flaxseed go bad

Does Flaxseed Go Bad? How to Store and Use It Properly

Quick summary: Yes, flaxseed can go bad. Signs of spoilage include the presence of insects, mold, or a rancid smell. Proper storage includes keeping them in a cool, dark place, sealing them well, and refraining from grinding them in advance.

Flaxseed is a really good choice to supplement your daily diet. It contains a lot of omega-3 positive fats, and surely no nutritionist will tell you anything against flaxseed. However, flaxseed meal is not the food you crave every day. It is more likely that an open bag will last at least a few months before you run out of it.

So how long can flaxseed last? Can it go bad at all? In short, yes, it can. You will not have any significant health problems because of this, but the rancid taste will certainly not be pleasant to eat. Here’s how much you can stretch the lifespan of these seeds and how to recognize that they are spoiled.

How Long Does Flaxseed Last?

Many influences can determine the duration of flaxseed. What will most affect perishability is whether you have whole or ground flaxseed. Storage temperature is also a significant factor. Here are the instructions.

Whole flaxseed

If you are going for a longer duration, it is best to keep the fresh flaxseed whole. Grind them only when necessary. Whole seeds are much more durable than ground flax and can last at room temperature for up to several months after the expiration date. For longer storage, put them in the refrigerator, where they can certainly be more than half a year from expiration. You can put them in the freezer for complete safety and storage. It will buy you at least another year.

How long does ground flaxseed lasts

Grinding indeed destroys the durability of flax, and, at room temperature, ground flaxseed will not last much longer than its written on the back. Maybe a week longer. It is best to keep them in the refrigerator if you use them often, which will extend the shelf life of flax seeds by approximately two or three months. Placing them in the freezer will get you another half year.

Can Flaxseed Go Bad?

Because of the fat we mentioned, flaxseeds tend to become rancid over time. This will not necessarily mean that it will harm your health, but the taste is not okay. Any food you prepare with rotten seeds will be simply disgusting. Here are the signs that the seeds have expired.

Sign 1: Insects in a bag

Little intruders are not a desirable sight in any food. And every grain attracts them over time. If you have not closed the bag well, unwanted visitors are possible. If you notice them, throw everything in the trash.

Sign 2: Mold is present

If you open the bag and feel a slightly stale, moist smell, you’ll know that mold is very likely there. This may be due to the presence of moisture. In any case, mold is always an alarm to throw away food.

Sign 3: Rancid smell

Once the food is rotten, there is no going back. You will hardly hide that taste no matter how good a recipe you have. You will recognize rancid flaxseeds by the specific putrid scent that you will surely feel.

What Is The Best Way To Store Flaxseed?

With the usual advice that food should be in a dry and cool place, away from heat sources, here are some more tips that can help you stretch your flaxseed lifespan.

Tip 1: Do not grind them in advance

Although it is probably more practical for you to grind the whole amount at once, it is by no means a good idea if you want to use flax seeds for a long time. Instead, take the amount you need and grind it, leaving the rest intact.

Tip 2: Seal well

Close the bag well if you keep the flaxseed in the pantry so as not to attract small insects. An airtight container would be the best choice.

Tip 3: Refrigerate or freeze

If you frequently use small amounts of flaxseed, keep them in the refrigerator. However, if you know that you will not be using them for a long time, you are free to freeze them. It is only important not to thaw frozen seeds more than once.


How can you tell if flax seeds are bad?

You can tell if flax seeds are bad by checking for any off or rancid smell. Also, if they appear discolored, have a bitter taste, or show signs of mold growth, they might have gone bad and should be discarded.

Is it okay to use expired flaxseeds?

Yes, it’s usually okay to use slightly expired flaxseeds if they show no signs of spoilage, but it’s advisable to inspect them before use.

Can you freeze flax seeds?

Yes, you can definitely freeze seeds, whether they are whole flaxseed or ground. It is only important that you do not defrost them more than once. Take out only as much as you need for your flax meal.

How long does ground flaxseed last once opened?

Ground flaxseed can typically last for about 1 to 2 months once opened, if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’s important to keep them in a cool, dark place to maintain their freshness and nutritional value.


Flaxseeds are an excellent source of good omega-3 fats and valuable food with health benefits in the diet. If you’re a big fan and spend one bag in a month or two, then you don’t have to worry about shelf life and feel free to keep the pack at room temperature in the dark.

But if you rarely use flax, then keep it in the refrigerator or even the freezer to prolong its duration as much as possible. Furthermore, do not grind the seeds before you want to use them. While whole, they have a much higher resistance to spoilage.

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*image by Syda_Productions/depositphotos

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