Quinoa is probably of the most popular gluten-free alternatives to rice and cereals today. A couple of years ago, quinoa wasn’t very well-known, but thanks to social media, the popularity of quinoa is spreading like wildfire. It’s a popular food because it’s a great source of vitamins and minerals.
Since quinoa is fairly new to the food marketplace, most people aren’t sure how long it will last when it’s cooked or uncooked.
How long does quinoa last? Raw quinoa will last for about 2 to 3 years in the pantry and refrigerator. Cooked quinoa will last for 6 to 7 days in the refrigerator and 8 to 12 months in the freezer.
However, the above is just a general guideline. How long it can last will depend on the quality when it was bought, if it’s cooked or uncooked, and how it’s stored.
There are a couple of varieties of quinoa on the market which include black quinoa, red quinoa, and white quinoa. They are essentially the same except for the colors and small differences in vitamins and minerals sources. For this article, we’ll just focus on quinoa in general and everything you need to do to make it last as long as possible.
Quinoa Expiration Date
|Past Printed Date||Past Printed Date||Past Printed Date|
|White Quinoa lasts for||2-3 Years||2-3 Years||n/a|
|Red Quinoa lasts||2-3 Years||2-3 Years||n/a|
|Black Quinoa lasts for||2-3 Years||2-3 Years||n/a|
|Quinoa lasts for||n/a||6-7 Days||8-12 Months|
How Long Does Quinoa Last?
How long quinoa lasts will depend on if it’s cooked or uncooked. Cooked quinoa will not last as long as uncooked quinoa will. Therefore, it’s important to plan ahead and know what you’ll be going to use the quinoa for.
How Long Does Cooked Quinoa Last
Cooked quinoa will not usually last very long, even in the fridge. It’s best to eat it right after it’s prepared for the best taste.
If you’re cooking quinoa, you could leave it on the kitchen countertop for a maximum of 2 hrs. If it’s going to be longer than that before it’s able to be eaten, put it in the fridge or you’ll have to throw it out. Leaving it out longer than 2 hours could cause bacteria to grow on it. Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F.
For cooked quinoa that is stored in the fridge, it can last up to a week. Once it’s in the fridge, the quality will start to deteriorate slowly each day. This is due to the moisture in the fridge. After a week, any uneaten portion will need to be discarded.
If you want cooked quinoa to last a long time, the freezer is the best option. Frozen cooked quinoa can last up to a year in the freezer.
How Long Does Uncooked Quinoa Last
Uncooked quinoa can last up to 3 years if stored properly. The best place to store them is in a cool dry place like the pantry. In the pantry, it should last at least a year or even more. It depends on the room temperature. The warmer the temperature is, the shorter it will last. On the other hand, the cooler temperatures will make the quinoa last longer.
Besides the pantry, you can also keep it in the freezer. The freezer offers the longest shelf life for the quinoa at up to 3 years.
How To Store Quinoa?
When most people buy quinoa at the store, they will usually buy a lot of them or they come in large packages. For that reason, when making a meal, there will be quinoa leftover. To use the leftover for later use, you’ll have to store quinoa.
However, it’s not as simple as tossing them in the pantry, the fridge, or even the freezer once done. Doing so will shorten their shelf life. Proper storage is the key to keeping quinoa fresh for as long as possible.
Storing quinoa is a great idea for prepping meals for the week or storing them to use for months ahead.
For quinoa, a couple of suitable locations for storing them is in the fridge, in the freezer or the pantry.
Storing Quinoa In The Pantry
For storing uncooked quinoa in the pantry, it’s best to store them in an air-tight jar or their original packaging.
If you’re planning to store them for longer than a year, it’s best to store them in an air-tight jar. The original packaging sometimes can become damaged or deteriorate over time due to the temperature and sometimes pest.
Their original packaging is fine is storing in the pantry for less than a year.
As for cooked quinoa, it’s not recommended to store them in the pantry at all. Once quinoa is cooked, it will last only 2 hours at room temperature before it will start going bad.
Storing Quinoa In The Fridge
For fridge storage, quinoa can be stored cooked or uncooked.
For cooked quinoa, it can last in the fridge for up to a week with proper storage. Once the quinoa is cooked, let it cool down completely first. Use an airtight clear or opaque container to transfer the quinoa to once it’s cooled. Some people will just wrap cooked quinoa over with a plastic wrap. Doing so is a bad idea as moisture is able to get to the quinoa. Once moisture reaches the quinoa, it will start going bad.
As for uncooked quinoa, it could be stored in the fridge for up to 3 years. No prepping is necessary for uncooked quinoa. You can simply put the original packaging of the quinoa right into the fridge. If you like, transfer it to an airtight container and put it in the fridge.
Storing Quinoa In The Freezer
The freezer is a great place to store a lot of food that you want to last long. However, for quinoa, it depends if it’s cooked or uncooked.
For uncooked quinoa, it’s generally not a good idea to put them in the freezer as it could get freezer burn once it’s exposed to oxygen. Also, you could use the space to freeze other food instead. Storing in the freezer will not extend their shelf life so it’s best to store them in the pantry.
For cooked quinoa, storing quinoa in the freezer is fine. In the freezer, it can be stored for up to 1 year.
Related Article: Can you freeze quinoa?
How To Freeze Cooked Quinoa?
Freezing cooked quinoa is a great option if you’re always busy and don’t have time to cook. Also, it’s great if you’re meal prepping for the week ahead.
To freeze cooked quinoa, follow the simple steps below:
- After you have cooked quinoa, wait until it’s cooled down first.
- Find an airtight container or resealable freezer bag. If there isn’t much space in the freezer, you’re better off using freezer bags.
- Determine how much of quinoa you’re planning to eat each day or weekly. Divide them into the right size portion for consumption. Thawing quinoa can take a couple of hours to be ready to eat. Therefore, you want to put each portion into a separate bag.
- Start transferring the quinoa to the container or bag. If you’re using a bag to store quinoa, after you have put it in the bag, push out as much air from the bag before sealing it.
- After it’s in the container or the resealable bag, label it with the food name and date of freezing. This way you’ll know how long the quinoa has been in the freezer.
- Now it’s ready and put the quinoa into the freezer for later use.
To reheat frozen quinoa, first, take it out from the freezer and let it sit for a couple of hours on the countertop. Once it’s thawed, heat the quinoa by putting it in the microwave or on the stove. If the quinoa seems a bit dry, you can add a little bit of water to it before heating.
How To Tell If Quinoa Is Bad?
Like all foods, they go bad after a certain time or when moisture gets to it.
For uncooked quinoa, if it’s sealed tightly, it should last for a very long time. However, over time, the package could deteriorate and moisture got in. If it does, there will sign of mold and other discoloration on the quinoa. When this happens, it’s best to just throw out the entire uncooked quinoa.
If there’s no sign of mold or smell once you open the package, it can be cooked. After cooking it, if there is something wrong with it, you’ll able to notice it by a change of color, texture, or smell.
For cooked quinoa, the signs that it’s bad is usually the mold growing on it. Also, the smell will be a bit off. If you notice any of these, it’s best to just throw the entire quinoa away.
If you’ve cooked the quinoa and left it in the fridge for longer than a week, it should go straight to the trash bin without needing to inspect it.
Since quinoa is a popular gluten-free alternative to rice, it will start to be used for making a variety of meals and add to other food. For that reason, many people will start buying them in large quantities to use at home. Hopefully, by reading this short guide, you know how long quinoa lasts and what you can do to extend its shelf life and it still tastes good.
A passionate cook and stay-at-home mom. Since I spend most of the time in the kitchen, keeping the pantry clean and organized is a top priority. Besides being a clean freak, I enjoy gardening, hiking and other activities under the sun.