How long does cooked quinoa last? With proper storage, cooked quinoa can last for up to a week in the fridge and eight to twelve months in the freezer.

Cooked quinoa with vegetagbles

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Quinoa is an extremely versatile ingredient. It can be used in a variety of savory and sweet dishes. It’s a great side dish and perfect for salads, omelets, or even vegan burger patties!

Read along and find out how long cooked quinoa lasts, the signs of bad quinoa, and how to store it properly.

What is quinoa?

Quinoa, pronounced as keen-wah, is a gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate and a high-protein seed. It contains essential nutrients such as folate, lysine, magnesium, riboflavin, manganese, and all nine essential amino acids that promote better muscle health. 

With the popularity of gluten-free diets, quinoa is an alternative to wheat, rye, and barley. It’s a seed, but many people consider it a grain since it cooks up nice and fluffy yet slightly crunchy. 

Technically, the quinoa we all know is a seed from the Chenopodium quinoa plant. So it’s not a grain. However, it is prepared and consumed similarly to grains.

different types of raw quinoa

How to cook quinoa

Cooking quinoa is similar to cooking white rice. You can easily cook it in a rice cooker or on the stove. Here’s a basic recipe that yields 3 cups cooked quinoa.

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Basic Quinoa Recipe

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  • Author: Sharon Chen
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Method: Stove
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Units Scale
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (any variety —white or golden, red, or black quinoa)
  • 1 3/4 cups water or low-sodium broth (I prefer to use bone broth.)


  1. Rinse quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer thoroughy under cool, running water. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hand while rinsing. Drain well.
  2. Transfer rinsed Quinoa to a small saucepan. Stir in the water or bone broth and bring to a rolling boil. 
  3. Turn the heat down to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the saucepan from heat and let stand for 5 more minutes, covered.
  5. Uncover, Fluff the quiona gently with a fork. If any liquid remains in the bottom of the pan or if the quinoa is still a bit crunchy to your liking, return the pan to low heat and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Does cooked quinoa go bad if left out?

Yes! Don’t let cooked quinoa sit out at room temperature for longer than two hours. Always keep it in the fridge to avoid spoilage.

Cooked quinoa should be refrigerated in an airtight container to keep out moisture and contamination. It can last for six to seven days in the refrigerator and eight to twelve months in the freezer. 

How to tell if cooked quinoa is bad

While it’s difficult to tell if uncooked quinoa has gone bad, cooked quinoa exhibits signs that it has gone bad. 

If the cooked quinoa has an abnormally hard texture, or if it starts emitting a foul smell, it’s no longer safe to eat. If your cooked quinoa in the fridge has gone moldy, throw it out. 

quinoa salad

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How to store cooked quinoa

If you do weekly meal preps, you probably prefer to cook in big batches to enjoy throughout the week. Being a versatile superfood, quinoa can be used in so many ways, which we will take a look at shortly. After cooking, just store quinoa in an airtight container and give it some time to cool down, then refrigerate it. 

Raw dry quinoa might be good for several years, but cooked quinoa will last for only a week in the fridge. 

Can you freeze quinoa to extend its shelf life?

Yes. Freezing delays spoilage and keeps foods safe by preventing microorganisms from growing and by slowing down the enzyme activity that causes them to spoil. If the freezing process is done correctly, cooked quinoa can last for eight to twelve months. 

However, expect changes in texture and flavor once the frozen quinoa has been thawed and reheated. 

To freeze your cooked quinoa, let it cool down completely after cooking before transferring it to a resealable plastic bag. Make sure to squeeze all the air out before sealing, then pat the quinoa into an even layer before freezing. You can also write the date on the bag to help you keep track of when you made and froze that batch.  

When ready to use, defrost the bag at room temperature for one to two hours. You can also transfer it into a microwave-safe container and microwave it for a minute. It will be ready to eat or use in a recipe.

What can you do with cooked quinoa?

healthy quinoa bowl with loads of veggies

As mentioned before, cooked quinoa is an extremely versatile ingredient to have on hand.  Here are some creative ways to turn cooked quinoa into something you and your family will enjoy! 

  • Turn it into croquettes – Ditch the toast or hash browns and enjoy quinoa croquettes instead.  
  • Turn it into cereal – Skip your sugary cereal and fill your bowl with quinoa instead. Top it with berries, milk, and cinnamon for additional flavor.
  • Add it to soups or chili – Use quinoa instead of ground beef or turkey for vegan chili. Mix the desired amount of cooked quinoa 15 minutes before taking the pan off the stove.
  • Mix it with oats – Mix a few spoonfuls of quinoa with your oats and top it with some nuts, fruits, honey, or other healthy toppings.
  • Use it as a salad topper – Sprinkle a quarter-cup of cold quinoa over your salad. 

Want more ideas? Try these StreetSmart quinoa recipes and explore what you can do with your cooked quinoa.

  1. Healthy Quinoa Bowl with loads of veggies
  2. Protein-Packed Easy Quinoa Salad for Your Summer BBQ
  3. Chipotle Burrito Bowl with Beef Barbacoa and Quinoa
  4. Seafood Quinoa Salad
  5. Pineapple Tuna Quinoa Skillet
  6. Kale Quinoa Salad with Oregano Lemon Vinaigrette
How long does cooked quinoa last? With proper storage, cooked quinoa can last for up to a week in the fridge and eight to twelve months in the freezer.

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About the Author

Sharon Chen is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and author of the Complete Sous Vide Cookbook. She believes food not only brings healing but also connection. As the creator of StreetSmart Kitchen, she aims to make meal prep easier than ever and help you find balance, ease, joy, and simplicity in the kitchen as you improve your well-being.