If you have purchased a bottle of chia seeds or you purchase in bulk as we do, you might wonder, how long do chia seeds last? Also, once you open a bottle, it usually takes a long time to eat them, especially if you buy one of the larger bottles.
At times we have had unopened as well as opened chia seeds in the pantry for quite a while. Eventually, I would wonder, are they still going to be good and stay fresh for long?
We’ll jump into how long chia seeds last in this article, and more.
Do Chia Seeds Go Bad?
Chia seeds are just like any nut or seed and contain oils, which give the seeds or nuts their fat content. But these are healthy oils that are actually good for us and help our cholesterol.
Oils on nuts and seeds can eventually oxidize with the air and turn rancid. This doesn’t mean that you will necessarily get sick from eating them, but they will probably lose a lot of their nutritional potency.
But the thing about chia seeds is that they have a lot more antioxidants than most nuts or seeds. These antioxidants help to preserve the chia seeds from oxidation and keep them fresh for much longer.
That means while some seeds like poppy seeds might only last for six months or so, chia seeds can last much longer.
Chia seeds have a lot more antioxidants than most seeds and will last much longer before losing their nutritional content.
How To Know if Chia Seeds Are Expired
Chia seeds last for a long time. So you might never get to the point that they go bad or expire. I’ve bought chia seeds in bulk before and surprisingly they have lasted for quite a long time with no noticeable changes.
You can always check the expiration date to see if chia seeds have expired. But, generally, as we’ll look at later, chia seeds can usually last longer than the expiration date. If they are stored optimally, they can even last much longer than the expiration date.
But eventually, if chia seeds go bad, or rancid, they will probably have a bitter flavor and smell. Remember, naturally, chia seeds have basically no taste or smell. So if they start to have a certain taste or a bitter taste, then maybe they have started to go rancid.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean they will make you sick. Unless the taste or smell is extremely strong or unpleasant, meaning something drastic probably happened to them, then really when they go rancid it just means that they won’t have the same nutritional value. They won’t be as good for you as when they were fresh.
But if in doubt, or they have a strong or bad flavor, then throw them out. Also, if they grow any kind of mold, then throw them away. This would probably happen if they got wet somehow.
If chia seeds go bad or rancid, they might begin to have a bitter taste to them. Chia seeds last for a long time so this probably won’t happen for quite some time.
See: What Do Chia Seeds Taste Like? How to Make them Taste Good
How Long Do Chia Seeds Last in the Pantry?
Video – How Long Do Chia Seeds Last?
If you are wondering how long chia seeds stay good in their raw form last, unrefrigerated, here’s the answer. Chia seeds are fairly tough and can last for quite a long time, even without being refrigerated.
The chia seeds that we buy, usually have a shelf life expiration date that is two years or more from the time we buy them. Of course, I don’t know how long they may have already been sitting there, that’s not possible to know. But, I’ve read that the life of chia seeds can be up to 3-4 years on the shelf or in the pantry. So, we will say that the shelf life is anywhere from 2-3 years.
Also, like most food products, expiration dates are usually set at a fairly conservative number. This means that you probably don’t have to throw chia seeds away right after they pass the expiration date on the container.
Chia seeds can last on the shelf from anywhere from 2-3 years, and possibly longer.
Also, make sure that they are stored the proper way, preferably in a pantry or area that is not too warm or cold, and also keep them away from the light.
But with that being said, like most foods that begin to degrade over time, it’s probably best to eat them as soon as you can. Not that you have to force yourself to eat tons of them super-fast, afraid that they will go bad. But, do realize when buying them, it’s probably better to have fresher chia seeds than ones that have been sitting in the pantry for years. After this amount of time, they may not be as fresh.
But, since chia seeds do last for quite a long time, you can rest assured that they will stay fairly fresh, even after sitting for long periods of time in the pantry. The biggest concern is that they will probably lose their nutritional value. I think that even over the 3-year mark, chia seeds probably don’t really go bad in the sense of spoilage, they will probably just lose some nutritional value.
Also, as a note, organic chia seeds will last the same amount of time as non-organic chia seeds.
Make Chia Seeds Last Longer
There are a couple of ways to make chia seeds last longer including storing them in the fridge or freezer. We’ll explore those next.
How Long Do Chia Seeds Last in the Fridge?
For raw chia seeds, I’ve read that there is a trick to make them last longer. This is to store them in the fridge, (or the freezer, which we will get to). This can extend their life beyond the 2-3 year shelf life.
This means that chia seeds can last from 4-5 years in the fridge.
Do Chia Seeds Need to be Refrigerated After Opening?
Chia seeds last for a very long time and are very durable compared to other nuts and seeds, due to their high antioxidant levels. Although it can improve the shelf life by storing them in the refrigerator and will keep them lasting longer, it’s not required.
If you are looking to keep them as fresh as possible, or you are going to keep them for a length of time, consider storing them in the refrigerator. But if you are not able to, the chia seeds should still do well stored in the pantry.
See Do You Need to Refrigerate Chia Seeds? to learn more.
Do Chia Seeds Go Bad if Not Refrigerated?
Chia seeds will always eventually go bad, but this will take quite a long time (many years). Chia seeds will go bad faster if not refrigerated, but they will still last for years if stored in the pantry instead of the refrigerator. The refrigerator will lengthen their life by about 2 years or so and cause them to not go bad as quickly.
How Long Do Chia Seeds Last in the Freezer?
You can apparently make chia seeds last even longer by storing them in the freezer. Keeping seeds in the freezer or refrigerator is actually a common practice for seed and nut storage, to keep seeds and nuts fresh for longer.
How long will they last? It’s been said that chia seeds can last up to ten years in the freezer.
The good thing about chia seeds is they tend to last much longer than the average seed or nut, so you don’t have to worry about storing them in the refrigerator or freezer if you don’t want to. Just make sure they are properly stored in a cool and dry place.
Chia seeds can last up to 10 years in the freezer.
Do Chia Seeds Expire in Water?
Chia seeds do expire and go bad if left too long in water.
If you have soaked your chia seeds in water they will not last nearly as long as when they are dry. As long as you store them covered and in the fridge, chia seeds in water (that have formed a gel) should last at least 5 days to a week, but probably will be ok for up to two weeks.
See How to Soak Chia Seeds for more info.
How Long Does Chia Seeds Pudding Last?
Chia seed pudding is similar to chia seeds that have been soaked in water. But because milk is used instead of water, this will mean that it would probably go bad quicker.
Chia seed pudding should last for up to 5 days in the fridge if kept covered.
How to Store Chia Seeds
Unopened chia seeds should be stored in a cool and dry place and away from light. This means either a pantry, refrigerator, or freezer. They should also be kept in an airtight container and sealed. But if they are unopened, storing them in the pantry is probably going to be fine in most cases.
How to Store Chia Seeds Once Opened
Once chia seeds are opened, you want to make sure they are stored in a cool and dry place and away from light. For the longest-lasting chia seeds, at to keep them as nutritious as possible, it’s best to store them in the freezer or refrigerator.
But, chia seeds will still be alright even if they are stored in the pantry. Chia seeds are much more durable than other seeds and nuts and do not go rancid nearly as quickly.
If your chia seeds have been soaked in water or milk, then they should be stored in the refrigerator.
How to Store Chia Seeds Long Term
The best way to store chia seeds long-term would be to put them in the freezer. The second best option would be to store them in the refrigerator instead.
What Do Chia Seeds Smell Like?
Chia seeds have no smell or a very neutral smell. If you smell a strong odor from your chia seeds, then this could be an indicator that they have gone bad or rancid.
What Do Rancid Chia Seeds Smell Like?
Since chia seeds normally don’t have a smell to them, rancid chia seeds may not have any smell to them either. But they might have a fishy smell to them if they have gone rancid. Even if there is no smell, but they have a bitter or unnatural taste, this could be an indicator they have gone rancid.
However, if the chia seeds do have a strong or strange smell, then this can be an obvious indicator that something is wrong with them. In this case, you should probably throw them out.
Why Do Chia Seeds Smell Like Fish?
If chia seeds smell like fish, this could be because they have gone rancid. If this is the case, do not eat them and throw them out instead.
What Happens if You Eat Bad Chia Seeds?
If chia seeds go rancid from age, they probably won’t hurt you. It just means that their nutritional value will not be as good. But it’s still not recommended to eat them.
If they do taste or smell extremely strong or bitter, or they have mold, do not eat them and throw them away instead.
What to Do With Bad Chia Seeds?
If chia seeds have gone bad or rancid, the best thing to do is to throw them away and not eat them.
You could possibly save them to use for a chia pet if you happened to have one. The old chia pets used chia seeds to grow their green hair.
Other Common Questions
How Long Do Chia Seeds Last After Opening?
Opening the chia seeds shouldn’t tremendously affect the shelf life, as long as they are resealed and kept in a cool and dry place such as a pantry. In this case, they should still last as long as the expiration printed on the container, and probably longer than that.
How Long Do Chia Seeds Last After Expiration?
While there’s no way to know an exact length of time, it’s safe to say that chia seeds, like most food products, should still be edible even after the expiration date. Since chia seeds tend to last much longer than most seeds or nuts, due to their hardiness, they may last a year to two or more past the expiration date. With chia seeds it’s not so much a concern of them spoiling, it’s more that the nutrients will break down and the seeds will not be as beneficial health-wise. (See Chia Seeds Benefits for all the benefits of chia seeds)
If your chia seeds are past the expiration date, make sure the color and appearance is still normal. Then check the smell. They should have a neutral or no odor. If that is ok, then you can taste them.
There should be a neutral to no taste. If there is any kind of strong or bad taste to them, then do not eat them and discard them. Otherwise, they should probably be fine to eat. Just use your best judgment.
How to Eat Chia Seeds
You can eat chia seeds in numerous ways, either raw or soaked are the most common ways. See How to Eat Chia Seeds. Do You Need to Soak Chia Seeds Before Eating?
Also, if you are looking to lose weight with chia seeds, I’ve provided some good uses for chia seeds for weight loss.
Final Thoughts on How Long Do Chia Seeds Last
Hopefully, we have learned how long chia seeds actually last. Whether that’s in the pantry, the fridge, the freezer, or in water.
Chia seeds should last at least a couple of years if stored properly, and even longer than that in the fridge, and an extremely long time in the freezer.
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Lance has been passionate about the plant-based diet and we have been following a whole food plant-based diet for over 5 years. We focus on health, natural healing, weight management, animal rights, and the health of the planet and environment by focusing on whole plant-based foods and sustainable practices.
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