Heralded as a healthier alternative to other oils, MCT oil is used as a dietary supplement in cooking, and can be used for other topical uses.
Perhaps hearing about the benefits of MCT oil, you purchased a bottle years ago. But, not having used much of it, you now find yourself wondering if it is still good to use or if it has gone bad.
This is the bottom line: MCT oil, like all other oils, will go bad. Knowing how to check for any signs of spoilage will ensure you get all the heralded health benefits of MCT oil, while not ruining the taste of your food.
What Is MCT Oil?
So maybe you have heard about the benefits of MCT oil and purchased a bottle, but what is it exactly, and how can it be used?
MCT stands for medium-chain triglyceride, though it is more commonly referred to by its acronym. Medium-chain triglycerides are a form of saturated fatty acid. These fat molecules are found within dairy products, coconut oil, and other fatty substances.
Concentrated MCT oil is typically made from coconut oil or palm kernel oil, which are high in MCT concentration. Through a process called fractionation, MCT is separated from the original oil and becomes highly concentrated.
The concentrated MCT oil is then packed in smaller bottles, ready for use.
Uses Of MCT Oil
MCT oil is popular in keto diets, as it is believed to boost metabolism, leading to weight loss. It has a very mild, almost indistinguishable taste, making it an easy addition to any type of food.
Concentrated MCT oil can be relatively expensive and is often packaged in smaller bottles, so it can be used up rapidly.
Typically, MCT oil is used as a dietary supplement, added into foods and beverages as a metabolism booster. Frequent uses of the oil include:
- Salad Dressing
- Baked Goods
MCT oil has a very low smoking point and is only recommended in smaller doses, so it is not ideal for frying. Nourish by WebMD recommends 4 to 7 tablespoons in a day.
MCT oil can be used in baking and cooking and is heralded as a healthier alternative to other cooking oils. When used for cooking, however, ensure you do not exceed 320 degrees Fahrenheit, because of the oil’s low smoking point.
Proper Storage Of MCT Oil
Practicing proper storage techniques will ensure a longer shelf life for your MCT oil.
If you use MCT oil often and have no problem using up a bottle before its recommended “best by” date, it can be kept at room temperature. When your bottle of MCT oil has been opened, it should be stored in a cool, dark location, away from any sources of heat or moisture. There should be no exposure to direct sunlight.
Pro Tip: The cabinets next to and above your stove can get warm, so it is best to avoid storing your oils in these locations. A better option is to keep MCT oil in a pantry.
If you find you have trouble using up a bottle before its recommended “best by” date, you can prolong its life by storing it in a refrigerator. Unlike many other types of oils, MCT oil will not solidify when refrigerated. This can also make it a great use for cool condiments and salad dressings.
Shelf Life Of MCT Oil
Like all oils, MCT oil can go bad. Fortunately, it has a relatively long shelf life, particularly when stored properly.
Stored in ideal conditions, particularly if refrigerated, MCT oil can last for up to 2 years or even longer.
Most bottles of MCT oil will include a “best by” date on their packaging; however, MCT oil can usually be used past this date for many months. Just ensure there are no signs of spoilage.
Has This MCT Oil Gone Bad?
If you have had the same bottle of MCT oil for many years, you may find yourself wondering if it is still okay to use. MCT oil is naturally odorless and tasteless, so it is relatively easy to determine when the oil has gone bad.
Oils typically do not develop mold or spoil in a visible sense, but they can go rancid. Rancidity occurs during a chemical reaction causing fat molecules to break down.
An oil that has gone rancid may not be unhealthy to consume; however, it will change its taste and can ruin the flavor of your meal. When oil goes rancid, it also loses much of its nutritional value.
To determine if your MCT oil has gone rancid, you should smell the oil. If it smells abnormal, it should be discarded. Rancid oils can smell metallic, bitter, or soapy.
When MCT oil goes rancid, it can also change consistency, clarity, or color. MCT oil typically has a smooth consistency and is clear. If the oil has become thick, lumpy, or has turned more yellow, it should likely be thrown out.
Oils will go rancid far quicker when exposed to direct light or air. Ensuring the proper storage techniques listed above will help it stay good for far longer.
- MCT oil can be used in a variety of ways as a dietary supplement.
- MCT oil should be stored in a cool, dark location.
- To prolong its life, MCT oil can be stored in a refrigerator. It will not solidify when refrigerated, unlike many other oils.
- MCT oil can go rancid. Signs of spoilage can be found in its taste, smell, and appearance.
- When stored properly, MCT oil can typically last up to two years.
A healthier alternative to many other cooking oils and a heralded dietary supplement, MCT oil is becoming more popular. Ensure proper storage and check for signs of spoilage to ensure you are receiving all the health benefits this oil claims.