Can I use expired organic coconut oil?

Using expired organic coconut oil is a common question for many home cooks and DIY enthusiasts. Organic coconut oil can be expensive, so it’s understandable to want to get the most out of a jar before having to replace it. The good news is that coconut oil has a relatively long shelf life compared to other cooking oils. However, that doesn’t mean it will last forever. Here’s what you need to know about using expired organic coconut oil.

How long does unopened coconut oil last?

An unopened jar of organic virgin coconut oil will typically last 2-5 years past its printed expiration date. This extended shelf life is due to the saturated fat content of coconut oil. Saturated fats are very stable and resistant to oxidation and rancidity. If the oil is kept in a cool, dark place, the shelf life may even extend a year or two beyond that. Once opened, coconut oil will last about 18 months before going rancid.

How can you tell if coconut oil has gone bad?

Coconut oil is usually highly resistant to spoilage. But despite its long shelf life, coconut oil can eventually go rancid. Here are a few signs that your coconut oil has expired:

  • Change in color: Fresh coconut oil is clear and white. As it spoils, it may become yellow or orange.
  • Change in smell: Rancid coconut oil will have a strong, unpleasant odor.
  • Change in texture: The oil will lose its smooth, creamy texture and become gritty.
  • Mold growth: You may see mold growing in the coconut oil.
  • Taste: Expired coconut oil will taste bitter or sour.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to throw the coconut oil out. Rancid oil can make you sick and should not be used.

Is it safe to use expired coconut oil?

While it’s not necessarily unsafe to consume coconut oil a bit past its expiration date, it’s not recommended. Rancid oil contains free fatty acids and oxidation products that are unhealthy to ingest. Consuming large amounts could potentially cause digestive upset like nausea or diarrhea.

That said, coconut oil doesn’t necessarily become toxic or dangerous to consume after the expiration date. The main concern is the undesirable taste and aroma. If it passes a sight and smell test, using coconut oil a few months past the printed date is generally OK.

When is it unsafe to use expired coconut oil?

There are certain situations when you should throw away coconut oil after the expiration date instead of taking any risks with using it. This includes:

  • If you’re using the coconut oil for cooking: Rancid oil can transfer unpleasant flavors to foods.
  • If you have a sensitive stomach: Some people are sensitive to oxidized fats.
  • If you’re using it on your skin: Rancid oil may cause skin irritation.
  • If you see any mold: Mold can cause respiratory irritation.
  • If it smells unpleasant: Trust your senses over the printed date.

When in doubt, it’s better to play it safe and toss old coconut oil from both a health and quality standpoint.

How to store coconut oil to extend shelf life

To get the most longevity out of your jars of coconut oil, proper storage is key. Here are some tips:

  • Buy smaller jars: The more you open and close a jar, the shorter the shelf life.
  • Store in a cool, dark place: Heat and light accelerate spoilage.
  • Keep lid tightly sealed: Prevents moisture from getting in.
  • Don’t double dip: Use a clean spoon each time to prevent bacteria.
  • Check for signs: Do regular sight and smell checks.

Can you freeze coconut oil to extend its shelf life?

Freezing is an excellent way to prolong the shelf life of coconut oil. In the freezer, coconut oil can last for years past the printed expiration date. To freeze:

  • Make sure the oil is completely solidified before freezing.
  • Put the closed jar of coconut oil in an airtight freezer bag.
  • Store in the back of the freezer where temperature is most constant.
  • Label with the date so you know how long it’s been frozen.

When ready to use, thaw the oil in the refrigerator or by putting the jar in warm water. Avoid thawing at room temperature.

Can you refrigerate coconut oil to make it last longer?

Refrigerating coconut oil can extend its shelf life for about a year past its expiration date. The cold temperature slows down oxidation. To refrigerate:

  • Make sure the oil is solid – refrigerating melted coconut oil can lead to mold growth.
  • Store the sealed jar towards the back of the fridge.
  • Use within 1 year for best quality.
  • Let it come fully to room temperature before use.

What’s the best way to use up expired coconut oil?

If your coconut oil is nearing expiration or recently expired, the best way to use it up quickly is by:

  • Cooking: Use for sautéing, stir-frying, baking, etc.
  • Frying: Works great for deep frying or pan frying foods.
  • Oil pulling: Swish a spoonful around your mouth for oral health.
  • Body moisturizer: Apply as a body lotion, lip balm, makeup remover.
  • Hair mask: Nourish hair with a hair mask treatment.
  • Soap making: Use in place of other oils when making soap.

Avoid direct skin or ingestion if the oil smells rancid. But using expired coconut oil for high heat cooking and beauty purposes can help avoid waste.

Can expired coconut oil make you sick?

Consuming rancid coconut oil is unlikely to make you seriously ill. At most, it may cause some temporary nausea, diarrhea, or upset stomach in sensitive individuals. As long as it hasn’t grown mold, coconut oil won’t cause food poisoning or dangerous effects.

That said, ingesting oxidized fats over long periods may promote inflammatory conditions in the body. Eating large amounts could irritate the digestive tract. Apply caution with ingesting expired coconut oil, especially if it smells or tastes unpleasant.

Using rancid coconut oil topically can potentially irritate sensitive skin. Discontinue use if you experience redness, itching, or other reactions.

How can you deodorize coconut oil that smells bad?

If your expired coconut oil has developed a bad odor but you don’t want to throw it away, you can try deodorizing it. Here are two methods:

Baking soda

  • Add a tablespoon of baking soda per 1 cup of rancid oil.
  • Heat over low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth.
  • Repeat if needed for stronger odors.

Activated charcoal

  • Stir a teaspoon of activated charcoal per 1 cup of oil.
  • Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • Strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth.
  • Repeat if smell remains.

Deodorizing can help revive coconut oil to extend its shelf life slightly. But it won’t reverse the chemical changes of rancidification. Deodorized oil is best for beauty uses, not ingestion.

Can you use expired coconut oil for skin?

Using expired or slightly old coconut oil topically on your skin is generally fine. Because skin contact doesn’t involve ingesting rancid compounds, the risks are lower. However, be cautious if you have sensitive skin:

  • Do a patch test first: Apply a small amount to test for irritation or allergy.
  • Use for massage oils, moisturizers, makeup removers.
  • Avoid putting on broken or damaged skin.
  • Stop if you have any redness, itching, or burning.
  • Don’t use if you smell rancidity or see mold.

Coconut oil typically has a long shelf life compared to other vegetable oils before going rancid. But trust your senses – if it smells or looks unpleasant, it’s best not to put it on your skin.

Can you use expired coconut oil for hair?

Using slightly expired or old coconut oil in your hair is unlikely to cause harm. Because hair is porous and absorbs oil easily, rancid compounds may have more exposure to skin. Take these precautions:

  • Do an allergy test: Dab on your inner elbow before wider use.
  • Use for pre-shampoo conditioning, masks, oil treatments.
  • Don’t apply to broken scalp or overly irritated skin.
  • Rinse out thoroughly with shampoo – don’t leave in hair.
  • Avoid if hair is fragile or chemically treated.

Monitor your scalp and hair health closely. Discontinue use if you notice increased dryness, breakage, or scalp irritation after using old coconut oil.

Can I cook with expired coconut oil?

Cooking with expired coconut oil is not recommended. High heat tends to amplify odors and flavors. Rancid coconut oil can transfer unpleasant tastes to foods you cook with it. Even a mild rancid scent could become pronounced in cooked dishes.

It’s better to use fresh, non-rancid coconut oil for cooking. Reserve potentially expired coconut oil for non-cooking uses like on skin and hair. Or deodorize first before using in foods.

If ingesting coconut oil that is months past expiration, use caution. Discard if you notice any rotten, unpleasant aromas or if the oil tastes bitter.

Is coconut oil safe after expiration date for weight loss?

Some people use coconut oil in beverages like coffee or smoothies to boost energy and potentially aid weight loss. This is not the best application for expired coconut oil.

Even if the oil seems visually OK, oxidation and rancidity can form unhealthy compounds. Consuming rancid fats on a regular basis may potentially promote inflammation and other issues – not what you want when trying to lose weight.

It’s advisable to only use fresh, non-rancid coconut oil for ingestion purposes. Or opt for a different oil like olive oil if your coconut oil is expired.

Can you use rancid coconut oil for oil pulling?

Oil pulling involves swishing oil in the mouth for oral and dental health. Many people use coconut oil to oil pull due to its antibacterial properties.

However, you should avoid using rancid coconut oil for oil pulling. The prolonged direct contact with the oral cavity increases exposure to oxidation products. Ingesting even small amounts of rancid oil each day may irritate the digestive system.

Only use fresh, non-rancid coconut oil for oil pulling activities. Discard jars past their prime to avoid inadvertent ingestion.


Coconut oil’s natural saturation gives it a long shelf life of 2-5 years when unopened. Opened coconut oil will stay fresh tasting for about 1-2 years when stored properly in cool, dark conditions. Look for changes in color, texture, and smell to determine if your coconut oil has gone rancid.

While not inherently dangerous, it’s best to discard coconut oil that smells or tastes unpleasant. Rancid coconut oil contains oxidized compounds that may cause digestive upset or skin irritation. Avoid ingesting or cooking with expired coconut oil.

To prolong freshness, store your coconut oil tightly sealed in the fridge or freezer. If refrigerating, let it come to room temperature before use. Frozen coconut oil can keep for years past the expiration date. Proper storage helps prevent spoilage.

If used mindfully, coconut oil slightly past its prime can still be used effectively for beauty treatments and skin care. But it’s ideal to use up coconut oil promptly once opened. Buy smaller jars, make it a priority to use, and store it well to maximize shelf life.

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