Can You Freeze Quinoa?

Quinoa is an ancient grain from South America. Within recent years, it’s gained a reputation as a “superfood” thanks to its various health benefits. As a result, it’s become very popular within fitness and health-conscious communities. 

Problem is, it’s hard to make just the right amount of quinoa for a meal. It’s really easy to overdo it and end up with a lot of leftovers to hand. It’s such a waste to throw them away, so what can you do to store quinoa for future meals? Can you freeze quinoa?

Yes, you can!

Read on to learn everything you need to know about freezing quinoa the right way.

Can You Freeze Quinoa?

Yes! Quinoa, once it has been cooked, freezes quite well.

In fact, freezing cooked quinoa is a great way to make the most of that perfectly good batch of quinoa that proves to be too much for just one dinner. 

Uncooked quinoa that hasn’t been opened can be frozen, as well. When doing this, though, be sure to reseal the bag if you open it to use some. Keep in mind that raw quinoa can last for up to 3 years, so you may not want to worry about freezing it.

How To Freeze Cooked Quinoa?

Before you attempt to freeze your leftover quinoa, be sure that it’s properly prepared for freezing. Proper preparation starts with the cooking process, which is relatively easy but can affect the way your quinoa freezes.

To start, before you get your quinoa boiling, make sure that you’ve rinsed it the way you would with rice.

This helps with the taste, as it washes away the grain’s exterior coating, which can be responsible for a bitter taste.

After washing, cook your quinoa in boiling water over a high heat, according to the package instructions.

Preparing Quinoa for Freezing 

Once your quinoa is cooked and you have used your fill, leaving the rest for freezing, make sure that it is allowed to come down to room temperature.

This step is crucial! If your quinoa is frozen whilst warm, it becomes susceptible to sticking to itself and forming large clumps. To add insult to injury, these clumps will thaw to be mushy – not what we want! 

Let the quinoa sit for 4 hours in the pot, or spread it onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray in a thin layer. The second method will take roughly 20-30 minutes for the quinoa to cool, making it a good choice if you’re in a hurry. 

Freezing the Quinoa

  • Portion out your cooked quinoa. In general, it’s a good idea to portion out your quinoa based on how much you typically use in a sitting. For example, if you use two or three cups per sitting (such as when you’re feeding the entire family), portion out that many cups. 
  • Spoon the portions into freezer bags and shut them tight. Ensure that there is no air left in the freezer bag. You can do this quite easily by closing the bag most of the way and gently pressing on the contents, which forces air out through the opening. Seal the opening after you’ve removed as much air as possible. It seems tedious (and it is) but it’s crucial to avoid freezer burn. For an extra level of protection, pop the bags into an airtight container.
  • Pop your bags of quinoa into the freezer and let them freeze for at least 24 hours before defrosting. 

How Long Does Cooked Quinoa Last In the Freezer?

Depending on how well you prepared your quinoa before freezing, it could last anywhere from 1 to 8 months. If your quinoa has been sealed tightly and allowed to cool before freezing, it should last 6-8 months. 

However, this isn’t a rule and it’s important to take note of how your quinoa looks before you use it after defrosting.

If there are a ton of ice crystals inside of the freezer bag when you look at it, chances are that it is freezer burnt, or at least, nearly freezer burnt. In this case, it’s best to use it as soon as possible or to throw it away. 

To help prevent freezer burn, you could opt to use a vacuum sealer. These are handy devices that remove air from bags, preventing freezer burn in frozen food and the collection of dust and other allergens in household goods. 

How to Defrost Frozen Quinoa

One of the best things about frozen quinoa is that, unlike frozen meat, there’s no need to place it in the refrigerator overnight to defrost it. Quinoa won’t grow the harmful bacteria that frozen, uncooked meat does, and therefore, can be left on the counter to thaw.

In addition, it also takes a lot less time to thaw. 

To properly defrost frozen quinoa, follow these simple steps.

  • Remove your bags of frozen quinoa from the freezer.
  • Place them into a bowl to catch any moisture or “sweat” that will come off the bag.
  • Allow the quinoa to sit for 45-50 minutes.

How to Use Quinoa After Thawing

Cold Salads

A cold quinoa salad is a salad, made with quinoa, that isn’t warmed up. The ingredients used can be added straight from the refrigerator and don’t require any cooking. 

Of course, in terms of frozen quinoa, the grains would have to have been cooked previously but when it comes to making the salad, the previously cooked leftover quinoa can be used as if it had never touched the heat of the stove. 

A quinoa salad can contain any number of ingredients, from fresh produce like cucumber and tomatoes, to apples, berries, and sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup. It can be served with tangy dressings, tart vinaigrettes, or sweet sauce. Just don’t forget the quinoa!


Quinoa can be used to create tasty, hearty soups that will have you feeling full until morning. Quinoa goes well when made into soups containing vegetables and lots of herbs and spices. The best part about choosing quinoa as the “meat and potatoes” of a soup is that it’s already cooked, so it won’t be soaking up all the soup juice and leaving you with very little broth. 

In addition, since quinoa is a grain, it’s very filling and removes the need to add potatoes, rice, or other staples, making it a good way to change things up. 

Check out this delicious quinoa soup recipe from Cookie + Kate for a great example of what I’m talking about.


Did you know that quinoa can be used as breakfast food? Well, it can! Not only can it be but it is used this way commonly.

The secret is that quinoa has a milk flavor similar to that of traditional oats or porridge. This makes it a great substitute for traditional oatmeal. Here’s a great porridge recipe from foolproof living for you to try.

It can be mixed with sweet additions such as berries, nuts, sweetener, and milk to make a field-berry flavored porridge. Alternatively, you can choose to use your own additions to make a quinoa recipe that fits your breakfast needs. 

How to Tell if Quinoa Has Gone Bad

The best time to tell if quinoa has gone bad is when you first cook it.

So, in other words, it’s best to check your quinoa for edibility before you freeze it. That being said, sure signs of quinoa that has gone bad after being frozen include freezer burn, which presents as changes in color and a drying out of the grain. 

Before the freezer, though, typical signs of bad quinoa include color changes, texture changes, mold growth, and an unusual odor. The texture changes will likely have the quinoa feeling hard and dry.