How To Cook Quinoa

Cooked Quinoa

Cooked Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is gaining popularity as a healthy, high-protein, gluten-free alternative grain. It's light, delicious and extremely versatile. Quick and easy to cook as well.

How to Cook Quinoa, here is a quick and easy basic recipe for cooking quinoa. Quinoa is a tasty, nutritious, high-protein seed which can replace rice or couscous in dishes. It can also be used like oatmeal or millet for breakfast porridge.

Cooking quinoa is similar to cooking brown rice using the absorption method. One cup of dry quinoa will make 2-3 cups cooked. Don't worry about making extra though, if you have leftover quinoa it makes a delicious muesli or porridge for the next morning.

Cooking Quinoa:
First, measure out the dry quinoa. The proportion of dry quinoa to cooked quinoa is about 1:3, so 1 cup of dried quinoa will cook up to be about 3 cups.

Rinse the quinoa well under cold water and drain. It's handy to use a fine mesh sieve for rinsing.

Put the rinsed quinoa into a saucepan and add cold water. The quinoa to water ratio is 1:2. In other words, use 2 cups of water for every cup of quinoa. Toss in a dash of salt.

Cover and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, and set the lid just ajar, to prevent boiling over. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. The quinoa goes a bit transparent when it's cooked, except for a little spiral sprout.

If the quinoa is tender but there's excess water in the bottom of the saucepan just leave the lid off completely for a few minutes until the water evaporates. When done turn off the heat, put the lid on and let sit for about 5 minutes.

Use a fork to fluff up the quinoa and serve.


Try this light and delicious Quinoa Salad recipe

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34 Responses to “How To Cook Quinoa”

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  1. Kelly says:

    You know, I live in Peru, but have never cooked quinoa – we usually buy it already cooked with apples, quince and maca, with a texture like a very thin porridge, and it’s normally used as a breakfast drink.

    I guess I could do this right in the rice cooker and serve it instead of rice alongside our dishes!

    • Eat Healthy says:

      Hi Kelly, it’s so cool to hear about the way Peruvians use quinoa, and maca. Oh I love maca!!! That drink sounds delicious. And it’s interesting because I’ve spent time in Colombia and loved a drink they made from oats. I think it was called Avena, which is also one of the latin/botanical names for oats. I never would have thought of making a drink from a grain at that point in time, but it was delicious, and now I see “oat milk” in stores. I guess it’s similar for quinoa. I have been seeing in my stats that some people are searching for recipes using quinoa in smoothies and shakes, but I wasn’t sure if they were looking for raw recipes or those using cooked quinoa. I’m not sure that it would be a good idea with raw quinoa (even sprouted), but I can see the cooked quinoa as you describe being really delicious and filling. I’ll have to stock up on quinoa and start experimenting!

      I think you should be able to cook the quinoa in a rice cooker on similar settings that you would use for white rice. You must try it, quinoa is so delicious. It’s not as “heavy” in your stomach afterwards as rice is, and it’s yummy both for savory and sweet, porridge-like recipes. Better for you than rice too! It’s a superfood. Peru is the home of many wonderful superfoods, I think it would be a great place to live!

  2. steve says:

    I was in Peru recently and had an awsome drink/thin porrige made with quinoa and banana? I’ve been trying to find a recipe for it, but so far I havent found it

    • Eat Healthy says:

      Hi Steve, I’ve heard of that drink too, very recently, from someone living in Peru. I definitely want to try it too. I’m going to try to get or create the recipe. I wish I was able to taste it, then I’d be able to recreate it. I’ve had something similar in Colombia, it was based on oats rather than quinoa, but delicious as well. I’d like to find or create recipes for that too.

    • Joanna says:

      Hi, I have never been to Peru but in our local “healthy” food store (here in Oregon, USA) I found quinoa flakes for hot cereal, in a box. Fast and easy to cook like oatmeal and you can add whatever you like to it. I found it a little bitter so had to sweeten it more than I would with oatmeal. Bananas would definitely help. Good luck.

      • Donna says:

        Thanks Joanna, I’ve seen those quinoa flakes but I’ve never tried them.

      • Carmen R says:

        Hi Joanna, according to my peruvian co-worker, you are supposed to rinse the quinoa so that you don’t taste the bitter part.

        good luck,

  3. Rita tanguay says:

    i would like to grind quinoa into flour with my vitamix. Do i have to wash the grains and let them dry or dry them in the dehydrator before grinding them?

    • Donna says:

      Hi Rita. I have used just the dry grains, ground but that was for a recipe that required quite a small quantity. It was fine though. A better way, if you can, would be to wash and dehydrate them, and even better still would be to sprout and dehydrate them. To sprout them I’ve found the best tasting way is to rinse them and soak for about 4 hours. Then drain and let them sit for 4-6 hours or so. Then dehydrate at 105% or below. Then you have extra nutritious and digestible quinoa flour.

      • John Jogurt says:

        hey , can you better describe your process, particulary how to dehydrate at 105%?? please:)

    • Hillary Breezer says:

      Hi Rita, I would soak them then dry them in the dehydrator. Otherwise the flour could come out bitter…….. You can soak it for about 20 min, completely submerged. Good luck! 🙂

  4. lorenza says:

    talking about the quinoa and manzana drink you find in Peru but Bolivia also, yes it is one of the most addictive one can find. i tried to replicate it many times but since i know for sure that the quinoa should not be blended together with other ingredients, does anyone know how to make the quinoa mix properly so that it floats like in the following pic?
    many thanks in advance!

  5. Marie Devine says:

    Most other nations are wise in their food choices. They choose foods that are not empty, but have nutritional benefits, even their candies have fruit and nuts. America is slowly realizing we are feeding our children and people dead foods, producing unhealthy people.

  6. Quinoa is pronounced like that in Portuguese (Brasilian) It is grown widely on the Alto Plano for example in Bolivia where it is pronounced phonetically in Spanish ie kin-O-a

  7. Celeste says:

    I’ve recently used quinoa and I thought the ratio was about 2:1 …well maybe depending on how you like it? idk will it come out thicker or “fluffier” If I use 1:3 instead of 1:2

    • Donna says:

      Hi Celeste, I find quinoa to be more forgiving than rice with the water ratio. I have also used more than twice the water when I wanted it cooked more and softer and it’s come out nice.

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  9. Pat says:

    I’ve been cooking quinoa for over a decade and found that a quinoa:water ratio of about 1 : 1 1/3 works best. Using 1:2 results in a mushy consistency. I’m cooking it on a stove top so I’m not sure if rice cooker at 1:2 results in a fluffy consistency. Also, intuitively, 1 : 1 1/3 makes sense since the quinoa grain is smaller than a rice grain.

    • Donna says:

      Hi Pat, thanks for that. I like my quinoa well-cooked, but sometimes it is a bit watery still. I will try at the ratio you suggest to see how it comes out.

  10. Marie says:

    I am one of the biggest promoter of quinoa out there. Touting all the benefits to my friends and family. Always trying to come up with ways to incorporate it into meals.
    While I’m with you all on your posts, I can’t help but correct the fact that you keep calling it a grain, when it is actually a seed. Thanks

    • Donna says:

      Hi Marie, you are so right, quinoa is a seed. I have been calling it a grain, because many (most?) people think of it that way and I think it makes it easier for newcomers to quinoa to get the idea of how it’s used. But you are correct, I should re-read and re-write this post to make that more clear. Thank you!

  11. Heidi says:

    Ok I’m still new at cooking with quinoa and one time I was distracted and it kind of burned on the bottom. I should say, browned. But I added a little dollop of butter and was surprised that it had an even nuttier flavor not a burnt flavor at all. So geepers you can even burn it and it still tastes good add a little garlic powder or salt too with the butter. Yum. My kids liked it with cinnamon and agave. I cant say enough good things about it and definately better at cooking it but at the price for it its nice to know if you over cook it that its still edible.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Heidi! It’s true it’s almost like roasted seeds or something isn’t it? I use coconut oil instead of butter and that’s delicious too. I cook it in my rice cooker, it cooks it perfectly. So if you have a rice cooker try that, it won’t burn so bad if you get distracted.

      • Sheri says:

        I cook my quinoa on the stove. I use plenty of water. It looks like 1:2. Extra water is no problem! Cook it longer to cook it out. Or strain the extra water off when it is done cooking. Or use a slotted spoon to take the quinoa out of the pot.

        My favorite way to eat quinoa? When cooked as I like it, add butter and Parmesan cheese. Even the grated cheese will melt in if it’s hot enough. That’s what I’m eating right now! It’s good for any meal! I threw some in our soup last night to absorb some of the extra water/broth. Butter and real maple syrup is good too, for either breakfast or dessert! I like that it cooks quickly, it’s so versatile and that nice little crunch! Sprouted sounds interesting!

        I bought my current bag of quinoa at Costco. It says it doesn’t need to be rinse. I’m wondering if they did the rinsing for me? No bitterness at all!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Heidi! It’s true it’s almost like roasted seeds or something isn’t it? I use coconut oil instead of butter and that’s delicious too. I cook it in my rice cooker and it comes out perfect.

  12. Georgina says:

    Is it 1cup Quinoa and 3 cups water. Or 2 cups of water

  13. Karthik Smith says:

    Can sum one say …whether quinoa is replacement for rice….am really confused.. can we have quinoa daily instead of rice…

    • Donna says:

      Hi Karthik, yes quinoa can usually be used in place of rice. You can have it daily, it’s very good for you. High in protein.

  14. boff says:

    Great posting! I loved it since childhood – it is so tasting but so hard… Have anybody tried in milticooker such as Redmond 4502? It is much easier with it. Try – it does worth it!

  15. joan says:

    Gee!!! We use Quinoa because it is NOT A CARBOHYDRATE, AND HIGH IN PROTEIN!!!
    We use it like rice, and as a substitute for CousCous, and in Toboule Salad!!
    We absolutely LOVE IT!!!

  16. ibrahim says:

    is’t gluten free