Does Sesame Oil Go Bad? Here’s How You Can Tell…

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We know the routine. You purchase a new bottle of sesame oil with plans to cook many delicious dishes, from chicken to vegetable stir-fry. But after a few weeks, you end up only using it once or twice, with the bottle left in the pantry untouched afterward.

Then another few months pass, with you realizing you need this oil in one of your recipes. But does sesame oil go bad, and can you use it even past its expiration date?

We’ll talk about sesame oil in our short guide, so read on!

Does Sesame Oil Go Bad?

Sesame oil can go bad, similar to all other unrefined oils, as it has unsaturated fats. While these fats are necessary for our diets, they are spoils over time.

Once you open your bottle, the process of oxidation and triglyceride hydrolysis starts. Your oil is exposed to moisture, light, air, and bacteria. Because of this, they begins to degrade into glycerol and free fatty acids.

Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered!

You can slow down the breakdown of phenols and antioxidants with proper storage conditions, which we’ll talk about in the next section.

But take note that while it can slow down spoilage, your bottle still won’t last forever.

As time passes, the oil quality worsens until it becomes too rotten to use because rancidification will never cease.

How Long Does Sesame Oil last?

There isn’t an exact timeline as to when your oil goes bad. That’s because it depends on various vital factors, such as:

  • Sesame seed quality and storing
  • If the oil blended with other types of oils
  • How long it took to transport oils
  • Package quality
  • Oil storage conditions
  • Best by date

That said, here are the estimates you can base your sesame oil lifespan on:

  • Unopened sesame oil lasts for 1-2 years past its best by date when stored in the pantry or over 2 years in the fridge.
  • Opened sesame oil lasts for 6-8 months past its best by date when stored in the pantry, or 1-2 years in the fridge.

How To Tell If Sesame Oil Is Bad?

Whether you stored your bottle in poor conditions or didn’t know its best by date, you should test it before using it.

Here are signs to tell if it has gone bad:

1. Color

Cold-pressed sesame oil would be pale yellow. Indian sesame oil is slightly darker and almost golden, while toasted sesame oil is darker. With rancid oil, it becomes dark brown in color.

If you haven’t opened your bottle, but its best by date has gone beyond 1 year, you still need to check its consistency and conduct this quality test.

2. Texture

Check sesame oil’s surface. If you see any clouds and suspicious changes in clarity, it means that your oil has become rancid or is getting there.

3. Smell

Spoiled sesame oil won’t have a nutty aroma anymore. Instead, it smells sour and quite pungent. It can even smell bitter and soapy!

4. Flavor

If your oil looks and smells weird, it’s best to throw it out and not bother tasting it. But if it passes the smell and appearance test, don’t pour oil into your pan or dishes just yet. Do a bit of a taste test to avoid ruining your food.

Spoiled sesame oil will taste sour and bitter. If it tastes even just a little bit off and is past its expiration date, it’s best to dispose of it instead of risk it. Only consume a drop of it to taste test!

5. Molds

Fortunately, you won’t see molds form in sesame oil compared to other types of oil.

How To Store Sesame Oil Correctly

Sesame oil can last longer and keep good quality if in proper storage conditions.

Here are tips for storing your bottle to extend its shelf life:

1. Where To Keep Unopened Bottle

Store unopened sesame oil in a cool, dry area. Make sure you keep away from direct sunlight and heat sources. You can keep it in the pantry or kitchen cabinet, provided it isn’t near functioning appliances and ovens. 

2. Where To Keep Opened Bottle

After opening the bottle, seal the bottle tightly. If you think it will take over 6 months to consume, place it in the fridge to retain good quality. If not, you can keep it in the pantry or kitchen cabinet at room temperature.

3. Freeze It

Once you open your bottle of oil, most vegetable oils will maintain their quality better when in colder temperatures. The same goes for sesame oil. However, if you want to freeze it, we have to stop you right there!

When oil is exposed to temperatures below -4 degrees C (-25 degrees F), the oil turns into a butter-like consistency. You will need to warm it up until it reaches its former consistency and texture before using it. Constantly freezing and warming your oil will lead to its spoilage.

Let’s Learning About sesame oil

It comes from sesame seeds, known as the ‘queen of oilseeds,’ as it can withstand oxidation and rancidity better than other types of oils. This oil can give a distinct aroma and flavor to dishes, along with tons of nutritional benefits. (*)

Sesame seeds contain high levels of B-vitamins, dietary fiber, protein, and minerals, including:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc

It contains a lot of good fats as well, including mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids. With its rich flavors and nutty aroma, you can add more complexity to various foods, especially Asian cuisines.

If you’re thinking of where to use your oil, we recommend sesame chicken, fried rice, or to use as salad dressings. It’s delicious!

What are the types of sesame oils?

There are three main types of sesame oil you can purchase in the market:

  • Plain or white sesame oil is made of raw untoasted sesame seeds. It has a higher smoke point, best for shallow roasting or frying. It has a neutral flavor and goes well with most food.
  • Toasted or Asian sesame oil is made of toasted sesame seeds, having a brown to reddish-brown color with a strong aroma and nutty flavor. It has a low smoke point, making it best to use as a finishing oil in salads, noodles, and rice.
  • Cold-pressed sesame oil is made through a traditional method without any chemicals, preservatives, or heat.
  • Blended oils are made with a mix of sesame oil and other kinds of oil, such as olive oil.

Learn more:

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out these frequently asked questions about this oil to understand what this ingredient is all about:

Wrapping It Up

We hope that you learned more about sesame oil, Its storage, shelf life, expiration and spoilage.

  • It has a pretty long shelf life, but it will eventually go bad. It can develop off flavors and aromas and can become rancid. Once it’s rancid, it’s not safe to use.
  • To extend its shelf life, store it in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. If you’re not sure if your sesame oil is still good, give it a sniff test. If it smells rancid or “off,” don’t use it.

We recommend to keep your oil appropriately stored and watch out for any signs of rancidification before using it.

Enjoy your food!

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