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Can You Freeze Quinoa? Yes! Follow This Guide

Although it’s not the first item that comes to mind when you think of freezing, leftover quinoa can really be stored in the freezer.

For me, freezing quinoa is a fantastic technique to prevent food waste when dealing with leftovers.

Uncooked quinoa can last 2-3 years in the cupboard, while cooked quinoa spoils much quicker. Refrigerated, it stays good for only 3-4 days.

Can You Freeze Quinoa featured image | Girl Meets Food

So can you freeze cooked quinoa?

The answer is yes! You can freeze cooked quinoa and I’ll tell you how to do it properly!

Properly kept fluffy quinoa is a practical and healthful addition to weeknight meals. So, it’s worth learning how-to quinoa basics for excellent results each time!

What you need

  • Cooked quinoa: Cook to the desired texture before freezing.
  • Airtight containers or freezer bags: These help preserve quinoa and avoid freezer burn.
  • Labels and a marker: Mark the contents and freezing date to track storage time.
  • Baking sheet or tray: To quickly cool cooked quinoa to room temperature before transferring it to freezer-safe containers.

These items make freezing quinoa easy and effective, keeping its taste and nutritional worth for future meals.

How to prep your quinoa for freezing

A bowl of cooked quinoa, a smaller bowl of uncooked quinoa and a wooden spoon of uncooked quinoa on a dark surface | Girl Meets Food

Make sure you follow these procedures before freezing quinoa:

  1. Rinse quinoa: Rinse your quinoa in cold water to remove its harsh saponin coating. Use a fine mesh strainer to drain excess water.
  2. Cook: Use two times as much liquid as quinoa (2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes until the quinoa is cooked and the water is absorbed.
  3. Fluff quinoa: Cover the cooked quinoa and let it sit for a few minutes. Fork-fluff it to avoid clumping.
  4. Let it cool: Before freezing, let the quinoa cool to room temperature. Spreading quinoa thinly on a baking sheet or tray speeds cooling. 
  5. Portion: Choose portion sizes for future requirements. Depending on your use, divide the chilled quinoa into individual or family-sized portions.

Now you’re ready to freeze your quinoa portions!

How to freeze cooked quinoa

Time needed: 1 hour and 30 minutes.

After cooking and chilling the quinoa, move on to the freezing process:

  1. Package

    Put the chilled quinoa in airtight containers or freezer bags. Leave room for freezing expansion. Air exposure can cause freezer burn and quinoa quality decline, so close your containers or bags well.

  2. Label

    Clearly label each container or bag with the contents and freezing date. This procedure helps you identify them later and follow storage times.

  3. (Optional) Flash freezing

    To avoid clumping, flash freeze the quinoa parts before storing them. Spread cooked and cooled quinoa in a single layer on a baking sheet or pan. Freeze the sheet for one hour to partly freeze the quinoa. 

  4. Transfer to freezer

    Store the frozen pieces in an airtight container or bag in the coldest area of your freezer at 0°F (-18°C) or below.

These procedures will let you freeze quinoa without losing its nutritional benefits or variety. 

Can you freeze uncooked quinoa?

A wooden bowl of uncooked quinoa with a wooden scoop in it | Girl Meets Food

Yes, you can freeze uncooked quinoa. But keep in mind that any air exposure in the freezer will cause quinoa to degrade faster.

Here’s how to avoid any unfortunate events:

  1. Select a container: Place raw quinoa in a freezer bag or airtight container. Use a freezer-safe container for the best quality.
  2. Remove all excess air: Press out extra air before closing a freezer bag. Removing air prevents freezer burn and keeps quinoa fresh. Vacuum sealing is what I choose for the best air-free environment.
  3. Label the container: Write the contents and freezing date on the container. This makes quinoa easy to recognize and utilize quickly.
  4. Secure the right temperature: To preserve the container or bag, keep it in the freezer’s coldest portion at 0°F (-18°C) or below.

Uncooked frozen quinoa can be cooked immediately from the freezer. Rinse it under cold water to eliminate ice crystals before cooking.

How long can you freeze quinoa?

Quinoa freezes well for up to 6 months.

Technically it can be kept in the freezer for longer but its taste and texture will promptly decrease.

How do you defrost quinoa?

Defrosting quinoa takes some time, but it’s easy. Here are some useful methods:

  • Refrigerator thawing: Put your frozen quinoa in a container or dish and place it in the fridge. This is the safest way to defrost quinoa since it thaws gently and evenly without bacterial development.
  • Room-temperature thawing: Place frozen quinoa on a plate or shallow dish. Let it defrost at room temperature. Depending on the amount of quinoa and temperature, this approach may take several hours to defrost.
  • Cold water bath thawing: A cold water bath will speed up defrosting. Soak frozen quinoa in cold water in a plastic bag. Every 30 minutes, replace the water to chill it. Never use warm or hot water since it promotes bacterial development.
  • Direct cooking: Rinse it under cold water to eliminate ice crystals and cook it in a rice cooker, stovetop, or microwave. The cooking time is longer than for thawed quinoa but it works just fine.

The thawing process will go smoothly if you follow these simple steps. 

How to reheat frozen quinoa?

Quinoa is reheating in the saucepan | Girl Meets Food

If you’re wondering how to cook frozen quinoa, here are the general steps:

  1. Move the required amount of frozen quinoa from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before. For optimal texture and taste, defrost it slowly in the fridge.
  2. Once thawed, quinoa can be re-heated in a saucepan. Add a splash of water or broth to prevent drying out. Stir it occasionally while it’s simmering.
  3. (Optional) You can also microwave thaw quinoa. Add water or broth to quinoa in a microwave-safe dish to keep it wet. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or microwave-safe wrap. Stir the quinoa between low-power intervals to heat it evenly.
  4. After warming, fluff the quinoa with a fork to separate the grains and restore their texture.

Reheated quinoa can be used in numerous meals or as a healthy side. I like adding it to salads, soups and vegetable bowls.

To avoid food safety risks, heat it to a safe temperature of 165°F (74°C) — when it’s steaming and piping hot throughout.

How long does quinoa take to cook?

A saucepan with water, a bowl of uncooked quinoa, a white bowl and a tablespon are on a cutting board | Girl Meets Food

Quinoa usually takes 15-20 minutes to cook.

Cooked grains look almost transparent and have a curled white “tail”.

Can you eat quinoa cold?

Yes, you can eat quinoa cold. In fact, chilled quinoa is great in salads or as a basis for cold dishes.

Can you freeze quinoa casserole?

Yes, quinoa casserole is freezer-friendly.

Before freezing any dish, let it cool completely. Seal the casserole in a freezer-safe container or airtight container.

Reheated your casserole in the oven or microwave after freezing to minimize textural changes.

Can you freeze quinoa salad?

Two plates of lentil quinoa salad and a bowl of spinach are on a whote surface | Girl Meets Food

Yes, you can freeze quinoa salad, but check the components. Fresh vegetables and delicate herbs may lose their texture after freezing and thawing.

If the ingredients pass the “test,” put your homemade quinoa salad in airtight containers or freezer bags to prevent freezer burn.

One time I was in charge of hosting a potluck meal and I recall how much worry I avoided by making a quinoa salad ahead of time and freezing it. My pals loved it, and they couldn’t believe I’d made it days in advance.

I owe part of my success that day to freezing the quinoa and dressing separately then mixing them after thawing. This secured the best texture and taste.

A batch of quinoa salad can stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Can you freeze dry quinoa?

Since quinoa is a grain, it naturally has a dry consistency. So freeze-drying it isn’t a typical way of storage.

How long does cooked quinoa last in the fridge?

Refrigerated cooked quinoa lasts 4-6 days. Proper storage extends its shelf life.

How to store quinoa after cooking?

A transparent bowl of cooked quinoa with wooden spoon | Girl Meets Food

I usually follow these steps to preserve cooked quinoa:

  1. Cooling: Cool the cooked quinoa to room temperature. Spreading it thinly on a baking sheet or tray speeds cooling.
  2. Container selection: Put cooled quinoa in a clean, dry, airtight container. Airtight plastic or glass jars keep moisture and contaminants out.
  3. Refrigerating: After cooling, refrigerate the quinoa at 40°F (4°C) or lower. Don’t put this step off if you want to ensure food safety.
  4. Labeling: If you’re storing quinoa for more than a day, mark it with the date to track its freshness.
  5. Using within a few days: Quinoa tastes best when used within 4-6 days of cooking.

So storing quinoa is actually easy and helps you enjoy its grains longer.

Can you refreeze quinoa?

Refreezing thawed quinoa is not advised. After frozen quinoa is fully thawed and brought to room temperature or warmed, refreezing it might affect its quality, flavor, and texture.

Ice crystals occur when you freeze and reheat quinoa, damaging its fragile structure. This can dry out the quinoa, making it less tasty.

Refreezing quinoa can also raise the risk of foodborne disease and bacterial development.

Before freezing quinoa in bulk, I always divide it into smaller parts to reduce waste.

Does quinoa freeze well?

Properly kept quinoa freezes well. Freezing cooked quinoa keeps it fresh, nutritious, and tasty.

When I first attempted freezing quinoa, I had doubts about how it would defrost. To my pleasant surprise, it retained all of the fluffiness and flavor of freshly cooked quinoa.

Does freezing quinoa destroy nutrients?

The freezing method can cause some nutrient loss, but it usually doesn’t affect the nutritional value of quinoa.

When frozen and kept correctly, quinoa remains a complete protein with all essential amino acids.

Does frozen quinoa taste good?

If cooked, chilled, and frozen correctly, quinoa can taste wonderful.

Proper thawing and reheating ensure it keeps its earthy taste and fluffy texture and remains a practical kitchen staple.

How do you know if cooked quinoa is bad?

Signs of spoiled cooked quinoa include:

  • Off odor: Quinoa that smells rotten has deteriorated and should not be eaten.
  • Mold: Mold on cooked grains indicates deterioration.
  • Sliminess: Quinoa that’s slimy or sticky is likely spoiled.
  • Unusual texture: Mushy, dry, or gritty quinoa is most likely spoiled and unsafe to eat.
  • Unpleasant taste: Avoid quinoa with a strange flavor.
  • Bitterness: Bad quinoa has a bitter taste that you should also avoid.

Discard cooked quinoa with any of these indications!

Storing cooked quinoa in the fridge and consuming it within 4-6 days prevents deterioration and ensures safety.

If your quinoa spoils, you can always turn to these healthy quinoa replacements to make your favorite recipes shine!

Does uncooked quinoa need to be refrigerated?

Grey bowl of dry quinoa on white surface | Girl Meets Food

No, there’s no need to refrigerate uncooked quinoa. Refrigerating uncooked quinoa may expose it to moisture, changing its texture and taste.

As a dry grain, it can be kept at room temperature away from strong-smelling items or substances.

Quinoa should be stored in an airtight container or bag to avoid moisture, bugs, and smells.

How to tell if uncooked quinoa is bad?

Signs of uncooked quinoa that has gone bad include:

  • Visual flaws: Mold, discolouration, and microscopic insects. Fresh quinoa should have a consistent color and no obvious impurities.
  • Bad smell: Fresh quinoa smells mildly nutty. If it stinks, it may be spoiled.
  • Taste: If you’re unsure after seeing and smelling, taste a little. Quinoa should taste mildly nutty and fresh. Avoid anything harsh, rotten, or strange-tasting.
  • Quinoa storage: Moisture, severe heat, and sunshine can speed up spoilage.
  • Expiration date: It’s unsafe to eat if expired.

Remember that quinoa’s natural oils can go rancid. Discard uncooked quinoa if you’re not confident about its freshness or quality.

I trust you now know everything you need to know about freezing quinoa! Share your thoughts in the comments!

If you like the letter Q, you will love the article where I gathered more than 30 foods that start with Q, including quinoa! Foods that start with X are pretty curious too!

Also, don’t miss out on more freezing advice with my article on freezing broccoli, my guide to freezing asparagus and even some great tips on how to freeze Parmesan cheese.

A transparent bowl of cooked quinoa with wooden spoon | Girl Meets Food

How to freeze quinoa

Unlock the secret of how to freeze quinoa for ultimate freshness & convenience. Learn to preserve this superfood like a pro!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Freezing time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • Quinoa (dry or cooked)


  • Rinse: Rinse quinoa in cold water using a fine mesh strainer to remove saponin coating.
  • Cook: Boil quinoa with double the liquid (2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa) until cooked (15-20 mins).
  • Fluff: Cover and fluff cooked quinoa with a fork to prevent clumping.
  • Cool: Let quinoa cool to room temperature, or speed up cooling on a tray.
  • Portion: Divide quinoa into desired portions for future use.
  • Package: Place cooled quinoa in airtight containers or freezer bags, leaving room for expansion.
  • Label: Clearly label containers or bags with contents and freezing date.
  • (Optional) Flash Freeze: Spread quinoa on a tray, freeze for an hour to prevent clumping.
  • Transfer: Store in the coldest part of the freezer at 0°F (-18°C) or below.
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