents.

The solid oil will become liquid as it’s heated and spreads across your pan; this means that you only need to use a small amount at a time.

You can find this oil in your grocery store’s health food or oil section.

Can Coconut Oil Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

Coconut oil has a long shelf life, but it will eventually go bad after about two years.

Like most oils, it has a very long shelf-life that varies drastically depending on how it is stored.

Even though the shelf life is lengthy, it is still very important to know what to look for when it is fresh so you can compare it as it ages. 

Mainly because it’s hard to keep track of how long you’ve had each ingredient in your cupboard.

Fresh coconut oil will be:

1. White to Translucent in Color

It has a beautiful swirled white appearance that is more white when it is solid and turns translucent as it is heated.

It may not be totally even across the surface, but it should not have any dark patches.

2. Natural Coconutty/Neutral Flavor

The flavor of coconut oil depends on how refined your brand is.

Unrefined coconut oil will have a faint but noticeable coconut flavor. Refined ones will have a neutral taste.

The flavor is so mild that it will not be perceptible once you have cooked with it.

3. Neutral Smell

Fresh coconut oil will have a neutral smell with a slight hint of coconut scent. It will be very faint.

If the oil is unrefined, it will have a more distinctive coconut scent, just like the flavor.

4. Solid or Liquid Texture

As we have discussed, coconut oil can be solid or liquid depending on the ambient temperature where you store it.

There may be areas that are solid, while other parts are liquid, but they shouldn’t look lumpy. 

How To Tell If Your Coconut Oil Is Bad?

So, now that we know what coconut oil should look like, what about when it’s gone past its best?

If you suspect that your oil hasn’t been stored right or that it has been in your cupboard for over two years, then you need to know the signs to look out for if it has finally gone off.

Bad coconut oil will be:

1. Dark and Patchy in Color

The most obvious way to tell if your oil has gone bad is from the physical appearance.

Dark, uneven patches in the coconut oil indicate that there is mold present, and the whole tub should be discarded immediately.

You may also notice a fluffy mold on the surface of the oil that may start spreading across the surface and turn green.

2. Rancid Scent

The second thing you will notice is the smell.

It will smell rancid and very strong in contrast with its previously neutral scent.

3. Curdled Texture

While having areas of unmelted and melted oil is ok, it should not look lumpy and curdled.

If there are strange lumps of solid coconut oil floating around, then it has probably gone off.

4. Sour Flavor

The last way to determine whether your oil has gone bad is to taste it. We know this is gross, but sometimes it’s the only way.

The flavor will turn from subtle and nutty to sour and even bitter in flavor.

Learn more: What does coconut oil taste like?

What’s The Best Way To Store Coconut Oil?

image of storing coconut.oil.go.bad

The best way to extend the shelf life of your coconut oil is by storing it correctly.

The main factors to keep in mind are to keep it away from direct sunlight and intense heat, which will make it deteriorate faster.

Coconut oil should be stored at room temperature in a cool, dark cupboard. [*]

Storing it in the original packaging is recommended because it will have a tight-fitting lid that will keep out contaminants.

We recommend storing your coconut oil in a cupboard that is far away from a sunny window or the oven.


Learn more:


So what can we take away from this?

  • Coconut oil can last up to 2 years.
  • The best way to store coconut oil is in a cool, dark cupboard.
  • Coconut oil can be solid or liquid at room temperature.

We hope this has helped you diagnose your coconut oil and avoid using rancid oil ever again.

Up Next: Does cooking oil go bad?

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