Why Are My Chia Seeds Not Swelling? (3 Reasons)

Why Are My Chia Seeds Not Swelling?
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Why Are My Chia Seeds Not Swelling?

While twenty years ago very few of us had even heard of chia seeds, their popularity in the West has increased dramatically in recent years as we recognize their health benefits.

Many households now stock them as pantry staples and thanks to their mild flavor, use them in many foods.

Why Use Chia Seeds?

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Chia seeds contain soluble fiber which aids digestion, reduces LDL cholesterol, helps control blood sugar, and keeps you fuller for longer. They also contain good fats, and some protein, and are a good source of minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, and more.

These seeds are mild-flavored and take on the taste of whatever you add them to. When put into a liquid such as a smoothie, they swell up and become gelatinous. This makes them useful as thickening agents in various foods like salad dressings and desserts.

Why Are My Chia Seeds Not Swelling?

It has come to our attention that sometimes people have issues with their chia seeds not swelling as they’re supposed to when added to a liquid. We’ve done some research on the topic and come up with 3 things that could be causing the problem.

1. Quantity of Water

Organic chia seeds to mix with water
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One of the leading reasons why users are unable to manage the texture of their chia seeds is the addition of too little liquid.

Use a bigger container than you think you’ll need. Use around 1 tablespoon of seeds to a cup of water or other liquid. So, for a 500 ml smoothie, don’t add more than 2 level tablespoons of chia seeds.

2. Low Temperature

refrigerator water dispenser
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As with any seeds or grains, chia seeds absorb hot water better than ice-cold water.

If you are struggling to get your chia seeds to swell, soften them first in some very hot water before adding them to the rest of the liquid, which can be cold. The seeds may take some time to soften and swell, so be patient.

3. Type of Seeds

Chia different seeds
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The source of the chia seeds also has a huge impact on the swelling procedure. While it is effortless to begin the water absorption process while using high-quality seeds, cheaper or older seeds tend to perform poorly.

So, if you’ve bought the chia seeds from an off-brand source, then there is a good chance you’re using poor-quality seeds.

If you’re following all the steps perfectly and managing the quantity and temperature of the water but still can’t get your chia seeds to swell, use them in baked goods where they don’t have to swell.

You can even grind them before using them. Then, find a reliable supplier that promises high-quality, fresh seeds for your use in the future. That way, it’s certain that they will swell when you want them to.

Always check the expiration date on your pack of chia seeds to be sure they haven’t expired.


These are the main reasons for your chia seeds not swelling – insufficient liquid, liquid too cold, and poor quality or expired seeds. We hope this solves your issue. Let us know how it goes.

We’ve included a recipe below that uses chia seeds that don’t need to swell or be soaked. It will ensure you don’t need to waste those low-quality seeds that aren’t swelling as they should!

Chia Seed and Almond Balls


Chia Seed and Almond Balls
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  1. Put the dates into a food processor and process until you have a paste.
  2. Add the chia seeds, coconut oil, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and choc chips.
  3. Pulse gently until you have a soft dough.
  4. Oil your hands with a little coconut oil then roll the dough into small balls.
  5. Roll the balls in the coconut then put them into an airtight container.
  6. Keep refrigerated or frozen if you like them chewy.
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