Why You Shouldn't Store Coconut Oil In The Pantry

Coconut oil is one of the greatest ingredients you can get your hands on. If it's not already one of your pantry staples, it should be. Beyond its usefulness as a high-heat cooking oil, coconut oil has scores of other applications around the home. Having said that, unless you're absolutely burning through the stuff, it's not a good idea to keep coconut oil in your pantry. Like other nut oils and butters, it can go rancid and is best stored in the refrigerator. 

Why is coconut oil so magical? For starters, its mild and delicious coco-nutty flavor and smoke point of 350 degrees Fahrenheit make it ideal for Thai and South Indian stir-fries and curries. And according to Healthline, coconut oil takes on plenty of health benefits, such as jumpstarting your metabolism, reducing nasty mouth bacteria, increasing HDL (or "good") cholesterol, and much more. So for what it's worth — don't store it at room temperature because refrigerated unrefined coconut oil can last two or three years, making the most of this versatile ingredient.

Put coconut oil in the refrigerator to make it last longer

There are a few easy ways to see if your coconut oil has gone bad. The first two, which never fail but can be unpleasant, are the taste and smell tests. Coconut oil should have a mild and pleasant smell and taste, so if it smells bitter or tastes sour, replace it. But fortunately, you don't always have to put the stuff in your face to tell that its time has expired. Rancid coconut oil has a yellowish tinge, looks chunky, and sometimes develops black spots indicating mold.

If you've already incorporated coconut oil and use it daily, it's okay to store it covered tightly in a cool, dark place. Remember that heat, light, and air will make it spoil quickly. But if you want to make it last longer, refrigerating the ingredient is key. The only drawback of doing this — and it's a mild one — is that the oil will solidify but quickly reassume its liquid form when introduced to heat. And for those home cooks who might be concerned, there's no need to measure its two states differently: 1 tablespoon of solid coconut oil will melt into 1 tablespoon of liquid.