Does Peanut Oil Go Bad? Shelf Life and Tips on Storage

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Have you ever had this problem; you’re digging through your cupboards only to find a bottle of peanut oil you had totally forgotten about. But can it still be used? Does peanut oil go bad?

Short Answer:

Like many oils, peanut oil will eventually go off. You can prolong the shelf life by storing it correctly.

With oils, it can be challenging to figure out if they have gone bad, but there are a few signs you can look out for so you never have to eat bad oil ever again.

In this article, we will introduce you to peanut oil and give you some tips and tricks to store it to keep it fresher for longer.  

Let’s get into it!

What is Peanut Oil?

Peanut oil is a vegetable oil made from peanuts.[*]

If the oil is made from raw peanuts, it will have a mild, neutral flavor. If the peanuts are roasted first, then the oil will have a much stronger, nutty flavor and fragrance.

It is used for its deliciously nutty flavor in Indian, American, Chinese, and Southeast Asian cooking.

But what can peanut oil be used for?

This oil has a very high smoke point, making it perfect for frying. Since peanut oil is a monounsaturated or ‘good’ fat, you can swap it out for canola oil and make that fried food a little less unhealthy.

It can also be used for pan-frying and dressings to add a distinctive nutty flavor.

Does Peanut Oil Go Bad?

Yes, eventually, your peanut oil will go bad. If you store it correctly, you can prolong its shelf life by a few months.

Most oils will have a best before date printed on the bottle, but this indicates the freshness rather than an exact expiry date.

This means that we need to get used to recognizing the signs of fresh or bad peanut oil so we can decide for ourselves.

Firstly, let’s look at fresh peanut oil.

Fresh peanut oil will be:

#1. Clear and Bright

Peanut oil has a slightly brown-yellow color that should be crystal clear.

This is the number one way to tell if your peanut oil is still fresh.

#2. Very Faint Smell

Peanut oil made with roasted nuts may have a slightly roasted scent.

However, as with most oils, their smell will be almost unnoticeable. If you notice a strong smell when you open the bottle, this could be a sign that it has gone bad.

#3. Fresh, Nutty Flavor

The final way to test fresh oil is to taste it.

Regardless of whether the oil is made from roasted or raw peanuts, the flavor will be very clean with a hint of nuttiness.

How To Tell if Peanut Oil Has Gone Bad 

Ok, those signs of freshness are pretty straightforward, but what about if it has gone bad?

You can tell if your oil has gone bad in a few ways. We recommend checking for all these signs every time you use the oil.

If your peanut oil has gone bad it will be:

#1. Cloudy and Dull

The first test is a visual one.

If the oil has become cloudy and the color is not as bright, this could be a sign that your oil has gone rancid. You may need to use the other two techniques below to confirm this.

#2. Bad Smell

The second way to tell is by smell.

If you open the bottle and are hit with a strong odor, your oil may have gone bad. Some people describe this scent as being similar to playdough.

#3. Rancid Flavor

The final way to tell if your peanut oil has gone bad is by tasting it.

The oil will taste off like it’s been in a cupboard for too long. The peanut flavor will also be weaker.

How Long Until Peanut Oil Goes Bad?

The shelf life of peanut oil really depends on how it is stored and if it has already been opened.

Most bottles will have a best-by date printed on them, but this is an indicator of optimum freshness rather than an expiry date. 

Refined oil has a longer shelf life than organic, unrefined peanut oil.

If left unopened, peanut oil will last for a year or two in the cupboard.

However, most of us have an unopened, partly used bottle in our pantries.

Once it has been opened, the oil’s shelf life is between 6 and 12 months.

There is no need to refrigerate your peanut oil, but we recommend popping it in the fridge if it has been opened for over a year to prolong the shelf life.

What is the Best Way to Store Peanut Oil?

If you follow these tips to store your peanut oil properly:

  1. Store in its original packaging. Unless you have already fried with it once, the best storage is always the bottle the oil came in.

The bottles are generally glass with a tightly fitting lid, which is crucial in keeping your oil fresh.

  1. Store in a dark cupboard away from light or heat.

Exposure to light and heat can degrade your oil quickly, so we recommend storing it in a dark cupboard away from the stove.

  1. Do not leave it in the fryer. This can cause contaminants to get into the oil, which will spoil it faster. 

Once you have used it for frying, let it cool completely and transfer it to a sealed jar that is clearly labeled. Place this in the cupboard beside the unused peanut oil for future use.

FAQ

Is peanut oil healthy for you?

As it turns out, peanut oil is a healthier frying alternative to canola or other vegetable oil [*]

Peanut oil is very high in monounsaturated fat, which is a good fat. This can help lower your cholesterol as well as reduce the risk of heart disease.

How do I dispose of old peanut oil?

If you have used peanut oil for frying, you can use it up to three times.

After the third time, allow the oil to cool completely before transferring it to a disposable container with a sealable lid.

Place this container gently into the trash to stop it from spilling.

Can I eat peanut oil if I have a nut allergy?

This answer may surprise you. [*]

Highly refined peanut oil is processed enough to be safe for people with nut allergies.

However, you will have to be 100% sure that it is refined enough, which may be too risky.

Bonus: Our Favourite Peanut Oil Storage Containers

Conclusion

Peanut oil is a delicious oil that adds a lot to your cooking. After getting to know it a little bit, what have we come away with?

  • Peanut oil will last a year in the cupboard if unopened.
  • After opening, peanut oil will last six months.
  • This is a healthy alternative to canola or vegetable oil.

We hope this has given you all the knowledge you need to assess the oil in your cupboard and figure out if it’s still good to use.

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