Does Olive Oil Mold?

Last updated on August 5th, 2022 at 06:48 pm

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Olive oil is great for cooking. A staple ingredient in the culinary world, olive oil can bring lots of flavor to dishes. 

Over time, all food goes bad and this does not exclude olive oil. 

Picture this, you are cooking and when you go to use the olive oil it just doesn’t look quite right. When you open the lid the smell is rancid and you know that this olive oil is spoiled. 

Is this due to mold growing in the oil? Does olive oil mold?

Olive oil doesn’t mold but mold can grow around the lid. Over time, olive oil will go bad and if you notice this mold or any other signs of spoilage, toss it immediately.

Cooking oils do not mold or grow bacteria. This includes olive oil. Oil can definitely spoil and go bad because its ingredients decompose over time as with most food. But mold won’t grow in the oil itself. 

If there is any mold on an olive oil bottle it would be around the lid of it. Like I said, olive oil can still go bad. 

The most common sign of this is rancidity. Rancidity is unpleasant odors of flavors caused by the oil spoiling. 

So, if the olive oil has a bad smell or taste, it is bad and should be replaced with a new bottle. If the olive oil is bad, it won’t necessarily make you sick but it can make your dishes taste awful. 

Bad olive oil can ruin your recipe and nobody wants that. So be sure to check out your olive oil carefully especially if you have kept it in your cabinet for a while, before you used it. 

If you notice anything odd about it, don’t use it in your cooking.

Can Bacteria Grow In Olive Oil?

Old olive oil doesn’t have hardly any nutritional value left and can ruin your recipes with its bad taste. Although it won’t make you sick to use bad olive oil, you shouldn’t do it for these reasons. 

Speaking of olive oil going bad, this can cause you to think, can bacteria grow in olive oil?

Bacteria does not and cannot grow in olive oil. Olive oil can go bad and spoil but bacteria doesn’t grow in it because mold only grows in a watery medium. So, when olive oil is mixed with water, this can grow bacteria and mold. 

Olive oil doesn’t mold, but can go bad. When this happens some mold may grow around the lid of the olive oil but the oil itself doesn’t mold. 

When olive oil has gone bad, it will have a bad smell and taste. It may even have changed in the way it looks. 

Out of everything, the smell is what really gives it away. If you have a rancid smell that is bad, don’t use the olive oil. You should throw it away and get a new bottle to use for your cooking. 

Does Olive Oil Go Bad or Expire? Well, It’s Complicated, “If your bottle has turned the corner from kind of old to rancid, don’t worry: You’ll be able to tell. Pour out a small amount and give it a sniff. If it’s rancid, it will smell sweet in a bad way, like fruit that’s started to ferment or rot. (Some people say it smells like Elmer’s glue.) If you can’t tell just by smelling it, taste a bit without swallowing it (just swirl it in your mouth). If it’s completely tasteless, feels greasy in your mouth or has an “off” taste (like spoiled nuts), it’s rancid.”l

How Do You Know If Olive Oil Has Gone Bad?

As we mentioned, olive oil can go bad. So you are cooking and reach for the olive oil to drizzle in a pan. Remembering that you put that there several months ago you are probably wondering if it is spoiled by now. 

How do you know if olive oil has gone bad?

You will know that olive oil has gone bad by its rancid taste and/or smell. When you open the bottle you will get a whiff of the foul smell and if you taste a bit on your tongue and spit it out because it tastes bad, then it is bad. 

Although it doesn’t mold and bacteria won’t’ grow in it, olive oil does expire and go bad. Olive oil usually last for several months. You can also freeze olive oil to help it to last for a couple years. 

How long olive oil lasts for can be determined by how you store it. When you store it properly then you can help to preserve it for longer.  

Now, if you have a bottle of olive oil and want to know how to know if it has gone bad look for certain signs. If the olive oil is spoiled it will have a bad smell, taste, or a change in how the oil looks to see if it has gone bad. 

Healthline states that, “Olive oil is made from a fruit, the olive. Fruits have a shelf life, and so does olive oil. Most olive oils can last 18–24 months from the time they’re bottled, while extra virgin olive oils may last a bit less — around 12–18 months. Beyond this time, it will go rancid. To avoid this, store it in a cool, dark place and toss it if the best-by date has passed. You’ll know your olive oil has gone rancid by giving it a taste. It may taste bitter or sour and smell a bit like crayons or putty. While it won’t make you sick, it may ruin your recipe.”

Final Thoughts

In answer to the question, “does olive oil mold”, no, it does not. Mold grows in water substances and oil is not one of these. If olive oil is mixed with water then this could mold but the only possible mold on a bottle of olive oil would be around its lid. 

Bacteria doesn’t grow in olive oil either and so the sign that it has gone bad or spoiled is rancidity. 

If the olive oil has a bad taste or smell, or has a different  color or look to it, then it is bad and should be replaced with a new bottle. Although it can go bad, mold and bacteria do not grow in olive oil.

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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