The Ideal Place To Store Sesame Oil Might Not Be The Pantry

Sesame oil is a must-have for Asian cooking and a favorite ingredient to add a little umami in salad dressings and marinades. And luckily, while it's often not cheap, a bottle can last a long time if you store it properly. While you may be prone to keep it on a countertop next to the stove or in the pantry with your other oils, that might not be the best course of action depending on several factors because it faces a greater chance of going rancid.

Sesame oil is similar to other oils in that you want to limit its exposure to light, air, and heat or its taste and smell can take a quick turn for the worse. When sesame oil becomes rancid, it is not only stinky, but also unusable, and no one wants that. For this reason, depending on what climate you live in and the type of sesame oil you like to use, it could be beneficial to store it in the refrigerator where its shelf life will be much longer.

Refined or unrefined?

So, when is the refrigerator a superior or optimal storage spot for this oil over the pantry? When you live in a hot and humid environment, your sesame oil may be better stored in the fridge. Refrigeration will slow down the oxidation process that happens when oils are exposed to oxygen in the air. At the same time, the cool temperature of the fridge helps to preserve both the fragrant aroma and beautiful flavor of sesame oil so it tastes the same each time you reach for your bottle to use.

Refined sesame oil is generally fine in a pantry, but if you tend to buy unrefined sesame oil, which means the oil may have some small particles in it and the flavor and smell will be more intense, the refrigerator is the perfect place to keep it as it is more susceptible to oxidation. Of course, while the fridge will help prevent your sesame oil from spoiling, its appearance may change. Sesame oil can thicken ever so slightly and become cloudy when stored in this small appliance. But don't freak out. Bring it back to room temperature and it will transform into its original state of being, ready to use.