Does Quinoa Go Bad? Here’s What You Need to Know

Quinoa is a healthy and versatile food that is easy to prepare. You can use it in a variety of recipes, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. Does quinoa go bad?

The answer is yes. While quinoa has a long shelf life when stored properly, it will eventually go bad after some time.

This article will explain what quinoa is, how long it lasts, how to store it so that it lasts longer than its expiration date, and more.

What Is Quinoa?

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a type of seed often eaten as a grain. It was originally grown in the Andes Mountains and is now grown in many other places around the world.

This superfood contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a great option for vegetarians. It’s also gluten-free, making it suitable for people who have celiac disease or sensitivities to gluten.

Quinoa has a chewy texture and a nutty flavor. You can use it as an ingredient in many dishes like salads, soups, and stir-fries. You can also cook it like rice or use it as a substitute for couscous or pasta.

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Does Quinoa Go Bad?

Yes, quinoa does go bad. This is due to its high protein content making it vulnerable to oxidation and deterioration. The good news, however, is that quinoa will last for a long time if you store it in an airtight container away from sunlight and moisture.

You can also make it last longer by storing it in your fridge or freezer (the low temperature will help prevent oxidation and microbial growth).

What Is the Shelf Life of Quinoa?


Uncooked quinoa can last for about 6 months past its best-by date at room temperature. However, you will want to keep it in an airtight container to prevent moisture from getting into it.

To extend its shelf life, store uncooked quinoa in the refrigerator where it should last for about 9 months past its best-by date, or in the freezer where it should last for about 12 months past its best-by date.


Once cooked, quinoa’s shelf life decreases to about 6 hours at room temperature. To extend its shelf life, store any cooked quinoa in the refrigerator where it should last for about 5 days.

You can also freeze it for up to 8 months if you’re concerned about its freshness or unsure of when you’ll use it. However, freezing cooked quinoa may affect its texture; it will not be as fluffy as fresh quinoa but will still taste good nonetheless.

Can You Eat Expired Quinoa?

Yes, you can eat expired quinoa, but it won’t taste very good.

Quinoa is made of tiny seeds coated with a saponin layer to protect them from insects and birds that would otherwise eat them. Saponin is an organic compound that tastes bitter when it’s in high concentrations.

When you cook quinoa, the saponin dissolves into the water and doesn’t affect the flavor of the grain at all. But after expiration, this compound begins to break down into smaller components that will make your quinoa taste bitter when you cook it.

So even if your quinoa is past its expiration date, there’s no need to toss it out just yet. It may not be as tasty as fresh quinoa, but it’ll still work in some recipes if cooked thoroughly.

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How to Tell if Quinoa Is Bad

Sour smell

If you’ve had this superfood in your pantry for a long time, it may start to smell like stale coffee or popcorn. If this happens, throw away the batch immediately since they may have been contaminated with molds or bacteria during storage.


Another thing to look at when trying to determine if your grain has gone bad is its color. If your grain starts turning yellow or light green, then they’re probably bad and should be thrown out immediately.

Slime layer

If you notice a slime layer on top of the grain, throw it away immediately. You’ll know right away if this happens because it won’t be difficult to spot.

SEE: Does Cream of Tartar Go Bad and Change Its Color?

Sour taste

If the grain tastes sour or rancid, then it’s time to throw them out — even if they don’t look bad. This means that bacteria have started growing inside the seeds, which can make you sick if you consume them in large quantities (or even small amounts).


Another sign that your grain is no longer edible is if there are mold spores on it. If there are signs of mold growth on your grain, throw it away immediately because it could make you sick if consumed.

Watery appearance

If the grain looks watery or sticks together in clumps, it’s likely contaminated with bacteria. Throw the grain out immediately, discard the container, and wash your hands immediately.

Hard texture

If you find that your grain has become hard or crunchy after opening its packaging, then that means something went wrong during processing or storage. The same applies if it becomes hard after cooking or if it’s too soft or mushy.

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How to Preserve Uncooked Quinoa

Keep it in an airtight container

You can use glass containers or plastic ones that are labeled “BPA-free” and don’t have any chips on them that could harbor bacteria. Avoid using cardboard boxes because they tend to be porous— which can cause your grain to spoil quickly.

Store it in a cool, dry place

Store the grain in a cool, dry place away from moisture or heat sources such as stoves or appliances. If the room you keep your grain in is too warm or humid, it will spoil more quickly.

Refrigerate it

Another easy way to preserve this superfood is to put it in your refrigerator (if you still have any space left). You don’t need anything special, just bags or containers with lids that seal tightly.

Freeze it

Freezing this nutritious food item is an easy way to store it for future use. Use freezer bags or glass jars that seal tightly. Be sure to label these containers with the date and content before placing them in the freezer.

SEE: Here’s How to Stop Food Spoilage and Food Poisoning

How to Preserve Cooked Quinoa

Refrigerate it

To make cooked quinoa last longer, put it in an airtight container, then store it in your refrigerator. Be sure to let it cool completely before refrigerating it so that it doesn’t get mushy when you thaw it out.

Freeze it

To freeze cooked quinoa, transfer it into freezer containers or bags, leaving a little headspace for expansion. Be sure to label each container with the date and contents so you don’t forget what’s inside at a later date.


Is quinoa nutritious?

Yes, it is. Quinoa is one of the most nutritious grains available, as it contains all nine essential amino acids. It is also rich in magnesium and phosphorus, both of which help regulate blood pressure and bone health.

How do you dry wet quinoa?

Spread out the quinoa on baking sheets, then put them in your oven at 150°F for 5 minutes. You can also dry them in your dehydrator at approximately 130°F (check periodically throughout the drying process).

Where can you buy quinoa?

You can buy quinoa from most supermarkets and grocery stores. It is usually available in bulk bins, so you can buy as little or as much as you like.

Quinoa is also available in bags or boxes. The smaller bags are convenient if you only want to make a small amount of quinoa at a time.

Is quinoa gluten-free?

Yes, it is. According to the Whole Grains Council, quinoa is gluten-free and high in protein content. It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a great option for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.


The shelf life of quinoa varies depending on how it’s stored and whether it has been cooked. Uncooked quinoa has an approximate shelf life of 12 months past its best-by date, while its cooked counterpart has an approximate shelf life of 8 months.

To ensure that your quinoa does not go bad, you should store it correctly. The best way to store it is in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer (if possible).

Thanks for reading.

Vist Cheffist to learn more about different types of grains and their shelf lives.