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

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

Do Sesame Seeds Go Bad How Long Does It Last
Image: Lucky Belly

Are you’re wondering – ‘Do sesame seeds go bad?’, ‘How long do sesame seeds last?’, with a bag of half-opened sesame seeds in your hand? If yes, you’re at the right place.

As sesame seeds add more spark to fries, burgers, and even steaks, it’s one of the must-haves in your pantry. Read on to find out whether or not sesame seeds go bad and how to tell if they have. What’s more, you’ll also be informed about various tips regarding sesame seed storage in this post.

Do sesame seeds go bad?

Let’s get to the point – sesame seeds do go bad. But they have quite a good shelf life. So, if you’ve been storing your sesame seeds properly, you don’t have to worry about them going bad anytime soon.

When sesame seeds are stored in improper conditions or for too long past their expiry date, oils within the seeds start oxidizing, hence the ‘Rancidity’!

Sesame seeds do not spoil. However, like any other fatty and oily food items, they go rancid. So, if sesame seeds are not a religious ingredient in your pantry, it’s better for you to avoid buying in bulk.

How long do sesame seeds last?

How long do sesame seeds last
Image: Lucky Belly

Sesame seeds generally come with a ‘Best-by’ date. However, the date is an indication of the quality of the seeds rather than safety. Thus, sesame seeds last way past their best-by date.

As sesame seeds are not prone to bacterial or fungal spoilage, the key here is to prevent the rancidity of the seeds. Thus, the better your storage techniques, the greater is the shelf-life of the sesame seeds.

In general, raw sesame seeds lasts for about 1-3 years whereas, the roasted sesame seeds last for 6-12 months when stored in the pantry and for about a year in the freezer.

On the other hand, if you make tahini out of your sesame seeds, the shelf life decreases. Tahini lasts for 4-6 months when stored in the pantry and for 6-12 months if you refrigerate or freeze it. Most importantly, once you open a tahini container, you must refrigerate or freeze it for long-term storage.

So, if you love hummus or simply like dipping your veggies in tahini, we’d recommend you make it in small batches instead.

In the pantry

In the freezer or refrigerator

Raw sesame seed (Opened or Unopened)

1-3 years 1-3 years
Roasted sesame seeds 6-12 months

1 year


4-6 months

6-12 months

3 Tips to Tell if the sesame seeds have Gone Bad

3 Tips to Tell if the sesame seeds have Gone Bad
Image: Lucky Belly

So, if you’ve finally discovered a long-lost bag of opened sesame seeds in your cupboard, here’s how you tell whether or not they have gone bad.

1. Give the seeds a good whiff

What better tools for deciding on whether or not foods and ingredients have gone bad than your senses? If you’re not sure if the sesame seeds are good enough to spice up your burgers or fries, open the container and give it a good sniff.

Generally, sesame seeds smell nutty and fresh. If the smell has gone rancid and off, it’s time you make a short trip to a grocery store. Rancid sesame seeds taste nasty and aren’t great for your health either. So, if your nose tells it’s a no, it’s a no!

2. Do they taste fine?

Your tastebuds are another powerful tool for checking whether or not something is safe to eat. Generally, sesame seeds taste nutty and fresh.

But if the taste has turned rancid and nasty, you must toss the seeds away. Who’d want to destroy their food with such nasty toppings anyway, right?

3. Watch out for molds

We love food, but so do molds. So, watch out for this nemesis. Molds are not commonly found in sesame seeds. But if your seeds have been exposed to moisture, the chances of mold growth is quite high.

If you see a white, gray, or black fuzzy substance inside your sesame seeds container or packet, it might be mold.

4 Tips to store sesame seeds

You now know when to throw away sesame seeds. But do you know how to store them properly such that you won’t have to toss them away before you finish them? Well, we know! And, we’ll share these excellent sesame storage tips with you.

1. Store the seeds in an air-tight container

It goes without saying, always store sesame seeds in an air-tight container and always keep the lids closed. If you live in a very hot climate, consider storing them in a plastic bag.

If you’re storing them in a plastic bag, make sure to push all the air out before sealing it. You can use a kitchen cryovac machine for this purpose. If you intend to keep the seeds unspoiled for long, this is the best way to go!

Exposure to air introduces moisture content with the sesame seeds, which is known to encourage mold growth and rancidity within the seeds.

2. Store the container in a cool and dry place

Likewise, sesame seeds are best stored in a cool and dry place, away from heat and sunlight. Heat and sunlight are known to accelerate the process of rancidity. Also, if possible, sesame seeds must be stored at a constant temperature as drastic temperature changes are not good for its quality.

3. Refrigerate or freeze the seeds for long-term storage

If you didn’t know, freezing and refrigerating seeds increases their shelf life as it prevents them from going rancid. Moreover, freezers or refrigerators provide constant temperature to the seeds.

Simply pour the seeds into an air-tight container and pop them in the freezer or refrigerator. If you’re using freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible.

4. Make tahini in small batches

Tahini lasts for a much shorter time than sesame seeds. So, if you’ve bought sesame seeds in bulk, turning all of them into tahini at once might not be a good idea. If you love tahini and consume it regularly, consider making it in batches.

Tahini lasts for about 4-6 months in the pantry and 6-12 months in the refrigerator and freezer. However, you can start by making a batch that lasts for the first 2-3 months; as fresher the tahini, the better is the taste!

The Risk of Consuming Expired sesame seeds

The Risk of Consuming Expired sesame seeds
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As the expiry date on the packaging is the date by which the sesame seeds are most likely to maintain their quality and flavor, consuming expired sesame seeds won’t probably make you sick. But if you consume rancid or moldy seeds, the case might not be the same.

In a paper published in ‘Journal of Oleo Science’ in 2008, where a study on rats was performed, researchers found that consuming rancid oils might lead to liver damage.

Nevertheless, if you eat a handful of rancid sesame seeds or even less, there won’t probably be any negative consequences. On the other hand, consuming expired sesame seeds regularly despite knowing that they have gone rancid is definitely not a good idea.

Likewise, if you eat too much of moldy sesame seeds, consequences might follow. Molds are notorious for secreting toxins, which are known to cause allergic and respiratory problems in some individuals.

In brief, if you ever mistakenly add a pinch or two of expired sesame seeds to your food, you’ll most likely be fine. On the other hand, too much of it might impose various health risks.

Can you freeze sesame seeds?

You can absolutely freeze sesame seeds. However, moisture is also one of the enemies of sesame seeds. So, make sure that you squeeze out the air and seal the freezer bag properly before storing them.

Moreover, frequently taking out sesame seeds from the freezer and refreezing them is also not ideal. So, if you’ve bought your sesame seeds in bulk, always keep a container of seeds in your pantry cupboard for day-to-day usage and store the remaining in the freezer.

If you’re using the frozen seeds to make some sesame seed cookies or in recipes where you’ll have to cook the seeds, you can add the seeds as it is without defrosting them.

On the other hand, if you’ll be sprinkling them in your cooked foods and bakeries, give them a quick roast in a pan. Finally, an excellent freezer tip for you is to always add a name and date label to your food items and ingredients before storing them.


Sesame seeds are one of the most versatile ingredients in your pantry. From cooking to baking to toping, it serves all your needs.

But unless you’re too invested in cooking sesame seeds recipes or if you’re a professional baker or a cook, you don’t need to buy sesame seeds in bulk. Why store anything in bulk when you have the opportunity to buy them fresh and enjoy the top-notch flavor and aroma, isn’t it?

Nevertheless, if you find it more comfortable to stock up on ingredients at once, we’ve provided you with all the tips required. So, what is your secret sesame seeds recipe? Let us know!

2 thoughts on “Do Sesame Seeds Go Bad?How Long Does It Last?”

  1. All of this was so helpful..My cooking/”experimentation has increased tremendously since Pandemic Pampering..

  2. Thanks for info. I have black sesame seed POWDER with expiration of jan 13, 2022. Today is 4-12-22. Is the above info still the same for the Powder? — especially with determining if gone bad with smell and taste test and how long to store and where – like fridge or freezer.


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