does dried quinoa go bad

Every time you buy a large bag of quinoa, you may wonder, “Does dried quinoa go bad? Or what is the best way to store dried quinoa to increase its shelf life?

Well, turns out, you are not alone!

So many people are guilty of bulk buying and think about how to protect their “investment” from going bad soon.

As a superfood with many uses, quinoa is ideal for mass storage. But, before you cook a large batch, you should know how quickly quinoa spoils.

While you may already know that cooked quinoa can go bad, you may not be sure about dried quinoa. So, does dry quinoa go bad?

Yes, like all other grains, dried quinoa can go bad, and quite quickly if you do not follow specific storage guidelines.

Tip: Consider freezing raw quinoa in an airtight container to increase its shelf life considerably. 

Does Dried Quinoa Go Bad After Some Time?

dried quinoa go bad after time

Although technically a seed, quinoa has gained popularity as a grain substitute due to its blobby, yet slightly crunchy, texture after cooking.

When compared to other grains, quinoa has twice as much fiber.

It contains all 9 essential amino acids and does not contain gluten, earning it the nickname “supergrain of the future.”

It is a good source of lysine, iron, riboflavin, magnesium, and manganese, too.

Yes, it is healthy, but these benefits come from not consuming expired quinoa.

Even uncooked quinoa has a shelf life because it is a grain. It is important to remember that the storage conditions for quinoa are the same as those for any other grain.

Therefore, proper storage is crucial to ensure it has the expected shelf life.

Tip: Do not consume cooked quinoa stored in the fridge after a week or you may develop serious side effects. 

How Long Does Quinoa Take to Go Bad in the Fridge?

quinoa go bad in the fridge

Quinoa loses its freshness quickly after being cooked, but it keeps well in its dry form for months.

When you store it in the fridge, the shelf life of raw quinoa is about 2-3 years. It is about the same as that of other dried grains.

And it is true if you protect it from moisture using an airtight container or bag.

Once the original quinoa package has been opened, only use a resealable bag to store it or go for an airtight jar to maintain freshness.

What’s more, store the grains in a dark place like a pantry or cellar to help them maintain their nutritious value. 

When Will Cooked Quinoa Go Bad?

Similar to other dried seeds and grains, quinoa loses some of its freshness after being cooked.

cooked quinoa grains

The shelf life of cooked quinoa in the refrigerator is extended to a week if it is stored in a sealed jar as soon as it is cool enough to handle.

Open containers or leaving the quinoa out for a while before putting it in the fridge will expedite its spoilage.

So, basically, the shelf life of cooked quinoa is about 5 days if it is stored in a sealed bag. But this timeline is susceptible to change due to a number of factors.

The shelf-life will change considerably depending on where and how you store quinoa. 

Cooked Quinoa

  • Cooked quinoa may last up to 6-7 days when stored in the fridge.
  • It may go bad in 8-12 months when stored in the freezer.

Raw Quinoa

raw quinoa

Raw quinoa can last up to 2-3 years in the pantry. You can find various types, such as black quinoa, red quinoa, and white quinoa.

But, the shelf-life of all these varieties is about the same.

Tip: Quinoa tastes sweet and has a nutty flavor because of its protein content but know that it is spoiled if the taste is off.  

How Do You Confirm When Quinoa Go Bad?

No matter how diligently you try, quinoa will eventually go bad. How do you know that? 

Check the Smell

check smell

Quinoa, like most grains, is odorless.

But when it begins to emit a strong odor resembling that of stinky feet, you know it is past its prime and should be discarded. 

Consider Its Texture

It is important to note that the texture of quinoa will change once it begins to rot.

Cooked quinoa has a natural tendency to become fluffy and sticky.

Still, the grains are dry enough to float to the bottom when dropped from a fork.

If you notice the grains become slimy, and develop a drawstring-like texture, know that it is no longer usable. 

Look for Mold

The quinoa is moldy when you notice a white or green substance develop on the surface.

In addition, white, fuzzy mold growth may develop on top of the grains.

It could be difficult to spot mold with the same color as the quinoa. So, be careful! 

protect quinoa from going bad

How Do You Protect Quinoa from Going Bad?

Keeping quinoa fresh for as long as possible after purchase requires careful storage, as the grain is quite delicate.

It must be at room temperature before being placed in the refrigerator or freezer.

It is mainly because the risk of Salmonella contamination is raised when hot food is refrigerated.

Furthermore, storing hot food can contaminate other foods, including veggies, meat, and eggs. 

Quinoa can quickly go bad if left out at room temperature for more than two hours, which promotes the growth of bacteria that leads to spoilage. 

How to Store Quinoa for Extended Use?

how to store quinoa

To ensure quinoa stays in good shape after months, you need to ensure consider a few points before storing it in the pantry or fridge. 

In the Pantry

Quinoa can be kept in the pantry as long as it stays cool and dry.

Once you open the package, any remaining quinoa should be transferred to an airtight container, such as a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Alternatively, you could put it in a plastic container and store it in the pantry. 

In the Fridge

If the quinoa does not reach room temperature after a couple of hours, you can put the bowl in ice water to expedite the process.   

store in the fridge
How do you do it?
  • Fill a sizable bowl with ice water
  • Transfer the quinoa to a plastic container
  • Cover it tightly with a lid
  • Cover the container with a tea towel
  • Leave it there for 30 minutes

As soon as the quinoa has cooled, store it in the refrigerator. 


Do not keep the container on the door, as the temperature will fluctuate slightly every time you open your fridge. Store it at the back. 

Can You Eat Quinoa If It Looks Spoiled?

eat quinoa looks spoiled

Eating stale quinoa is not recommended, as it is possible to suffer from mild food poisoning if you do.

You probably will not get sick from eating a little bit of spoiled quinoa.

But, then some people are more sensitive, and may develop signs of food poisoning.


The loss of fluid through perspiration and bowel movements, combined with vomiting, leads to dehydration after a bout of food poisoning.

The presence of a headache is a common symptom of being dehydrated because the brain is often the first organ to lose water supply.

Instead of reaching for pain relievers, try chugging a few glasses of water and some coconut water to replenish your body’s electrolytes. 



When exposed to toxins and poisons, the human body responds by flushing them out.

Diarrhea is a common cause of concern, but it actually indicates that your body is trying to cleanse itself.

And that is why you develop diarrhea after eating spoiled quinoa. 

Loss of Appetite

It is natural to lose your appetite because your digestive system is inflamed and trying to heal itself.

When suffering from food poisoning, you may opt for bone broth or chicken soup.

Liquids are recommended because they are easier to digest than solid foods when experiencing food poisoning. 



You will feel unusually tired after eating spoiled quinoa.

It happens because your body is exerting extra energy to eliminate the harmful toxins to which it has been exposed.

Although these symptoms can be quite troublesome, they typically resolve within three days.

However, if the pain worsens dramatically and OTC medications fail to alleviate the symptoms, see your doctor immediately.

Tip: Opt for white quinoa if you want to cook it quickly and like a chewier taste. 


Quinoa is a super-grain and packs a solid nutritious punch. You can use it in many recipes, and that is why most people end up buying large bags of quinoa.

If you do, it is natural to wonder, “Does dried quinoa go bad?”

Yes, dried and cooked quinoa can go bad depending on how closely you follow the storage guidelines.