How to Soak Chia Seeds in 5 Easy Steps


The jury is out and there is no mistaking the numerous health benefits of eating chia seeds. Also, they absorb water up to 10 times their own weight, which can slow down the speed of digestion and help you feel fuller longer. But how exactly to soak them before putting in a smoothie or other foods?

Chia seeds can be soaked in any cold or warmed liquid but usually water, yogurt, milk, or a milk substitute work best. Use about a 6 to 1 ratio of liquid to chia to pre-soak the seeds before introducing them into your chosen beverage or food. They can be soaked for as few as 5 minutes or overnight for a softer result.

How to soak chia seeds step-by-step:

  1. Use cold or warm water in a sealable container (for shaking)
  2. Pour in the chia seeds at a ratio of 1 part seed to 6 parts water.
  3. Shake vigorously for about 10 to 15 seconds.
  4. Let the seeds rest for about a minute and then shake again.
  5. Seal, chill, and soak for later or use immediately if you don’t mind a courser texture.

10 minutes is usually enough time for the chia seeds to begin softening a bit. As they soak, you are basically creating a “chia gel.” Soak overnight if you want them completely soft.

The rest of the article will cover:

  • How long to soak chia seeds.
  • What liquid you should soak them in.
  • What temperature for the liquid works best.
  • Which type of chia seed is best to purchase and their nutritional benefits.

How Long Do Chia Seeds Need to Soak?

If you want to soften your chia seeds, you have to leave them soaked in water for around a minimum of 5 minutes. However, in order for you to get the best chia seed texture, you should leave the chia seeds soaked in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Better yet, you can even leave the chia seeds soaked overnight. Many people tend to do so when they are mixed with other ingredients. It is popular to soak them in oatmeal or overnight oats, as it is one of the best and tastiest combinations you can then have for breakfast in the morning.

When your chia seeds have successfully soaked and absorbed the liquid you soaked them in, not only will they have changed in size, but they may also look like they produced some sort of gelatin. A thin, transparent layer that is soft to touch will cover the chia seeds.

What Are Some Liquids You Can Soak Chia Seeds In?

Chia Seed Smoothie With Fruit Nearby

There are several liquids you can soak chia seeds in. Usually, people soak them in water, milk, but just about any liquid will do. Water is the most simple and popular liquid to soak them in, however, it is not the most flavorful choice, nor the most nutritious option.

Two of the most popular liquids to soak chia seeds are almond milk and coconut milk. The final result would give the chia seeds an almost tapioca pudding-like flavor and texture.

Pro Tip: While soaking chia seeds in any type of milk, add a pinch of cinnamon and a dash of vanilla into it. These ingredients work wonders for the flavor when eating them as an early morning breakfast or an in-between snack.

Do You Soak Chia Seeds in Hot or Cold Water?

It does not matter what water temperature you soak your chia seed in. Whether you soak your chia seeds in hot or cold water, both temperatures will give you the same result. However, soaking them in hot water may cause them to lose their nutritional value.

Reportedly, you don’t want to soak chia seeds with hot water reaching around 45-50°C. Sure, it kills any bacteria on the seeds, but it supposedly also kills enzymes, antioxidants, and other components that make them so healthy. So, be aware when soaking your chia seeds in hot water; it might affect a few things.

Additionally, several studies indicate that mixing hot water with ingredients such as honey or lemon to soak your chia seeds in would also cause a loss of important health components and enzymes. 

Now, soaking them in room temperature to cold water has always been the best option. Again, most people just use filtered water and soak them for at least several minutes to, at most, a day or two.

Therefore, feel free to choose whichever water temperature you prefer. Cold water has always worked wonderfully, forming a transparent chia seed gel.  Hot water, although less common, works too, especially on a cold, snowy day.

Can You Soak Chia Seeds In Tap Water?

You can soak chia seeds with drinkable tap water and should not notice any difference in the quality of the chia gel versus using bottled water.

How to Soak Chia Seeds for Smoothie

Soaking chia seeds to add in smoothies is no different when soaking them with other forms of liquid and is solely based on preference. It depends on if you like your chia seeds to have a soft texture in the smoothie, or a little bit crunchier. 

Whether you like one preference or the other, the soaking process has to do with timing. The timing of when you add your chia seeds into your smoothie can make all the difference in the world. This can add additional consistency as well as texture to your smoothie of choice.

There are primarily two ways to soak your chia seed for your smoothie.

Method One 

One way is to add your raw chia seeds before you begin blending your smoothie. This way, you let them soak slightly longer in the smoothie, absorbing those flavorful liquids onto themselves. 

You can also soak them prior to blending, but many prefer when they begin blending the smoothie. Pre-soaking them or soaking them when you begin to blend them will give the chia seed more time to mix into the smoothie, making the smoothie much thicker in texture.

Method Two

The other way is to add them towards the end once you complete blending your smoothie. By adding them at the end, you give the chia seeds a minimal amount of time to soak the liquid, thus giving it still a slightly crunchier texture, but not as hard as it was when raw. 

This is especially perfect for those who make more of a “liquidy” and watery smoothie rather than a thick-textured smoothie. For a watery-textured smoothie, chia seeds that are added at the end adds a complexion of texture to it, making it more satisfying for some.

Soaking Chia Seeds Benefits

Chia seeds, in their raw form, can cause several problems. Some are just small problems that can be tolerated, while others can reportedly affect your health. Therefore, the majority of people who consume chia seeds prefer to soak them for a certain period of time. This process reduces the hassle and increases the benefit of consuming chia seeds.  

Softer Texture

Not the biggest benefit, as some people like their chia seeds a bit crunchier, but many prefer soaking them to obtain a softer texture. When you soak chia seeds, they react by producing a gel-like layer around them. Furthermore, it makes the chia seeds softer when you bite them. 

When you don’t soak them beforehand, they will usually get stuck in between your teeth and gums. This is because the chia seeds quickly absorb the liquid on the wet surface of our mouth. The moment chia seeds contact a liquid, chia seeds swell and get stuck between your teeth or gums, and sometimes, getting them out can be a hassle.

Detoxifies Phytic Acid

Like all other seeds, chia seeds have phytic acid content, approximately between 0.96 gram, and 1.16 gram. Reportedly, when you soak chia seeds with water or any other liquid, it will eliminate the phytic acid content in the chia seed, making it more nutritious to consume. 

Phytic acids are essentially referred to as anti-nutrients, as they block the absorption of certain minerals and nutrients into the body. It is a natural defense mechanism for many plant forms in order to protect themselves from predators. Other types of food with a significant level of phytic acid include beans, nuts, and grains.

So, when you consume food that is high in phytic acid, the anti-nutrient molecules would bind with some minerals in your digestive tract. This may include minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Therefore, the chia seeds are similar to a cooking process as it reportedly reduces the phytic acid in seeds themselves, making it much safer and easier to digest.

Super Food-Category

When you go to any organic ingredient store and ask which seeds are considered “superfoods”, they will point you to chia seeds. Chia seeds are considered as a nutritional powerhouse as every single individual chia seed contains a heap of nutrients in them. 

Below are the different types of nutrients provided by consuming chia seeds:

  • Fiber: There is approximately 34 grams of fiber per 100 grams of chia seeds. It is essentially 40 percent fiber by weight, making chia seeds the best source for it.
  • Protein: There is roughly 17 grams of fiber per 100 grams of chia seeds. Chia seeds contain a significant amount of protein and have a good balance of amino acids as well.
  • Healthy fats: Chia seeds contain a high quantity of healthy fats, specifically with Omegas 3, 6, and 9. Omega-3 is the highest in quantity and is very good for your heart, cholesterol levels, and just your overall health. Healthy fats lower the risk of any kind of heart disease as well as stroke
  • Calcium: There is 631 milligrams of calcium per 100 grams of chia seeds. Gram for gram, chia seeds provide the same calcium quantity as mil would. But remember to soak the chia seeds to remove phytic acid; otherwise, it will affect the quantity of calcium.
  • Antioxidants: Chia seeds are reportedly rich in antioxidants. These may include chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, kaempferol, and quercetin. The properties, as mentioned earlier, supposedly provide protection for your cardiac and hepatic system as well as anti-aging qualities.

It is important to note that the nutritional content of chia seeds depends on their color. Another type of chia seed might not have the same nutritional value as the other. Therefore, it is important to know what type, or color, of chia seeds you are getting and what makes them different from their counterparts.

White, Black, or Brown Chia Seeds?

Some people might know this, and some might not. But chia seeds come in more than one color, which is white, black, and brown. 

When you go to supermarkets, organic food shops, and other stores that sell chia seeds, you will most likely come across more black chia seeds. Black chia seeds are considered more common than white chia seeds. 

There is a slight difference between black chia seeds and white chia seeds. Black chia seeds contain a slight more percentage of protein content. White chia seeds, however, slightly contain more healthy fats, specifically omega-3s. But apart from the slight content of different nutrition, there aren’t many differences. Other nutritional contents and the flavor tastes exactly the same.

For brown chia seeds, it is a different story. Let’s take a look at why you shouldn’t purchase brown chia seeds for consumption below.

Why You Shouldn’t Get Brown Chia Seeds

Brown chia seeds are essentially immature seeds due to lack of sunlight, water or have been compromised with an extreme climate, which affected their growth. Due to the immaturity level, brown chia seeds do not have the same nutritional value as brown or white. 

So, when you do stop by the store and come across brown-colored chia seeds, better that you avoid them and find chia seeds in another store. Brown seeds will not have the same nutritional value, lack in healthy fat content, and also have a more prominent bitter taste to them.

Final Thoughts

Chia seeds are probably one of the best superfoods to have as it is packed with a variety of nutritional value. 

Although chia seeds are great, they do not come cheap. Therefore, it is vital that you cover the basics on how to properly prepare them as well as what benefits they provide and what type of chia seeds to get. 

Once you are familiar with the ingredient, you can appropriately prepare them and incorporate them into any dish that suits you.

I hope this article has been helpful. Thanks for stoppin’ by!

For more, check out 8 Practical Alternatives to Protein Powder.

Anne James

Hi, I'm Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I have over 50 years of experience as a Southern cook and am a retired librarian. I love sharing what I have learned. You can find me on YouTube as well! Just click the link at the bottom of your page. I hope your visit here has been a sweet one.

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