How Long Does It Take Chia Seeds To Expand After Soaking?

Chia seeds are known for their nutritional and health benefits. It is indeed better if you soak them before eating them. But how long does it take chia seeds to expand before you can eat them?

The nutrient profile of these tiny seeds is amazing. One more unique thing about chia seeds is how well they can hold their weight in water.

Hydrated chia seeds offer more benefits than raw seeds. Whether you use them to cook or bake, be ready for a good dose of nutrients.

This article explains how chia seeds expand, why you have to soak them and how long they take to expand.

Do chia seeds expand in water?

Yes, they do.

Chia seeds can hold about 10 times their weight in water. They expand and become 10 times their size in water. When chia seeds expand in water, they become bigger, soft, and gelatinous.

How long does it take chia seeds to expand in water?

It takes about 20 minutes for chia seeds to absorb water and expand.

Thereafter, the seeds become gelatinous and can be transformed into recipes like chia pudding.

How long does it take chia seeds to expand in milk?

Chia seeds take up to 20 minutes to expand in milk.

When the seeds expand and become gelatinous, they develop a chewy texture. Soaked chia seeds in milk taste more like tapioca pudding.

How long does it take chia seeds to expand in yogurt?

Chia seeds will have to soak in yogurt for four hours or overnight before they expand, and become chewy and gelatinous.

When soaking chia seeds in yogurt, you can equally flavor with honey for some extra sweetness.

In addition, do not leave yogurt chia pudding out if you’re soaking it overnight. Cover the bowl or cup of chia seeds and yogurt and keep it in the fridge.

How can you get chia seeds to expand faster?

To get your chia seeds to expand faster, soak them in sufficient water.

For instance, soak ¼ cup of chia seeds in 1 cup of water. If the volume of water is smaller than the seeds, they’ll not expand fast.

Also, keeping bowls of soaked chia seeds in the refrigerator can help to get them to expand faster.

How long do soaked chia seeds last?

Soaked chia seeds will last up to five days in the refrigerator.

However, there may be a change in flavor and taste when you bring it out because it may have been contaminated with the smell of other foods in the refrigerator.

Therefore, it is best you soak only a small quantity at a time, one you can finish within two to three days.

How to soak chia seeds

What you need:

  • Chia seeds
  • The liquid which could be water, milk, or yogurt
  • A jar with a lid

What to do:

  • Follow the ratio of ¼ cup of chia seeds to 1 cup of liquid. You can modify this based on the quantity of chia seed you want to soak
  • You can also modify the amount of liquid based on how runny or thick you want the consistency
  • Cover the jar firmly and shake it for about 20 seconds
  • Allow the jar to stand for one or two minutes
  • Thereafter, shake it again and allow it to rest
  • Afterward, keep the jar in the refrigerator for two hours or overnight

How to eat soaked chia seeds

If you soaked chia seeds in water, there is a long list of what you can use chia gel for. Here are a few ideas:

  • Smoothies
  • Puddings
  • Soups
  • Salad dressing
  • Sauces
  • Drinks
  • Oatmeal
  • Dips
  • Yogurt

Chia seeds already soaked in milk or yogurt are enough to eat alone for breakfast or dessert. Top it with honey (as a sweetener), fruits, or nuts.

Why are chia seeds not swelling?

Chia seeds will not expand or gel under any of these conditions:

Bad seeds

Bad chia seeds will not expand. If the chia seeds are not swelling, it could be because the seeds have expired or are too old.

Insufficient liquid

An insufficient amount of liquid will not allow all the seeds to gel. They also won’t expand. The ideal amount of liquid to soak chia seeds in is at least a ratio of 1:6.

You can adjust the quantity of liquid based on the consistency you want. However, the liquid must be more than 3x the quantity of seed.

Short soaking period

Although chia seeds can absorb a lot of water, they need at least 20 minutes of soaking. And how long you soak the seeds depends on the quantity you want to gel.

The next time you want to make chia gel or pudding, soak the seeds overnight to give them more time to expand.

Benefits of eating soaked chia seeds

The body absorbs hydrated chia seeds better

Hydrated chia seeds are easily absorbed by the body. The body digests the seeds and makes use of the nutrients better than it does when you eat them raw.

Good for the bones

Chia seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is good for bone health. They also contain high amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium which are necessary for strong, healthy bones.

It can help improve heart health

ALA in chia seeds is also very beneficial for the heart. Eating hydrated chia seeds daily will greatly reduce the risk of getting heart disease.

Good for blood sugar

Drinking chia seeds positively impacts blood sugar levels. It improves insulin and can help to keep blood sugar levels stable in people with diabetes.

Improves digestion

Chia seeds are a rich source of insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber aids bowel movement and bulking up of stool. Eating hydrated chia seeds in the right amounts improves digestion and makes excretion easy.

It can aid in weight loss

Chia seeds are naturally rich in fiber and protein. Soaking them increases their nutrient profile. Fiber and protein are essential nutrients for weight loss.

Drinking chia seeds will keep you feeling full, make you eat less, and reduce your calorie intake.

It can soothe inflammation

Eating hydrated chia seeds for breakfast or dessert can help soothe inflammation. The seeds are rich in omega-3 fats, which can help soothe inflamed joints.


Can you eat chia seeds without soaking them?

Yes, you can.

You can eat chia seeds in their raw form, but they are best eaten hydrated. Moreover, raw chia seeds may irritate your digestive system, especially if you’re eating them for the first time or you eat them in excess.

Can you soak chia seeds in hot water?

No. Do not soak chia seeds in hot water. Soak chia seeds in cold or warm liquids.

Will chia seeds expand in your stomach?

Yes, they will.

Chia seeds continue to expand in your stomach. This is how they keep you feeling full and suppress hunger. However, this beneficial characteristic can cause bloating, especially if you consume chia seeds in excess.

Can chia seeds help to lose weight?

Yes, it can. Chia seeds are rich in protein and fiber. Hydrated chia seeds are more fibrous.

By keeping you fuller for longer, chia seeds can help suppress your appetite and keep you from overeating and excessive weight gain.


Chia seeds expand with water or other liquids like milk and yogurt. If you want the seeds to expand faster, soak them in enough water and keep them in the refrigerator.

While you can eat the raw seeds, the hydrated form is more nutritious. Eating the hydrated seeds slows down digestion and can keep you feeling full for a long period.

In adequate amounts, chia seeds should be a part of your daily diet.

Thanks for reading.

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