Do Chia Seeds Go Bad?

Chia seeds are one of the healthiest foods and such a versatile superfood. You can sprinkle them on salads, yogurt, oatmeal, bake with them, and so much more! They’re always great to have on hand. Having these versatile shelf-stable seeds is always great to have on hand, but it also might leave you wondering, do chia seeds go bad?

There’s also so much nutrition packed into such a tiny seed that we’ll also dive into. Between nutrition, size, and versatility, it’s no wonder these tiny seeds have become so popular. In this post, we’ll look at the best way to store that package of chia seeds, how long chia seeds are good for, if they go bad, and the health benefits chia seeds offer.

Do Chia Seeds Go Bad?

Yes, chia seeds can go bad. However, with proper storage, chia seeds will last a long time, typically around two years in the pantry and even longer if kept in the refrigerator or freezer. Some signs that chia seeds have gone bad are if there is a rancid smell or taste to them, there is discoloration or if any seeds are clumping together.

Shelf Life of Chia Seeds

Storing Chia Seeds

Proper storage of any shelf-stable food items is important to keep them from going bad. The best option for storing chia seeds is in an airtight bag or an airtight container. It’s important to store them in an airtight container that is ideally placed in a dark place out of direct sunlight, a dry place, and away from sources of heat to prevent moisture from getting inside and spoilage from happening.  A pantry cabinet is always a great option.

I like to use mason glass jars to store them, so they are readily available, and I’m not taking a big bag of chia seeds out every time I use them. I also find them to give a better seal than the original packaging chia seeds often come in.

storage of chia seeds in mason jar
A glass container such as a mason jar is a good way to store chia seeds.

How Long are Chia Seeds Good For?

Chia seed companies typically give an expiration date of about 18 months. However, many consumers have found that chia seeds last a long time, well beyond the printed expiration date and that, in general, chia seeds are shelf-stable for 2+ years. As with any food item, it really becomes a personal choice on how long to keep them beyond the expiration date. As with any food, if they taste, smell, or look different in any way, it would be better to play it safe and toss them regardless of the expiration date. Chia seeds typically have a very neutral to mildly nutty taste, so any strong or bitter taste may mean they’ve become rancid.

How Long Does Chia Meals and Chia Flour Last?

Chia meals, chia seed powder, and chia flours are all the same thing. Ground-up chia seeds. They will last only a few months in the pantry. To maintain the best quality of ground chia seeds, it is best to store them in the fridge, lasting for about 1-2 years.

How to Store Items Made From Chia Seed Recipes? 

It depends on what other ingredients are used in the item. As a rule of thumb, though, most homemade baked goods last no longer than 3-4 days if left out, which is also dependent on the other ingredients in those baked goods.  Consider storing baked goods such as chia seed bread in the fridge or freezer to maintain better quality and a longer life span. Baked goods will typically last a few months when stored in the freezer in an airtight container.

Refrigerating Chia Seeds

How Long Does Chia Seeds Last in the Fridge?

Chia seeds do not necessarily need to be stored in the fridge, but they could be if you choose to. Storing them in the fridge can also help them last another year or two longer and could be the best way to maintain a good quality of nutritional value from the seeds. Chia seeds can also be stored in the freezer in an airtight freezer bag if you really need to extend their life for an even longer amount of time.

How Long Does Chia Seed Gel and Chia Seed Pudding last?

If you’ve made a chia seed gel or chia seed pudding, the rule of thumb tends to be 4-5 days when stored in the fridge. You also want to consider the other ingredients in the chia pudding, such as the expiration of the almond milk or coconut milk. If you choose to leave your chia gel out at room temperature, it’s best to consume it within an hour or two.

Chia Seeds Health Benefits

As tiny as chia seeds are, they hold a big punch- of nutrition! Chia seeds are packed full of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, amino acids, magnesium, minerals, fiber, digestible protein, and as a bonus, chia seeds are also gluten-free. 

Just two tablespoons of chia seeds can provide 4 grams of protein, containing a good balance of essential amino acids. Protein helps repair muscles and cells while also helping reduce appetite and cravings, which may aid in weight loss.

Chia seeds are also packed full of antioxidants that may help defend against free radicals, which may help fight aging and disease.

Other benefits of chia seeds are that they contain heart-healthy fats, they are a great source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.

Try adding some chia seeds to your salad dressing, yogurt, smoothie bowls, or you can make a simple chia gel as a fun mocktail!

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Author Biography

Karla Kueber is a Certified Evidence Based EFT Practioner and Health Coach, with a double Masters Degree in Education. She works with people to overcome emotional eating, curb cravings, and overcome resistance to eating new healthy foods. You can learn more about coaching with her here.