Does Sesame Oil Go Bad?

Yes, it does. But it’s not the same as other perishable items. Here’s the lowdown on all things sesame oil. Let’s begin.

So Does It?

Like all perishables, sesame oil does go bad in its unrefined form because it contains unsaturated fats. It also has antioxidants and phenols that cause the breakdown from the moment the seed is opened. You can slow down the process but not stop it.

How Do You Know When It’s Gone Bad?

When it starts to go bad, sesame oil will start looking dark, smelling like nail polish remover or paint thinner and tasting sour or bitter. But it doesn’t happen overnight. So, if you’ve left it exposed to light, heat or bacteria, check the way it looks, smells and tastes.

Can You Eat Rancid Sesame Oil?

Typically, rancid oil is not the same as spoiled oil. So you should be aware of the extent to which things can go wrong with sesame oil.
Thus, rancid may not actually be the worst form yet. It simply implies that there isn’t enough oxygen in the oil, which has altered the flavor and aroma. It’s likely that you frequently consumed it in the past without noticing.
However, if you’re using unrefined oil for cooking, try to avoid using it if it doesn’t taste or smell pleasant.

What’s the Shelf Life of Sesame Oil?

The shelf life of sesame oil depends on the date printed on the package. These dates are printed on it by following the mandatory rules of the FDA for many reasons. It’s not the whole story because the actual shelf life in terms of usage depends on a lot of factors like:

  • Quality of the seed
  • The way it is processed in the mill
  • The way it was stored
  • The conditions of storage
  • Whether or not other oils were blended into it
  • The time the packaged oil spent in shipping
  • How you use it

So, it’s possible that what you are buying was actually packaged many months or years ago. This is why it is hard to put a number on its shelf life. Luckily, they will still smell great, taste good and look perfect.

About the Expiry Date

This depends on many factors too. While there is a best-by date on the package, if you assume that you bought the best quality oil, here’s what you need to consider.

  • You should use it about 6 months from opening the seal
  • If you store it in a cold and dry place you can extend the life
  • Keeping the bottle sealed and unused can actually work, but you must check it for smell, taste and visuals

Should I Store It in the Refrigerator?

You can do this because exposing it to light and heat is not the best way of storing sesame oil. But you don’t have to do this. You may want to keep an opened bottle in the fridge to ensure it doesn’t go bad.

How to Store It?

This is the long and short of it. Any cabinet that is cool and dark will also work just fine. But if the seal isn’t broken yet, outside the refrigerator is not a problem.
The key to getting this right is to buy the oil, which is made from good seeds. See if you can find out that detail. Then it’s about the factors that contribute to its aging and eventual decay. All of them must be kept in cold and darkish places, but here are some other things that will help you.

  • Manufacturers that make small batches are a good choice. Some of them are black in color, but they have a great aroma.
  • Smaller bottles are easier to care for because, to begin with, they don’t have too much room for outside air to enter. It also means that you will finish the bottle sooner than it has the chance to go bad.
  • Never refill a used bottle of sesame oil because the traces of older oil will continue to rot and spoil the new batch too.


There are many ways to ensure that the sesame oil in your home doesn’t go bad. And in case you have doubts, you now know how to check it. So, go by the best-by date on the package but don’t be adamant about it.

Further Reading: Does Olive Oil Go Bad: How Long Does Olive Oil Last?

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