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Can Quinoa Go Bad?

With the popularity of gluten-free diet on the rise, quinoa has become an alternative to grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. Surprisingly, quinoa is not a grain although it is often enjoyed as such.

Quinoa is a high-protein seed that’s high in essential nutrients. These nutrients include vitamin B, iron, lysine, magnesium, riboflavin and manganese. On top of that, quinoa contains all 9 amino acids that promote better muscle health!

Since this product is gluten-free, people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease can consume quinoa safely. But what about the storage life of quinoa? Can quinoa go bad?

As with almost all other food, yes, quinoa will go bad at some point. That being said, it will take a while before quinoa goes bad completely. Just make sure to protect the product from moisture and high heat to extend its shelf life!

Raw quinoa on a white spoon
Image used under Creative Commons from eugenia Sanz

Can Quinoa Go Bad?

Quinoa is sold dry, so it has a long shelf life. However, it is not impervious to spoilage.

As long as you keep the product away from sources of heat and moisture, it should keep for a long, long time. What you need to watch out for is mold growth. Once there is a presence of mold, you have no choice but to discard the product. And quinoa isn’t exactly cheap so proper storage is a must to maximize your supply!

Lunch prep with quinoa, tomatoes, and mushrooms
(credit: Ella Olsson)

Signs that Quinoa Has Gone Bad

It’s difficult to tell if uncooked quinoa has gone bad simply because there will be little to no changes in its color or flavor.

For uncooked quinoa, give the product a whiff prior to cooking. If there’s a slight change in texture or aroma, the product might’ve 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.

Salmon, quinoa, and veggies
(credit: Ella Olsson)

How to Store Quinoa?

Storing quinoa will depend on the state of the product prior to storage. For uncooked, unopened packs of quinoa, you can store the product in the pantry at room temperature. The packaging provides enough protection from the elements. However, keep the quinoa away from sources of moisture and excessive heat to extend its shelf life.

For uncooked, opened packs of quinoa, keep the product in the fridge. Refrigeration will extend the shelf life of the product. Keeping the quinoa in the fridge also delays the degradation of the product! Refrigeration is the best way to store quinoa that’s nearing its expiry date.

Cooked quinoa will go bad within a few hours so it is important to refrigerate the product in airtight containers. You can also freeze the leftovers if you have no plans of consuming the cooked quinoa right away. However, expect significant texture change once the frozen quinoa has been thawed and reheated.

Cooked quinoa
Image used under Creative Commons from Meal Makeover Moms

When kept in the pantry, uncooked and unopened packs of quinoa will keep for 3 to 4 years. Opened packs of quinoa kept in the fridge will stay fresh for 2 to 3 years. Cooked quinoa will stay fresh in the fridge for 5 to 7 days. When kept in the freezer, quinoa will keep for a year or more if the temperature is at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit!

Can You Freeze Quinoa?

Yes, you can freeze uncooked and cooked quinoa to extend its shelf life. Just use an airtight container to store the product, no additional prep needed. For unopened packs of uncooked quinoa, just stick the product in the freezer, original packaging and all.


As you can see, quinoa is not just a versatile product, it is also easy to store for later use! Quinoa is quite pricey so proper storage is a must to avoid wasting product. Just keep these tips in mind to extend the shelf life of quinoa!