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Does Black Seed Oil Expire?

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Black seed oil has a long list of benefits, but can it stand the test of time without lessening in quality?

Does black seed oil expire? Black seed oil can be stored in an airtight bottle for up to 2 years in a cool and dry place. While black seed oil may last even longer, it is best to consume it before the 2-year-mark to avoid drops in its quality and potency.

Read below to learn more about black seed oil, its storage life, how to store it, and some tips to get the most out of its shelf life!

Black Seed Oil — A Natural Salve 

Black seed oil has been consumed in many ways for centuries. Not only has it been a part of many peoples’ diets, but in some cultures, it also holds reverence. 

Black seed is perhaps one of the best-selling natural supplements in the world thanks to its antioxidant and nutritional profile.

It is linked to many physical and mental health benefits and is usually consumed in oil form. 

The oil is extracted from a cold press method where the seeds are compressed in a powerful hydraulic press that is chilled to prevent the buildup of heat.

Heat can affect the delicate micro and macronutrients in the oil, which is why cold-pressed oil is usually preferred — and a bit more expensive than other extraction methods. 

Black seed oil is also available in filtered and non-filtered varieties

The filtered oil is usually spun in specialized machines that separate the debris suspended in the oil. The particles settle down at the bottom while the pure oil is filtered through.

Filtered black seed oil is extremely smooth and has a lot of commercial applications!

Characteristics Of Black Seed Oil

Before we get into its uses, let’s first take a look at some of the most important characteristics of black seed oil.


Black seed oil has a slightly bitter and spicy flavor that is often compared to cumin. 

While you can develop a taste for its natural flavor, some people may find it to be a bit strong. Thankfully, you can pair black seed oil with honey or any other sweetener to greatly improve its intensity. 

Some people believe that taking black seed oil with honey may also help improve its absorption in the body and can increase its beneficial effects. 

Either way, if you have never tried black seed oil before, then you should take it with something sweet — or just take the oil in capsule form if you want to completely skip its flavor. 

Texture And Color

The texture of black seed oil is moderately viscous. It isn’t thick and its fluidity is usually compared to processed oils like canola oil. 

Some unfiltered varieties may be slightly thicker, but in most cases, you are not going to notice its viscosity — it will easily mix with just about any ingredient you add it to! 

Most pure varieties of black seed oil have a darker shade. They can be best described as having an amber color that can vary in its shade depending on the extraction and filtration process. 

The unfiltered version is known to have a very dark green or black color

The color of the oil is sometimes used as a metric for its quality, with darker oils getting a higher ranking than processed oils, which are usually paler in comparison. 


Black seed oil can be applied externally and can also be consumed in several ways. 

The oil itself is available in small bottles which makes it convenient to pour. Some bottles may also come with a dripper — these bottles are usually aimed toward external uses like applying the oil to hair and skin.

Black seed oil can also be mixed in food, although it is primarily used as a flavoring oil in dressings!

If you are new to trying black seed oil, then we highly recommend that you mix it with a few drops of honey or Stevia in a spoon before taking it.

How To Store Black Seed Oil

Black seed oil is incredibly easy to store and doesn’t require constant checking. 

It is a shelf-stable oil that can withstand the test of time, but there are a few limitations to its stability. 

The first thing that you need to consider is heat. Like many other foods, black seed oil is susceptible to heat and can lessen in quality if it is regularly subjected to warm temperatures. 

This is why we don’t recommend that you keep the oil in cabinets that are close to the stove. 

We also suggest keeping the oil in a cool and dry place without any sunlight. Exposure to the sun can have a profound degradative effect on the compounds in the oil which would eventually lead to it being less effective.

Perhaps the biggest tip on getting the most out of the storage life of black seed oil is to store it in a glass bottle. Glass bottles are great at not only keeping the oil secure from the environment but will also keep air out. 

Plastic bottles are the worst way to store black seed oil as most of these bottles don’t come with an airtight seal. 

Although the oil will last up to 1-2 years in a plastic bottle, it’s best to purchase high-quality black seed oil that is packaged in airtight bottles for the best experience. 

To Refrigerate Or Not To Refrigerate? 

This is a common question that most people have with black seed oil.

In most cases, black seed oil will not require refrigeration, even after opening the bottle. The oil will remain stable as long as you follow the above storage tips!

But some might still want to refrigerate the oil to cover all bases, which is completely fine. Black seed oil can be stored at 40°F for up to 1-2 years. 

For more storage information, we highly recommend that you check the back of the bottle.

Some manufacturers may print detailed storage indications along with an expiration date for the oil — this is especially important for filtered varieties. 

Freezing black seed oil is NOT recommended. Not only will you risk the quality of the oil and its precious compounds, but it may also permanently ruin its natural texture and flavor. 

Signs Of Spoilage

Even with a stable shelf life, black seed oil can go bad, particularly when it isn’t stored correctly. Here are some common signs of spoilage in black seed oil.

Changes In Color

Take note of the color of black seed oil when you open a fresh bottle of oil. 

How do you know it’s fresh? 

Well, you can refer to the packaging or “pressing” date on the back of the bottle to know how old the oil is. 

In most cases, if you are buying from an upscale brand, the oil would have been pressed in either the same month or within 2-3 months. Fresh oil will have the same dark amber color that we discussed above

Some brands may also store their oil in the fridge or at cool temperatures to preserve its quality.

Even though the jury is out on whether this affects the longevity of the oil, it is a good practice to maintain the freshness of any food product.  

If you notice the oil taking on a different shade after the 6-month or 1-year mark, then you should probably discard the bottle.

Black seed oil doesn’t go through any color change unless it is induced through oxidization, which can effectively ruin the oil.

Changes In Smell And Taste

Look out for changes in smell! 

Black seed oil has a neutral or pleasant peppery smell. It isn’t overpowering and you don’t get a foul odor from freshly pressed and well-stored oil.

But if you are dealing with an old bottle or with oil that hasn’t been stored properly, then we recommend that you check for any rancid odors. 

If the oil smells “old,” which could include a musky or rancid smell, then you should discard it! On the other hand, if the oil doesn’t smell bad, then you can proceed with the taste test.

Taste the oil without gulping it to check its flavor. The oil shouldn’t have any foul flavor notes or an overly bitter flavor. 

If you notice a drastic change in the oil compared to how it tasted before, then just spit it out and rinse your mouth. 

Related Questions 

Black seed oil is a powerful supplement that can be conveniently stored on the shelf for a long time. Now that you know if it can expire, here are some related questions.

Can you consume black seed oil that is 3–4 years old?

Very old black seed oil should first be checked for signs of spoilage.

Even if there are no apparent signs, you should always try to opt for fresh oil since long-term storage may affect the nutritional quality (and benefits) of the oil, even if it has been kept correctly. 

Can you fry food in black seed oil?

Black seed oil can be used like olive oil, but this oil has a particularly bitter and “strong” flavor compared to other flavoring oils.

So while this means it might not be suitable for frying or cooking, you can still drizzle it over food to add a peppery flavor. 

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