Keeping Olive Oil and Other Oils Fresher Longer | Cook's Illustrated
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Keeping Olive Oil and Other Oils Fresher Longer

By Cook's Illustrated Published March 2009

Moving them off the kitchen counter is only the first step. Here's how to prolong the life of the oils in your kitchen.

Shelf Life

Unopened: 1 year Open: 3 months

Do check the harvest date printed on the label of high-end oils to ensure the freshest bottle possible. (Some labels cite an expiration date, which producers typically calculate as 18 months from harvesting. We think unopened olive oil can go rancid 1 year after the harvest date.)

Do move olive oil from the countertop or windowsill to a dark pantry or cupboard. Strong sunlight will oxidize the chlorophyll in the oil, producing stale, harsh flavors.

Don't buy olive oil in bulk. Once opened, it has a very short shelf life.

Checking for Freshness

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet. If it smells rancid, throw out the bottle. (This test works for all vegetable oils.)

Other Oils

Here's a quick guide to storing open bottles of oil in your kitchen. For optimal flavor, replace these oils 6 months after opening.

Store in Pantry

 

  • Canola
  • Corn
  • Peanut
  • Vegetable

 

Store in Fridge

 

  • Sesame
  • Walnut

 

Checking the harvest date on labels will ensure the freshest olive oil.

Keeping your olive oil out of the light and heat will extend the shelf life.

Certain oils should be stored in the pantry.

Other oils retain optimal flavor when stored in a refrigerator.