Does Quinoa Go Bad? (Dry Or Cooked)

Quick summary: If quinoa is dry and well stored, it can go years without spoiling. Moisture is a big enemy, and cooked quinoa will last long only in the freezer. 

If you are one of the campaigners who suddenly decided to eat healthily, you probably filled the pantry with many foods that you have not used until now. That is OK. We learn every day. But you may have found yourself in front of a bag of quinoa, wondering what to do with it. Should it be in the fridge or warm? Can it spoil, and when?

The good thing is that you can immediately breathe a sigh of relief because quinoa is certainly not a food that will spoil quickly. At least not while it’s dry and well-packed. Although quinoa has been affectionately called the mother of all grains for a long time, it is actually not that at all. It is seeds, so kind of pseudo-cereals. It is beneficial for health, so getting to know it more closely is not bad at all. 

How Long Does Quinoa Last?

Quinoa is most durable in its dry form, well-sealed, and protected from moisture. You will find it in different colors, and some sources claim that there are more than 120 types of quinoa. Although they are prepared differently and have distinct tastes, most durability characteristics are mainly the same.

Unopened quinoa

In its original packaging, quinoa is long-lasting if stored properly. Its shelf life can be over three years from packaging, so you don’t have to worry about it spoiling in a short time. Depending on how far the manufacturer has stretched the recommended shelf life, it’s almost certain that packaged quinoa will be good for a few months beyond that.

Opened quinoa

After opening, air and moisture reach the contents more easily, so spoilage is certainly accelerated. If you plan to use up a bag of quinoa in a few weeks, you don’t need to refrigerate it. It will be perfectly fine. Just be sure to close the package. However, if you are aiming for several months of storage, we would recommend that you store it in the refrigerator. That way, it will last a year without major problems.

Cooked quinoa

Once cooked, quinoa cannot be stored for long. It is necessary to place it in the fridge as soon as possible because spoilage can occur if you leave it on the kitchen counter for hours. It will be safe in the refrigerator for the next few days. Let’s say up to five days. Definitely freeze quinoa if you need to extend its shelf life.

Can Quinoa Go Bad?

Yes, indeed, quinoa can spoil. Cooked one already after a week. Dry and untreated after a few years or sooner if the storage conditions were unfavorable. Here’s how to notice that something is wrong.

Sign 1: A rancid smell

If you open the package of quinoa and smell something rancid or just a stale and slightly repulsive fragrance, this is a sign that the product has expired. It is definitely advisable to throw away such seeds.

Sign 2: Mold

Mold can develop on the seeds if even the slightest amount of moisture has entered the package. Sometimes the mold will be visible to the naked eye, and very often, you will only notice a musty smell. In either case, throw everything away.

Sign 3: Cooked quinoa 

For cooked quinoa, in any of the following cases, be sure to throw it away. If the appearance of mold is visible, if the texture has changed a lot and the quinoa is hard, or simply if you know that it has been in the refrigerator for more than a week.

Which is the Best Way to Store Quinoa?

The storage method is crucial for most foods, thus for grains or pseudo-grains such as quinoa. Moisture is the number one enemy, so pay attention to the following steps.

Tip 1: Protect from moisture

Even when the package is unopened, be careful not to store it too close to heat sources. Keeping quinoa in the kitchen cupboard above the stove is also not good. Steam from cooking or changes in temperature will create condensation and humid conditions.

Tip 2: Close well before storing

After opening, always remember to close the bag well before disposing of it. It would be ideal to pour the quinoa into a jar with a lid to prevent air and moisture from entering as much as possible.

Tip 3: Refrigerate for longer keeping

After opening, if you know you won’t use up the bag quickly, it is advisable to refrigerate the leftovers.


How can you tell if quinoa is bad?

If you notice any organic growth on the quinoa or if you smell an unpleasant, stale, or rancid scent, these are signs that you should throw the product in the trash.

Can you use expired quinoa?

A dry and unopened package of quinoa will certainly be good even after the expiration date written on the label. It is likely that this deadline will be at least a few months, if not a year longer.

Can quinoa give you food poisoning?

You can definitely get food poisoning if you’ve consumed cooked quinoa that’s rotten or moldy.

Quinoa is certainly one of the healthier foods that you will include in your diet if you haven’t made friends with it by now. It is full of valuable fibers and vitamins and does not contain gluten. 

Most nutritionists worldwide will recommend quinoa as a good companion for your diet. While it is dry and unopened, keep it at room temperature. Just make sure that moisture does not get into the packaging, as it will cause mold to appear very quickly. After cooking, it must be refrigerated.

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