How long will ghee keep in the refrigerator?

Ghee, also known as clarified butter, is a type of fat that has been used in Indian and South Asian cuisine for thousands of years. It is made by simmering unsalted butter to separate the milk solids from the pure butterfat. This process results in a product with a high smoke point and rich, nutty flavor that makes it ideal for sautéing and frying.

One of the advantages of ghee is its long shelf life compared to regular butter. When stored properly, ghee can be kept for extended periods of time without spoiling. But how long exactly will ghee last in the refrigerator? Here is a comprehensive guide to ghee’s shelf life, proper storage methods, signs of spoilage, and how to tell if your ghee has gone bad.

How Long Does Ghee Last in the Fridge?

When stored in the refrigerator, unopened ghee can last 3-6 months past the printed expiration date. Once opened, ghee will keep for 2-3 months in the refrigerator.

The exact shelf life depends on several factors:

Type of ghee

– Homemade ghee – 1-2 months
– Store-bought ghee – 3-6 months unopened, 2-3 months once opened

Storage method

– Stored in airtight container – lasts longer
– Stored loosely covered or in butter dish – shorter shelf life

Freshness of ghee when purchased

– Fresher ghee lasts longer
– Older ghee has shorter shelf life

Temperature of refrigerator

– Stored at proper temp of 40°F or below – lasts longer
– Stored in warmer fridge – shorter shelf life

So a new container of store-bought ghee kept tightly sealed in a 40°F refrigerator can last up to 6 months past the sell-by date. Once opened, that same container should keep for 2-3 more months if refrigerated and used occasionally. Homemade ghee generally has a shorter fridge life of just 1-2 months.

How to Store Ghee in the Refrigerator

To maximize freshness and shelf life, ghee should be stored properly in the refrigerator:

– Keep ghee in an airtight container to prevent exposure to air, light, and food odors. A mason jar, plastic container with tight lid, or the original packaging works best.

– For homemade ghee, allow to solidify completely before covering. Any moisture can encourage spoilage.

– Store ghee towards the back of the fridge where temperature is coldest. Do not store on door shelves.

– Make sure fridge temperature is 40°F or below. Use a refrigerator thermometer to check.

– Open container minimally to prevent introducing warm air and moisture. Use clean and dry utensils each time.

– Once opened, write the date on the ghee container so you know when it was opened.

– When fridge space is limited, ghee can be stored in the freezer. It lasts 6-8 months frozen solid. Thaw in fridge before using.

Following proper refrigerated storage guidelines will help extend ghee’s shelf life significantly.

Signs of Spoiled Ghee

Despite proper storage methods, ghee can eventually spoil. Signs that your ghee has gone bad include:

– Change in color – Fresh ghee is bright yellow. It darkens with age.

– Sour or unpleasant smell – Rancid ghee gives off a sour, unpleasant odor.

– Change in texture – Ghee separates and becomes grainy. Oil may pool on surface.

– Mold – The presence of mold, even in small amounts, indicates spoilage.

– Taste – Spoiled ghee will have a unpleasant, bitter taste.

– Expiration date – If ghee is past expiration and shows other signs, it has likely spoiled.

If your refrigerated ghee displays one or more of these signs, it should be discarded. As quality degrades, the likelihood of foodborne illness from consumption increases. When in doubt, throw it out.

How to Tell if Ghee Has Gone Bad

Here are some simple ways to test if your refrigerated ghee has spoiled:


Examine the ghee visually. It should retain its rich golden color. Check for any darkening, separation, mold growth or layer of liquid.


Take a whiff of the ghee. It should smell mildly nutty and buttery. If it smells sour or unpleasant, it’s gone bad.


Ghee should feel smooth and silky with no graininess. It should not feel slippery.


Taste a small amount of the ghee. Bad ghee will taste unpleasantly bitter and rancid.


Check how long it’s been in the fridge, especially if opened. Past 2-3 months, it’s risky.

When in doubt, toss it out!

If ghee displays any odd qualities, it’s safest to just discard and get fresh ghee. Don’t risk foodborne illness.

Does Ghee Need to be Refrigerated?

Technically, ghee is shelf-stable and does not require refrigeration. Its low moisture content and saturated fat profile prevent ghee from easily spoiling at room temperature. However, refrigeration is still recommended for best quality. Here’s why:

– Fridge temperature helps extends shelf life significantly over room temp storage. Unopened ghee lasts months, not weeks, refrigerated.

– The cold environment slows oxidation and rancidification that degrades flavor and nutrition.

– Refrigeration prevents any mold growth. Small amounts of moisture in ghee could allow mold.

– The ghee remains nicely solidified for easier scooping and measuring.

– Cold ghee pours cleanly and smoothly without sticking to utensils.

So while ghee can be kept at room temperature, refrigeration provides clear benefits for both shelf life and usage. Storing in the fridge is recommended. Transfer to the counter temporarily as needed for any recipe.

Can Ghee Be Frozen?

Absolutely! Freezing is an excellent long-term storage method for ghee. It stops nearly all degradation and can keep ghee fresh tasting for 6-8 months in the freezer.

To freeze ghee:

– Freeze in original container or sealed mason jar. Leave headspace to allow for expansion.

– Double wrap glass jars in plastic wrap or bags to prevent jar breakage.

– Store ghee towards back of freezer where temperature remains most constant.

– Stack containers to conserve space.

– Label container with date so you know when it was frozen.

When ready to use, thaw frozen ghee overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using for optimal consistency. Avoid thawing at room temp or melting, which can encourage moisture and spoilage.

Freezing prevents quality degradation from both microbial growth and oxidative rancidification. It makes an excellent storage method for stocking up on ghee when on sale or making large batches of homemade.

How Long Does Ghee Last at Room Temperature?

While refrigeration is best, ghee can be kept at room temperature for 1-2 months before quality degradation occurs. Follow these tips for best shelf life if storing ghee at room temp:

– Keep ghee in an airtight container – Mason jars or original packaging work well.

– Store in a cool, dark cupboard away from heat sources, sunlight or humidity.

– Open container minimally and use clean utensils each time to prevent introducing moisture.

– If humidity is high, store ghee in fridge. Moisture reduces shelf life.

– In hot climates, refrigeration recommended over room temp storage.

– If ghee smells unpleasant or looks darker/grainy, discard.

For short term storage under 2 months, room temperature works fine. But for extended storage, the refrigerator or freezer is best to maintain optimal ghee freshness and quality.

Can Ghee Go Bad?

Yes, ghee can spoil and go bad over time. Though ghee lacks the milk solids that quickly go rancid in butter, it is still perishable. Bad ghee is unsafe for consumption and should not be used.

Here are some key reasons properly stored ghee can still go bad:


Exposure to oxygen causes the fats in ghee to slowly oxidize, resulting in rancidification. This produces off-flavors and odors.


Any residual moisture in ghee provides a breeding ground for mold growth. Spores can enter even when sealed.

Heat Exposure

Heat above 75°F will accelerate ghee’s oxidation, even when refrigerated. Storage near heat sources shortens shelf life.

Food Residues

Using dirty utensils introduces food bits that can harbor bacteria and mold. Always use clean utensils.

Light Exposure

Light exposure causes oxidation and nutrient degradation faster. Store ghee in opaque, light-blocking containers.

Proper storage using air-tight containers in the refrigerator or freezer minimizes these risks significantly. But ghee can still degrade in quality and safety over time.


Ghee has a remarkably long shelf life compared to regular butter. When stored properly in the refrigerator, unopened ghee lasts 3-6 months past its printed expiration date. Once opened, expect ghee to keep for an additional 2-3 months in the fridge if tightly covered and used occasionally. For even longer storage, the freezer can keep ghee fresh for up to 8 months.

Be sure to store ghee in airtight packaging in a consistent 40°F refrigerator temperature. Signs of spoiled ghee include changes in color, texture, smell and taste. Discard ghee immediately if mold appears or you detect unpleasant odors or flavors. Following these storage guidelines, along with being aware of the signs of spoilage, will help ensure your ghee stays fresh and usable for many months.

Leave a Comment