Avocado oil holds the potential to be the next best thing in the kitchen due to the results it brings to the table (pun intended). It can be used to make salad dressings, condiments, vegetables, meat, etc., in place of olive oil or sesame oil. Due to its taste, aroma, and several health benefits, avocado oil is often found in kitchen pantries, and we are sure you have a bottle of it as well.
But do you ever wonder whether the avocado oil you bought has gone bad? Your concern is legit. Avocado oil does go bad, but you can prevent that from happening by undertaking a few storage techniques.
Therefore, for Avocado aficionados, we’ve decided to cover everything you need to know about storage, shelf life, expiration, and different tell-tale signs of spoilage of avocado oil. Read on!
Types of Avocado Oil
In order to identify which avocado oil you are using and how to detect signs of spoilage, you must know the types of avocado oil.
Avocado is not seen as often in households, which still makes most of us unaware of the types and storage methods.
Ideally, there are two types of avocado oils available:
Unrefined Avocado Oil has a very distinct color and texture. It may taste and smell buttery and may also seem a bit thick and sticky.
Unrefined ones are usually labeled as extra virgin or virgin avocado oil, depending on the refining procedures. It has a more greenish, yellowish tinge as well.
On the other hand, refined avocado oil seems like any other normal vegetable oil. It has a neutral taste and color. Therefore, refined versions can be easily used as replacements for any other vegetable oil, and you may not quite notice the difference either.
Now that we know about the types let’s focus on whether avocado oil turns bad easily and how you can store them.
Does Avocado Oil Go Bad?
Most edible items don’t last forever. Be it in the case of vegetable oils like avocado as well. Avocado oil is often confused with olive oil for its looks and properties. However, they have different shelf lives due to the amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Avocado oil has fewer polyunsaturated fatty acids than olive oil. This slows down the rancidification process in avocado oils. However, as it turns old, you would notice a change in color and taste, as the fatty acid content does not entirely prevent it from getting spoilt.
However, if you have a half-opened bottle of avocado oil at home, or notice a pack of avocado oil on the shelf, knowing the signs of spoilage will help you determine if the oil is safe for use or not.
Once the oil gets old and deteriorates, it loses its properties and benefits, rendering it useless.
We help you figure out all the details you need to know about storing and using Avocado oil to maximize its properties and benefits.
How Long does Avocado Oil Last?
Different brands of Avocado Oils have different shelf lives. The actual shelf life is mentioned in each packaging. However, in general, unrefined avocado oils last less than the refined varieties.
Unrefined oils have higher fatty acid content, making them healthier for use. But, they are also prone to get rancid quickly.
On the other hand, refined oils undergo several processes and may even contain preservatives. This increases the overall longevity of these varieties.
How long does unopened Avocado Oil last?
- Lasts till the “best before” date, as mentioned
- Lasts for 9-12 months if stored in the refrigerator
How long does Avocado Oil last once opened (unrefined)?
- Lasts for 4-6 months on the shelf
- 6-9 months in the refrigerator
How long does Avocado Oil last once opened (refined)?
- Lasts for 9-12 months on the shelf
- 12-15 months in the refrigerator
Various oil brands carry out various refining processes that spoil avocado oil’s original quality and properties. Therefore, most oils start deteriorating even before their mentioned expiry date.
However, if you read the ‘best before date on the package label, the oil is still suitable to be used after the best before date. The only minus part would be a slight decrease in its original properties and benefits.
Signs of Spoilage | How to tell if avocado oil goes bad?
Avocado oil comes with a long shelf life. However, one needs to understand how to detect whether their avocado oil has gone wrong. Especially if you use it regularly, then detecting signs of spoilage can get difficult because you are used to the distinct taste.
Here is what you need to check as signs of spoilage for avocado oil:
Avocado oil is generally light green to transparent in color. If you notice that the avocado oil has turned darker, or looks unusual than its original packaging color, then the avocado oil is spoilt. Of course, there are other tests to confirm if the oil is spoilt or not.
Often, if you store the oil in the fridge, you may see a cloudy and different texture of the oil as compared to what it was originally!
Tip: In such cases, you can allow the oil to come to room temperature or heat it a bit to remove the cloudiness. The oil is still safe to use.
Under normal circumstances, unrefined avocado oil has a buttery smell, whereas refined varieties have no smell in particular. If you have ever smelled or tasted spoilt vegetable oil, then avocado oil is more or less similar to vegetable oil when it comes to spoiling!
Also, if you get a typical chemical-like smell, which is sour and unpleasant, then your avocado oil is not worth using anymore. Some claim it has an off, play dough-like smell, while some claim it smells like acetone (nail polish remover).
These smells may be more prominent in the unrefined varieties as they tend to turn rancid easily. In the case of refined avocado oil, you may need to check several times using several methods before you can confirm if it is spoilt.
Sometimes the oil may not have changed color or appears normal and smells fine. It is always advisable to take a taste test. If there is any chemical-like taste or something that is sour or tastes off, it’s time to discard the avocado oil.
Author’s Note: Remember that the off-taste may be more prominent in the unrefined varieties as they contain a high amount of fatty acids than their refined counterparts.
Slight exposure to heat or light may cause an unwanted oxidation reaction in avocado oils. Therefore, always look for a brand that offers opaque packaging. If you see an avocado oil with a transparent pack, it’s bound to deteriorate more easily when stored at home or on the pantry shelf.
Extra virgin avocado oils/unrefined versions are better stored in opaque glass bottles to maintain the properties and freshness of the avocado oil. Else, it is always risky to buy the ones with transparent packaging!
Best Before Date/Expiry Date
The best before date is essential since this determines how soon you can use the avocado oil to avail the best of its benefits. The oil can still be used after the best before date, just that the properties and benefits of the oil may be compromised.
Once you notice any of these above factors like bad taste, smell, or appearance, then the oil has definitely crossed its expiry date.
Is it okay to use expired Avocado Oil? Can expired avocado oil make you sick?
You may not immediately fall sick if you consume spoilt avocado oil. If avocado oil is spoilt, it has basically developed toxic radicals.
This is because the oil undergoes oxidation and becomes rancid with time. These free radicals may enter your body and affect your overall health and immune system. Free radicals in the system can eventually lead to chronic diseases.
Therefore, to avoid the accumulation of toxic radicals in the body, it’s best to avoid consuming any expired oil or spoilt avocado oil.
Sometimes, the oil may go bad even before its expiry or the best before date. This is due to the various refining processes carried out these days that lead to the early deterioration of processed edible oils. At such times, it is advisable to check for signs rather than stick to the expiry date.
How to Store Avocado Oil?
Storing avocado oils is not much of a hassle. These oils have a very good shelf life which makes them last longer, just like other vegetable oils.
However, avocado oils can turn rancid pretty easily and may develop toxic radicals. Therefore, the best way to store them on the shelf is to keep them in an opaque, air-tight bottle.
Any exposure to air or light can quicken the rancidification process, rendering the oil useless and causing early degradation.
Store at cool temperatures, away from exposure to sunlight, in a dark bottle preferably.
Does Avocado Oil Need to be Refrigerated? How long does Avocado Oil last in the Refrigerator?
Another way to increase the shelf life of avocado oil is to store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
You can store avocado oils in any opaque bottle at the door of the refrigerator to maintain the temperature and increase its shelf life. This will help you preserve its quality for at least 8 months.
If you want it to stay more than a year, then you have to store it in a freezer.
Just make sure to seal the bottle properly and maintain a temperature of 35 to 37 degrees Fahrenheit in the freezer.
Storing oil in the refrigerator can change the texture and solidify the oil. In such cases, you can warm the oil or allow it to reach room temperature before consuming it. It is relatively easy to defrost avocado oil by applying direct heat and melting it.
What are the Alternatives to Avocado Oil if it has gone bad?
If you run out of avocado oil, you can use the following alternatives:
- Grapeseed oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Coconut oil
- Vegetable oil
- Peanut oil
How does Avocado Oil compare to olive oil?
Avocado oil is more versatile as compared to olive oil. Olive oil has a neutral flavor and smells, whereas avocado oil has a buttery or nutty flavor to it. The flavors change as the oils mature upon storage.
Avocado oil also has a high smoke point (450° F) as compared to olive oil (375° F). Avocado oil imparts a better flavor when used for frying, grilling, stir-frying, etc. Avocado oil has fewer polyunsaturated fatty acids than olive oil, giving it a longer shelf life than olive oil.
Is it safe to refrigerate avocado oil?
If you store the avocado oil in dark conditions, away from high temperatures, then you will not need a refrigerator for avocado oils. However, refrigerating can be a good option if you want it to last longer.
Refrigeration can cause the fats to solidify and give a peculiar taste or smell to the oil. But, it is still considered safe for use. You may not reap the same benefits as you may get from fresher varieties.
What is the difference between refined and virgin avocado oil?
Refined avocado oils have natural fatty acids removed from the oil. Virgin avocado oils undergo minimal processes for packaging and retain the original properties and fatty acids. This makes them extra tasty, but they have a shorter shelf life.
How stable is avocado oil?
As compared to other vegetable oils, avocado oils are very stable and do not need frequent refrigeration or preservatives. It has a naturally long shelf life. This is because it has low amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can cause rancidification.
Rather, it has more amount of monounsaturated fatty acids that make it quite stable, easy to store, and healthier to use.
Does avocado oil go rancid when heated?
Avocado oil cannot grow mold. But it will slowly oxidize with time and turn rancid, especially when heated. If you notice that, it is best to throw it away.
Does avocado oil get cloudy?
While avocado oil is stable, it will turn cloudy when refrigerated. This is mainly due to the presence of saturated fats that start to thicken.
The Bottom Line
Storing avocado oils is relatively simple because they have a long shelf life. But, determining if it has gone bad can be confusing if you use it regularly. Basically, you need to find out by using the sniff, taste, and look test.
You can make the best use of avocado oil for a long time if you store it under inappropriate conditions. You can also store it in the refrigerator to increase its shelf life. It all depends on the brand and the oil quality, after all.
Did you like this article? Let us know if you have any questions or additional tips you may want to share in the comment section below.
Gina P. Shudnow is the brain behind all our scientific research. She is a Registered Dietitian who has been in the field for over ten years. Her nutrition tips have helped several people overcome health issues in the past. She strives to make everybody healthier without compromising on their food diet.