shelf life of canola oil

Shelf Life of Canola Oil for Long-Term Storage

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Knowing the shelf life of cooking oils is important information to know because they are useful tools for long-term storage. Not only can cooking oils be used for cooking, but they can also be used for cleaning, shining, pet food, and much more. Canola oil, like vegetable oils, are hydrogenated cooking oils that have been linked to inflammation and heart disease (source). Although we do not use it for cooking, we do store canola oil for non-cooking uses around the house. Additionally, if you are looking to store canola oil as cooking oil, you should consider it as a backup oil since it has a long shelf life and can be saved for an emergency.

The shelf life of canola oil is 24 months, or 2 yearsHowever, to ensure it can reach its maximum shelf life, it needs to be stored properly. To store canola oil properly, simply avoid rancid causing elements like heat, direct sunlight, and exposure to oxygen. By limiting exposure to these elements, your canola oil can reach its max shelf life of 24 months.

Rapeseed Plant

What is Canola Oil?

Canola oil is a type of rapeseed oil that has a lower erucic acid percentage, making it generally safe to consume after. In the 1970s, Canadian scientists invented canola oil after breeding strains of rapeseed. It was later genetically modified in the 1990s to make it resistant to herbicides, droughts, and insects. Realizing the potential to mass produce canola oil at low costs, companies began using it as core ingredients in food products and selling it to consumers at a low cost. Today, canola oil is one of the most widely consumed cooking oils in the world (source).

Canola oil has a high smoke point of 400°F, or 205 °C, making it a reliable cooking fat when heating food at high temperatures. A comparable cooking fat is beef tallow, with a smoke point of 400°F, or 205°C.

Related Article: Shelf Life of Beef Tallow

Nutrition facts of Canola Oil

Like all cooking oils, canola oil is primarily composed of fats. The nutrition facts for canola oil are:

Nutrient100g of Canola Oil
Saturated Fat7.4g
Monounsaturated Fat63.3g
Polyunsaturated Fat28.1g

Related Article: Cooking Oils vs. Fats for Long Term Storage

Shelf Life of Canola Oil

An unopened bottle of canola oil has a max shelf life of 24 months when properly stored. However, the shelf life will be shortened to a max of 12 months once the bottle has been unsealed. Once opened, air exposes itself to the canola oil, shortening its shelf life.

Generally, exposing canola oil to air, direct sunlight, and heat will cause the oil to go rancid sooner. By storing canola oil properly, it will be protected against rancid causing elements and help the oil reach its maximum shelf life.

To protect the canola oil from rancid causing elements, consider storing it in a fridge. The lower temperature will make the oil harden and become thicker, but the quality of the canola oil will remain the same.

You should know the ideal storage temperature for canola oil is 50°F – 75°F, or 10°C-23°C, which falls in line with room temperature. At temperatures above 75°F, the canola oil will be at risk of going rancid due to the heat.

Can you Freeze Canola Oil?

Yes, canola oil can be frozen. However, it will not extend the shelf life. Since it’s not beneficial to store it in a freezer, we advise storing it at room temperature for convenience. Still, you should know the freezing point of canola oil, which is 14°F or -10 °C.

Canola Oil

How to Store Canola Oil

Like other cooking oils and fats, storing canola oil is simple. Your goal should be to avoid exposure to:

  1. Air
  2. Direct Sunlight
  3. Heat

If you can avoid these three rancid-causing factors, there is a high chance your canola oil will stay fresh and reach its max shelf life.

The ideal storage conditions would be a cool, dark place such as a pantry or inside of a fridge because they hit all the checkmarks for safeguarding your cooking oils. If you live in a hot and humid climate, you should avoid the pantry entirely and store the oil inside the fridge.

Additionally, try to avoid places near the stove, oven, or microwaves as heat is generated. Keep bottles sealed firmly until they are needed. An open bottle has a much shorter shelf life of six months to one year.

Non-Cooking uses of Canola Oil

People often assume cooking oils are solely for cooking, but they have many other uses (source). If you find yourself short on fuel, cleaning products, or pesticides, having an extra bottle of canola oil can be a useful tool. Canola oil can be used for:

  1. Pesticide: fungicide, herbicide, and insecticides
  2. Biodiesel
  3. Dust Suppressants
  4. Bio-plastics
  5. Animal Feed
  6. Lamp Oil
  7. Paint Remover
  8. Car Cleaning Material

Safely Dispose of Canola Oil

The best way to dispose of cooking oils is to repurpose them. People often times follow the worst way of disposing of oil, which is by pouring it into the sink. Oil can solidify in drainage pipes, making it hard for liquids and solid food items to go down. If your drainage pipes become clogged, it will release a bad odor, attract insects, and damage your pipes, requiring a very expensive call to plumbing service.

The oil can also leak into the local sewage system, causing a community-wide problem. This is why many local governments advise against disposing of cooking oils and fats down the drain.

Some alternatives for disposing of cooking oils are:

  • Add to animal feed
  • Add to compost
  • Do-It-Yourself Candles
  • Do-It-Yourself Soap
  • Pouring the oil into a tin foil and throwing it away inside of a freezer bag

Related Article: How to Dispose of Cooking Oils – Environmentally

Can you use Canola Oil after the Expiration Date?

We would advise against eating any type of cooking oil or fat after it has expired. Consuming expired canola oil releases free radicals into the body, which makes cells unstable. Frequent consumption of expired or rancid oils can cause serious health complications such as cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases (source).

Once your canola oil has expired, it is best to use it for a non-cooking purpose or dispose of it entirely. The oil can still be repurposed for biodiesel, lamp oil, and pesticides.

Although consuming expired oil will not lead to immediate stomach discomfort, frequent consumption can expose your family to free radicals, which can cause your cells to become unstable.

How can I tell if Canola Oil is Bad?

Signs of spoilage are easy to notice since you simply have to rely on your sense of sight, smell, and taste. The first and most obvious indicator of expired canola oil is discoloring. If you notice obvious discoloring, you can then dispose of it immediately, as there is no need to continue to the next step.

After the canola oil passes the sight test, conduct an odor test next. Rancid oil expels a soapy aroma that is clearly off. As soon as you smell it, you will know it has expired. If the canola fails the smell test, there is no need to go any further. You can dispose of it.

The final method to determine if the oil has expired is to taste it. Expired canola oil will taste like rancid oil. This will let you know immediately if the oil has gone bad.

Consumption of rancid foods can have some unpleasant effects but will not cause any immediate health consequences immediately. However, compromised oils can create harmful free radicals, which can damage cells for long periods and lead to chronic health problems.

Why you should not consume Canola oil

Although marketed as heart-healthy cooking oil, recent studies have disputed these claims. Canola oil is high in erucic acid, which has been linked to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and weight gain (sourcesource). Additionally, wide varieties of canola oil are genetically modified and thus are unnatural. At Soulful Prepper, we encourage non-GMO and unrefined food items such as extra-virgin olive oil, unrefined coconut oil, or unrefined avocado oil.

Related Article: Extending the Shelf Life of Avocado Oils

Different Types of Cooking Oils

Healthy alternatives to Canola Oil

When considering healthy alternatives to canola oil, you should aim for cooking fats and oils that are natural, are non-GMO and have limited hydrogenation. The more refined a cooking fat or oil is, the fewer nutrients have been removed during the refining process. Some popular natural and healthy cooking oils are:


In short, the maximum shelf life of canola oil is 2 years. However, to ensure it reaches its maximum shelf life, it must be protected from air, heat, and direct sunlight. Storing canola oil in a pantry or fridge is suggested to help protect it from rancid causing elements.

Although canola oil is a popular and widely consumed cooking oil, recent studies have suggested it is not as healthy as once thought. For this reason, you should consider consuming natural cooking fats and oils, which are known to better regulate heart health and be a good source of energy. Still, canola oil is a reliable oil for cleaning and other non-cooking purposes. For this reason, we still suggest having a bottle of canola oil at home, as it can be helpful in a situation in which you are short on household cleaning supplies.

If you found this article informative, consider reading our list of the Best Cooking Oils for Long-Term Storage.

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