Chia Seeds: How Long Do They Last?

Written by Krista Bugden
Medically Reviewed by Felicia Newell, M.S., RDN

July 19, 2023

Whether you enjoy them in a thick, creamy pudding, sprinkled into your smoothie, or ground into a fine flour, chia seeds are often referred to as one of nature’s nutritional powerhouses.

These tiny gray, oval-shaped seeds are native to central Mexico and Guatemala and have been used for centuries by the Aztec and Mayan cultures. There’s a reason they’ve stood the test of time: they’re rich in omega-3s (for brain health), antioxidants (for protection from free radicals), and fiber (for healthy digestion). And as if that weren’t enough, they provide 20% of your daily recommended intake of calcium per two-tablespoon serving (1).

They’re harvested from a flowering mint plant called Salvia hispanica. But once harvested, how long do chia seeds last? And how can you tell if they’ve gone bad or not? Read on to learn everything you need to know.

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Small but mighty is an understatement. Here’s the nutritional profile for just two tablespoons of chia seeds (2):

Nutritional Profile of Chia Seeds

Serving Size
2 Tablespoons
12 g
10 g
9 g
4.7 g

Thanks to their impressive nutrition profile, chia seeds come with a whole host of health benefits…

1. May Promote Healthy Weight Loss

Chia seeds have a high amount of fiber, which can keep you feeling full for hours afterward. A 2017 study showed that eating plain yogurt with 7 or 14 grams of chia seeds (roughly 1.5 teaspoons or one full tablespoon) as a mid-morning snack increased satiety (feelings of fullness) and reduced overall food intake during lunch. In turn, this can help you consume fewer calories, which may lead to healthy weight loss or easier weight maintenance (3).

2. May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease

Thanks to the 4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids and 9 grams of fiber that a serving of chia seeds provides, chia seeds are exceptional for heart health. Consumption of soluble fiber, found in chia seeds, has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing dangerously high cholesterol levels (4).

Tiramisu Chia Collagen Pudding

Tiramisu Chia Collagen Pudding

This chia collagen pudding is made with layers of chocolate, coffee, and dairy-free yogurt that can be enjoyed for breakfast, a snack, or dessert.

Get The Recipe

3. May Support Good Blood Sugar Levels

Studies show that chia seeds may improve insulin sensitivity, helping you maintain healthy blood sugar levels (5). As a result, you might just notice your energy levels and mood improve too! More balanced blood sugars can also lead to reduced cravings that tend to come with blood sugar crashes.

4. May Improve Digestive Health and Prevent Constipation

Chia seeds function as a prebiotic, which supports the production of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) necessary to maintain a healthy digestive tract (6). As chia seeds become a sticky gel-like substance when soaked in water, they can also help support the digestive system in flushing out unwanted materials.These tiny fibrous seeds may also enhance digestive health by reducing constipation (7). The fiber in chia seeds contributes to healthy stool and bowel movements, making elimination a little easier.

How Long Do Chia Seeds Last When Opened?

Generally, when stored correctly, chia seeds last for four to five years. This usually means keeping them in an airtight container, away from moisture, and at a consistent temperature. 

How Can You Tell If Chia Seeds Are Good?

Chia seeds that have turned rancid  may appear slimy, contain bugs, have mold, or noticeably clump together. When eating them, they taste bitter and smell a bit like nail polish remover. Usually, chia seeds have a pleasant nutty aroma, so their smell should be your first indication of chia seeds gone bad if you don’t notice any visual changes.

While you can eat expired chia seeds, it isn’t recommended. Fresh is always best! 

Plus, eating chia seeds that have gone bad could lead to digestive woes, such as diarrhea, bloating, or a stomach ache (not exactly what you want when you’re trying to nourish your body and feel your best!).

Shelf Life of Chia Seeds

Most chia seed packaging has a clear expiration date. Usually, this is between four to five years. However, this timeline can be shortened by improper storage or exposure to moisture, or too much light or air. But what about other chia seed products?

Chia seed powder, which is typically just chia seeds ground down (also referred to as milled or ground chia), usually lasts about six months. Meanwhile, chia pudding, which often contains milk, lasts about four to five days in the fridge. Yet, this shelf life may be extended by freezing your pudding. Always make sure to label your freezer containers so you know how long they’ve been stored.

Tiramisu Chia Collagen Pudding

Tiramisu Chia Collagen Pudding

This chia collagen pudding is made with layers of chocolate, coffee, and dairy-free yogurt that can be enjoyed for breakfast, a snack, or dessert.

Get The Recipe

How to Properly Store Chia Seeds

Making your chia seeds last comes down to storing them correctly. This means keeping them away from sunlight, such as in a cool and dry pantry. If you can’t reseal the packaging airtight, it may prove beneficial to transfer them to another airtight container. This will prevent moisture from ruining your chia seeds.

Can You Freeze Chia Seeds?

Yes, you can freeze chia seeds. However, they’ll only last for about two years frozen and, yet again, must be sealed in an airtight container or bag. This is a great option if you only use chia seeds for your morning smoothies, as you won’t need to thaw them before use.

Krista Bugden
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Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden is a freelance writer with a BS in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa. She spent 5 years working as a kinesiologist, giving her the first-hand experience she needed to write well-researched, scientific, and informative blogs.

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    Medical Disclaimer

    This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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