How long can cooked quinoa stay in the fridge? (+3 Tips)

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can cooked quinoa stay in the fridge?”, and How to store quinoa?

How long can cooked quinoa stay in the fridge?

Cooked quinoa, stored properly in airtight containers in the refrigerator, can last for 7 days. For best quality and taste, try not to delay its consumption till the end. (1)

According to USDA guidelines, cooked food should be refrigerated within 2 hours after they are prepared.To ensure better shelf life, cooked quinoa should not be stored in that part of the refrigerator which is frequently accessed, like the door. (2)

This is because repeated exposure to opening the refrigerator door will gradually decrease the shelf life of quinoa. The same principle applies when you store quinoa in the freezer. 

How to properly store quinoa?

For uncooked quinoa, it should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place away from sunlight and stovetops. Maintaining a consistent temperature is important to preserve its quality.

When it comes to storing cooked quinoa, it is recommended to place it in an airtight container before refrigerating it. This helps to maintain its freshness and prevent it from absorbing odors from other foods in the refrigerator.

Throughout the storage duration of quinoa, factors such as moisture and grain temperature, as well as the temperature and relative humidity of the storage environment, can affect its nutritional quality. It is crucial to control these factors to ensure the quinoa stays in good condition.

Storage temperatures play a significant role in maintaining the quality of the grain. Additionally, moisture content is a crucial factor in preserving the nutritional quality of quinoa during storage. Wet grain is more susceptible to spoilage and fungal infections compared to dry grain.

Regarding the cooking process itself, it does not significantly alter the mineral profile of quinoa, except for certain elements like potassium and boron.

Steaming is considered a more conservative cooking method compared to boiling, so it is recommended to use steaming for quinoa preparation whenever possible.

When it comes to cooked foods, they should either be consumed immediately or stored for a short time at a temperature higher than 63 ºC (145 ºF). Alternatively, they should be rapidly cooled and kept below 7–8 ºC (45–46 ºF), ideally below 4 ºC (39 ºF), to minimize the risk of contamination.(1, 3, 4)

What is the shelf life of quinoa?

Cooked quinoa should be placed  in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consumed in 4 to 7 days. (1)

Quinoa seeds exhibit an orthodox behavior, which means that mature seeds can be stored for extended periods without losing their viability, given they are stored within suitable temperature and humidity conditions.(5)

When stored under normal ambient conditions, orthodox seeds have a half-life ranging from 5 to 10 years. However, when stored in more favorable conditions characterized by low humidity and low temperature, the half-life of orthodox seeds extends to a range of 40 to 60 years. (6)

Can you freeze cooked quinoa?

Yes, you can absolutely freeze cooked quinoa. But you should take into consideration the precautions that you need to take before storing any item in the freezer. First and foremost, you need to decide how long you want to store it. 

If you want to store it for 3-4 days and are going to put cooked quinoa in the freezer, you will simply be wasting time on freezer bags and other wrappings and then thawing it again. 

Make sure you keep the cooked quinoa in an airtight container. You can also use freezer bags or plastic wraps for this purpose. When quinoa is stored like this in the freezer, there is a good chance that it will last for 8-10 months in the freezer. 

When you take out frozen quinoa, the best and the recommended way is to defrost them overnight in the fridge. This is because the fridge will ensure an even temperature throughout the night, eliminating the chances of contamination.(7)

How to tell if cooked quinoa has gone bad? 

 There are several key indicators that you need to keep in mind when analyzing cooked or uncooked quinoa. 

  1. Discoloration: You can easily tell if cooked quinoa is spoiled by looking at the appearance of your dish. If the texture is not smooth and the color of your dish has changed, it means that your quinoa has gone bad. 
  2. Odor: If the aroma of the dish is not the same as it was when you cooked it, it means that your quinoa has gone bad and you need to discard it.
  3. Mold: When quinoa is cooked, it does absorb moisture and the nutrients become more available. This, in turn, increases the chances of mold growth. 

The presence of mold can be detected by the appearance of colored patches. They are usually black, pink, or gray-ish in color. If you see such a change in your cooked quinoa, you should immediately discard it.(8)

What are the risks of eating spoiled quinoa?

 Mild food poisoning is most often the result of consuming spoiled quinoa. Symptoms that would suggest you have food poisoning include headache, vomiting, stomachache and or diarrhea.

Other symptoms could include a general loss of appetite and even nausea. These symptoms generally should not last longer than a day or two though. If they persist for longer, then you should definitely seek medical attention.(1, 9) 


In this article, we answered the question “How long can cooked quinoa stay in the fridge?”, and How to store quinoa?


  1. BM Lund, SJ O’Brien, Public Health Measures: Food Safety in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings, Encyclopedia of Food Safety, Academic Press, 2014, 140-148.
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Website. Washington, DC. What is the “2 Hour Rule” with leaving food out?.
  3. Hakan Kibar, Ferit Sönmez, Süleyman Temel, Effect of storage conditions on nutritional quality and color characteristics of quinoa varieties, Journal of Stored Products Research,  91, 2021.
  4. Mhada, M.; Metougui, M.L.; El Hazzam, K.; El Kacimi, K.; Yasri, A. Variations of Saponins, Minerals and Total Phenolic Compounds Due to Processing and Cooking of Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) Seeds. Foods 2020, 9, 660
  5. Castellión, M., Matiacevich, S., Buera, P., & Maldonado, S. Protein deterioration and longevity of quinoa seeds during long-term storage. Food Chemistry, 121(4), 952–958. 2010.
  6. Solberg Svein Øivind, et. al. Long-Term Storage and Longevity of Orthodox Seeds: A Systematic Review  Frontiers in Plant Science, 11, 2020.
  7. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Website. Washington, DC. Freezing and Food Safety. 2013.
  8. U. Pappier et al.Effect of processing for saponin removal on fungal contamination of quinoa seeds (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) International Journal of Food Microbiology 125 (2008) 153–157.
  9. Food Safety

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