Do You Need To Refrigerate Flaxseed Oil? (Must Read)

Last updated on October 26th, 2022 at 05:19 pm

Like other products, flaxseed oil has a short shelf life and can go rancid in no time if you don’t refrigerate it.  

This article will tell you how refrigerating your flaxseed oil lowers the process of getting rancid. Now let’s get right into the meat of the matter!

You’ll need to refrigerate your flaxseed oil because refrigeration slows rancidity. Most often, you’ll find a warning on the flaxseed pack to refrigerate as soon as it’s opened else it gets bad. However, while refrigerating, ensure that you put it in an airtight container to shield it from light.

How Do You Store Flaxseed Oil?

Do You Need to Refrigerate Flaxseed Oil

There are several ways to store your flaxseed oil, so it doesn’t go bad.

Here are a few of these ways;

#1. In a Cool and Dark Place

To keep your flaxseed from getting rancid, you’d have to keep it in a brown bottle in a cool and dark place.

That’s because flaxseed oil goes bad easily when you expose it to light and air.

When you keep the flaxseed oil in the dark place, you’ll prevent its decomposition by light, preserving it to stay longer.

#2. In a Refrigerator

Flaxseed oil gets bad quickly when you expose it to heat and moisture. For that reason, keeping it in a refrigerator will reduce the rate at which it gets rancid. 

If you properly refrigerate your flaxseed oil, it can last for some months, depending on the strength of your refrigerator.

That’s also dependent on how well you handle the flaxseed oil while keeping it in the refrigerator.

Alternatively, you can also buy flaxseed oil in small quantities, so they don’t get to stay for too long.

Doing that might reduce the risk of worrying about your flaxseed oil getting bad easily. 

Another thing that works well for me is that I smell my flaxseed oil as soon as I purchase it.

When you do that, you sensitize your nasal mucosa to the original smell of the flaxseed oil.

That way, you’ll be able to tell when the flaxseed oil is becoming rancid. Before buying, you must always check the expiry date label on the flaxseed oil bottle.

Most often, if the flaxseed oil is close to expiring and you buy it, it’d get rancid quicker than you’d expect.

What Happens If You Don’t Refrigerate Flaxseed Oil?

Your flaxseed oil will go bad if you don’t refrigerate it. Normally flaxseed oil comes fresh and can stay a couple of hours without getting rancid. 

However, it depends on how long you keep it standing without refrigeration.

That makeup is so that you can enjoy its fresh state without having to bother about how to preserve it before using it.

If you buy fresh flaxseed oil, use it immediately so that you can appreciate its savory flavor.

Doing that would also enable you to enjoy its nutritional benefits while still in its new state.

However, there are times when you’ll find yourself buying flaxseed oil without the intention to use it immediately.

In such instances, the best way to keep it from getting rancid is to store it in a cool and dry place.

And what other best place can that be if not in the confine of your refrigerator? That’s necessary because, like other products, flaxseed oil can’t stay out too long.

If you buy flaxseed oil without the intention of making use of it and don’t refrigerate it, there’s a high chance that it’ll get bad quickly.

However, because oil isn’t like meat at risk of bacterial decomposition, putting it in the refrigerator won’t affect its freshness.

The refrigeration would only assist in keeping the oil at its best composition so that it doesn’t get decomposed by light.

The best way to look at it is that refrigerating your flaxseed oil would only lower the rate of its rancidity.

Usually, flaxseed oil stays in shops for months before you purchase it. 

That means you ought to refrigerate it as soon as you buy it. Normally, you shouldn’t store flaxseed oil for more than four months without usage.

However, there’s no hard and fast rule about that because even after four months, the flaxseed oil can still be fresh.

Ultimately, it all depends on how fresh the flaxseed oil was before you got it from the shop.

The longer it stays in the shop before you buy, the higher the chances it gets rancid quickly. Therefore, refrigerate your flaxseed oil as soon as you buy it.

How Long Does Flaxseed Oil Last in the Fridge?

As good as flaxseed oil can be a great remedy to many illnesses, it doesn’t have a good shelf life.

Even when you store it in the refrigerator, it gradually becomes rancid over time.

Once you open your flaxseed oil bottle, it’d be wise to bear in mind that it begins to go bad.

However, putting it in the refrigerator helps to slow down the rate at which it goes bad with time.

Therefore, if you buy flaxseed oil and open it, be prepared to replace it after six months of use, even with refrigeration.

Ensure that you store your flaxseed oil in a dark, airtight container in the refrigerator. That way, it can last between six months to a year.

The main purpose of storing flaxseed oil in a dark container is that it doesn’t mix well with light and heat.

When you keep it in the dark container, the rate at which light penetrates through the container to the oil is lower.

That would keep the oil as fresh as possible to last long enough to fulfill its purpose.

Another fact is that it will last longer when you add a preservative, such as an antioxidant, to your flaxseed oil.

However, you might prefer to keep oil as original as it can be; hence, the only way out is to properly store it in the refrigerator in an airtight brown or dark container.

How Can You Tell If Flaxseed Oil Has Gone Bad?

One very easy way to know that your flaxseed oil is going bad is through the smell. Fresh flaxseed oil smells fresh and odorless.

In contrast, if the flaxseed oil is going rancid, the taste will change as well as the smell. There’s no way you’ll miss a bad flaxseed oil.

To pick the smell and taste of rancid flaxseed oil, ensure that you taste and smell it the day you buy it.

That way, you’ll be able to tell the fresh smell and taste from the bad taste and smell. Also, apart from smelling it the first time, you can do it regularly.

Regularly smelling and tasting your flaxseed oil will help differentiate rancid oil from fresh oil.

Therefore, after ensuring that the oil is bad, I‘d advise that you discard it and get fresh oil.

This table would summarize the taste and smell of fresh flaxseed oil from a rancid oil.

TypeFresh Flaxseed OilRancid Flaxseed Oil
SmellFresh flaxseed oil smells fresh.It has a foul odor and smells like oil paint.
TasteFresh flaxseed oil has minimal taste.Rancid flaxseed oil is bitter to taste.


As good as it is, flaxseed oil has its downside, like its short half-life if not properly stored well. 

However, factors such as ensuring you buy fresh flaxseed oil through the expiry label and inspecting its new state are important. 

Additionally, to ensure that you’re properly storing your flaxseed oil, keep it in the dark, airtight container in the refrigerator.

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