Does extra-virgin olive oil expire?

In this article, we will answer the question “Does extra-virgin olive oil expire?”, what is the shelf-life of olive oil, and how to store olive oil.

Does extra-virgin olive oil expire?

Yes, extra-virgin olive oil expires. Since the extra-virgin olive oil is minimally processed, it only lasts 12-18 months before going rancid. Highly refined olive oil stays good for about 18-24 months on average. This period is calculated from the time the olive oil is bottled for sale. 

Look for this date on the bottle of the extra-virgin olive oil. If you cannot find it, you can rely on the harvest or expiry date. You are good to go if the bottle says the oil is extracted from last year’s harvest.

How long does olive oil last?

The shelf-life of the olive oil varies with the brand and processing. However, the average shelf-life of olive oil is 2-4 years. If stored correctly, olive oil stays good for several months past the printed date.

Once the seal is broken, the shelf-life of the olive oil reduces to 6-8 months. An opened bottle of olive oil could last much longer than 8 months if you buy it at premium quality and store it correctly.

In the pantry
Olive oil (Unopened)Harvest date + 2 years or Best-by +, 3 – 6 months
Olive oil (Opened)6-8 months 

Quality-conscious brands recommend short storage periods like 16 months. While other brands suggest keeping the olive oil for as long as 2-4 years. Ideally, you should consume your olive oil within 2 years of the printed harvest date. This is the peak period for olive oil in terms of nutrition and quality.

However, if your olive oil bottle lacks a printed harvest date, you can count on the expiry date. The expiry date on the olive oil bottle is more of an indicator of quality than safety. It is an estimate made by the manufacturer for how long oil will maintain peak freshness.

This means that the oil does not go bad as soon as it crosses the labeled best-by or expiry date. However, the oil could go bad before the printed date if stored incorrectly. 

If the recommended shelf-life comes out to be, let’s say 16 months, you could keep the oil for another 8-12 months if it is premium. If it is cheap, you better follow the best-by date strictly.

How to store olive oil?

The best place to store olive oil is somewhere cool, dark, and dark, away from direct sunlight. Once opened, olive oil should be sealed properly in between uses.

Should you refrigerate olive oil?

Whether opened or unopened, it is unnecessary to refrigerate olive oil. If stored correctly at room temperature, the olive oil easily stays good for the recommended storage period. 

According to the California Olive Oil Council, you should not refrigerate your olive oil because it causes condensation within the oils which leads to off-flavors.

Storage Do’s and Don’ts 

The olive oil bottle should not be in direct contact with sources of heat like the sunlight, stovetop, or heaters. Using a dark-tinted olive oil bottle helps to block out much of the heat and sunlight. 

The bottom line is that you want to reduce the exposure of olive oil to light and heat as much as possible. Keeping it in a dark cupboard or pantry is the way to go.

Last but not the least, you should not get the olive oil frequently in contact with the air. Therefore, a good seal is your best friend. Make sure the seal is intact when the olive oil bottle is not in use.

How to tell if the olive oil has gone bad?

Taste: A change in taste is a classic sign of rancidity. The olive oil should not taste bitter, sour, or stale, toss it if it does. 

Smell: Ideally, the olive oil should have a pleasant and fruity smell. If your olive oil starts to smell like crayons or Elmer’s glue, it is done for.

What happens if you consume rancid olive oil?

Rancid olive oil is not a health hazard. Instead, it is a quality problem. Rancid olive oil will ruin the flavor of your dish if used in cooking. Moreover, rancid olive oil has a poor nutritional profile. 

Since rancidity is marked by the oxidation of unsaturated fats. Certain compounds produced as a result of oxidation destroy the antioxidants present in olive oil.

Contact your local department of sanitation to figure out what to do with spoiled or rancid olive oil since pouring it down the drain clogs pipes and causes water pollution. 

Other FAQs about Oil that you may be interested in.

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In this article, we answered the question “Does extra-virgin olive oil expire?”, what is the shelf-life of olive oil, and how to store olive oil.