Palm kernel oil is a tropical cooking oil that’s shelf-stable. However, like all oils, it’s best when used sooner than later.
Palm kernel oil typically has a shelf life of about 1 to 2 years if stored correctly. After opening, it can last for 6 months or more if kept in optimal conditions.
Below, I’ll explore the shelf life of palm kernel oil, how to tell if it has gone bad, and the best storage practices to keep it in pristine condition. Let’s dive in!
What is the shelf life of palm kernel oil?
When stored properly in a cool, dark place, unopened palm kernel oil can typically last for up to 2 years or even longer. However, the shelf life may vary slightly depending on the brand and the quality of the oil. Check the expiration date on the packaging for specific guidance.
How long does palm kernel oil last after opening?
Once you’ve opened a bottle or container of palm kernel oil, its shelf life is generally shorter than unopened oil. However, it can still last for 6 months to a year if stored properly. Like palm oil, palm kernel oil is best when used within the first 6 months of opening.
By refrigerating palm kernel oil, you can typically extend its shelf life even further compared to storing it at room temperature. It can last up to 1 year fridge.
However, keep in mind that refrigerated palm kernel oil may become somewhat solidified due to the cooler temperatures, but it will liquefy again at room temperature or when gently warmed.
|Room temp (counter/pantry)
|Sealed palm kernel oil
|Up to 2 years
|Open palm kernel oil
Can you use palm kernel oil after its expiration date?
Certainly! Palm kernel oil, like many other food products, often comes with a “best by” or “use by” date stamped on the packaging. However, it’s important to understand that this date is typically more of a guideline than a strict rule. Palm kernel oil can often be used safely beyond its expiration date if it has been stored correctly.
Of course, you should check the oil for any signs of spoilage before going ahead and using it (which I’ll explain next).
For the best results, particularly in recipes where the oil’s flavor matters, using fresh oil is best. Always trust your senses and exercise caution when using any food product that has passed its expiration date.
How to tell if palm kernel oil has gone bad
Here are some indicators that your palm kernel oil may have gone bad:
- Rancid palm kernel oil emits an unpleasant, sour, or musty smell. If your oil smells anything other than neutral or slightly nutty, it’s time to discard it.
- Fresh palm kernel oil has a mild, nutty flavor. If your oil tastes bitter, sour, or rancid, it’s no longer suitable for cooking.
- Check for any unusual changes in color or texture. Spoiled palm kernel oil may become cloudy, thick, or develop mold-like growths.
- When heated, fresh palm kernel oil has a high smoke point. If it starts smoking at lower temperatures than usual, it could be a sign of spoilage.
- Examine the bottle for any signs of damage or leakage. A compromised container can expose the oil to air and contaminants, leading to quicker spoilage.
What’s the danger in using palm kernel oil after it’s gone bad?
Using rancid or spoiled palm kernel oil in your cooking can have several negative consequences.
Not only can rancid oil imparts an unpleasant, off-putting flavor to your dishes, but as palm kernel oil deteriorates, its nutritional value diminishes.
As I mentioned earlier, rancid oil may have a lower smoke point, which can lead to smoking and burning – leading to even more unpleasant flavors and odors during cooking.
Consuming spoiled oil may even lead to digestive issues and discomfort. It can also contribute to the intake of harmful compounds that form when oils degrade, potentially impacting your health.
Best storage practices for palm kernel oil
To extend the shelf life of your palm kernel oil and maintain its freshness, follow these best practices:
- Always tightly seal the bottle after use to minimize exposure to air, which can cause oxidation and spoilage.
- Keep palm kernel oil away from direct sunlight and heat sources. A cool, dark pantry is an ideal storage spot.
- Moisture can lead to mold growth in the oil. Ensure the storage area is dry and free from humidity.
- While refrigeration can prolong the shelf life of palm kernel oil, it can also cause the oil to solidify. If you choose to refrigerate it, allow the oil to return to room temperature before use.
- Although the expiration date is not a strict rule, it’s a good reference point. If your palm kernel oil is nearing or past its expiration date, be extra vigilant when assessing its quality.
Palm kernel oil typically comes with an expiration date or a “best by” date, but it doesn’t expire in the same way perishable foods do. Instead, it may become rancid over time. If stored properly, it can often be used beyond the date on the label.
Unopened palm kernel oil can last up to two years or more when stored correctly. Once opened, its shelf life decreases to several months, depending on storage conditions.
To store palm kernel oil effectively, keep it sealed, store it in a cool, dark place, and avoid exposure to humidity and heat. Refrigeration is optional but can extend the oil’s shelf life.