Palm oil is popular because it’s a high-yielding crop, which makes it more affordable for food manufacturers to use compared to other vegetable oils. You can also buy palm oil to use in your personal kitchen, which might leave you wondering how long it will last before going bad.
Refined palm oil will last around two years if it’s sealed and one year for sealed unrefined palm oil. Once opened, it’s recommended to use palm oil within around six months to ensure it stays fresh.
What is the shelf life of palm oil?
Palm oil comes in refined and unrefined versions, which impacts its shelf life. Refined palm oil lasts longer than unrefined with a shelf life of around two years when sealed, while unrefined palm oil will last around one year.
Red palm oil is a less refined version of palm oil because it’s not bleached, so it falls under the category of unrefined palm oil.
How long does palm oil last after opening?
Fats like palm oil will eventually go rancid once they’re opened, which means their shelf life starts shrinking once the seal is broken. Once you open palm oil, you should use it within 6 months to make sure it stays fresh.
There was even a study on the topic of the shelf life of palm oil, which isn’t available for most other fats! The study found that opened palm oil stayed stable for four months without losing its nutritional value, which is consistent with the 6-month recommendation!
Refrigerating palm oil is thought to improve its shelf life, but we couldn’t find any specific numbers on just how long it might prolong the shelf life after opening.
(Keep in mind that palm oil and palm kernel oil are higher in saturated fat than most vegetable oils, so refrigerating it will cause it to harden even more than it is at room temperature.)
Can you use palm oil after its expiration date?
As long as there aren’t any signs that it’s gone rancid, it’s usually fine to use cooking oils like palm oil past their expiration or “best by” dates. This is especially true if the palm oil is sealed, which helps protect it from going bad.
How to tell if palm oil went bad
Palm oil won’t stay good forever, especially if it’s not stored in ideal conditions. How do you know when it’s time to toss it? Here are some signs that palm oil has gone bad:
- It has a bitter, soapy, metallic, or otherwise unpleasant flavor.
- The color of the palm oil has changed from when you originally bought it.
- Palm oil normally doesn’t have an odor (that’s part of what makes it so versatile for food manufacturers to use), so if it gives off any strong odor, it might be time to toss it.
What’s the danger in using palm oil after it’s gone bad?
Eating a small amount of palm oil that’s gone bad isn’t likely to seriously harm you. You might get an upset stomach if you eat enough of it, but you’d likely notice that the food didn’t taste good before you ate enough of it.
Best storage practices for palm oil
- Palm oil should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Exposure to sunlight can break down some of the nutrients in palm oil (such as vitamin E and the carotenoids that give red palm oil its color) and cause it to go rancid faster.
- Store palm oil in the fridge to keep it fresher longer (but just how much longer isn’t quite clear).
|Refined palm oil (SEALED)||2 years||Likely longer than 2 years|
|Unrefined palm oil (SEALED)||1 year||Likely longer than 1 year|
|Palm oil (any type – OPEN)||6 months||Likely longer than 6 months|
Palm oil is a popular fat used in processed foods because it’s resistant to oxidation, which increases the shelf life of the products it’s used in. Part of this reason is that it doesn’t contain linolenic acid, a fatty acid more prone to oxidation.
Palm oil also has a neutral odor and flavor, which is another benefit for food manufacturers.
Palm oil is made from the fruit of the oil palm, while palm kernel oil is extracted from the kernel (seed) of the fruit. Palm oil is lower in saturated fat than palm kernel oil, which is one of its benefits in terms of heart health.