What Happens If You Store Olive Oil In The Fridge?

Olive oil is one of the most common ingredients in kitchens around the world, used for everything from baking, to sautéing, to frying. It's also considered one of the healthiest oils for cooking (via Healthline). While it's almost certain that you have a bottle of this kitchen staple in your home, chance are you may not be storing it properly.

While Martha Stewart notes that some chefs like to keep their olive oil right next to the stove to keep it within arm's reach, this is actually a terrible idea. That's because heat and direct light can damage the oil. In order to keep olive oil from going rancid, it is important to store it in a dark, relatively cool place. While that may sound like an endorsement of the refrigerator, olive oil, like honey, does not necessarily do well in very cold conditions.

According to How Stuff Works, the ideal storage temperature for olive oil is between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (or about 10 to 21 degrees Celsius). So unless you live in an area that would cause your kitchen cabinets to regularly be hotter than 70 degrees, it might be best to just leave your olive oil in the pantry.

Not too hot, not too cold

So what happens if you refrigerate olive oil? According to Olive Oil and Beyond, olive oil will solidify if it is left in temperatures below 36 degrees Fahrenheit. It can also become cloudy if left in cold temperatures for too long. However, these effects will not damage most types of olive oil — they're just an inconvenience. Obviously, olive oil will need to be thawed before you can use it, so if you need to keep your olive oil refrigerated, you will need to plan for a little longer cook-time to get it ready. While most oils can withstand rounds of cooling and thawing, it is noted that high-end extra virgin blends are probably best left out of the refrigerator, since condensation in the bottle can negatively impact the flavor.

Whether you keep your olive oil in the refrigerator or you, preferably, have a cool cabinet or wine cellar you can keep it in, About Olive Oil notes that the most important thing is ensuring it's tightly capped up. Exposure to air will cause the taste to change, so Martha Stewart recommends only exposing oil that you plan to use quickly.

Even stored properly, open olive oil only has a shelf life of about a year, and is best within two to three months. If you start to notice the taste is off, it's probably better to stop cooking with it.