Cooking oils can be slippery to understand: which to buy, how to cook with them (or not), and where to store them. We’ve covered which are the healthiest, so here’s our guide for which oils are best kept refrigerated. Because even healthy oils can turn into bad ones when stored near a stove or when exposed to heat and light, so it’s important to know how to store them properly.
According to certified nutrition specialist and doctor of natural medicine Josh Axe, oils containing polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), like nut, seed and fish oils, are especially susceptible to oxidation, so these varieties are best kept in the fridge. Although many will go cloudy when stored at cold temperatures, a few minutes at room temperature should help revert them to their natural state. Or before refrigerating, place oils in a container you can scoop them out from.
Olive Oil: Refrigerate
The higher monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) content of this heart-healthy oil, at more than 73%, makes olive oil more shelf-stable than polyunsaturated fats but less so than saturated fats. If you tend to use it quickly or you live somewhere with a cooler climate, you shouldn’t need to refrigerate it. But if you buy it in large quantities or live somewhere with a warmer climate, keep the bulk of your olive oil in the fridge and maintain a small supply in a cool cabinet in a glass bottle for easy access.
Related: 7 World-Class Olive Oils.
Fish Oil: Refrigerate
Brimming with heart-healthy omega-3s and -6s in an ideal ratio, fish oil is packed with essential fatty acids. So whether you get it in liquid or pill form, it’s best to keep this one in the fridge.
Related: 5 Supplements to Start Taking Now.
Sesame Oil: Refrigerate
Often used to complement Asian dishes, sesame oil is comprised of 40% MUFAs and 42% PUFAs. This oil is best kept in the refrigerator.
Walnut Oil: Refrigerate
This delicious nut oil is best in dressings and tossed with cooked pastas. It has a subtle but concentrated flavor so you don’t need much. Though it’s a good source of omega-3s and omega-6s, you likely won’t be using this one often, so store it in your fridge to spare it from heat breakdown and oxidation
Related: Farfalle with Mint Walnut Pesto.
Peanut Oil: Don’t Refrigerate
At 46% MUFAs and 32% PUFAs, peanut oil is more shelf-stable. Be sure to store it in a cool, dry cabinet away from the oven.
Coconut Oil: Don’t Refrigerate
With its high smoke point and composition of 90% saturated fat (about half of which is made up of healthful medium-chain triglycerides), this popular oil is shelf stable.
Related: Lemongrass Coconut Beef Stir-Fry.
Avocado Oil: Don’t Refrigerate
The do-it-all oil with a subtle buttery flavor is comprised of 70% MUFAs, so it can handle slightly higher temperatures in a cabinet.
Related: All About Avocados.