How long can I keep garlic oil?

Garlic oil is a popular ingredient in many cuisines. It adds a wonderful garlic flavor to dishes and can be used for sautéing, roasting, marinating, and dipping. But how long does garlic oil last once it’s been opened? Here’s a look at garlic oil shelf life and how to tell if garlic oil has gone bad.

Quick Answer

Unopened garlic oil will last about 1 year past the printed expiration date. Once opened, garlic oil will last about 3-6 months in the pantry. For maximum shelf life, store garlic oil in the refrigerator after opening and it will keep for 6-12 months.

How Long Does Unopened Garlic Oil Last?

An unopened bottle of garlic oil will typically last about 1 year past the printed expiration or best by date. The expiration date takes into account the fact that the quality of the oil slowly degrades over time. As long as the bottle remains factory sealed, garlic oil has a pretty long shelf life at room temperature.

Does Garlic Oil Expire?

Yes, garlic oil does eventually expire and go bad. The shelf life for an unopened bottle of garlic oil is about 1 year from the printed date. The expiration date assumes proper storage conditions, which for garlic oil is a cool, dark pantry away from heat and light.

How to Tell if Unopened Garlic Oil is Bad?

Here are some signs that an unopened bottle of garlic oil has gone bad:

  • Expiration date has long passed
  • Bottle is bloated or leaking
  • Garlic oil smells rancid, rotten, or unpleasant
  • Oil is darkened in color
  • Oil has changed consistency and is no longer pourable
  • Mold is visible on the oil or inside the bottle

As long as the garlic oil appears normal and the expiry date has not passed, an unopened bottle should still be fine to use.

How Long Does Opened Garlic Oil Last?

Once a bottle of garlic oil is opened, the shelf life decreases. This is because air and bacteria are introduced into the bottle, which speeds up the rate of spoilage. Here is how long opened garlic oil will last:

  • Pantry: 3-6 months
  • Refrigerator: 6-12 months

Does Refrigerating Garlic Oil Extend its Shelf Life?

Yes, refrigerating garlic oil after opening will extend its shelf life. The cool temperatures inside the refrigerator slow down the spoilage process. Garlic oil that is kept in the fridge will stay fresh for 6-12 months.

How to Tell if Opened Garlic Oil Has Gone Bad

Here are some signs that an opened bottle of garlic oil has expired:

  • Garlic odor is gone
  • Oil smells rancid or rotten
  • Change in color – oil looks darker
  • Change in texture – oil is thick and gloppy
  • Mold is visible

If your opened garlic oil shows any of those signs, it’s best to throw it out. Rancid oil has an unpleasant taste and consuming it could potentially make you sick.

How to Store Garlic Oil Properly

To get the longest shelf life out of your garlic oil, proper storage is essential. Here are some tips for storing garlic oil:

  • Pantry: Store unopened garlic oil in a cool, dry place away from direct light.
  • Refrigerator: Once opened, keep garlic oil in the fridge to make it last longer.
  • Container: Keep garlic oil in an airtight container or bottle. Oxygen will speed spoilage.
  • Use: Be sure to use clean utensils when scooping garlic oil to prevent introducing bacteria.
  • Shelf life: Write the date you opened the garlic oil on the bottle. Use within 3-6 months (pantry) or 6-12 months (fridge).

Does Garlic Powder Last Longer Than Garlic Oil?

Garlic powder generally has a longer shelf life than garlic oil. Here’s how their shelf lives compare:

Product Unopened After Opening
Garlic Oil 1 year 3-6 months (pantry)
6-12 months (fridge)
Garlic Powder 2-3 years 3-4 years

Garlic powder lasts a lot longer than garlic oil because it has been dehydrated, so moisture cannot cause spoilage. Since oils are sensitive to heat, light, and oxygen exposure, they tend to have a shorter shelf life than dried spices and herbs.

Does Refrigerating Garlic Powder Help it Last Longer?

Unlike garlic oil, refrigerating garlic powder is not necessary and will not extend its shelf life. Garlic powder should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place like the pantry. Since there is very little moisture in garlic powder, it does not require refrigeration to stay fresh. The shelf life of garlic powder stored in the pantry is about 2-3 years for an unopened container, and 3-4 years for opened garlic powder.

What Happens if You Eat Garlic Oil After it Expires?

It’s not recommended to consume rancid garlic oil that is past its prime. As garlic oil ages, the quality degrades and it will not have the same robust garlic flavor. Oils that have spoiled tend to taste unpleasant or bitter.

More concerning is the potential for foodborne illness from eating expired garlic oil. The moisture and nutrients in garlic oil make an ideal environment for harmful bacteria like salmonella, listeria, and E. coli to grow once the oil has spoiled. Consuming contaminated garlic oil could potentially lead to food poisoning symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

To avoid getting sick, it’s important to always check garlic oil for signs of spoilage before using it. If the garlic oil smells bad, looks abnormal, or is past its recommended shelf life, it’s best to discard it.

Can Garlic Oil Be Used After the Expiration Date?

Garlic oil should not be used after it is expired. The printed expiration date on the bottle is an indication of when the manufacturer can guarantee the quality and safety of the oil. Once garlic oil passes its expiration date, the risk of spoilage and foodborne illness increases over time.

That being said, if an unopened bottle of garlic oil was properly stored and still smells and looks normal, it may sometimes still be acceptable for use after the printed date has lapsed. However, there is no way to definitively tell if it is still safe, so it’s generally recommended to discard garlic oil after the expiration date as a precaution.

How to Tell if Garlic Has Gone Bad?

Aside from garlic oil, fresh garlic bulbs can also spoil. Here are some signs that a garlic bulb has gone bad:

  • Dry, shriveled skin
  • Visible mold
  • Soft spots or areas that feel hollow when squeezed
  • Brown or discolored cloves
  • Strong odor
  • Bitter, unpleasant taste

To extend the life of fresh garlic bulbs, store them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and heat. Do not refrigerate them or seal them in an airtight container, as humidity can speed spoilage. Properly stored garlic can last for several months.

Does Garlic Go Bad?

Yes, garlic can eventually spoil and go bad. The shelf life of fresh garlic bulbs is about 3-6 months if properly stored in a cool, well-ventilated place. Whole garlic bulbs last longer than peeled cloves or crushed garlic due to their protective skin. Signs that garlic has spoiled include mold, dampness, sprouting, and an overly strong odor.

How Long Does Minced Garlic in a Jar Last?

Minced garlic that is commercially packaged in a jar will keep for a long time compared to fresh garlic. Here is how long it lasts:

  • Unopened: 12-24 months
  • After opening: 10-12 months in the refrigerator

The jar and refrigeration provide an environment where the minced garlic is less exposed to air, light, and moisture. An unopened jar should be good for about 2 years if stored in a cool, dry pantry. Once opened, it’s best to refrigerate the jar to extend the shelf life to about 1 year.

How Long Does Minced Garlic Last in the Fridge?

Properly stored, minced garlic in an airtight container will last about 10-12 months in the refrigerator. The cold temperatures of the fridge slow down spoilage. Make sure to use clean utensils when scooping out the minced garlic to prevent contamination.

Signs that refrigerated minced garlic has gone bad include an off smell, change in color or texture, sliminess, and mold growth. Discard if any signs of spoilage appear.

Does Garlic Need to Be Refrigerated?

Whole, unpeeled garlic bulbs do not need to be refrigerated for storage. Keeping them at room temperature in a dry, well-ventilated place will allow whole garlic bulbs to last for several months. Putting whole garlic bulbs in the fridge can actually cause them to spoil faster.

However, peeled cloves of garlic, crushed garlic, and prepared garlic products like minced garlic and garlic oil do need refrigeration to maximize their shelf life once opened. The fridge prevents moisture loss and slows down spoilage.

How Long Can Raw Garlic Be Stored in the Fridge?

Here is how long different types of raw garlic will last in the refrigerator:

  • Whole garlic bulbs: 2-3 months
  • Peeled cloves: 10-14 days
  • Minced garlic: 5-7 days
  • Garlic oil: 6-12 months

Whole heads of garlic can keep for a few months in the fridge before sprouting and drying out. Peeled cloves and minced garlic have a shorter fridge life of 1-2 weeks. For long term storage, prepared garlic products like minced garlic and garlic oil can last about 1 year refrigerated.

Does Roasted Garlic Last Longer Than Raw?

Contrary to expectations, roasted garlic does not last as long as raw garlic. Here is how their fridge shelf lives compare:

  • Raw garlic: 2-3 months
  • Roasted garlic: 2-3 weeks

Roasting garlic actually decreases its shelf life compared to raw because the heat damages the cellular structure of the cloves. This makes roasted garlic more prone to moisture loss, spoilage, and mold growth. For maximum freshness, roasted garlic should be refrigerated and used within 2-3 weeks.

How Long Does Roasted Garlic Last in the Fridge?

Properly stored, roasted garlic will last about 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. To extend its fridge life, store roasted garlic in an airtight container and make sure there is no visible moisture. Signs roasted garlic has spoiled are mold, an off smell, and very soft cloves.

Can You Freeze Garlic Oil?

Yes, garlic oil can be frozen to extend its shelf life. To freeze garlic oil:

  1. Pour the garlic oil into an airtight freezer bag or freezer-safe container, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace.
  2. Seal the container and label with the date.
  3. Freeze for up to 6 months.

Frozen garlic oil may turn cloudy in color and solidify. Thaw in the refrigerator before using and give it a stir to reincorporate. Use thawed garlic oil within 6 months for best quality.

Can You Freeze Garlic Cloves?

Garlic cloves can also be frozen, either peeled or unpeeled. To freeze:

  1. Peel cloves if desired. If leaving unpeeled, clean off any dirt.
  2. Place garlic in an airtight freezer bag or container, removing excess air.
  3. Freeze for up to 12 months.

Frozen garlic may turn a bit brown but will still be fine to use in cooking. Rinse under cool water to thaw or allow to thaw overnight in the fridge before using.


An unopened bottle of garlic oil will keep for about 1 year past its printed date. Once opened, garlic oil stays fresh for 3-6 months at room temperature, and 6-12 months in the refrigerator. To maximize the shelf life of garlic oil, store it in an airtight bottle in a cool, dry place and refrigerate after opening. Signs garlic oil has expired are changes in aroma, color, texture, and visible mold growth. For the longest shelf life, garlic oil and whole heads of garlic should be kept in the fridge, while garlic powder can be stored in the pantry.

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