Do Sesame Seeds Go Bad? How Long Does Sesame Seeds Last?

If you don’t know already, sesame seeds are seeds from plants that are a common ingredient thrown in several dishes. It’s more commonly attached to other grains like burger buns and bagels in addition to being used for sesame oil. If you ever got around to having the seeds by themselves, you might have been curious about its shelf life and we have the answers.

Quick Answer

Sesame seeds that are raw last 6 months to a year in the pantry and a year or so in the refrigerator whereas roasted sesame seeds last 1 to 3 years anywhere. Keep it sealed and stored somewhere cool and dry or else it will go  rancid.


If you want to know how to keep sesame seeds as good as long as possible, then this article will show you how to do that along with other helpful tips and tricks to preserve sesame seeds.

Do Sesame Seeds Go Bad? How Long Does Sesame Seeds Last?

If not put away the proper way, sesame seeds don’t go bad faster, but they can attract unwanted moisture or insect infestation which by itself, can make it go bad.

How Long Does Sesame Seeds Last Outside?

Sesame seeds can be left vulnerable to external factors if they’re not sealed properly. If sesame seeds are left open it is within your best interest to not make a habit of keeping the container the sesame seeds are closed.

If sesame seeds face moisture, then they run the risk of getting moldy. Although sesame seeds aren’t too sensitive to moisture, they should not be exposed to moist environments all the time.

Pests like larvae, weevils, beetles, and moths come from outside or from the food production to contaminate and lay eggs in the seeds. Pests are most likely to find themselves in open packages or spilled food as it is easier to access.

Exposure to moisture and insects invading your sesame seeds are just two reasons to keep them closed. It should be a habit kept for most foods that come in containers especially grain foods.

How Long Does Sesame Seeds Last in the Fridge?

The refrigerator is a decent place to put sesame seeds as it’s a cool place away from bugs and too much moisture. Depending on what kind of sesame seeds you have, the refrigerator can be the best place to contain them.

Raw sesame seeds can last a year in the refrigerator which is twice as long as they would last in the pantry. It can last a year past its printed use by date in the refrigerator so long as nothing happens to the sesame seeds.

Roasted sesame seeds last longer than raw sesame seeds despite their holding environment. When roasted, sesame seeds can last up to 1 year to 3 years past its expiration date whether it stays in a pantry or the freezer.

How Long Does Sesame Seeds Last in the Freezer?

The amount of time that sesame seeds last in the freezer is about the same as it lasts in the refrigerator. It might last a little longer, but for the most part, it should last the same amount of time.

Raw sesame seeds in the freezer last a year past their expiration date even if they’re not sealed. This is still longer than it would last in the pantry and it will stay in a more stable environment.

Roasted sesame seeds will stay good a year to three years past their expiration date on the bag as well.

So the fridge and freezer are two good places to put sesame seeds in to help them last longer. If you have that, it is suggested to put them there

How To Tell If Sesame Seeds Have Gone Bad?

When sesame seeds inevitably hit their expiration date, you will need to know if they went bad. Although it might be slightly harder to tell if the nearly microscopic seeds have gone bad, there are still some symptoms of bad seeds.

Rancid Smell: One of the more obvious signs of bad sesame seeds is an unnatural scent. Sesame seeds typically smell like nuts but if the oils go sour then the seeds will smell sour too.

Mold: Since sesame seeds are very small, it is harder to tell if they have gone bad. If sesame seeds get wet, however, mold will start to appear on them.

 Sour Taste: Along with a sour smell, the sesame seeds will have a sour taste to go with it. You won’t get sick if you eat bad sesame seeds, but the sour and off-taste will be noticed.

How to Store Sesame Seeds?

On top of where you store sesame seeds, how you store them the also crucial to keeping them fresh longer. Here’s how you should store sesame seeds to make them last longer.

Somewhere cool and consistent: This is the best place to put sesame seeds even if they might accidentally be open. The pantry or a cabinet in the kitchen is a good example of a storage place that has a cool place for sesame seeds.

Out of sunlight: The sunlight would provide an environment that is too hostile and hot for the sesame seeds. In addition to that, it’ll also make it vulnerable to insects that could invade the seeds.

Can You Freeze Sesame Seeds? How?

As stated above, you can put sesame seeds in the freezer without worrying about them freezing together in a clump. You might wonder, what kind of containers can be useful for storing sesame seeds so here are a couple of options.

Container: Putting sesame seeds in a hard container is one way you can freeze your sesame seeds. The pros to this method are, being healthy, saving money and the environment are upsides storing foods like sesame seeds in a container properly.

Freezer bag: Putting sesame seeds in an airtight bag should do the trick as far as freezing it goes. Just like putting them anywhere else, sesame seeds need to be shut tightly.

How to Thaw Sesame Seeds?

After you have frozen the sesame seeds, you can go about using them afterward one of two ways.

Just take them out: You can take out the sesame seeds and sit it out until it’s unfrozen. Depending on how many sesame seeds are in the bag and what the room temperature is like, it could take between 30 minutes to an hour and a half to thaw.

Use them frozen: Unlike most other foods you don’t have to thaw sesame seeds if you don’t want to. You can take them out of the freezer and cook them while they’re still frozen if you want. The only difference is that it might take slightly longer to cook or you might need to cook it at a higher temperature.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sesame Seeds’s Shelf Life

Now that you know how and where to put sesame seeds, you might have other questions relating to the shelf life itself. The answers about sesame seeds and other things associated with them should be suitable enough to keep you satisfied.

What’s Tahini and How Long Does That Last?

Tahini is basically a paste made from sesame seeds of any kind but usually toasted ones. Tahini is often made to keep hummus together amongst other culinary recipes and can even be used to replace peanut butter.

As far as storing it, the same rules as sesame seeds apply to tahini since you’ll still need to put it away in a cool dark place. Other than its form, the main difference is that in the pantry, it’ll only last 4 to 6 months beyond the printed expiration date and 6 months to a year in the fridge or the freezer.

How to Prevent Insect Infestations?

If you want your sesame seeds to be free from weevils, moths, beetles, and larvae then you will first want to clean your pantry of crumbs. You also want to check the packaging of holes and damage before purchasing them since some bugs come from the store.

If there are bugs in the packaging, then you can either freeze the sesame seeds for four hours or heat them up in the oven at 140°F for an hour or two. If you don’t want to shift through seeds to find bugs or eggs, then you can just throw the seeds out.

Wrap Up

Sesame seeds can stay in a good condition so long as you seal them and put them away from heat and humidity. Unless you want moldy and hard-to-eat sesame seeds, put them somewhere where bugs and moisture cannot reach it like the freezer or pantry, and take good care of them.

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