Does coconut oil expire? How long does coconut oil last? Know the signs of bad coconut oil and some tips on how to properly store coconut oil.

coconut oil

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A wide range of cooking oils with different uses is available in the largest supermarkets or even the smallest grocery stores near you. Among these cooking oils, coconut oil is known to have the longest shelf life. Does coconut oil expire? Yes. There are two varieties of coconut oil, refined and virgin coconut oil (unrefined). Refined coconut oil can last up to 18 months after production while virgin coconut oil can last up to five years.

Refined coconut oils are processed from copra or the kernel of coconut while virgin coconut oils are extracted from raw coconut meat. Refined coconut oil has a neutral scent and flavor. Virgin coconut oil retains its natural coconut scent and flavor.

Studies show that the type of saturated fat found in coconut oil makes it a healthier choice than other cooking oils. Refined coconut oil has a smoking point of 440°F which makes it a lot more ideal for cooking. Virgin coconut oil has a relatively low smoking point of 350°F. You might not want to use it for stir-fry, but it’s great for tossing up a salad dressing or for baking.

Aside from the mentioned cooking merits coconut oil has – long shelf life, healthy saturated fat and high smoking point, coconut oil has many other uses too. Coconut oil is also a good product for skin and hair care, gentle enough for babies and puppies, and effective for dry skin problems of men and women. With all these great benefits, it’s really ideal to have some at home. You can even buy coconut oil in bulk sizes. So how long can you keep your coconut oil? What are the signs that your coconut oil is already bad?

Five Signs of Bad Coconut Oil

It’s easy to know if your oil has gone bad through appearance, smell and taste. Here are five signs of rancid coconut oil:

#1 Yellow in Color

Good liquid coconut oil should have a clear color and milky white when it solidifies. If it has turned yellow chances are it has already expired.

#2 Blotchy or Chunky

Good coconut oil has a smooth consistency. Your oil is spoiled when it starts to get chunky or if unknown substances are floating on the oil.

#3 Black Oil Spots

Small patches or dark oil spots in your oil container can be mold developing. You’ll never know how bad the mold has already contaminated your oil so it’s better to get rid of the oil already.

#4 Strong Bitter or Sour Scent

Good refined coconut oils have a neutral scent while virgin coconut oils have a slightly sweet coconut scent, if it smells sour or bitter then it’s bad.

#5 Sour Taste

Good refined coconut oils have a neutral flavor while virgin coconut oils retain its natural coconut flavor. Bad coconut oil often develops a sour taste.

coconut oil

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Side Effects of Bad Coconut Oil

The after effects of rancid coconut oil will not make you immediately ill, not in the short term at least. The side effects of bad coconut oil will be more apparent in the long run.

Harmful free radicals produced by spoiled oil can damage DNA cells and arteries. They can also act as carcinogens or substances that can cause cancer.

Always remember to practice food safety and never use rancid coconut oils.

How to Properly Store Coconut Oil

Coconut oil takes a long time to oxidize which means it takes a long time to go bad. As mentioned above, refined coconut oil can last up to 18 months while virgin coconut oil can last up to five years. But that doesn’t mean you can just store it any way you want. Any oil stored carelessly can go bad faster than expected.

Here are some tips on how to properly store your coconut oil:

  1. Store coconut oil in a cool, dark place. Exposure to light, heat, and air can cause quick rancidity of your oil.
  2. You can store your coconut oil both in the pantry and the refrigerator. Coconut oil can take in two forms depending on temperature, liquid and solid. If you store it at room temperature it will be in its liquid consistency and will solidify if stored in the fridge.
  3. Store oil in a constant temperature. Fluctuation in temperature can cause chemical reactions in your oil that can make it go bad faster.
  4. Use clean utensils when scooping your oil. Contamination from used utensils can cause the formation of mold on your oil.
  5. Always keep your oil sealed to avoid exposure to air that fastens oxidation.

There’s no doubt coconut oil is a popular choice among many. Coconut oil is said to have impressive health benefits despite the claim of American Heart Association about coconut oil being unhealthy. Coconut oil has over 70 uses, you can even use it on your dogs and they love it! How great is that? Store your oil right and enjoy the awesome benefits coconut oil has to offer.

Does coconut oil expire? How long does coconut oil last? Know the signs of bad coconut oil and some tips on how to properly store coconut oil.

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About the Author

Sharon Chen is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and author of the Complete Sous Vide Cookbook. She believes food not only brings healing but also connection. As the creator of StreetSmart Kitchen, she aims to make meal prep easier than ever and help you find balance, ease, joy, and simplicity in the kitchen as you improve your well-being.