Food preservation

Does Coconut Oil Go Bad?

Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils available on the market. In the past, it was not as popular as it is today.

It is used in cooking and as a skin and hair product. When shopping for coconut oil, you can either buy virgin coconut oil or refined coconut oil.

There are many different brands of coconut oil available in the market. Your local grocery store definitely has some good options.


Virgin coconut oil has a strong scent and flavor of coconut while refined coconut oil has a more neutral scent and flavor. If you are a fan of coconuts and you want the original taste, buy virgin coconut oil.

Does coconut oil go bad? Yes, it does. Compared to other types of oil, coconut oil has a very long shelf life. Refined coconut oil that is of good quality can last for up to two years when stored properly.

Virgin coconut oil can last for five years. After two years, refined coconut oil starts going rancid. The oil will have an unpleasant smell and it will also have a stale flavor.

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Coconut oil has many characteristics that make it very desirable. First and foremost, it does not smoke easily. It starts smoking when the temperature is above 440 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is one of the cooking oils that have a very high smoking point. This makes it great for cooking even when you need to use high temperatures.

Coconut oil is also very healthy compared to other types of oils. It has a long shelf life so you can always buy it in bulk.

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The shelf life of coconut oil


Like I mentioned, coconut oil has a very long shelf life compared to other oils like vegetable oil. As long as you do not contaminate the oil once you open it, refined coconut oil will last for months and even years.

All coconut oils come with a best by date which is usually a rough estimate of how long the oil will retain its good quality according to the manufacturer’s data. If your coconut oil is past its best by date and it does not show any sign of spoilage, it is still safe to use.

Virgin coconut oil is made from raw coconut meat. For this reason, it can last for five years. It has a longer shelf life compared to refined coconut oil which only lasts for two years.

Coconut oil may still be good and safe to use after two years, but its quality will not be the same. The good quality of coconut oil gradually reduces as time goes by.

You may want to use coconut oil before the best by date to get the perfect cooking experience. If you use it two or three years past the best by date, it may not give you the amazing results it should give you.

The best by date


Manufacturers usually indicate the best by date on the jar or bottle of coconut oil. Most of the time, the best by date is 2 years after the date of production.

Once the best by date reaches, your coconut oil will only be good for a few more months. This is how long coconut oil lasts past the best-by date.

Type of oilStored in the pantryStored in the refrigerator
Unopened refined coconut oil3-6 months past the best by date6-8 months past the best by date
Opened refined coconut oil3-6 months past the best by date6 months past the best by date
Unopened virgin coconut oil6 months past the best by date6-8 months past the best by date
Opened virgin coconut oil3-6 months past the best by date6 months past the best by date

These dates are just approximates based on my experience with coconut oil. If your coconut oil has stayed past the best by date, make sure you check for any signs of spoilage before using it in your cooking.


Some signs of spoilage include bad smell, weird taste, yellow color instead of white, dark patches, and molds growing inside the jar of your coconut oil.

If you notice any of the signs above even before your coconut oil reaches its best by date, you have no choice but to throw it out.

Chances are that you did not store the oil properly, or that you exposed it to heat and air. Heat and air make coconut oil get spoilt at a faster rate.

How to store coconut oil


Like every other ingredient, proper storage is key if you want your coconut oil to last for long. You can store coconut oil in your pantry, your kitchen cabinet, or your fridge.

You may notice that if you store it in the pantry or kitchen cabinet it will be in its liquid state and if you store it in the fridge it will be in its solid state.

In case you store coconut oil in the fridge and it becomes too hard to scoop, warm some water and place the jar of coconut oil inside it. The warm water will cause the oil to go back to its liquid state and therefore you can scoop it more easily.

Do not expose your coconut oil to light, air, or heat because they tend to make your oil go rancid at a faster rate. Store the oil in a dark place and far away from heat. You should keep it in mind that if you store coconut oil at high temperatures, its quality will deteriorate at a faster rate.

When storing the coconut oil in the fridge, place it inside the fridge and not on the shelves at the door of your fridge. Coconut oil needs to be stored at a constant temperature. The temperature at the door keeps fluctuating because people keep opening and closing it.

Once you open your coconut oil, make sure that you seal it properly after every use before storing it. Failure to do so, air will get into the oil and consequently oxidation will take place. Oxidation makes your oil rancid.

I believe the pantry is the best place to store coconut oil because it ticks all the boxes. It is dark, it has a constant temperature, and no heat is close to the pantry.

When scooping coconut oil from its container, make sure you use utensils that are clean. Using dirty utensils will result in contamination of the oil. Once contaminants get into the oil, it is no longer safe to use.

Signs that your coconut oil has gone bad

  1. Molds

Molds have never been a good sign. If you notice that molds have grown inside the container of your coconut oil, just discard it. Do not try to salvage the coconut oil by scrapping off the mold and a little bit of oil where the mold had grown. Using cooking oil may result in health complications.

  1. The oil turns color from white to yellow

Coconut oil that has solidified should be white in color. If you notice that yours has turned yellowish, you should throw it out because it has definitely gone bad.

  1. Contaminants float on top of the oil

If contaminants find their way into your coconut oil, just count your losses because you can no longer use the oil. The particles have most definitely contaminated the oil and it is no longer safe to use.

  1. Weird scent.

I am pretty sure you have a good idea of how coconut oil should smell. If you notice that your coconut oil has a weird smell, chances are that it has gone bad. Do not use it in cooking.

  1. The oil is chunky

Coconut oil that is of good quality usually has a smooth consistency. If yours was smooth and it suddenly becomes chunky, it has gone bad and it is no longer safe to use,

  1. Weird taste

Virgin coconut oil usually has a natural coconut flavor whereas refined coconut oil usually has a neutral taste. If you notice that your coconut oil has a weird taste, mostly sour, it has definitely gone bad. You should just throw it out.

  1. Dark patches

Dark patches on your coconut oil may be a sign that molds are growing on the coconut oil. Discard it all because you may try to salvage it yet the mold has already contaminated all of the coconut oil.

Tips on handling coconut oil

  1. Darkness is your friend

Coconut oil thrives in darkness. Try as much as possible to keep it away from light, both natural and artificial. It will last for much longer.

  1. Use clean utensils to scoop every time

Dirty utensils contaminate coconut oil. Once coconut oil gets contaminated, it cannot be used because it will cause health complications.

  1. A stable temperature is coconut oil’s best friend

Whether you decide to store your coconut oil in the pantry, kitchen cabinet, or pantry, the temperature should be stable.

Unstable temperatures cause the coconut oil to get spoilt.

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