What is the shelf life of olive oil?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question” What is the shelf life of olive oil?” with an in-depth analysis of factors affecting the shelf life of olive oil. Moreover, we are going to highlight its signs of spoilage.

What is the shelf life of olive oil?

If olive oil is in a bottle, the shelf life of olive oil will be from 8-24 months. You should purchase extra virgin olive oil within 12 to 18 months of its harvest date. Extra virgin oil should be used within six months of its opening. We recommend that you must use the oil within 30 to 60 days upon opening.

Quality and color of olive oil:

The color of extra virgin olive oil tells us about its quality. This color might only indicate the harvest time and when the olives were pressed. The shades of extra virgin olive oil vary from light yellow to dark green, and both are good.

If you buy extra virgin olive oil, and it is intensely green, you can only be sure that it was stored appropriately, in a dark bottle, away from light sources, and at a temperature of 15 to 20 degrees.

Is it OK to use expired olive oil?

It depends. If you are cooking with rancid olive oil, it won’t make you sick like eating spoiled meat, but it’s likely to lose any nutritional value or antioxidants. Also, it will make your food taste weird. Do not pass go. If it smells fine and looks fine, then you can use it. But its taste will not be as peppery or bright as when you first bought it.

Increase the shelf life by storing olive oil in the right way:

Factors like light, temperature (too high, too low, or fluctuating), and oxygen have effects on the shelf life of olive oil.


  • If the temperatures are higher than 21 degrees Celsius, then the quality of olive oil will deteriorate faster.
  • So, try to keep it away from the stove or on the hood – no matter how convenient it is.
  • The fridge is also not a good place for storing olive oil.
  • The cold (< 14 degrees Celsius) makes the olive oil thicker and cloudy and can cause white flakes in the oil. This does not directly affect the quality of the oil.
  • When the olive oil has returned to room temperature, it can be used.


  • Another culprit is light. That’s why good olive oil is usually in a dark bottle.
  • The oil is less protected from light In a transparent bottle and this drastically reduces the shelf life of the olive oil.
  • You should not store olive oil near the kitchen window or on a sunny countertop.
  • Olive oil can be best stored in a dark and cool place such as a cupboard or a cellar.


  • Oxygen is known as the most important cause of rapid deterioration as it triggers the oxidation process of olive oil.
  • Oxidation plays a part in spoiling olive oil. It affects both its taste and smell.
  • Make sure to store olive oil tightly closed.

Shelf life also differs per olive oil:

Different types of olive oils have a different shelf life. The antioxidant content, which is measured by the number of polyphenols, also varies significantly from one oil to another, sometimes being as much as two to three times higher.

Polyphenols are not only beneficial to health. They also contribute to the shelf life of olive oil. If there are more polyphenols, then the olive oil will have a longer shelf life.

Olive oil filtered or unfilteredShelf life of oil when stored in a cool and dry placeShelf life of oil after extensive exposure to light, high temperature, or air
Unfiltered olive oil. For example Olio Nuovo or Novello3 to 6 months
Filtered olive oil, low polyphenol1 to 2 years6 -12 months
Filtered olive oil, high polyphenol2 to 3 years6 months

How can you know if your olive oil has gone bad or not?

If your bottle has turned the corner from the kind of old to rancid, then you should not worry about that. You can tell.


Pour out a small amount of olive oil and give it a sniff. If it has gone bad, it will smell sweet in a bad way. It will smell like fruit that’s started to ferment or rot.


If you can’t tell if olive oil has gone bad or not by smelling it, then taste it a bit without swallowing it (just swirl it in your mouth). If it’s completely tasteless, feels greasy in your mouth, or has an “off” taste (like spoiled nuts), then it has gone bad.

Here, you can find more information about olive oil.

Other FAQs about Olives  that you may be interested in.

Can you eat kalamata olives when pregnant?

How many olives should I eat a day?

Why is olive oil a virgin?


In this brief guide, we answered the question” What is the shelf life of olive oil?” with an in-depth analysis of the factors affecting the shelf life of olive oil. Moreover, we highlighted its signs of spoilage.