how to tell if vegetable oil is bad

how to tell if vegetable oil is bad

How to Tell if Vegetable Oil is Bad

Vegetable oil is an indispensable kitchen staple that can be used for a variety of culinary applications such as baking and stir-frying. Unlike other food like meat, vegetables, or fruits, where you can tell if food has gone bad by its smell or appearance, oil can be trickier to recognize since it does not change much in that regard. If you’re wondering whether your vegetable oil has gone bad, here are a few pointers to help you tell if it’s time to discard the oil and get a fresh bottle:

1. Check the Expiry Date

The easiest way to tell if oil has gone bad is to check the expiry date mentioned on the bottle. If oil has gone past its expiry date, it is always advisable to discard it. Do not consume expired vegetable oil, as it can lead to food poisoning and digestive issues.

2. Smell it

When you open the bottle, make sure to smell the oil first. If it smells rancid, bitter, or off, it’s best to discard it. Rancid oil usually has a foul odor and a bitter aftertaste, so it’s easy to detect.

3. Check the Color and Consistency

Expired vegetable oil tends to take on odd colors, such as yellowish or cloudy shades. In some cases, it will also have a thick consistency. If your oil looks different from a bottle of freshly bought oil, it’s better to discard it.

4. Look for Signs of Mold

Another sign that your vegetable oil has gone bad is the presence of mold on the surface of the oil. If you can see any kind of fuzzy growth on the surface, discard the oil immediately.

5. Taste it

Though this may not be the most reliable method, you can give the oil a small taste to see if it has gone bad. If it has a strange taste, it is time to throw it out and get a new bottle.


If you notice any of the previously mentioned signs, it is time to discard your vegetable oil. Do not risk consuming expired or moldy oil, as this can lead to serious health problems. Whenever in doubt, just follow these steps to stay safe.

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