sesame oil shelf life

Does Sesame Oil Go Bad? A Guide to Its Freshness and Quality

Quick summary: Yes, sesame oil can go bad over time, and it will become rancid rather than spoiling in the traditional sense. Signs of spoiled sesame oil include a rancid smell, off taste, and changes in color. To prolong its shelf life, it’s recommended to keep sesame oil in a cool, dark place and seal the container tightly after use.

You know how common vegetable oil behaves. But what about sesame one? Does it have a shelf life, and will it spoil? Here is the answer you need to know.

The oil is obtained from the seeds of the sesame plant and is often considered one of the healthiest oils or foods in general. Excellent taste, the richness of nutrients, and the long shelf life are the characteristics that set this oil apart from others. If you choose to use sesame oil in your daily diet, you will certainly not go wrong.

But what about its duration, and can it spoil? In short, yes, it can. Sesame oil, just like any other, will inevitably succumb to rancidity over time. No oil can avoid that. However, this should by no means happen in a short time. Here is all the information you need about this valuable fluid.

How Long Does Sesame Oil Last?

As we said, sesame oil is a relatively durable food and usually lasts for several years from the moment of bottling. The expiration date on the label will be a good guide for you, but you should never blindly stick to what is written. The oil will be quite fine a few months after the expiration.

Unopened sesame oil 

If you haven’t even started the bottle, you can use sesame oil very casually for a while after expiration. Estimates roughly say it should last up to six months after the best-by date. We will add that the first two or three months are really safe, and after that, check the quality a bit to make sure that everything is fine.

Opened sesame oil

It is not necessary to keep sesame oil in the refrigerator after opening, but you can really contribute to its longevity. Do this by all means if you are not an excessive consumer of this oil, and you know that one bottle will last a long time. After opening, plain sesame oil will be good for another nine months or up to a year if stored in the refrigerator. Toasted sesame oil should last a few months shorter. However, also look at the date on the packaging. If the expiration date had already passed when you opened the bottle, the shelf life will be significantly shortened.

Can Sesame Oil Go Bad?

Sesame oil will not spoil in the usual sense of the word but will become rancid. In a short period of time, this should not cause you any inconvenience if you do not care about bad taste. However, doctors would not recommend the long-term use of such oil because it can have some significant consequences. Here’s how to tell if oil should be discarded.

Sign 1: It’s rancid  

Like with olive oil, you will really easily recognize the rancid sesame oil by its more pungent smell and strong taste. Once spoiled oil can’t be repaired, it is better to replace it with a new stock immediately. Of course, the toasted version initially has a slightly stronger smell, but it is sweeter. You will recognize the rancidity without much hassle. 

Sign 2: The appearance is not right  

If there’s been a significant change in color and something just doesn’t seem right when you look at it, there’s probably a quality problem. Rather open a new bottle than take a risk with an old one.

Remember that oil made of toasted sesame seeds is naturally darker than those made with raw sesame seeds or cold pressed sesame oil. Still, keeping that in mind, if the color has changed from when you first bought it, check for spoilage.

Sign 3: Too much time has passed  

If significantly more span has passed than the described time recommendations, then throw away the old bottle of sesame oil no matter how it looks. For example, if you found an unopened bottle that expired a few years ago, throw it away for your own safety, even if there’s nothing fishy about it.

What Is The Best Way To Store Sesame Oil? 

Sesame oil is not too demanding to store. Yet with more favorable conditions, you can certainly extend the shelf life by a few months and slow down the rancidity. You will want to do so, especially if you have quality organic sesame oil.

Tip 1: Keep in the fridge after opening

Keeping oil in the refrigerator is optional. However, if you want to get a few months of extended-lasting, be sure to place it in the cold. If you plan to consume an entire bottle within a month or two, to refrigerate sesame oil won’t mean much to you.

Tip 2: Keep well sealed    

Once you have opened the bottle, close it well after each use. Oxidation is the process by which rancidness occurs, so prevent the airflow.  

Tip 3: Avoid light

There is a reason why better quality oils or cold-pressed ones are usually kept in the dark bottles. Light promotes oxidation, so keeping the sesame oil bottle in the dark place is always good. Avoid direct sunlight.  


How can you tell if sesame oil is bad?

You can tell if sesame oil is bad by its rancid smell, a sour or unpleasant odor, and a change in color from its usual golden hue. Additionally, if the oil tastes off or stale, it’s best to avoid using it in cooking.

Can expired sesame oil make you sick?

Yes, expired sesame oil could potentially make you sick if consumed, as it may have undergone chemical changes that could lead to an upset stomach or other gastrointestinal issues.

How long is sesame oil good after the expiration date?

The shelf life of sesame oil after its expiration date can vary, but it’s generally recommended to use it within a few months for the best quality and flavor. It’s advisable to rely on your senses and discard the oil if it has an off smell, taste, or appearance.

Does sesame oil need to be refrigerated?

Yes, sesame oil should be stored in a cool, dark place, preferably in the refrigerator, to extend its shelf life and prevent it from going rancid. However, refrigeration can cause the oil to solidify, so you might need to gently warm it before use if that occurs.

Does sesame oil go bad if not refrigerated?

Yes, sesame oil can go bad if not refrigerated, especially over extended periods, due to factors like heat and exposure to air.


Fresh sesame oil is a healthy food that is recommended in the daily diet. It has a pleasant taste, so it can really serve as an excellent substitute for other oils in the preparation of fresh dishes. You can choose flavors of plain or toasted sesame oil, whichever you prefer.

A date on the packaging will be a good guideline for durability. If the storage conditions are in order, the oil should definitely last a few more months, up to half a year. Ideally, opened oil should be consumed within six months but can last up to nine months or even a year if you keep it in the refrigerator.

See more: Sesame oil replacement

*image by igorr1/depositphotos

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