The Truth About Sesame Seeds Expiration: Do They Go Bad?

Yes, sesame seeds can go bad. Sesame seeds’ shelf life may depend on a few various factors.

Some factors include how they are stored, if they are roasted or raw, and if they are hulled or unhulled. Sesame seeds are not only tasty but are also rich in nutrients like protein and healthy fats. However, it is essential to know when the sesame seeds go bad to keep them from becoming rancid and unhealthy to eat.

Read on to know more about the shelf life of sesame seeds and how to store them correctly.

The Truth About Sesame Seeds Expiration: Do They Go Bad?


What Affects Sesame Seed Expiration?

Sesame seeds add a nutty flavor and pleasant crunch to many dishes, making them a pantry staple in many homes. But have you ever wondered, do sesame seeds go bad? The answer is yes, they do, but the good news is that they have a long shelf life when stored correctly.

We will look at what affects sesame seed expiration and why proper storage is crucial to prolong shelf life. We will also explore common mistakes people make when storing sesame seeds.

Factors That Contribute To Sesame Seed Spoilage

Sesame seeds are a perishable food that can go bad over time due to several factors. Some of these factors include:

  • Exposure to air: Sesame seeds contain natural oils that can go rancid when exposed to air.
  • Moisture: Moisture can cause sesame seeds to spoil quickly. It can also promote the growth of bacteria, mold, and other microorganisms.
  • Heat: Exposure to heat can cause sesame seeds to break down and become rancid, leading to an unpleasant taste and odor.
  • Light: Sunlight and other forms of light can damage sesame seeds’ flavor and nutritional value.

Why Proper Storage Is Crucial To Prolong Shelf Life

Proper storage can help extend sesame seeds’ shelf life and prevent spoilage. Here are some tips for storing sesame seeds:

  • Store sesame seeds in an airtight container: An airtight container can help prevent air, moisture, and light from damaging sesame seeds.
  • Keep sesame seeds in a cool, dry place: To prevent heat and moisture from causing spoilage, store sesame seeds in a cool, dry place like a pantry or cupboard.
  • Avoid storing sesame seeds in the refrigerator: While it may seem like a good idea to keep sesame seeds in the fridge, it can actually cause moisture to develop and increase spoilage risk.
  • Use sesame seeds before the expiration date: Sesame seeds come with an expiration date, so make sure to use them before that date to avoid spoilage.

Common Mistakes People Make When Storing Sesame Seeds

Despite being a popular ingredient, many people mishandle sesame seeds, causing them to spoil. Here are some common mistakes people make when storing sesame seeds:

  • Leaving sesame seeds in the open: Leaving sesame seeds out in the open exposes them to air, light, and moisture, which can lead to spoilage.
  • Not checking the expiration date: Sesame seeds come with an expiration date, and using them past that date can cause spoilage.
  • Using the wrong container: Storing sesame seeds in a container that isn’t airtight can cause spoilage due to exposure to air, moisture, and light.
  • Keeping them in the wrong place: Storing sesame seeds in a place with high moisture levels, such as a fridge, can cause spoilage.

Sesame seeds can go bad due to factors like exposure to air, moisture, heat, and light. Proper storage can help prolong their shelf life and prevent spoilage. However, there are common mistakes people make when storing sesame seeds, like leaving them in the open, using the wrong container, or keeping them in the wrong place.

By following the tips outlined you can ensure your sesame seeds stay fresh and flavorful for longer.

Signs Of Spoilage

How To Recognize If Sesame Seeds Have Gone Bad

Sesame seeds, like any other food item, are susceptible to spoilage due to various factors such as heat, light exposure, and moisture. Here are some indicators to look out for to determine whether your sesame seeds have gone bad:

  • Check the expiry date printed on the package to ensure it hasn’t expired yet.
  • Inspect the seeds for any signs of discoloration or unnatural dark spots. Fresh sesame seeds are light in color and have a uniform appearance.
  • Smell the sesame seeds – if they have a rancid or sour odor, this could be a sign that they have gone bad.
  • Perform a taste test. Fresh sesame seeds have a nutty flavor with a subtle hint of sweetness. If the seeds taste bitter or have an off-flavor, it’s best to discard them.

Potential Health Risks Associated With Consuming Spoiled Sesame Seeds

Consuming spoiled sesame seeds can pose several health risks due to their high oil content. Here are some of the potential health hazards to be aware of:

  • Rancid sesame seeds contain harmful free radicals that can damage cells and increase the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
  • Spoiled sesame seeds can harbor harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses like salmonella and e.coli, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.
  • If you have allergies or sensitivities to sesame, consuming expired sesame seeds can trigger an allergic reaction, which can cause hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing.

Are Sesame Seeds Safe To Eat Past Their Expiration Date?

Sesame seeds can be safe to eat past their expiration date, depending on how they are stored and whether they exhibit any signs of spoilage. Here are some factors to consider:

  • If sesame seeds are stored correctly in an airtight container away from heat and light, they can last up to six months past their expiration date.
  • If the sesame seeds have passed their expiry date but exhibit no signs of spoilage, such as discoloration, an unusual smell, or a bitter taste, they are safe to consume.
  • However, if the sesame seeds have gone bad, it’s recommended to discard them to avoid potential foodborne illnesses and health risks.

Best Practices For Storing Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are a staple ingredient in many cuisines worldwide. They can add a nutty flavor and crunchy texture to dishes such as salads, dips, and baked goods. However, like any other pantry staple, sesame seeds can go bad if not stored properly.

Here are some best practices for storing sesame seeds that can keep them fresh and flavorful for an extended period.

Proper Storage Methods For Different Types Of Sesame Seeds

Different types of sesame seeds require different storage methods to maintain optimum freshness. Here are some tips for storing different categories of sesame seeds.

  • Raw sesame seeds: Raw sesame seeds have a high oil content, making them more susceptible to rancidity. Store them in a cool, dark, and dry place, away from sunlight, moisture, and heat. You can also refrigerate or freeze them in an airtight container or a freezer bag for up to a year.
  • Toasted sesame seeds: Toasted sesame seeds can add a rich and toasted flavor to dishes. Store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark, and dry place. You can also refrigerate or freeze them for longer shelf life.
  • Tahini: Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to six months.

Tips For Preserving Sesame Seeds’ Freshness And Flavor

Here are some general tips that can help preserve sesame seeds’ freshness and flavor.

  • Always store sesame seeds in an airtight container to prevent moisture and other contaminants from seeping in.
  • Avoid storing sesame seeds in a glass container that exposes them to sunlight and heat.
  • Label the container with the purchase date to keep track of the sesame seeds’ freshness.
  • Do not store sesame seeds near strong-smelling ingredients or spices that can transfer flavor or odor.
  • Check sesame seeds for rancidity before using them in a recipe. Rancid sesame seeds have a sour smell and taste.

What To Do If You Don’T Plan To Use Sesame Seeds Before Their Expiration Date

If you don’t plan to use sesame seeds before their expiration date, here’s what you can do to extend their shelf life.

  • Store sesame seeds in the refrigerator or freezer. It can help prevent rancidity and spoilage.
  • Consider buying small amounts of sesame seeds to use them up before they expire.
  • Roast sesame seeds before storing them. Roasting can help extend their shelf life and enhance their flavor.

Taking care of sesame seeds and storing them properly can help preserve their freshness, flavor, and nutritional value. Follow the best practices mentioned above, and you can enjoy the nutty flavor and crunchiness of sesame seeds in your favorite dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sesame Seed Expiration

How Long Do Sesame Seeds Typically Last?

Sesame seeds have a relatively long shelf life, but it depends on how they are stored. If kept in an airtight container in a cool and dry place, they can last up to two years. If exposed to light, heat, or moisture, the seeds can turn rancid.

It’s essential to store them away from heat sources like the stove or oven, and avoid exposure to sunlight.

Can Sesame Seeds Go Bad If Stored In The Refrigerator?

Sesame seeds will last longer if stored in the refrigerator, but not indefinitely. Storing them in the fridge will extend their shelf life for up to three years. But, they must be stored in an airtight container to avoid moisture.

Make sure to label the container with the date you opened it, and throw them out if they have a musty smell or off taste.

Are There Any Health Benefits To Eating Expired Sesame Seeds?

There are no health benefits to eating expired sesame seeds. In fact, consuming rancid seeds can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, and even food poisoning. Expired seeds can harbor bacteria and fungus that pose risks to your health. Always check the expiration date before consuming sesame seeds.

Is It Safe To Eat Toasted Sesame Seeds That Are Past Their Expiration Date?

No, it’s not safe to eat toasted sesame seeds that are past their expiration date. Toasting seeds masks the rancidity smell and taste, but it doesn’t make them safe to consume. Consuming expired toasted sesame seeds can lead to food poisoning symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Always check the expiration date before consuming any toasted sesame seeds.

How Can You Tell If Sesame Oil Has Gone Rancid?

Sesame oil can become rancid if it’s not stored properly. The easiest way to tell if it’s gone bad is by tasting it. Rancid sesame oil has a bitter and unpleasant taste. Another way to tell is by smelling it.

If it has a sour, funky, or musty smell, it’s time to discard it. Also, check the expiration date of your sesame oil before use. An expired sesame oil bottle should be discarded even if it shows no signs of spoilage.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Do Sesame Seeds Go Bad?

Do Sesame Seeds Expire?

Yes, sesame seeds can eventually expire due to their natural oils, even if stored properly. They should have a date on the packaging. Check for rancidity, and if they taste or smell off, they should be discarded immediately.

How To Store Sesame Seeds Properly?

Sesame seeds should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer to prolong their shelf life. Make sure to label the container with the date they were stored.

When Should You Not Eat Sesame Seeds?

People with allergies to sesame seeds should avoid them. Additionally, if the sesame seeds have gone rancid or taste off, they should not be consumed.

Can You Roast Old Sesame Seeds?

Roasting may improve the taste of old sesame seeds, but it won’t restore them to freshness. If they’ve gone rancid, they should not be used.

Are Toasted Sesame Seeds Healthier Than Raw Ones?

Toasted sesame seeds have a more intense flavor, but both raw and toasted sesame seeds are healthy. They’re high in antioxidants, protein, and healthy fats.


To sum up, sesame seeds can go bad, but with proper storage, it can take a long time. The presence of oil in the seeds makes them prone to rancidity and spoilage. Storing sesame seeds in airtight containers in a cool and dry place away from light and moisture is key to keep their freshness for longer periods.

Whether you use them in sweet or savory applications, sesame seeds add a nutty flavor and crunch to your dishes. They are a rich source of nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc, that offer many health benefits. So, next time you wonder if your sesame seeds have gone bad, check their smell, taste, and appearance.

As with any other food, if in doubt, it’s best to discard them. Keep your sesame seeds fresh and enjoy their deliciousness and nutritional properties in your culinary creations.