Does Olive Oil “Expire”?

When we pick up a bottle of olive oil at a grocery store, or anything in fact, we will almost always check for the “expiry date” printed on the product.

We don’t use “expiry” date in olive oil to signify the “use by” date. Instead, the term “best before” date is used. The two mean very different things.

Does olive oil “expire”? Does “expired” olive oil hurt? Here we will explain.

Why Using Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

First of all, extra virgin olive oil is considered a freshly-squeezed “juice”. As such, extra virgin olive oil retains most of the phytonutrients and its olive flavours upon cold-extracted.

It is for these two reasons, health and taste, that we are using olive oil in our everyday culinary, be it for cooking or using it raw.

TIPS: Polyphenols & Vitamin E are higher in premium quality extra virgin olive oils. Omega-9, or commonly known as the monounsaturated fat, is also the other reason for using extra virgin olive oil.

Caring for Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Unlike wine, extra virgin olive oil doesn’t improve with age. Time is the enemy of olive oil, along with light, heat and oxygen.

“Best Before” & “Expiry” Dates

It is from this angle that the “best before” date simply embodies the freshness of the olive oil.

On the other hand, “expiry” date is used on all perishable products, such as meat and fish, to signify the potential risks involved in the consumption of the products past the expiration date.

TIPS: Stop Throwing Food Away! The foods that past the “best before” date can still be eaten safely.

Beyond “Best Before” Date

One frequently asked question about the “best before” date is whether the olive oil is still good for consumption?

The short answer to this question is: Yes, it is good for the next six month to one year past the two year best before date.

TIPS: Quality Counts: The shelf life of extra virgin olive oil is correlated to its quality and storage conditions. The acidity level is often used to define the quality of olive oil, maximum cap at 0.8%. The lower, the better.

We offer two reasons for considering using the “nearly-expired” olive oil:

1) Olive oil is not a perishable product. Two things will happen over time in general:

– The flavour of the olive oil will be diminishing but not gone.

– The health-promoting polyphenols are still there but not at its peak.

– But one thing does not change, the Omega-9, or the monounsaturated fat, remains intact.

2) Most of us are not olive oil enthusiasts, nor our nose and taste buds are trained like a chef or an olive oil master taster, who could detect subtle change in the aroma and taste of olive oil.

TIPS: Health Benefits of Monounsaturated Fat:

  • Lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by reducing bad cholesterol levels without reducing the good HDL cholesterol;
  • Manage type-2 diabetes by reducing the peak blood-glucose response;
  • Develop and maintain our body cells by providing the needed nutrients.

Alternative Uses Past “Best Before” Date

Don’t be afraid of using extra virgin olive oil when it is approaching its “best before” date, unless we are date-sensitive or freshness-specific.

Here we present two alternative uses of olive oil with its “best before” date coming around.

  1. Use it for everyday cooking and frying;
  2. Use it for beauty care.

TIPS: “Best Before” Dates and “Expiry” Dates: 5 things we may not know.

As Cooking Oil

If we are using the olive oil for our everyday cooking and frying, it is fine.

TIPS:Wefood Project:  A supermarket in Copenhagen selling surplus food has proved to be so popular it recently opened a second store.

The monounsaturated fat present in the olive oil is a good fat and far healthier than most vegetable and seed oils.

TIPS: Polyunsaturated Fat is made up of Omega-3 and Omega-6. The former is anti-inflammatory, while the latter is pro-inflammatory. Our body needs a balanced ratio of both, 1:1 to 1:10 at most or else the risk of having chronic diseases may be increased.

Some of the cooking oils we should avoid using include: Rice bran oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, corn oil, and soybean oil.

Just imagine this: Our beloved mother has painstakingly prepared Chinese dumplings for our dinner. Naturally without any doubts, we will add chili oil to our dumplings.

Which of the two chili oils we will choose from? Chili oil prepared with vegetable/seed oil or extra virgin olive oil?

TIPS: Making a Choice: Here are two tips to help us make an informed choice: (a) Extra virgin olive oil is “olive juice”, and (b) Its trans fat is closed to zero.

As Cosmetic Use

Extra virgin olive oil is an inexpensive and 100% natural beauty secret that has been used thousands of years in the Mediterranean cultures.

It is a great skin moisturiser and be able to help prevent our skin from premature ageing.

  • Body Lotion: Apply olive oil all over or part of our body right after shower. Our skin will feel soft and smooth.
  • Make-Up Remover: Damp a cotton pad with extra virgin olive oil, and gently wipe away all the make-up from our face. Olive oil nourishes the skin at the same time.
  • Hair Conditioner: Simply rub one spray-pressed of extra virgin olive oil on our palms and then applied it over our hair. Our hair will look shiny and healthy looking.
  • Strengthen Nails: Just soak our nails in slightly warmed up extra virgin olive oil for about five to ten minutes once or twice a week. We will enjoy strong, shiny and healthy nails.

Are We Afraid of “Best Before” Date?

“Best before” date is only an indicative date on product freshness and has little to do with food safety.

TIPS: Food Expiry Dates? How many of us are guilty of desperately gobbling our food in an attempt to finish them before the expiry date? Or throwing food away once we see that it is past the expiry date?

Over time, the flavour of the olive oil and its health benefits will be diminishing, but that doesn’t mean that they are all gone.

  • For everyday cooking and frying, it is a healthier choice; still better than the refined oil.
  • For drizzling and using it raw, the aroma and taste of the olive oil would still give us the thrill.
  • Best part of all, when the current price of the olive oil matches its value at that time, it is value-for-money.

TIPS: Smoke Point & Frying Temperature: Extra virgin olive oil has a medium-high smoke point that falls between 180-215oC. The normal frying temperature is between 160-190oC, so we are safe to use extra virgin olive oil for cooking/frying.

Are we afraid of the “best before” date? To some, if not most of us, this could well be. Who is not sensitive to the “use-by” date?

Let’s look at it from the alternative uses:

  • Extra virgin olive oil has been used on the body and hair since ancient times.
  • It is 100% natural for skin-, body- and hair-care – No additional chemical added to it.
  • It nourishes, rejuvenates and protects our skin.
  • It is cheap as compared to the price of a cosmetic product and effective.

TIPS: Does Expired Oil Hurt? No, if it has not gone rancid. But how long after the date can we consume the oil? It depends heavily on the oil quality.

TIPS: Food for thought: Consuming food products prior to the expiration date does not guarantee the safety of the food, if it is not stored properly. A product is not necessarily unsafe after the “best before” date under ideal storage conditions.

TIPS: Words of Caution: The best way to tell whether the product is still good for consumption is by smelling and checking the appearance of the product. If it has a bad smell, it is a clear indication that the product has gone rancid and it should be discarded immediately.

13 thoughts on “Does Olive Oil “Expire”?”

    1. Agus Rahardja

      Hello, Tasneem. Thanks for writing to us, and asking the question.

      To start off, we usually don’t put “olive” and “oil” next to each other when dealing with pomace oil, as the oil is extracted from the leftover olive pulp (or pomace) with the use of chemical solvents and under extreme high heat. This refining process makes it a non “olive oil” by definition, and a much more appropriate term is olive pomace oil, with “olive” and “oil” separated by the word “pomace” to better distinguish it from the “olive oil” we know, and its associated health benefits that we could reap from.

      [ For further reading: ]

      Olive pomace oil is the lowest grade of “olive oil” with 5-10% of extra virgin or virgin olive oil added to it. Most of its phyto-nutrients would have already been lost in the process of refining, except those added. Being a refined oil, it is more “oily” and more difficult to be absorbed into our our skin or hair. Therefore, for skin and hair care, we recommend using extra virgin olive oil for its fast absorption and non greasiness, and more importantly, for its abundant of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

      The best before date of your olive pomace oil is 2011, which has been 6 years apart. If it is still under sealed, you can open it and smell it to see whether it has gone rancid. If it smells all right, you can probably use it for cooking/frying – not as hair or skin care as explained earlier.

      If you are not sure, we suggest you throw it away to play safe. For a high quality extra virgin olive oil, we could likely still consume the olive oil after six months or one year beyond its best before date provided that it is a high quality extra virgin olive oil. It is also still good for applying on our skin and hair. For any oil that is beyond its best before date, one fundamental precautionary step we could take is simply smell the oil to determine its usability. When in doubt, just discard it.

      Hope we have answered your question. Thanks. Best Regards, Agus. Only Olive Oil.

  1. We have EVOO expired last January 2016. Can I still use it to say, make a focaccia bread? It’s unopened and was stored in our dark pantry. It’s one liter so it’s a waste to just throw away :/

    1. Agus Rahardja

      Hi Micah, that depends on the type of extra virgin olive oil you have. If it is of high quality, it is probably still useable within a year. Since it is almost two years now, you may want to smell it first to detect whether any foul odor, and double confirm it by tasting the oil for rancid check – if it makes you feel as if you are going to throw up, it probably has spoilt.

      How to tell your olive oil is of high quality? When you bought it and use it, you can smell its aroma and taste its fruitiness, bitterness and spiciness, then the olive oil is considered a good oil. These three attributes are indications of having high polyphenols in the olive oil. Polyphenols are antioxidants, and hence your oil could last longer.

      Whether the olive oil in a bottle can last for that long that also depends on the bottling method used. If during bottling, the bottling machine pushes the air inside out of the bottle and before completing the bottling process, it pumps in an inert gas such as nitrogen into the bottle between the oil and the cap, then the olive oil can probably last longer. Inert gas is harmless and can slow the aging of the oil.

      Hope these explanations help. All the best and do check on your oil before use. If you have any doubt, simply throw the olive oil away, for the good of your family and yourself. Alternatively, you may use it to make handmade soap.

      Best Regards, Agus. Only Olive Oil.

  2. Hi, i bought olive oil in Israel in 2012 and still have few bottles left. It’s now 2018 would it still be ok to use them? Not for cooking but more for beauty&skin treatments. Thanks heaps!

    1. Agus Rahardja

      Hi Merry, I presume it is “extra virgin” olive oil that you have. We will suggest you open the bottle and smell the olive oil. If it does not smell faulty, it is probably good to use. However, the olive oil is already way past the best before date for too long, its phytonutrients, i.e. antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties probably have reduced to little or none. In this case, the olive oil could be greasy and oily.

      You may use it as a carrier oil, for example, with a few drops of essential oil, and apply a small amount to your body or hair but advisable not on face. You can also use the olive oil to make a “cold process” handmade soap. Handmade soap is created mixing oil, water and sodium hydroxide. You can read this and its related articles for making a cold process soap

      You can also do a google search on “cold process soap” and you will find many interesting articles talking about the cold process soap, from swirling, colouring to other more advanced creative design. If you like baking or cooking, you will probably like making your own natural handmade soap. Hope we have answered your questions. So sorry for the late reply as we were in overseas until today. Thanks. Agus. Only Olive Oil.

  3. teenajoseph1983

    Just came across this insightful article.Had a query. If the extra virgin oil I purchased is 1 year old and best before date is 24 months means still 1 year is left for it to be expired then does it still have all the nutrients or in 1 year lapsed it would have lost some of its effectiveness?
    MFD(as on bottle)-Dec 2018
    Best before -24 months
    I’ve purchased Borges extra virgin olive oil. I am from India and heard it’s organic and the best.
    Please clarify my doubt.


    1. Agus Rahardja

      Greetings, Teena. Thanks for interacting with us. And thank you for finding our article useful, too.

      “Best Before” date is simply an indicative date of “freshness” of the extra virgin olive oil. It does not, however, mean that the olive oil is “expired” and cannot be consumed after this date.

      When a bottle of extra virgin olive oil is unopened, kept inside a cupboard away from heat and light, after one year, it is likely that the extra virgin olive oil will taste as fresh as when it is just bottled.

      This is particularly true for the PREMIUM QUALITY extra virgin olive oil, which contains higher polyphenols to prolong oxidation of the olive oil as compared with those with low polyphenols. Polyphenols are the natural phytonutrients which act like antioxidants. The higher it is, the better. It is these phytonutrients that contribute to the fruitiness, bitterness and peppery aftertaste of the extra virgin olive oil.

      Based on our experience, after one year with an unopened extra virgin olive which is properly stored, we may find a slight difference in taste for extra virgin olive oil with low polyphenols or produced from young olive trees. Specifically, the bitterness will be subdued, and the olive oil becomes milder.

      For PREMIUM QUALITY extra virgin olive oil, it may take around 1.5 to two years to feel the difference in terms of “freshness”.

      Unless we have a very sharp taste-bud or a regular user of extra virgin olive oil, we may not even notice the changes in taste unless we take a spoonful of the extra virgin olive oil directly. Moreover, when the extra virgin olive oil becomes smoother and milder, to some, this could be a blessing and perhaps some of us may even like the taste.

      As extra virgin olive oil ages, besides loosing its polyphenols and taste, the olive oil may likely become oily. If we simply use it for drizzling, for example over salad, marinating meat, or using it as a cooking oil, it does not matter much. We will only feel it when when we use it for bread dip, or drink it directly.

      Just want to highlight: for LOW QUALITY extra virgin olive oil, it is best to consume the extra virgin olive oil upon purchase as soon as we can. Do also take note of the bottling date and to ensure that the bottling and best before date have not been manipulated by the importer. For the olive oil you have mentioned, we will suggest that you consume it within one year or less from the bottling date (or MFD as you have referred to it).

      In summary, PREMIUM QUALITY extra virgin olive oil can maintain its “freshness” better and may go beyond 1.5 to 2 years period. As extra virgin olive oil ages, it will lose its polyphenols, i.e. antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. However, the monounsaturated fat, which is a good fat for our heart, remains not affected, be it low or premium quality.

      Hope this helps. Thanks. Agus. Only Olive Oil.

      1. teenajoseph1983


        Thank you so much for detailed response. Next time while purchasing I’ll take into account the polyphenols as you mentioned. Was unaware of this fact. One doubt: you had mentioned that i should finish my bottle I’ve purchased in a year or less than bottling date. But today when I’ve purchased it, 1 year has already gone by as the mfd date is: Dec 2018 .The best before date of this bottle is 24 months ie Dec 2020. So, I hope that still it has the required benefits.
        Please clarify.
        Thanks in advance.

        1. Agus Rahardja

          Hi Teena. The health benefits will still be there. Not to worries. It is still a heart-healthy oil. Hope this clarifies. Thanks. Agus. Only Olive Oil.

          1. teenajoseph1983

            Thank you so much!! Yes,that clears my doubt. ?
            Now,I’ll be really thankful to you if you please tell me the names of good brands of extra virgin olive oil with high polyphenols so that in future i can consider them to buy…I’ll order them online if incase they are not available here in India. I am looking forward to use olive oils for my kids as I’ve come to know daily intake of olive oil is good. Moreover,please clarify ,can we drink olive oil directly …planning to give 1 ml everyday to kids. Hope am not pestering you much by asking so many questions..hope this would be my last query as of now.?

            Take care,

          2. Agus Rahardja

            Hi Teena. For high quality extra virgin olive oil, it is an excellent idea to drink it directly – you will not feel oily about it and it is just like drinking olive juice.

            The amount for adult is about 1 to 2 tablespoonful per day, which depends on the individual physique and needs. For children, initially a small quantity is a good start and progressively increasing it slightly but not overly too much as olive oil is still a fat. So moderation is the key.

            For extra virgin olive oil with high polyphenols, but also taste great, you may refer to the list from this website:

            For high quality extra virgin olive oil, but not necessary with very high polyphenols (but good enough for health purposes, with minimum 300 mg/kg polyphenol counts), you may refer to:

            Please note that the above two references are just a guide. There are many smaller farms who do produce high quality extra virgin olive oil but not on the list. This is due to their limited financial support to send their olive oil for these international competition, which is normally quite expensive to participate.

            Do take a look at each olive oil and check whether it is available at your country. It is better to buy from where you live in as olive oil is normally not able to ship from international unless it is via DHL or its equivalent and the shipping fee may not be cheap.

            Hope this helps. Thanks. Agus. Only Olive Oil

  4. teenajoseph1983

    Thank you so much….the article and the answers wr really helpful.

    Thanks & Regards,

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