Quinoa Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad?

In the past decade, quinoa has gained a much wider worldwide popularity. Quinoa is known as a source of healthy nutrients, particularly for its protein contents. It has been a popular alternative for people with gluten intolerance, as well as enjoyed by many others.

Contrary to popular belief, technically quinoa is a seed rather than a grain, although it is typically used to replace wheat and other cereals. Quinoa is relatively easy to prepare, nutritious, and can be created into a diverse variety of appealing dishes.

Whether having quinoa as part of your regular diet or as an occasional quinoa eater, having cooked quinoa in the fridge always comes handy.

But, are you sometimes in a situation when you are doubting if your cooked quinoa from last weekend is still good to eat? How long should it be kept in the fridge?

Do you still have a pack of quinoa in your pantry since last year? And this makes you think, does quinoa go bad?

If you are curious to find out more interesting facts and useful information about quinoa; how to store quinoa, how long it should last, and ultimately how to tell if it’s bad, then this article is for you!

How to Store Raw Quinoa

Storing raw or uncooked quinoa is relatively simple. Store it in the original package or in an airtight container. Keep it in a dry, cool and dark environment, away from the source of light and heat, such as your kitchen pantry or cabinet.

How to Store Cooked Quinoa

Cooking in a bulk, including quinoa, is always a smart solution if you have a busy schedule throughout the week.

However, you need to bear in mind that practicing hygiene and proper storage is essential to maximize its shelf life and to avoid food waste. It can also save you money since quinoa can be quite expensive.

There is no other place that belongs to your cooked quinoa, other than your fridge. Cooked quinoa is perishable food that should not sit at room temperature for long.

It is advisable to not leave it outside for more than two hours. When left outside for too long, it is likely to get spoiled more quickly.

After cooking quinoa, let it cool off for 10 – 30 minutes, depending on the quantity of quinoa you cook. Quickly transfer the cooked ingredient into an airtight container, and let it sit in the fridge until your next meal.

It is also recommended to use a shallow airtight container to allow a quicker cooling process.

Can You Freeze Cooked Quinoa?

Freezing is a popular preservation method to delay spoilage and extend shelf life. If you intend to store cooked quinoa for longer than a week or even months, you can certainly opt to freeze it. However, its flavor and texture may degrade over time.

Make sure the cooked quinoa is completely cooled down to room temperature before putting it into the container. It is also suggested to divide the quinoa per meal-size portion in a freezer container or a resealable plastic bag.

Squeeze out the air from the bag before sealing. Adding labels with food name and date of freezing will be very useful for you to know how long it’s been in the freezer.

Only defrost frozen quinoa before you are going to consume it. It is advisable to defrost it overnight in the fridge. However, if you are in a rush, frozen quinoa can be thawed quickly in either a microwave or a pot. In a few minutes, it is ready to serve or use for a recipe.

How Long Does Raw Quinoa Last?

Raw quinoa can last for 2 to 3 years from the production date when stored properly. Don’t forget to observe this date on the label.

If you still have raw quinoa that has passed the date, it may still be edible. Try to do a quick check. If there are no signs of spoilage such as mold or foul smell. If you’re not quite sure, try to cook a small amount.

How Long Does Cooked Quinoa Last?

When properly stored in the refrigerator, cooked quinoa can last for 3 to 5 days or a week maximum. Leftover quinoa is likely to last shorter and is suggested to consume within 4 days.

If you still have cooked quinoa that is older than a week, you might consider throwing it away for safety reasons. Better safe than sorry, right?

Frozen cooked quinoa will last much longer, as long as 6 – 12 months. Although it may remain safe for consumption for a longer period, its best quality will start to degrade after 1 to 2 months.

How to Tell if Quinoa Has Gone Bad or Spoiled?

As a dry product, raw quinoa relatively has a long shelf life. But, telling whether it has gone bad might not always be easy. Try to observe the standard signs of spoilage such as foul smell, mold. Dry seed or grains are also susceptible to insects or bugs, make sure to check for them too.

If you’re not quite sure yet and don’t want to waste a half-full pack of quinoa, try to cook a small amount of it. If your cooked quinoa tastes different or turns out hard, it has gone bad.

Just like any other cooked food, cooked quinoa can also go bad after a certain time or when not correctly stored. Always use your senses in judging whether your pack of cooked quinoa has spoiled.

If it looks and smells right, give it a small taste. If it tastes normal, it is likely safe to consume. If there is an unpleasant smell, change in color, or signs of molds, it is likely to have spoiled. Better to throw it away!


Can you reheat cooked quinoa?

Yes. Cooked quinoa can be reheated in the microwave or a pot. Add a little amount of water to rehydrate it so it won’t be too dry.

Is it okay to put hot cooked quinoa in the fridge?

Avoid storing cooked quinoa (and other food) in the fridge when it is still piping hot. It will not only force the fridge to work harder, but other foods might be compromised due to the sudden change in temperature.

If you are in a rush and have to put hot food into the fridge, try to divide it into smaller portions and put it into shallow containers. This will allow a quicker cooling process.

How long does quinoa salad last?

Quinoa salad is a popular dish that is not only healthy but also tasty. It contains quinoa and other fresh ingredients.

To tell how long quinoa salad lasts, check the ingredients that will go bad fastest. This is also applicable to check other dishes with quinoa. Typically, it can last for 3 – 4 days in the fridge with proper storage. But, if you find foul smell or signs of spoilage, better to throw it away!


Quinoa is known for providing a diverse range of nutrients for our bodies. It comes handy to have cooked quinoa in your fridge for your next meals.

With proper storage, raw quinoa can last up to 2-3 years, while cooked quinoa may last for 3-5 days or a week maximum. To extend its shelf-life, it is also possible to freeze cooked quinoa for the next 6 -12 months. But, if you see signs of spoilage, don’t take the gamble and quickly get rid of it.

quinoa shelf life
*Photo by anginta/depositphotos

*Photo by anginta/depositphotos

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