sesame oil

Sesame Oil Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad?

While doing grocery shopping, you look through the aisles and feel the urge to just buy everything. This happens even in the oil section when you are tempted to pick every variety available as the inner chef in you gives you a calling that in the coming days you might plan to eat Asian cuisine or any other. What will you do then?

Will you be willing to go to the store then come back, and make the food? That’s why you think that it is better to pick it up now or else you will end up eating a sandwich.

Sesame oil is not a daily-in-use item but one does wish to have it in the kitchen.

While arranging items in the cabinet you realize, you had a sesame oil before. Is it expired? Has it gone bad? Should I just throw it and use the new one or should I keep both safely this time so I remember to use it next time?

This article is for all those who want answers to their questions.

Sesame oil is derived from sesame seeds and is given the name “Queen of Oilseeds” due to its ability to withstand rancidity and oxidation better as compared to other oils (*).

They are known to provide distinct flavor and aroma to foods in which they are added along with the nutritional benefits they hold. 

Sesame seeds are high in protein, B-vitamins, dietary fiber and minerals, like phosphorus, iron, magnesium, calcium, manganese, copper, and zinc (*) (*). They have a high concentration of good fats, like mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids (*).

It is an essential ingredient among Asian recipes due to its nutty aroma and rich flavor thereby adding complexity to the food. It is added during cooking, stir-frying, marinating, in salads or in finishing or drizzling of prepared food, etc.

Varieties of Sesame Oil

The following are the varieties that are available in the market:

Light/ white or plain sesame oil is made from raw untoasted sesame seeds. They have a high smoke point so they can be used for shallow frying or roasting. With a neutral flavor, they blend well into any dish being made.

Toasted/ dark or Asian sesame oil is made from toasted seeds. It is brown to dark red-brown, has a strong aroma and a richer nutty flavor. With a low smoke point, it is used as a finishing oil in fried rice, noodles, and salad dressings.

Cold-pressed sesame oil refers to the method used to extract oil. It is a traditional method in which no chemicals, heat or preservatives are involved

Blended oils are those which are made from a combination of two. For example, sesame seed and olive oil when combined as one.

How To Store Sesame Oil

It is essential to store sesame oil (any variety) in such a way that it maintains its quality over time. Poor storage may lead to rancidity (turning bad when exposed to oxygen) even before the expiration date.

Don’t worry, as storing it is not that difficult. Here are a few points to consider:

#1. If you intend to keep the oil in the bottle purchased, then close it tightly after every use.

#2. Keep it in a cool, dark place. Be it a pantry or a cabinet.

#3. If you like storing oils yourself, prefer green or blue colored bottles with tight caps as it will block sunlight from degrading it. Do not put it in plastic, iron or copper containers.

#4. Prefer storing it in the refrigerator for longer shelf life. It may turn cloudy or thick but you can put it outside before using it so that it comes to its original state at room temperature.

#5. Avoid putting it in places where the temperature fluctuates like near the stove, refrigerator unit, near window, etc. This will reduce the chances of oil turning bad soon.

#6. Sesame oil can be used a couple of months even after the expiry date if it is stored properly and it has not turned rancid.

#7. Opened sesame oil will be fresh at room temperature for 6 – 8 months and for 2 years when stored in a refrigerator.

#8. Unopened containers will be good if stored at room temperature for a year and for 2 years in the refrigerator.

How To Check If Sesame Oil Has Gone Bad

It is easy to check whether sesame oil has gone bad as it may turn rancid if exposed to moisture, heat, light, use of wrong containers or bacteria.

  • Sight

If there are clouds on the surface, there are chances that it may have turned rancid. Inspect the lid if it was tightly closed and the storage environment. Check the best before date.

  • Smell

Rancid oil will smell sour or will have an unpleasant odor. If it does not have that nutty aroma, it has gone bad.

  • Taste

Try a drop of oil and if it tastes bad, bitter or sour, it has turned rancid.


Is it OK to use expired sesame oil?

Yes. The best before date tells the date by which the product quality will be best. If stored properly, sesame oil can be easily used after the expiry date.

Does sesame oil need to be refrigerated?

Yes. It is preferable to store sesame oil in the refrigerator as it will increase its shelf life and will not get rancid easily.

Does sesame oil solidify?

When sesame oil is kept in the refrigerator, it may solidify but this will not affect its quality. Whenever you may need to use it, put it outside at room temperature and it will return to its original state.

How long is sesame oil good for?

Generally, sesame oil is good for 1 year in the pantry and 2 years if kept in the refrigerator.

Can rancid sesame oil make you sick?

One can easily check before putting it into the dish by smelling it first. The sour, bitter smell will indicate that it has gone bad. It will not harm you if consumed but it will surely ruin the dish you prepared, and that you will not be able to eat it further.

Can you fry food in sesame oil?

For frying, prefer unroasted/ light sesame oil as it has a high smoke point rather than roasted sesame oil which should only be used to drizzle in the end as a dressing or on salads.


Sesame oil can be included in the diet as a flavor enhancer along with all the benefits from the nutrients it has to offer.

Only buy the quantity of sesame oil that you can easily consume within a year. Keep it tightly closed and in the refrigerator for best results every time. A little care while storing food will make it go a long way and make you enjoy your food and satisfy your cravings.

sesame oil shelf life

*Photo by AndreySt/depositphotos

About The Author

Scroll to Top