Have some extra quinoa that you don't know how to store? Wondering whether your quinoa from last week is safe to eat? Read on for everything you need to know about the shelf life, storage and spoilage of quinoa.
Does quinoa go bad? Yes. But, how long it lasts and signs of spoilage depend on whether it is uncooked or cooked. I'm sharing everything you need to know below.
- Dry quinoa lasts several years when stored properly in the pantry.
- Cooked quinoa last 5-7 days when stored properly in the fridge.
- Spoiled quinoa will show signs. Some of these include mold, insect infestation, foul odours, or unusual textures.
Can quinoa go bad?
Does quinoa go bad? Yes. But, how quickly it goes bad depends on whether it's uncooked or cooked. Here's what you need to know:
- Does uncooked quinoa go bad? Yes. Dry quinoa will go bad if it's exposed to moisture or pantry bugs. But, in general, it can last several years. That said, the nutrients in quinoa do decrease over time.
- Does quinoa go bad after cooked? Yes. Cooked quinoa goes bad much quicker than dry quinoa. It will typically last 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Eating it after this time can make you sick as bacteria contaminates the grain. If you won't be able to eat your leftovers in this time, freezing is a good solution.
How long is quinoa good for?
Does quinoa expire? How long does cooked quinoa last? How long does dry quinoa last? All great questions.
Below are some helpful guidelines on how long it should last. For all methods, be sure quinoa is stored in an airtight container.
Other things to consider:
- These shelf lives apply to all varieties of quinoa - red, white and black.
- Quinoa packages will be marked with a best before date. This date is indicative of food quality not food safety. If there are no obvious signs of spoilage, you can consume the quinoa beyond this date.
- Your quinoa won't technically go bad in the freezer. But, it will lose some of its texture and quality over time. So, it is recommended to consume it within a year. The sooner, the better.
How to tell if quinoa is bad?
It's very hard to tell if uncooked quinoa has expired. Generally, it won't show any signs of spoilage until it's cooked. That said, there are a few things you can watch for on the dry grain.
- It has signs of mold
- There are small insects or bugs present
Beyond that, you'll have to cook the quinoa to see if it's still good to eat. So, how do you know if cooked quinoa has spoiled?
- It has an abnormally hard texture
- It emits a strange aroma
- It has mold
To play it safe, here are the rules to follow:
- If your quinoa has been in your pantry for a long period of time, give it a glance to check for mold or bugs. If none are present, proceed to cooking. But, be sure there are no signs of spoilage once it's ready.
- If your cooked quinoa has been stored in the fridge, be sure to check for signs of spoilage before eating. These include a foul smell, unusual texture and mold. If it's been more than 7 days, throw it away regardless to prevent food illness.
How to store cooked quinoa properly
If you do weekly meal prep (yay to batch cooking!), you probably prefer to cook your grains in big batches that can be enjoyed throughout the week ahead. Or, perhaps you just cooked too much for dinner and want to store the leftovers. The good news is that it is totally fine to do this. But, you'll want to be sure to store your cooked quinoa properly to avoid any food safety concerns.
Cooked quinoa storage tips:
- Allow cooked quinoa to cool for 15 minutes before storing
- Do not leave out to cool more than 2 hours or bacteria may start to form
- Transfer to an air tight container
- Place in fridge
Can you freeze cooked quinoa?
Can cooked quinoa be frozen? It sure can.
Maybe you have a busy week ahead and don't think you'll be able to eat your leftover quinoa within the 5-7 days it will last in the refrigerator. No worries - the freezer is your solution.
To do so, you'll want to follow the same steps that you would when refrigerating quinoa, but also consider the following:
- It can be helpful to freeze in individual portion sizes to make it easier to use later
- Make sure your air tight container is freezer safe
- Label your storage container with the date and contents (I love using this washable marker)
- When it's time to defrost the quinoa it's safest to do it overnight in the fridge.
How to store dry quinoa properly
Buying grains in bulk can certainly be cheaper. But, it's important to know how to store your giant bag of quinoa so it doesn't go bad before you use it.
Here's how to store quinoa:
- Keeping it completely dry is the most important thing
- If you store it in the package it comes in, be sure it's sealed properly
- Or transfer the quinoa to an air tight container
- Store in a cool, dark place like a pantry or cupboard
Can you freeze uncooked quinoa?
Technically yes, but there's no need. Uncooked quinoa has a shelf-life of 2-3 years, so doesn't need to take up valuable space in your freezer.
Can quinoa be reheated?
Of course! Here's how:
- If the quinoa is frozen, it's best to defrost it overnight in the fridge. If you forget to do so, don't worry. You can also use the microwave or stovetop to defrost quinoa. It may be helpful to add a little water to avoid drying out the grain.
- If the quinoa is refrigerated, use the microwave or stovetop to warm it. Again, it may be helpful to add a little water to keep the grain fluffy and moist.
Recipes with quinoa
Feel free to check out the recipes I hand selected for you below or peruse my entire recipe collection here.
Does quinoa go bad? Yes, it does. But, there are ways to prolong its shelf life. What other foods do you want to know how to store properly? Let me know in the comments below.