Do Chia Seeds Go Bad?

Going through a package of chia seeds takes ages. And at some point, you start to wonder: do chia seeds go bad?

Or your bag already sits in the pantry for quite some time. And now that you think about it, you’re not quite sure how long do chia seeds last. Or if there are ways to lenghten that period.

If you want to learn about storage, shelf life, or going bad of chia seeds, this article is for you. We also touch upon chia flour (or powdered chia seeds), in case you were wondering.

Sounds interesting? Let’s dive in.

Chia seeds in hand

How to Store Chia Seeds?

Store chia seeds in the pantry or in a cabinet in the kitchen, whichever works best for you. Just make sure the bag sits in a dry place away from sunlight and sources of heat.

Tip

If you don’t have a preference, consider going with the kitchen. This way, the seeds are easily available when you’re making smoothies, so there’s a bigger chance you’ll actually eat them.

In most cases, chia seeds come in a bag that’s easily resealable. If that’s the case for your seeds, continue using it after opening the package.

Chia seeds in an airtight container
Chia seeds in an airtight container

If you can’t seal the bag, consider pouring the seeds into an airtight container or a freezer bag. And make sure you always close the bag or container after every use.

Tip

A tight seal keeps any moisture at bay.

Giant chia seeds bag
Giant chia seeds bag

When it comes to chia flour, or powdered chia seeds (often sold along with flax seed powder), the rules are basically the same. That means you should always keep the powder sealed tightly, and in a dry place at a stable temperature.

If you cannot reseal the bag the flour came in, transfer the leftovers to an airtight container or freezer bag.

When it comes to homemade chia pudding, and other chia treats, always keep them in the fridge.

Chia pudding with fresh fruit closeup
Chia pudding with fresh fruit closeup

How Long Do Chia Seeds Last

Chia seeds, thanks to a high amount of antioxidants, last longer than most other seeds, like sesame seeds. That means they can easily last several years if stored properly.

While there’s usually a best-by date on the label, it’s not like the seeds will go bad a week or even a month past that date.

Chia seeds best by date
Chia seeds best by date

When it comes to powdered chia seeds (or chia meal), the situation is quite similar. If you store the powder properly, it can last months past the best-by date on the label.

When it comes to chia gel or pudding, it should retain quality for 5 to 7 days.

Warning

Please note, however, that there are usually many more ingredients in the pudding beside the seeds and water or milk. And those ingredients might degrade in quality or go bad earlier.

PantryFridge
Chia seedsBest-by + 2 years
Chia flourBest by + 1 year
Chia pudding5 – 7 days

Please note that the periods for chia seeds and chia flour are estimates for the best quality.

Chia seeds closeup
Chia seeds closeup

How to Tell If Chia Seeds Are Bad?

If water gets to the package of chia seeds or flour, there will be mold within a few days. And as you know, if there’s mold, you should throw the seeds out.

Warning

Please don’t try to scoop the moldy part and use the rest. Just cut your losses and throw it out altogether.

Next, we have pantry bugs. If there are any in the package, the seeds are done for. And it might be a good idea to go through other foods in the pantry and get rid of those pests altogether.

Since chia seeds have oil in them, technically they can go rancid. If they have a rancid or off aroma, instead of the usual mild nutty one, discard them. Same thing if they start clumping together.

Chia seeds up close
Chia seeds up close

When it comes to taste, they have little to no discernible one. That means if you notice that the seeds developed a bitter taste, they’re rancid, and it’s time for them to go.

Please note, however, that rancid chia seeds probably won’t make you sick.

The worst thing that’s likely to happen is that the nutritional content of the seeds won’t be as good, and the flavor won’t quite hit the spot. But that’s about it.

Three glasses of chia pudding
Three glasses of chia pudding