Does Ghee Go Bad or Expire? How To Tell For Sure

Thanksgiving celebration is over, and you saw that you have some leftover ghee sitting in your kitchen. Still, you would prefer to store it rather than just throw it away, right?

Plus, maybe you want to test out a South Asian recipe in the future and wonder how to store it appropriately for later use. Does ghee go bad? How long can it keep its prime?

The great news about ghee, it has an excellent shelf life, and it rarely gets spoiled! To keep it at its prime, all you have to do is store it in the best condition that will prevent discoloration, mold growth, and rancidity.

In this post, we will be answering these possible concerns you have been wondering about ghee:

  • What is ghee?
  • How long does ghee last?
  • How to tell if ghee has gone bad?
  • How to store ghee properly?

Read on to learn more!

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What is Ghee?

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For thousands of years, ghee has been used in Pakistani and Indian dishes. Ghee is a clarified butter produced by putting butter under heat to allow the liquid and milk portion to separate from the fat. As milk caramelizes and becomes solid, the leftover oil stands as the ghee. (*)

Unlike butter, ghee only has fewer dairy proteins, and it can serve as a healthier substitute for regular butter. Ghee appears as a clear, golden-colored liquid free from milk solids and holds a savory and delicious flavor.

What makes ghee more interesting? This type of clarified butter has a higher smoke point of 482 °F (or 250 ° C) which can withstand longer than most cooking oils. (*)

How Long Does Ghee Last?

Ghee is known for its long shelf life. However, just like any other food product, it does not last forever.

So, what is the shelf life of ghee? The shelf life of your ghee will depend on several factors. Let’s see how long can ghee last if opened, unopened, store-bought, or homemade.

Store-bought ghee

Most ghee you buy from the grocery store comes with a label. Check it so that you can have an idea of its “best by,” “best before,” or expiration date and storage guidelines. (*,*)

Best before dates do not always indicate that the food is not safe for consumption anymore. It only shows the time the ghee still holds its prime. Once it has passed that date, expect that your ghee may not be at its best quality, but you can still use it as long as it does not show any signs of spoilage.

Note that the shelf life of store-bought ghee varies from brand to brand as they apply different processes and add other ingredients.

Unopened store-bought ghee

If you keep your unopened ghee in the pantry, it can last there for up to 2 years. You don’t have to keep it in the refrigerator at all.

Opened store-bought ghee

Once opened, your store-bought ghee can last in the pantry for up to 4 months. It can last longer in your refrigerator, up to 12 months.

Homemade ghee

Homemade ghee kept in an airtight container can last in the pantry for up to 4 months. It can last up to a year if you store it in the refrigerator.

How To Tell if Ghee Has Gone Bad?

If you have a container of long-unused ghee in your kitchen cabinet and you wonder if it has gone bad or not, check for signs of spoilage.

Ghee does not go bad faster, unlike regular butter. Fresh ghee typically looks like butter; it is golden or yellowish, liquid or semi-solid at room temperature, and solid under cold conditions.

Characteristics of spoiled ghee

  • Smells foul. Give a quick sniff of your ghee to check the aroma. If it smells odd or rancid, don’t use it anymore. Ghee giving off an awful smell indicates that it was exposed to extreme heat, light, or oxygen. (*)
  • Tastes sour. Scoop out a tiny amount of ghee and give it a taste. If it tastes sour, then it has already gone rancid.
  • Discolored. If it turns white in color, that means your ghee must have been constantly exposed to moisture and air. You might probably have forgotten to close the lid properly. (*)
  • Has mold growth. Ghee exposed to moisture for a certain period can serve as an ideal environment for molds to grow. (*)

Yes, you may use ghee after its expiration date, but you must ensure it does not show any of the abovementioned spoilage signs. If it does, do not use it in your recipes. We strongly advise throwing it away immediately. (*)

How To Store Ghee?

In the pantry

Store-bought ghee

If you have store-bought ghee, just keep it in its original packaging and keep it away from moisture.

Then, store it in the pantry. To better preserve your ghee in storage for a longer time, you have to keep it in an airtight container away from direct sunlight exposure.

Did you know? The higher the quality of the ghee you purchase, the longer its shelf life. Manufacturers who use quality raw materials to make ghee are much worth your money as you can be reassured that it can last longer under ideal storage conditions!

Homemade ghee

If you made some ghee at home, here’s what you need to do to properly store it:

  1. Pour the liquid into a clean jar and let it cool before sealing it tightly.
  2. Put a label on the jar with the date on when you made it.
  3. Keep the jar in the pantry or in a spot that is dark and cool. Refrigerate your homemade ghee if you plan to keep it for more than three months.

We advise that you should use dry utensils to scoop out some ghee you need. You don’t want to accidentally introduce moisture into the container, right? (*) Or else, it will decrease the shelf life of your ghee. Thus, be mindful of it so you won’t unintentionally spoil it.

In the Refrigerator

It is not always necessary to keep ghee in the refrigerator unless you plan to keep it for a little longer – especially if you plan to use it for more than 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can You Freeze Ghee?

Yes, you can store your ghee in the freezer in cases you have purchased way too much and are looking for ways to retain its quality for an extended period. (*) All you have to do is:

  1. Divide your ghee into pieces. That will depend on how you want to divide your ghee into smaller portions. Separating your ghee into smaller pieces is essential, so you don’t need to thaw the whole pack whenever you need a few amounts of it.
  2. Keep your ghee portions in freezer bags, then store them in the freezer.

2. Does Ghee Expire?

Yes, it has an expiration. However, ghee has an excellent shelf-life as it lacks milk solids and water. It is almost 100% pure fat, making it a not-so-ideal environment for harmful bacteria and molds to survive. (*)

If stored properly, your ghee may last up to a year (or even 2 years if it is store-bought and unopened).

Conclusion

In a nutshell, ghee can go bad in the wrong storage conditions. Even if it has passed the date, you can use it as long as you have stored it properly.

Smell and taste your jar of ghee. Make sure it looks fine and does not show any signs of spoilage.

You can keep your ghee at room temperature and put it in the fridge if you plan to keep it for more than 3 months.

If your ghee smells or tastes foul, dispose of it immediately for safety reasons.

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