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Does Sesame Oil Go Bad Or Expire? How Long Does It Last?

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

Once you open your bottle of sesame oil, the process of oxidation and triglyceride hydrolysis starts. Your oil is exposed to moisture, light, air, and bacteria. Because of this, sesame oil 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, sesame oil still won’t last forever.

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

Exactly how long does sesame oil last, anyway?

There isn’t an exact timeline as to when your sesame 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 Can You Tell If Sesame Oil Has Gone Bad

Whether you stored sesame oil in poor conditions or didn’t know its best by date, you should test it before using it. Here are signs to tell if sesame oil 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 of sesame oil, 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 sesame 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 sesame 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.

Storing Your Bottle of Sesame Oil

Sesame oil can last longer and keep good quality if in proper storage conditions. Here are tips for storing sesame oil to extend its shelf life:

1. Where to keep unopened sesame oil

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 sesame oil

Does sesame oil need to be refrigerated after opened? After opening the bottle of sesame oil, seal the bottle tightly. If you think it will take over 6 months to consume the sesame oil, 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. Can I freeze sesame oil?

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

Sesame oil 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

Sesame oil 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 sesame 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 sesame 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, and spoilage.

  • Sesame oil 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 sesame oil appropriately stored and watch out for any signs of rancidification before using it.

Enjoy your food!

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