Does Coconut Oil Go Bad? Unlocking the Expiration Date

October 4, 2023

The answer to does coconut oil go bad is, yes. However, the oil does have a longer lifespan than most ingredients. Not only do I have unique, professional insight into how coconut oil functions, I have also used this oil my whole life.

This means that I am more than familiar with when and how it goes bad. I also know how to prolong its lifespan. You can learn about this and more in this post below…

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Does Coconut Oil Expire?

Yes, coconut oil – like most foodstuffs – can expire. If you have been using coconut oil for a while, it may not seem like that. In fact, you may not even be able to remember the last time that you had to throw away coconut oil.

This can make you question does coconut oil go rancid. Regardless, this oil can go bad. The main thing to keep in mind is that coconut oil has an incredibly long shelf life. Due to this, most people end up using all the oil before the expiration date is ever reached.

Opened Coconut Oil Jar

Coconut Oil Shelf Life

So, just how long does virgin coconut oil last in your pantry? Well, this is a bit of a tricky question. This is because there are differences in what a shelf life actually means.

When most people talk about shelf life, they are referring to how long a particular food is good for. In this case, you may find that coconut oil is good for at least a year, perhaps more. On the other hand, if you are thinking about expiration dates, then the shelf life may be shorter.

Understand, most stores use expiration dates to mean “best by” or “sell by” dates. This is the last date that the manufacturer can guarantee that the coconut oil can be as good as the day as it was bottled. After this, they take no responsibility for the condition of the oil.

Now, what does this mean for you? Should you be throwing away your best coconut oil for face just because it has reached its expiration date? Well, not necessarily.

Coconut oil can continue to be good to use long after it has passed its expiration date. As long as the oil doesn’t appear to have gone bad, then you should be fine. So, how do you know if it has become rancid? Well, you can check out the signs in a section below…

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How to Tell If Coconut Oil is Bad

Here is how you can tell if your coconut oil has gone bad:

The Presence of Mold

It is possible for mold to grow in coconut oil. Thus, if you notice mold forming in the oil, toss it out then and there – it isn’t safe to eat or use on your skin or hair. Some people may try to only remove the part with mold, but this will not do.

Remember, you can’t always see mold spores. As such, there is no telling how much of the coconut oil has been impacted by the mold. Your best bet is to throw it out.

Changes Color

Most coconut oils are clear or have a milky tint to it. So, any changes in color tend to mean that something is wrong with the oil. If you find the coconut oil turning brown, yellow, or green, then you will need to toss it.

The same goes for any oddly colored particles that you find in the oil. If there seem to be discolored specks or spots in the oil, this certainly isn’t a good sign.

Smells Bad

If the coconut oil smells bad on skin or in the bottle, it probably means that it has gone bad. Typically, any rancid odors are the first noticeable sign that something is off with your coconut oil. It means that you should definitely not use it.

Tastes Off

If the coconut oil looks fine, but tastes bad you should still throw it away. A bad taste shows that the coconut oil has spoiled to a certain degree. Does this mean that you can use the expired coconut oil on hair? Well, you should probably not risk it as this could lead to negative consequences.

Coconut oil on white glass jar

What Are the Rancid Coconut Oil Side Effects?

So, what can happen if you try to use expired coconut oil? Well, if you add it food, it is possible for you to experience an upset stomach or other digestive issues. However, these symptoms may only present themselves if you consume a great deal.

And, what about the use of rancid coconut oil for skin and hair care? This isn’t advised either. When coconut oil goes bad, it may become rather irritating to the skin. This could potentially result in rashes, itchy skin, or some other skin condition.

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How to Store Coconut Oil to Maximize Shelf Life

The good news is that you can actually help your coconut oil to last even longer than its best by date. Here are some of the tips and tricks that you can use:

Keep It Away from Sunlight

Since UV light can cause the coconut oil to deteriorate, it makes sense to keep the coconut oil away from sunlight. This means that the oil shouldn’t be kept out on your kitchen counter for too long – move it behind closed doors for longer storage.

Place It In a Cool Environment

As mentioned, heat isn’t all that great for coconut oil. So, watch out for the hot spots in your kitchen – near heat emitting appliances, the stove, etc. So, do you have to refrigerate coconut oil? Not at all, in fact, you may want to avoid doing this.

Most coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but it can turn liquid at warmer temperatures. Once the temperature drops back down, though, the oil will become firm once more. If you place it in the refrigerator, the coconut oil will get very firm and may be difficult to use without allow it to warm up first.

You will be far better off storing it in a cooler place in your pantry.

Other Tips to Prolong Shelf Life

It isn’t just about how or where to store coconut oil, these tips can also help you to keep your coconut oil in proper condition for longer.

Use Only Clean Utensils

To prevent mold from growing in your coconut oil, it is important to ensure that no contaminants are introduced into the oil. So, always wash your spoons or knives before using them to scoop out the coconut oil. Furthermore, don’t use any utensils that have touched or dipped in any other oils or substances.

Don’t Leave the Lid Open

The other key thing is to limit the coconut oil exposure to air. The more it is exposed to air, the more likely it is for oxidation to take place. Due to this, you should remember to replace the lid on your coconut oil shortly after scooping out the required amount.

Coconut Oil and Spoon In A White Jar

What Causes Coconut to Go Bad?

Now, let’s take a look at some of the factors that can spoil your coconut oil:


Higher temperatures can degrade coconut oil. While this may not happen immediately, continuous exposure to an environment with higher temperatures could potentially cause your coconut oil to spoil faster.


Remember how it was earlier stated that coconut oil doesn’t experience much oxidation? Well, this can change if the coconut oil is continuously exposed to UV light. Once again, this will not happen overnight, but sunlight can shorten the shelf life of your coconut oil.


Once the coconut oil in glass jars are opened, it is exposed to all kinds of contamination – air, microbes, etc. All of these contaminations can cause your coconut oil to go bad or reduce how long you can use it for.

Why Does Coconut Oil Last So Long?

You may be wondering how coconut oil is able to last for so long. Well, the answer is simple: this type of oil has a higher saturated fat content and a lower unsaturated fat level. This makes it more resistant to a process known as oxidative rancidity.

It is also why coconut oil can last far longer than other plant-based oils that have higher unsaturated fat contents. Of course, the exact shelf life of your coconut oil is dependent on numerous factors.

This is what you need to know about whether or not coconut oil can go bad. It is clear that there is a lot more to the subject than meets the eye. However, now that you are aware of all the factors, you can ensure that you are only ever using safe coconut oil.

If you enjoyed this post, you should check out our Pinterest page. We have plenty of information on coconut oil and other coconut-related ingredients and products as well.

An Important Disclaimer
The information on this page should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a doctor if you wish to consume any kind of tea regularly for the purpose of treating any condition or illness.
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