Do Sunflower Seeds Go Bad? How Long Do Sunflower Seeds Last?

Sunflower seeds are a delicious food to enjoy. You might be wondering how long your sunflower seeds are going to last; read on to find out!

Quick Answer

No matter how you store them, sunflower seeds will eventually go bad.

  • The ideal method for storing sunflower seeds is in the fridge. They will last for around one year when stored this way.
  • When kept in the pantry, sunflower seeds will generally last for around two to three months. After this, the quality will start to deteriorate significantly.


There are different factors that can affect sunflower seeds’ storage life. Let’s explore some of the different ways that sunflower seeds are stored to demonstrate this.

Do Sunflower Seeds Go Bad? How Long Do Sunflower Seeds Last?

If stored correctly and depending on the method, sunflower seeds can last for anywhere from two months to over a year past the best-by date. Depending on your circumstances, you may choose to keep your sunflower seeds in one of the following ways.

How Long Do Sunflower Seeds Last Outside?

Sunflower seeds can be stored perfectly well outside. They can last for up to one year past their best-by date if left unopened, or around one year if opened or bought in bulk, when kept in a cold environment.

The seeds will do best when kept in an environment that is dark, cool, and dry; try to avoid direct sunlight. Extreme temperatures can shorten the shelf life of your sunflower seeds, so try to keep this in mind in the summer or winter months.

If you choose to keep your sunflower seeds indoors, they can last at room temperature in a pantry or cabinet for around two to three months.

How Long Do Sunflower Seeds Last in the Fridge?

Whether bought commercially or in bulk, sunflower seeds will enjoy a much longer shelf life when kept in the fridge. An unopened package of sunflower seeds will last for around twelve months past the best-by date printed on the package.

An opened package of sunflower seeds, or sunflower seeds that have been bought in bulk or are otherwise not packaged, will last for around a year when kept in the fridge.

Keep in mind that these timeframes are dependent on whether you store your sunflower seeds properly; in order to find out how, we’ve included a section further in this article that offers some tips.

How Long Do Sunflower Seeds Last in the Freezer?

Sunflower seeds don’t need to be frozen in order to enjoy a long shelf life, but doing so certainly won’t hurt. When frozen properly, sunflower seeds will last for at least twelve months.

After twelve months have gone by, the sunflower seeds won’t necessarily go bad, but you’ll start to notice a sharp decline in quality. You can still keep your seeds frozen for several months beyond this, but keep this in mind.

In order to ensure you know how to freeze your sunflower seeds for best results, we’ve included a short freezing guide further in this article. We recommend you stick to the tips provided to allow your sunflower seeds to enjoy their full frozen shelf life.

How to Tell if Your Sunflower Seeds Have Gone Bad?

Here are some ways that you can tell if your sunflower seeds have gone bad and need to be thrown out. As always, when in doubt, throw it out.

Visuals: As with many foods, you can visually inspect your sunflower seeds to determine if they’ve gone bad. Sunflower seeds that have molded or have other organic growths on them have definitely gone bad; throw the whole batch out, even if the mold or growths are only on some seeds.

Smell: Sunflower seeds will develop a nasty smell when they’ve gone bad because of the oils present on the seeds. Sunflower seeds that smell bad haven’t necessarily become unsafe to eat, but are definitely pretty low quality and likely not something you want to bother eating.

Taste: If your sunflower seeds look and smell okay but you’re still unsure of whether or not they’re safe to eat, try giving them a taste. A very unpleasant or sour taste is a definite sign that something has gone bad with your sunflower seeds, and that they should be thrown out.

How to Store Sunflower Seeds?

You know that you can keep your sunflower seeds outside, in the fridge, or in the freezer for so long, and how to tell if they have gone bad. Now, let’s talk about how to make sure you’re storing them in the correct way.

Keep them sealed: An unopened bag of sunflower seeds will last the longest, so avoid opening them until you’re absolutely sure you want to use them. After opening them, keep them in a sealed container to help extend their shelf life and keep bugs and other critters out. The less air in this container, the better.

Avoid drastic temperature changes: While sunflower seeds can be refrigerated or frozen, they need to be kept at a consistent temperature wherever they are stored in order to enjoy the longest shelf life. Excessive heat, like with almost any food, is detrimental to the shelf-life of sunflower seeds.

How to Freeze Sunflower Seeds?

We established above that you can freeze sunflower seeds, so how do you do it? Let’s talk about it so that you know exactly how to keep your sunflower seeds in perfect condition for up to a year.

Keep them sealed: Just like with any other food item, make sure you keep your sunflower seeds in a tightly-sealed, freezer-safe container or bag when placing them in the freezer. This will help them enjoy their longest shelf-life.

Maintain a certain temperature: While they will likely still experience a decline in quality over time, sunflower seeds that are kept at zero degrees Fahrenheit have demonstrated the ability to remain safe for consumption virtually indefinitely.

Label the container: Write the date of freezing somewhere on the container or bag that you store your sunflower seeds in, or somewhere else where you’ll remember it. This will be your new best-by date.

How to Thaw Sunflower Seeds?

Now that you know how to freeze your sunflower seeds, it’s time to learn how to thaw them back out again when you’re ready to consume them.

While there isn’t one definitive way to thaw out sunflower seeds, the best way is to probably put them in the refrigerator overnight. This will allow them to thaw slowly to preserve quality.

Try to only thaw out as many sunflower seeds as you foresee yourself being able to consume at once. It might help to separate your sunflower seeds into smaller containers before freezing to help out with this.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sunflower Seeds’ Shelf Life

Even after reading all of this information, you might still have questions about your sunflower seeds and their shelf life. We’ll answer a couple of common questions here.

Is the best-by date on my sunflower seeds the same as an expiration date? No, it isn’t. A best-by date is a suggestion for when the sunflower seeds should be used by to maintain the highest quality. An expiration date tells you that you must use the product by that date, or else it has gone bad. Use your sunflower seeds’ best-by date as a guide, along with the information in this article.

So if sunflower seeds are still often safe when they go bad, why don’t they have an infinite shelf life? While sunflower seeds that have gone sour aren’t going to necessarily make you sick, it’s not exactly the best thing for you to be eating any food that’s gone bad. At the very least, your sunflower seeds will have lost most, if not all, of their nutritional value, making them pretty pointless to eat. On top of this, you might find that they now have a bad taste. Keep in mind that the information in this article is not professional health advice; we are not responsible if you choose to eat rancid sunflower seeds and end up getting sick.


Now you know all about storing sunflower seeds and the shelf life of sunflower seeds. We hope this information will help you enjoy your sunflower seeds to the fullest! Leave a comment down below sharing your tips for storing sunflower seeds, as well as any fun uses for sunflower seeds you might have!

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