How to store cooked quinoa

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “How to store cooked quinoa?” with an in-depth analysis of the proper storage of quinoa.

How to store cooked quinoa?

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

Several factors can affect the nutritional quality of quinoa during storage. These factors include moisture levels, grain temperature, and the temperature and relative humidity of the storage environment. 

It is important to control these factors to ensure that the quinoa remains in optimal condition.

The storage temperature plays a significant role in preserving the quality of the grain. 

Additionally, maintaining appropriate moisture content is vital for preserving the nutritional value of quinoa during storage. Wet grains are more prone to spoilage and fungal infections compared to dry grains.

During the cooking process, quinoa’s mineral profile is generally not significantly altered, except for certain elements like potassium and boron. 

However, steaming is considered a more conservative cooking method compared to boiling, as it helps retain quinoa’s nutritional properties. Whenever possible, it is recommended to opt for steaming when preparing quinoa.

Cooked foods 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)

How long can cooked quinoa stay in the fridge?

Properly stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator, cooked quinoa can maintain its quality for up to 7 days. However, for the best taste and freshness, it’s advisable not to delay its consumption until the end of this period.

Following USDA guidelines, cooked food should be refrigerated within 2 hours after preparation to ensure food safety. 

To extend the shelf life of cooked quinoa, avoid storing it in the frequently accessed part of the refrigerator, such as the door. 

The constant exposure to temperature changes when opening the refrigerator door can gradually decrease the quinoa’s shelf life. The same principle applies if you choose to store quinoa in the freezer. (4, 5)

Can I freeze cooked quinoa?

Yes, you can freeze cooked quinoa.If you intend to store the cooked quinoa for an extended period, freezing is a viable option. 

To freeze cooked quinoa, it is important to store it in an airtight container, freezer bags, or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. This helps prevent freezer burn and maintains its quality during storage.

When stored correctly in the freezer, cooked quinoa can last for approximately 8-10 months. This extended shelf life makes freezing an excellent option for meal prepping or reducing food waste.

When it comes to thawing frozen quinoa, the recommended method is to defrost it overnight in the refrigerator. This slow thawing process allows for even temperature distribution throughout the quinoa, minimizing the risk of contamination.(5)

How long does cooked quinoa last?

Cooked quinoa should be placed  in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consumed in 4 to 7 days. When properly stored in the freezer, cooked quinoa can last for approximately 8-10 months. (1, 2, 4)

What are the signs of spoiled cooked quinoa?

There are several indicators that can help identify spoiled quinoa. If the texture of cooked quinoa feels unusually hard or slimy, it is a strong indication of spoilage.

Another clear sign of spoilage is the presence of mold growth or any discolorations on the cooked quinoa. In such cases, it is important not to consume the quinoa, as it may pose health hazards.

Quinoa, like other cereal grains and oilseeds, is susceptible to fungal growth and potential contamination of mycotoxins. 

Therefore, improper storage conditions can contribute to spoilage. It is crucial to ensure proper storage to maintain the quality and safety of quinoa. (6)

What are the risks of eating spoiled quinoa?

Consuming spoiled quinoa can have adverse effects on your health, commonly resulting in mild food poisoning. 

Symptoms of food poisoning may include headaches, vomiting, stomachaches, and diarrhea. It is also possible to experience a decreased appetite and feelings of nausea. 

Typically, these symptoms should resolve within a day or two, however, if the symptoms persist for a prolonged period or worsen, it is crucial to seek medical attention. (4, 7)

Other FAQs about Quinoa that you may be interested in.

Can I freeze cooked quinoa

Can you eat quinoa flakes without cooking?

How long is cooked quinoa good for in the fridge?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How to store cooked quinoa?” with an in-depth analysis of the proper storage of quinoa. Citations

  1. 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.
  2. 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 9, 660, 2020.
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Website. Washington, DC. Freezing and Food Safety. 2013.
  4. 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.
  5. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Website. Washington, DC. What is the “2 Hour Rule” with leaving food out?.
  6. U. Pappier et al.Effect of processing for saponin removal on fungal contamination of quinoa seeds (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) International Journal of Food Microbiology 125 153–157. 2008
  7. Food Safety 

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