Let’s talk about the shelf life and expiration of grapeseed oil.
Say you stumbled upon an old bottle of grapeseed oil when clearing your pantry, and you’re wondering if it’s any good. Does grapeseed oil go bad?
Or perhaps you’ve just opened a bottle, and you need to know how long does grapeseed oil last.
If so, this article is for you. Let’s jump right in.
Image used under Creative Commons from Taras Kalapun
Does Grapeseed Oil Go Bad?
Grapeseed oil doesn’t last forever – it goes rancid if stored for too long or in poor conditions.
The rancidification process responsible for that is accelerated by the presence of oxygen, light, and heat, so if your grapeseed oil sits unsealed, in direct sunlight, or for too long, it’s going to oxidize and end up rancid.
If you eat a bit of rancid grapeseed oil, nothing bad should happen immediately. In other words, you won’t get sick or spend the afternoon on the toilet.
But ingesting rancid fats has potential negative long-term consequences, which is why I strongly suggest you discard your rancid grapeseed oil.
Fortunately, rancid oils typically taste sharp or bitter, so most people discard them anyway.
Next, let’s talk about the spoilage signs of grapeseed oil.
How to Tell if Grapeseed Oil Is Bad?
Discard grapeseed oil if:
- It smells off. Your grapeseed oil is rancid if it gives off a putrid smell or one that reminds you of nail polish remover or old paint. If the aroma is “funny” in any other way, assume it’s spoiled too.
- There’s mold or “nasties” on the surface or neck of the bottle. Oils don’t grow mold without external “help,” but if they get contaminated, anything could happen. So if there’s anything extra floating on the surface, near the bottom, or something growing on the neck of the bottle, your grapeseed oil is gone.
- The oil tastes sharp or bitter. The main sign of rancidity is a sharp and/or bitter taste. If your grapeseed oil no longer tastes mild and almost neutral, it’s done for.
- It makes the cooked food taste off. If you notice that whatever you’ve cooked on the oil tastes bitter or develops sharp notes that aren’t supposed to be there, it might be the oil’s fault. That’s why you taste any ancient grapeseed oil before using it.
If anything else about the oil seems off, go with your gut and discard the bottle. Better safe than sorry.
How Long Does Grapeseed Oil Last?
Grapeseed oil lasts about 2 years unopened and around 6 months after opening, assuming you store it in a cool and dry place, away from heat sources and direct sunlight.
Of course, those periods are only rough estimates. That means if you take good care of the oil, you should get a few extra months in good quality.
An unopened bottle keeps for quite a long time because the oil doesn’t have access to fresh air. However, that changes when you first open the bottle, and that’s when the rancidification process speeds up, reducing the time grapeseed oil retains quality to about half a year.
That said, both unopened and open grapeseed oil can go rancid, but an open bottle does so much faster.
Expired Grapeseed Oil
Your grapeseed oil bottle comes with a best-by date. That date isn’t an expiration date but only a rough approximation of how long the oil should keep quality before it oxidizes and goes rancid.
That means that nothing really happens when your grapeseed oil goes beyond its date. You can still use it if it’s not rancid and doesn’t show other spoilage signs. Even if it’s months past the date on the label.
The opposite is also true. If the oil stinks or tastes sharp and bitter, you discard it, no matter the printed date.
All in all, the periods I discussed are only guidelines, and your grapeseed oil might last well beyond them or not nearly long enough, depending on how you store it.
How to Store Grapeseed Oil
Store grapeseed oil in a cool and dry place sealed tightly. This way, you keep the oil away from light, heat, and oxygen, all of which accelerate the rancidification process that degrades the quality of the oil.
If you store grapeseed oil in the kitchen, go for a shelf that’s not directly above or next to the stove, as that’s the warmest place around.
You don’t have to refrigerate grapeseed oil, but it’s a possibility worth considering if you live in the tropics or it’s the middle of a hot summer, and you’re not blasting AC all day long. In other words, the fridge might be your best bet if you don’t have a cool place to store your grapeseed oil.
A cool temperature typically helps the oil retain quality for a few extra months but comes at a small cost: the oil might cloud or crystallize a bit when refrigerated. Don’t worry, though, as those changes aren’t permanent. Leaving the oil at room temperature for a couple of hours will get it back to normal.
One last thing about storing grapeseed oil.
If you want to leave the oil in a place where it’ll likely be exposed to sunlight for a couple of hours per day, use a dark-colored or opaque bottle. It’ll noticeably reduce the light exposure to your oil and help it keep for longer without compromising quality.
(The bottle trick works for other oils too, and even for beer, though for slightly different reasons.)
Grapeseed Oil Shelf Life and Spoilage Summary
Thanks for reading this primer on grapeseed oil. Here are the takeaways:
- Grapeseed oil goes rancid sooner or later. You can tell that yours is rancid if it tastes sharp or bitter, smells putrid or similar to nail polish remover, old paint, or something of the like.
- Grapeseed oil lasts around 24 months unopened and about 6 months after opening. Those are rough estimates, and it’s better to pay attention to spoilage signs than dates.
- Grapeseed oil should sit in a cool and dry place, away from heat sources and sunlight. Refrigeration isn’t necessary, but it’s an option if you live in a hot area or it’s the middle of summer.