Does canola oil go bad? If you’ve wondered, you’re not alone. Here, we provide answers to common questions, including storage methods, helpful tips, and more.
Canola oil has become a kitchen staple for many households around the world. But like all pantry staples, it isn’t immune to the effects of time and storage conditions.
Whether you’re an avid home chef or simply use canola oil occasionally, the question often arises: does canola oil go bad?
In this FAQ, we’ll explore the shelf life, storage tips, and signs of spoilage for canola oil, ensuring that it remains safe and ready for use.
Does Canola Oil Go Bad?
Yes, canola oil can go bad. Like other oils, canola oil can degrade over time when exposed to oxygen, light, and heat. Storing it in a cool, dark place helps it last longer. After opening, try to use it within a few months.
Vegetable oil, including canola, can be kept unopened in the pantry for 4 months, according to the USDA. However, some canola oil products, like Mazola® Canola Oil, can be stored for 1 to 2 years under normal storage conditions (70°–80°F).
How to tell if canola oil is bad
If canola oil has gone bad, it may exhibit a few clear signs. Here’s how you can determine if your canola oil is still good or if it needs to be discarded:
Fresh canola oil should have a light, neutral scent. If the oil has a strong, unpleasant, or rancid odor, it’s likely gone bad. Rancidity is caused by exposure to air, light, and heat, leading to the breakdown of the oil.
If you’re uncertain about the smell, you can taste a tiny amount. Fresh canola oil should taste clean and neutral. If it tastes bitter, metallic, or just off in any way, it’s best to dispose of it.
While canola oil is typically a clear, pale golden color, if it looks cloudy or has an unusual color, it might be a sign that it’s gone off.
However, be aware that canola oil may appear cloudy if it has been refrigerated, but this isn’t indicative of spoilage. When the oil is brought back to room temperature, it should become clear again.
Tip from the Wesson®: To clear cloudy oil, just open the cap and let the oil warm up.
Canola oil should be smooth. If it feels thick, sticky, or has any particulates, it might be compromised.
Check the container for signs of mold, damage, or any other unusual conditions. If the container is compromised, it’s a good idea to discard the oil.
Remember to check the expiration or “best by” date on the bottle. While oils can sometimes be okay to use a short time after their expiration date, it’s a good guideline to determine how fresh they are.
Can I use expired canola oil?
Using expired canola oil isn’t recommended, but the expiration or “best by” date is often a conservative estimate, so the oil might still be okay for a short time after that date.
While consuming a slightly past-due oil isn’t typically toxic, it can lead to digestive discomfort for some. It’s best to check the oil’s smell and taste before use, and if in doubt, replace it with a fresh bottle.
How long does canola oil last?
The USDA states that vegetable oils, including canola oil, have a shelf life of 4 months when unopened and stored in a pantry. However, some commercially produced canola oils can last up to two years, especially if stored in a cool, dark place away from sunlight, in their original container.
According to Crisco, the shelf life of their oil products varies significantly based on storage and handling conditions. Unopened Crisco canola oil should remain fresh for up to 2 years from the manufacture date.
Crisco suggests storing their products in a cool, dry spot, away from strong odors, direct sunlight, and heat sources like stoves, dishwashers, and refrigerators for the best results.
How long does opened canola oil last?
Once opened and stored correctly, canola oil typically lasts a few months up to its expiration or “best by” date. According to Crisco’s FAQ, their oil products can remain good for about a year after being opened.
Always inspect your canola oil for signs of rancidity after opening. If it appears unusual or has an off-putting smell, it’s best to discard it.
In hotter climates, it’s recommended to keep your canola oil in the refrigerator. However, this storage method doesn’t prolong its shelf life, and the oil has a similar lifespan to those stored in the pantry.
How to store canola oil
Storing canola oil properly is vital to maintain its fresh quality. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to store canola oil:
- Original packaging. Keep canola oil in its original container, as it’s designed to protect the oil from deteriorating factors.
- Choose location. Store in a cool, dark place like a pantry, away from sunlight and heat sources like the stove or oven.
- Seal properly. After each use, ensure the container’s lid or cap is sealed tightly to prevent exposure to air.
- Optional Transfer. If the oil comes in a clear bottle, move it to a dark glass bottle to shield it from light.
Note: While not mandatory, Remember that it may appear cloudy or thick in the fridge but will return to its liquid state at room temperature.
Do I need to refrigerate canola oil?
No, you don’t need to refrigerate canola oil. While refrigeration won’t extend its shelf life to a year, it can help maintain its quality, especially in hot climates.
If chilled, the oil might become solid and cloudy. However, once brought back to room temperature, it will return to its regular clarity and consistency.
What does rancid canola oil smell like?
Rancid canola oil can smell like soap, metal, or crayons or have a sour or chemical-like scent. These smells indicate the oil has degraded. If you notice these odors, it’s best to use a fresh bottle.
If so, it has degraded and is no longer at its best.
Can you freeze canola oil?
Yes, while it’s possible to freeze canola oil, it’s generally not advised. Freezing won’t prolong its shelf life and can alter its consistency and properties.
When frozen, canola oil will become thick and may turn cloudy or solidify. Notably, Wesson® advises against freezing their particular brand of oil.
The bottom line
Canola oil is a staple in kitchens around the globe, appreciated not only for its affordability but also its versatility and adaptability. Its neutral flavor seamlessly blends with salad dressings and marinades, making it a favored choice across various cuisines. However, it’s crucial to store it correctly, as canola oil can turn rancid if not properly preserved.
More About Canola Oil
- Canola oil
- Container. Use the original bottle; it's made to protect the oil.
- Place. Store in a cool, dark spot away from heat.
- Close tight. Ensure the container's lid or cap is sealed tightly to prevent exposure to air.
- Dark bottle. If the oil is in a clear bottle, switch to a dark bottle to shield it from light.