The Ultimate Guide to Coconut Oil: How to Tell When it’s Gone Bad

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Written By Gabriela
Gabriela is a science journalist and writer. She has a PhD in biochemistry and a master's degree in science communication. Gabriela has published articles in magazines and newspapers in Mexico and USA, and has also given talks on science subjects.






Coconut oil is an incredibly versatile and beneficial oil to have in your kitchen. It has many uses and is a great addition to any pantry. However, like all oils, it can go bad. But how do you know when your coconut oil has gone bad?

This guide will help explain the common signs that your coconut oil has gone bad and tell you what to do if it has. We’ll also discuss the shelf life of coconut oil and how to extend it, so you can get the most out of your oil. Read on to find out everything you need to know about coconut oil!

Can Coconut Oil Go Bad?

Yes; coconut oil is perishable and can go rancid if not stored properly. The good news is that coconut oil has one of the longest shelf lives around. If you take the proper steps to store your coconut oil correctly, you can extend its shelf life significantly.

In order to keep your coconut oil from going bad, you should store it in an airtight container in a cool place. It should also be kept away from moisture and direct sunlight, as these factors can hasten spoilage.

It’s also important to discard any expired coconut oil immediately. Coconut oil has a very distinct smell when it becomes rancid–if you ever question whether or not your coconut oil is safe to use, trust your nose!

To ensure safety and freshness, here are some tips for storing coconut oil properly:

  • Store coconut oil in an airtight container
  • Keep the container in a cool place away from direct sunlight and heat
  • If you’re ever uncertain about the freshness of your coconut oil, toss it out immediately

These simple steps will help ensure that your coconut oil stays fresh and ready to use for many months or even years!

What to Look for When Your Coconut Oil Goes Bad

Coconut oil is known for its luscious, buttery scent and flavor that many people love to use in cooking. But when the cooking oil passes its expiration date, it can start to emit an unpleasant, sour smell that indicates it has gone bad.

The smell of expired coconut oil will be increasingly strong depending on how far gone it is. The off-smell may be faint or unmistakable and can range from a bitter aroma to a more sour odor. If a person is unsure if their coconut oil is safe to consume, it’s best to trust your nose—if it smells slightly unappetizing, then it’s time to throw away the bottle.

But don’t just rely solely on your nose! Here are a few other ways you can tell if your coconut oil has gone bad:

  • Appearance: Good-quality coconut oil is clear and transparent, so if it’s starting to turn yellow or opaque then it’s time for a replacement.
  • Texture: When coconut oil has passed its expiry date, it will usually start to congeal and become thick and lumpy.
  • Taste: Coconut oil should be naturally aromatic, but if there’s an off taste then this may indicate that it has turned bad.

Overall, the surest way of telling if your coconut oil has gone past its expiration is by smelling it. If you detect any kind of sour, bitter odour coming from the bottle then this signals that the cooking oil is no longer fit for consumption.

When Does Extra Virgin Coconut Oil Reach Its Expiration Date?

We often get asked if extra virgin coconut oil has an expiration date. While coconut oil may not be considered a “perishable” item like food, it still has an estimated shelf life just like any other product. Let’s take a closer look at how long your unopened jar of extra virgin coconut oil can last.

Under optimal storage conditions, the shelf life of unopened refined coconut oil is 18-36 months, while that of unopened virgin coconut oil is three to five years. But this timeline does come with some caveats. For example, extreme temperatures can speed up the rate at which the oil spoils. If you live in a hot climate, be sure to store your unopened container of extra virgin coconut oil in a cool and dry environment.

Even once you open the jar, extra virgin coconut oil can still last for quite some time—provided you take certain measures to keep it fresh. Some things you can do include:

  • Re-seal and refrigerate: Keeping air out of the jar will help prevent oxidation and rancidity. You can also store the open jar in your refrigerator to further extend its shelf life.
  • Top up with fresh oil: If after some time your open jar starts to look cloudy or develop an unpleasant odor, pour some fresh extra virgin coconut oil into it, as this will help keep it fresh longer.
  • Use regularly: To ensure your extra virgin coconut oil stays fresh for as long as possible, use it regularly! This will help maintain its fragrance and taste for much longer.

can coconut oil go bad

Using Expired Coconut Oil: What are the Risks?

Using expired coconut oil can have serious consequences. The side-effects are much more pronounced in the long run, due to the presence of harmful free radicals that are produced when the oil has gone bad. These free radicals can damage the cells of your DNA and even the walls of your arteries. And if that wasn’t enough, these free radicals may even become carcinogens – substances that can lead to cancer.

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That’s why it’s important to practice food safety and make sure you never use rancid coconut oil. It’s also a good idea to check for expiration dates before you buy any type of oil.

But what if you already have expired coconut oil at home? It must be disposed of properly, as it could pose a health risk if ingested or used on the skin. It’s best to dispose of it in a safe and appropriate manner. One way is by putting it in a secure container and then taking it to a specialized facility where they handle this kind of material.

In order to prevent using outdated coconut oil, you should take certain precautions. For example, store it in an air tight container and make sure it’s kept out of direct sunlight. This will help prolong the shelf life of the oil and help keep it fresh for longer.

Additionally, you should always pay attention to the expiration date on the bottle or package. That way, you can avoid using any coconut oils that are past the expiration date.

Finally, here are some tips for choosing quality coconut oil:

  • Choose organic products if possible.
  • Avoid buying in large quantities since you might not be able to finish them all before they go bad.
  • Read labels carefully – try to look for information regarding monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats in particular.
  • Look for a label on the product indicating whether or not it was cold-pressed – this is an indication of quality.

Can You Make Coconut Oil Last Even After Opening?

Coconut oil is one of the most versatile and healthy cooking oils, with a plethora of potential benefits. But if you’ve ever been in the grocery store trying to choose from all of the varieties available, you may have noticed that there are several options when it comes to regular coconut oil and “extra virgin” coconut oil. How long does it last after opening, and does this depend on the type?

First, let’s start by addressing how long each kind of coconut oil lasts. Refined coconut oil will generally stay good for 3-6 months after its use-by date. The same goes for opened extra virgin coconut oil. But if the extra virgin coconut oil is still closed, it can last up to 6 months past its use-by date.

It’s important to note that these timeframes apply to both opened and unopened containers. You can keep track of this expiration date with either your purchase or receipt, or on the product label itself. Storing it in a cool, dry place (and preferably away from any sources of heat or light) will help reduce the rate at which coconut oil breaks down.

However, it’s always best not to rely solely on this timeline. If you’ve had your coconut oil for a while, your senses are your best guide. Look for visual clues such as change in color or texture, smell for a rancid odor, and if available move some around and check for lumps or clumps.

If you find that any of these signs are present, then it’s time to discard the oil. It’s also a good idea to make sure that any new purchases have a clear expiration date (preferably one that is within 6 months).

  • Refined (Closed): 3 – 6 months after.
  • Refined (Opened): 3 – 6 months after.
  • Extra Virgin (Closed): 3 – 6 months after.
  • Extra Virgin (Opened): 3 – 6 months after.

To summarize: Coconut oil generally stays good for up to 6 months past its use-by date if left unopened, or 3-6 months past its use-by date if opened.

However, it is always best practice to use your senses as a guide when using this product.

Telling if Your Coconut Oil has Spoiled: How to Tell.

Smell: Rancid coconut oil will have an excessively sour or bitter smell.

Texture: Coconut oil will generally be in liquid form when stored at room temperature, but can become solid and creamy when kept in the refrigerator. If the oil is chunky, with an inconsistent texture like curdled cream, it has likely gone bad.

A few other indicators to watch out for include changes in color and flavor. If your coconut oil has turned darker than it originally was or has a significantly different flavor than usual, it’s time to get rid of it.

It’s also important to note that just because your coconut oil is expired doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad. The expiration date is usually just a guide to how long the product can retain its original quality.

How Can You Tell if Your Coconut Oil is Rancid?

  • Sour or bitter smell
  • Chunky or inconsistent texture
  • Darker than normal color
  • Different flavor than before

Remember: The expiration date is an indicator of how long the product can keep its original quality, but it doesn’t automatically mean that the product is bad if it has expired.