Does Quinoa Go Bad? How Long Can It Last? (2023)

Ah, quinoa. The superfood is filled with so many nutrients for everyone, especially vegans! It’s a gluten-free seed that acts as a delicious substitute for carbs, which we can use in many dishes and drinks.

Suppose you have a pack of quinoa stored in the pantry or an opened pack in the fridge, ready to use… That may leave you wondering, how long does quinoa last? Can you leave quinoa in storage for a few months and use it without worrying about it getting spoiled.

We answer your wonderments about the shelf life of quinoa, so read on!

What is Quinoa?

Does Quinoa Go Bad? How Long Can It Last? (1)

Does Quinoa Go Bad? How Long Can It Last? (2)

What is quinoa in the first place?

This is an edible seed that we once thought was a grain! However, it actually comes from the flowering plant of the amaranth family. It’s considered a pseudocereal as it doesn’t grow on grass like barley, oats, or wheat.

Many of us consume quinoa because it’s packed with fiber, protein, B vitamins, and other nutrients. Just one cup of cooked quinoa contains the following:

  • 222 calories
  • 39g carbs
  • 4g fat
  • 8g protein
  • 5g fiber

Another plus is that quinoa is naturally gluten-free and an excellent substitute for other grains like rice. You don’t only take it as a carb substitute, though, as you can prepare drinks and dishes with it, a well-rounded nutritional ingredient.

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We know it as the only plant food containing all nine essential amino acids, deeming it a complete source of protein. It is popularly known as a health food today, but quinoa has also been used for centuries, an ancient grain good for its nutrients.

Does Quinoa Go Bad?

To answer your question – quinoa does go bad and has a shelf life of 2 to 3 years when left unopened and properly stored. It can even last longer than that, which we’ll get to in the next section.

You can find the shelf life of quinoa in its packaging. It would usually last for a few years after its manufacturing date, though various factors determine its actual shelf life.

How Long Does Quinoa Last: Typical Shelf Life of Quinoa

Does Quinoa Go Bad? How Long Can It Last? (3)

Again, different factors determine the shelf life of quinoa. We’ll show you the different quinoa lifespans based on how it’s stored.

1.Uncooked Quinoa Shelf Life

There are different types of raw quinoa, such as red, white, and black. Regardless of variety, they last for 2-3 years from their production date. However, that is just the best by date, which refers to the food quality and not safety.

Meaning, quinoa can last longer than the date stated on its packaging! So, it can last even longer than the best-by date, as long as there are no apparent signs it has spoiled. It can last for months to years past the best-by date!

2.Cooked Quinoa Shelf Life

Once you open your quinoa packages and cook them, then the lifespan shortens. After cooking quinoa, it will last for up to one week in your fridge when stored in an airtight container. That said, it would most likely last for less than a week, typically within 3-5 days.

However, if you leave it out in your kitchen overnight, it may spoil within 24 hours.

You can have cooked quinoa last longer by storing it in the freezer for 8-12 months. However, it won’t taste as good over time, as the freezing process has quinoa lose its quality.

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How to Tell If Quinoa Has Gone Bad

Before you start using quinoa in your drinks or dishes, you first have to check if it’s still safe to consume, especially if it spent a long time in your pantry. It isn’t easy to tell whether or not your uncooked quinoa has gone bad, though!

Here are the signs to tell if quinoa is bad:

  • Spoiled uncooked quinoa would smell rotten or have a very different texture than when you first got it.
  • Spoiled cooked quinoa would have a slimy texture, as it is supposed to be sticky and fluffy. If uncooked quinoa has a hard texture, it indicates spoilage, as it’s a soft grain.
  • The same indicators go for cooked quinoa, which is smell and texture, but this is easier to detect than the uncooked version. Spoiled cooked quinoa would be very hard with a foul odor.
  • Presence of mold or insects is a prominent factor. You may see green or white substances.
  • If none of the indicators show, you can taste a tiny amount of quinoa to see if it still tastes as expected. If not, chuck it out.

How to Store Quinoa Properly

Quinoa lasts long as long as you keep it in a dry area. Here are the tips on how to store quinoa to extend its shelf life:

1.Storing Raw Quinoa

Storing raw quinoa is very easy. Just keep it in its original packaging or transfer it to an airtight container.

Then, please place it in a dark, cool, and dry environment, away from any light or heat sources. We recommend keeping it in your kitchen cabinet or pantry, opening it only as needed.

2.Storing Cooked Quinoa

Many people would cook quinoa in bulk, which is a good idea if you do meal plans with a busy work schedule.

That said, you need to practice proper hygiene and food storage to maximize the cooked quinoa’s shelf life, which prevents food waste. Besides avoiding food wastage, you also avoid wasting money throwing spoiled quinoa, which is an expensive ingredient.

There are only two places you can store cooked: The fridge or freezer.

Once cooked, quinoa becomes a perishable food that should not sit out at room temperature for an extended period of time. You shouldn’t leave cooked quinoa out for over two hours, or it spoils much quicker than expected.

After cooking quinoa, allow it to cool for 15-30 minutes, depending on how much you cook. Then, quickly transfer the cooked quinoa into your airtight container and place it in the fridge to use for your next dish.

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We recommend using a shallow airtight container for a faster cooling process!

3.Freezing Cooked Quinoa

As mentioned, you can store cooked or raw quinoa in the freezer. Freezing is a common preservation method for ingredients other than quinoa, which extends its shelf life by delaying spoilage.

If you plan on storing cooked quinoa for longer than a week, then we recommend freezing it. That said, note that the quinoa’s texture and flavor would degrade over time.

Like storing cooked quinoa in the fridge, let the food cool down completely until it reaches room temperature. Then place it in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag.

We suggest storing quinoa in meal-sized portions in separate containers or bags. Squeeze all air from the bag before you seal it and label the food name and date of freezing, so you’re aware of how long you’ve stored it.

Only defrost cooked quinoa when it’s time to consume it. Defrost it in the fridge overnight or thaw it in a pot or microwave if you’re in a hurry.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are more things to learn about quinoa other than its expiration date! Here are frequently asked questions and informative answers to handle this healthy food even better.

1.Are there different kinds of quinoa?

There are three kinds of quinoa:

  • Red quinoa seeds are oval and flat, having a rich and nutty flavor, having a chewy texture. It holds its shape well when cooked, making it suitable for salads.
  • White quinoa is commonly used in cooking, having a light and delicate texture.
  • Black quinoa is slightly sweeter with an earthier flavor.

You can also purchase multicolor quinoa, which is a combination of all three varieties. This type of quinoa gives you a blend of flavors and textures, which we appreciate!

2.Why does quinoa spoil so fast?

Quinoa has a long shelf life, so you won’t need to worry about it spoiling so quickly. The only two reasons it would spoil soon is because you purchased bad-quality quinoa or you did not store it adequately enough.

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That’s why it’s crucial to choose high-quality quinoa from reputable brands, with a later best-by date. Furthermore, follow the tips above to store quinoa properly for longer shelf life.

3.What can I do with quinoa?

There are so many drinks and dishes you can pair or use quinoa with, such as:

  • Salads
  • As a rice substitute with meats and veggies
  • Breakfast bowls
  • Burger patties
  • Create vegan “meat.”
  • Add it to soups
  • Place it in wraps
  • Stuff quinoa in squash or sweet potatoes
  • Quinoa milk or horchata
  • Quinoa black bean salad

4.Can I reheat cooked quinoa?

You can reheat cooked quinoa that’s been stored in the fridge or freezer. Either heat it in a pot or microwave, adding a bit of water for rehydration. That way, your quinoa won’t come up too dry.

5.Can I put hot cooked quinoa in the freezer or fridge?

As much as possible, we don’t recommend storing any food in the fridge while it’s still hot. Other food in the refrigerator may end up spoiling because of the sudden temperature change, and your fridge will need to work harder!

If you have no time, divide the hot cooked quinoa into smaller portions and shallow containers when placing it in the fridge, which helps with the cooling process.

Wrapping It Up

We hope that this article answered your question, “how long does quinoa last?” Follow our tips on storing this ingredient, whether cooked or uncooked quinoa, to extend its shelf life.

Does Quinoa Go Bad? How Long Can It Last? (4)

Does Quinoa Go Bad? How Long Can It Last? (5)

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FAQs

How long can you eat expired quinoa? ›

Quinoa should remain safe to eat way beyond the printed date, and that means months or even years. If there aren't any obvious signs of spoilage, quinoa is most likely safe to eat. even if it's 2 years past its date.

How long can you store unopened quinoa? ›

How long does dry quinoa last? When dry and stored properly it will last 2-3 years from the date it was produced. There should be a “best by” date on the packaging. Follow the “best by” date because you don't know how long it was sitting on the shelf before you purchased it.

How can you tell if quinoa is bad? ›

Signs that Quinoa Has Gone Bad

The only time you can tell if the product has gone bad is if you cooked it. If the cooked quinoa has an abnormally hard texture or if it starts emitting a funky aroma, the product is no longer safe to eat. If the cooked quinoa has turned moldy, toss the product in the trash.

How long can you store uncooked quinoa? ›

How Long Does Uncooked Quinoa Last? Cooked quinoa tends to spoil quickly, but dry quinoa can last quite a while. Like other dried grains, raw quinoa will typically last between 2 and 3 years in the pantry. This is true as long as the seeds are kept in an airtight bag or container and not exposed to moisture.

How do you store quinoa long term? ›

Quinoa has a high oil content of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Because of this, it's important to store Quinoa in a cool place, and if you are going to store it for the long term, place it in airtight containers and remove the oxygen with oxygen absorbers.

What is quinoa good for? ›

Quinoa is high in fiber, plus several vitamins and minerals that are low in many people's diets. Regularly eating quinoa can help you meet your needs for magnesium, potassium, iron, fiber, and folate, a vitamin that's especially important during pregnancy due to its role in fetal growth and development ( 14 ).

Does quinoa go bad in pantry? ›

Dry quinoa lasts several years when stored properly in the pantry. Cooked quinoa last 5-7 days when stored properly in the fridge. Spoiled quinoa will show signs. Some of these include mold, insect infestation, foul odours, or unusual textures.

Can you freeze uncooked quinoa? ›

Can you freeze uncooked quinoa? You can. Unopened packs of quinoa can be stored in the freezer. If you open the packet and use some, be sure to get the air out as much as possible.

Does rice expire? ›

Dry white rice may last for up to 2 years if kept at room temperature, while brown rice only lasts about 6 months. Refrigerating and freezing them increases their shelf lives. Cooked rice must be refrigerated, and it keeps for about 4 days. It may also be frozen for longer.

Is quinoa a starch or protein? ›

Unlike some plant proteins, quinoa is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make on their own. Quinoa is also naturally gluten-free and can be eaten safely if one has gluten intolerance such as celiac disease.

How do you make quinoa taste good? ›

I find that some of the best seasonings for quinoa are cumin, dried bay leaf, turmeric, and salt, and black pepper. I also love to flavor it with fresh garlic and herbs such as parsley, dill, and cilantro. You can add the seasonings of your choice into the pot at the same time with the liquid and cook it as directed.

Where should you store quinoa? ›

Uncooked quinoa will keep in an air tight container in a cool, dry place (like a cupboard) for up to one year. Cooked quinoa will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. You can also freeze quinoa for up to a month.

How long can you store quinoa in Mylar bags? ›

If you seal it in a #10 can, or Mylar bag, with an oxygen absorber, at or below 70 degrees, you can plan on a storage life of at least 8 years. Quinoa should keep longer if stored at cooler temperatures.

Is quinoa okay for dogs? ›

Before feeding anything to your dog it is always best to consult your dog's veterinarian, but can dogs eat quinoa? Yes, when it's properly prepared in a digestible form and in the right amounts as part of a complete and balanced meal can be fed to dogs.

Can you store quinoa in Mason jars? ›

Store dry quinoa in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. Limiting exposure to high heat, levels of moisture, and UV rays will ensure your raw quinoa stays fresh for a long time. Glass containers, like Mason jars, make a good choice for the long term storage of quinoa.

Why is it a #10 can? ›

The term "#10" does not mean that the contents will weigh 10 pounds, the #10 refers to the type of can that is used. The actual weight and volume of the contents will vary depending on the product. On average, the #10 can will hold 109 oz. To help you visualize, your average soup can is #2 can.

Can you reheat quinoa twice? ›

Once cooked, can you reheat quinoa? Yes, quinoa is one of the easiest grains you can refrigerate or freeze and reheat at will. The quickest way to reheat quinoa is by using your microwave, but the oven and the stovetop are equally useful in their own ways.

Why does my stomach hurt after eating quinoa? ›

But for some people, eating quinoa may cause stomachaches, itchy skin, hives, and other common symptoms of food allergies. The seed and its coating contain the compound saponin, which could cause these symptoms. If you're allergic to quinoa or sensitive to saponin, it doesn't mean you have to miss out on tasty recipes.

Is quinoa anti inflammatory? ›

Quinoa, a well-known healthy pseudocereal, has a high content of dietary fiber, contains poly-unsaturated fatty acids, and is considered a high-quality source of protein. Furthermore, it contains an abundance of anti-inflammatory phytochemicals2123 and therefore has potential protective effects against inflammation.

What happens if you eat quinoa everyday? ›

A study by the Harvard Public School of Health stated that eating a bowl of quinoa daily may reduce the chances of early death risk from cancer, heart disease, respiratory ailments, diabetes, and other chronic diseases by 17%.

Can you eat expired rice? ›

Expired rice is mostly contaminated by fungi or mold, which produce mycotoxins that may cause food poisoning ( 3 ). Mycotoxin intake is linked to symptoms that range from vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain to convulsions, coma, an increased risk of cancer, and a weak immune system (4, 5).

Is uncooked quinoa safe to eat? ›

Can you eat raw quinoa? Eating raw quinoa is not recommended as it may cause digestive discomfort. I recommend cooking quinoa as directed below, although you may want to experiment with how to make puffed quinoa.

How long does quinoa keep in the fridge? ›

How long does cooked quinoa last in the fridge? With proper storage, the shelf life of quinoa is 5 days in the refrigerator. Always check it when you remove it from the refrigerator and if there are any off smells or visible signs of mold or a milk liquid present, you should discard it.

Does cooked quinoa go bad if not refrigerated? ›

Does cooked quinoa go bad if left out? Yes! Don't let cooked quinoa sit out at room temperature for longer than two hours. Always keep it in the fridge to avoid spoilage.

Does Sugar expire? ›

"Technically sugar never spoils," explain food safety experts from the US Department of Agriculture's Food Service and Inspection Service, though they do add, "for best quality it is recommended to use within two years of opening."

Does pasta expire? ›

You can keep dry, boxed pasta for one to two years past its printed date. Fresh (uncooked) pasta ― the kind you'll often find in the refrigerated section of the supermarket next to Italian cheese ― is only good for four to five days beyond the date printed on the packaging.

What rice has the longest shelf life? ›

For long term rice storage, you'll want to focus on white rice varieties like, basmati rice, and jasmine rice. Brown rice will only last about 5 years. So avoid storing brown rice if your main focus is food with basically an indefinite shelf life.

Who should not eat quinoa? ›

But for some people, eating quinoa may cause stomachaches, itchy skin, hives, and other common symptoms of food allergies. The seed and its coating contain the compound saponin, which could cause these symptoms. If you're allergic to quinoa or sensitive to saponin, it doesn't mean you have to miss out on tasty recipes.

What happens if you don't wash quinoa? ›

As you may or may not know, quinoa needs to be rinsed with cold water before cooking it. This simple process will help get rid of the bitter-tasting compound (saponin) that coats the tiny seeds; if you don't do it, it's going to taste wrong and you'll never want to use this ancient power food again in your diet.

Do you need to wash quinoa? ›

Rinsing removes quinoa's natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy. Although boxed quinoa is often pre-rinsed, it doesn't hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse at home.

Is quinoa a starch or protein? ›

Unlike some plant proteins, quinoa is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make on their own. Quinoa is also naturally gluten-free and can be eaten safely if one has gluten intolerance such as celiac disease.

Can you freeze uncooked quinoa? ›

Can you freeze uncooked quinoa? You can. Unopened packs of quinoa can be stored in the freezer. If you open the packet and use some, be sure to get the air out as much as possible.

What does bad quinoa smell like? ›

Fresh quinoa should have a slightly nutty aroma, while rancid quinoa will smell sour or unpleasant. If your quinoa has a foul smell, it should be discarded. – Texture: finally, you can also tell if quinoa is bad by its texture.

Can you reheat quinoa twice? ›

Once cooked, can you reheat quinoa? Yes, quinoa is one of the easiest grains you can refrigerate or freeze and reheat at will. The quickest way to reheat quinoa is by using your microwave, but the oven and the stovetop are equally useful in their own ways.

Can you eat quinoa cold? ›

Can you eat quinoa cold? Yes, you can prepare the quinoa ahead and you can eat it during the next day's cold without re-heating it. It will go very well in some fresh summer salads by mixing the cold quinoa with some vegetables, seeds, and nuts. You can even make a delicious breakfast from the cold quinoa.

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