Can you eat expired chia seeds?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat expired chia seeds?”, and how to tell if the chia seeds have gone bad?

Can you eat expired chia seeds?

Yes, you can eat expired chia seeds as long as they were stored correctly. Inspect the expired chia seeds for microbial contamination before you use them for cooking. 

Expired chia seeds are not necessarily spoiled but their nutritional profile is poor in comparison to the fresh seeds.

How long do chia seeds last?

Thanks to the antioxidants, chia seeds have a long shelf life. Chia seeds usually come with a best-before date, which is only an estimate for how long the seeds will keep in their prime. 

Opened/Unopened Pantry Fridge/Freezer 
Chia seeds 2+ years 4+ years 
Chia meal 2-4 weeks 1-2 years 
Chia gel 2 hours 2-3 weeks 
Chia flour 6 months Unsafe 

How to tell if the chia seeds have gone bad?

Smell: Rancidification comes with a very distinct smell that hardly goes unnoticed. Due to the unpleasant smell of the rancid chia seeds, you don’t want to use them. Although rancid chia seeds have a poor nutritional profile, they are still safe to eat.

Lumping: When the chia seeds start sticking to each other or the bottom and walls of the container, they should be discarded.

Slimy/Sticky: Fresh chia seeds never feel slimy or sticky when you touch them. If they feel either sticky or slimy upon touching, they have gone bad.

Pantry bugs: Good news! Pantry bugs cannot infest the chia seeds. So if there aren’t many bugs, you can save your chia seeds by freezing them for 2-3 days and then removing the bugs after thawing. If there are too many bugs, it is better to buy a new package of chia seeds.

Taste: If the taste of the chia seeds deviates from their regular neutral and mild taste, they have gone bad.

Mold: Frequent exposure to moisture is what triggers the growth of mold in the chia seeds. So, if you see discolored fuzzy spots growing in between the chia seeds, throw the seeds in the bin.

How to store chia seeds?

Here are some useful tips you should follow if you want your chia seeds to last long.

Choose the correct container 

Say no to the plastic or cardboard containers. Invest in a good mason or glass jar if you are a regular user of chia seeds. 

Glass is better at protecting the seeds against spoilage. The bonus point is the transparency of the glass. So, you can always keep an eye on the health of your chia seeds.

Avoid scooping the seeds

Never insert a spoon inside the container of the chia seeds. The spoon may carry unwanted particles or bacteria that will contaminate a whole lot of chia seeds. 

Instead, tilt the jar and pour the seeds either directly into the cooking pot/cereal bowl or into a measuring spoon.

Use air-tight containers 

If you keep the seeds in the fridge or freezer, make sure the containers are ait-tight and resealable(if using freezer bags). 

If you keep the seeds in the mason jar, block the air by tightly closing the jar lid. This small step goes a long way by protecting the seeds against fungus, pantry bugs, and rancidification.

Regular inspection 

Regular inspection is very crucial to take the right measures at the right time so that the spoilage can be prevented or delayed. 

Crush 1 tsp or two of chia seeds in a mortar or pestle to check for spoilage. Chia seeds that are at the brink of going rancid can be saved by freezing them immediately. 

Use foil for extra protection 

Wrap the chia seed container with foil or cover the mouth of the container with it. This bonus measure will help further the shelf-life of the chia seeds.

What happens if I consume expired chia seeds?

Chia seeds are pretty shelf-stable and last long past their said expiration date. However, if you consume a sufficient amount of bad-tasting chia seeds, it may upset your stomach.

Moreover, consuming more than 1 tsp of chia seeds on daily basis is linked with gastrointestinal problems, blood thinning, and lower blood pressure.

People allergic to mint should avoid eating chia seeds. Both the mint and chia seeds are due to a similar allergic reaction. 

Symptoms of the allergic reaction include swelling, watery eyes, runny nose, and breathing problems, and vary with the severity of the reaction.


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat expired chia seeds?”, and how to tell if the chia seeds have gone bad?


Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.