Does MCT Oil Go Bad? How To Maximize Freshness and Identify Bad Oil

does mct oil go bad

Posted on September 22nd, 2020

Does MCT oil go bad? This is a commonly asked question about any sort of ingestible substance. Just like any oil, MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil certainly could go bad. It shares a similarity with coconut oil in that it has a relatively long shelf life and doesn’t need refrigeration. But even though it’s shelf-stable, you may want to store it in the refrigerator to maintain the maximum freshness.

When it comes to MCT oil’s shelf life, there is a standard duration. Many manufacturers claim that their oil has a two-year shelf life from the actual date they packed it. In most cases, the date is the one stamped on the bottle as the use-by or best-by date. Generally speaking, it would be safest to do away with any oil after the two year mark. However, there are ways to help prolong the shelf life. In this article, you will learn about shelf life, storage, and signs of MCT oil going bad. If you want to know more about this, read on.

What Is MCT Oil’s Shelf Life?

The shelf life will vary based on how well you store and keep your MCT oil. For instance, if you keep it on the counter where there is direct sunlight, it might go bad within six months to a year. On the other hand, if your oil remains refrigerated or in a cool, dry, and dark environment, it might help it stay fresh up to 2 yrs or longer. 

Don’t forget that shelf life often refers to how long a product is good when unopened. After the product is opened, the factors you have read earlier will play a significant role in how long your particular product will last. If you want to prolong the MCT oil’s shelf life, you’ll have to handle and store it appropriately. 

How Should You Store MCT Oil After Opening It?

Once you open your oil, it is best to store it in some cool, dry, and dark environment. Storing it in a cabinet or cupboard, preferably away from direct sunlight and from any high heat is advisable. Keep in mind that cabinets over a stove-top tend to become very warm while the stove is on.

Although it is unnecessary to store the MCT oil in your fridge, refrigeration could slow the spoiling process, especially if you live in a warm environment or keep your household on the warmer side.

does mct oil go badWhat Is MCT Oil’s Lifespan in the Refrigerator?

Most oils, including MCT, often have a relatively long shelf life when they’re refrigerated. Although most manufacturers provide a best by date notifying you of when the product might turn bad or lose its potency – remember, this date is used for an unopened bottle. 

After opening the bottle and exposing it to air, the oxidation process begins and causes the oil’s quality to deteriorate faster. As a result, not only should you follow the proper storage recommendations, but you should also ensure that you seal the bottle tightly. 

Although there is no exact proof supporting particular dates, mostly if refrigerated, it would be best to abide by the two-year mark from the actual manufactured date. Just to reiterate, it’s the date printed on the bottle as the best-by or use-by date. 

Does MCT Oil Have to Be Refrigerated?

Typically, MCT oil doesn’t have to be refrigerated. All it requires is some cool, dry place to be kept in. For those who have been refrigerating their MCT oil, don’t fret – this won’t affect the product. However, it is an excellent place to ensure that it is stored in a cool condition, which could help avoid premature degradation.

Will MCT Oil Solidify in the Refrigerator?

MCT oil differs from coconut oil in that it won’t solidify when it’s refrigerated or if the temperature drops. MCT oil will stay in its liquid state even if refrigerated. In some cases, MCT oil may turn pure white and solidify. However, this is only the case with temperatures 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below. There is a good chance that if the MCT oil does solidify in the refrigerator, the oil used isn’t as pure as possible. 

How Can You Determine Whether MCT Oil Is Bad?

In general, there are several ways to determine whether your MCT oil is still good. Just like other foods and oils, we should rely on our various senses to tell if the MCT oil is still usable or has gone bad. Although the texture, clarity, and color might change slightly with age, it does not mean it has become rancid.

Once the oil has become rancid, it is usually difficult to NOT know, particularly with an oil such as MCT oil. Perhaps two years have passed and you’d still like to use your oil. Here are a few ways to determine whether your it has become bad.

Smell and Taste

MCT oil should be odorless and tasteless. One of the first signs that your oil has become bad is any recognizable smell or taste, especially if it is unpleasant. If you determine that the taste is not up to your standards, don’t hesitate to toss out the oil for quality reasons.


Similar to the smell and taste of MCT oil, it should also contain no color. Typically, oil that has become rancid can have a yellowish tint, indicating that it is most probably spoiled. 


If MCT oil has become bad, you might recognize the presence of dark oil spots, which might indicate that it has grown mold or bacteria. 


Generally, MCT oil has an extremely smooth consistency, the same as that of olive oil, or even thinner. If you notice it becoming thick, viscous, or lumpy, throw it away!

Can MCT Powder Go Bad?MCT powder

For those who have not heard of MCT powder, it is a similar product derived from the oil. The difference is that the powder is spray-dried and then bonded to a carrier powder. The process converts the liquid triglycerides into a usable powder form. Some of the reasons people prefer MCT powder are because it’s less messy and easier to travel with, especially when flying.

Although both the MCT powder and oil are virtually the same, some people claim that the powdered versions are much easier to digest. But, since MCT powder has to be bound to something such as a fiber to form a powder, it also might have a relatively shorter shelf-life compared to liquid form. Exposing your MCT powder to air might also result in clumping, the same as if you had a powdered beverage or an old protein powder sitting around. 

Typically, MCT powder will have at least a 1-year shelf life. However, it could be extended when kept in optimal conditions or if refrigerated like its liquid version. 

What Are the Benefits of Using MCT Oil When It Isn’t Bad?

When MCT oil is fresh, it has multiple benefits for your body. It can help with weight loss, boost energy, and improve heart health and cognitive functions. It has anti-fungal properties, and may also relieve symptoms of epilepsy and Alzheimer’s. How these benefits are effected as the oil ages beyond two years is not fully known. It’s safe to assume, however, that the effects could weaken over time. 

Are There Any Side Effects of Using Bad MCT Oil?

As of now, there isn’t much scientific literature concerning the side effects of ingesting rancid MCT oil. However, since even brand new MCT oil can cause some stomach discomfort, it’s safe to assume that expired oil could worsen that side effect. With that said, we would all bet that using  anything soiled might come with some health complications or make you feel sick. All things considered, if you suspect that your product has expired, the prudent thing to do is to throw it away. Buying new MCT oil won’t break the bank, and possible health risks just aren’t worth taking a chance.

If being wasteful is not really an option for you, using your MCT oil as your carrier oil for things such as essential oils could be a workable option. Since it is also lightweight, it tends to absorb into the skin fast, making it a considerably clean and effective carrier oil.

Bottom Line

Every oil has its expiration date, including MCT. Many manufacturers will state a use-by or best-by date on the bottle; this is generally two years from the manufacturing date. By practicing good handling and storing methods, you can expect yours to be okay at least until that date. Sealing the bottle tightly and storing it in some cool, dark, and dry environment, will help the oil to maintain its freshness. Refrigeration is also a safe option to lengthen the life of MCT oil.

But you should never assume that any oil or food product will remain fresh any longer than a year after its expiration date. The best way to check whether MCT is bad is by using your senses (vision, smell, taste) and practicing your best judgment. If it smells or tastes like anything, or appears viscous or lumpy don’t risk using it. As with any product, use it while it’s fresh to reap the maximum benefits. 

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